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The Case for Homework

The Case Against Homework
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So many variables affect student achievement. Although most Canadian parents would agree that some homework is valuable, difficult questions remain: How much homework is necessary? Does homework really help my child? Research suggests that, with two exceptions, homework for elementary children is not beneficial and does not boost achievement levels.

The first exception is in the case of a student who is struggling to complete classroom tasks. The second is when students are preparing for a test.

For example, students might review a list of words for 10 minutes in preparation for a spelling test the next day. Parental help with homework appears to be beneficial only if the child has already learned the concepts and simply needs more time to complete the assignments. In fact, some evidence suggests that K—4 students who spend too much time on homework actually achieve less well.

For students in Grades 6 and 7, up to an hour of meaningful homework per night can be beneficial. Choosing the wrong college can be bad for mental health.

How to talk to your teen about their reach school. Please enter a valid email address. Thank you for signing up! Please try again later. Sorry for the inconvenience. Does homework really work? After decades spent trying to assess the value of homework, researchers still argue over the simplest findings. Leslie Crawford June 14, Print article. Get the GreatSchools newsletter - our best articles, worksheets and more delivered weekly.

Choosing the wrong college can be bad for mental health Choosing the wrong college can be bad for mental health. How to talk to your teen about reach schools How to talk to your teen about their reach school. Please enter a valid email address Thank you for signing up! PreK K 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th.

The Cooper synthesis a reported that for junior high school students, the benefits increased as time increased, up to 1 to 2 hours of homework a night, and then decreased. The Cooper, Robinson, and Patall study reported similar findings: The researchers suggested that for 12th graders the optimum amount of homework might lie between 1.

Still, researchers have offered various recommendations. For example, Good and Brophy cautioned that teachers must take care not to assign too much homework. Thus, 5 to 10 minutes per subject might be appropriate for 4th graders, whereas 30 to 60 minutes might be appropriate for college-bound high school students. Cooper, Robinson, and Patall also issued a strong warning about too much homework: Even for these oldest students, too much homework may diminish its effectiveness or even become counterproductive.

He added that when required reading is included as a type of homework, the minute rule might be increased to 15 minutes. Focusing on the amount of time students spend on homework, however, may miss the point.

A significant proportion of the research on homework indicates that the positive effects of homework relate to the amount of homework that the student completes rather than the amount of time spent on homework or the amount of homework actually assigned.

Thus, simply assigning homework may not produce the desired effect—in fact, ill-structured homework might even have a negative effect on student achievement. Teachers must carefully plan and assign homework in a way that maximizes the potential for student success see Research-Based Homework Guidelines. Another question regarding homework is the extent to which schools should involve parents. Some studies have reported minimal positive effects or even negative effects for parental involvement.

They recommended interactive homework in which Parents receive clear guidelines spelling out their role. Teachers do not expect parents to act as experts regarding content or to attempt to teach the content. Parents ask questions that help students clarify and summarize what they have learned. Good and Brophy provided the following recommendations regarding parent involvement: Although research has established the overall viability of homework as a tool to enhance student achievement, for the most part the research does not provide recommendations that are specific enough to help busy practitioners.

This is the nature of research—it errs on the side of assuming that something does not work until substantial evidence establishes that it does.

The research community takes a long time to formulate firm conclusions on the basis of research. Homework is a perfect example: Figure 1 includes synthesis studies that go back as far as 60 years, yet all that research translates to a handful of recommendations articulated at a very general level. In addition, research in a specific area, such as homework, sometimes contradicts research in related areas.

For example, Cooper recommended on the basis of plus years of homework research that teachers should not comment on or grade every homework assignment. Riehl pointed out the similarity between education research and medical research. She commented, When reported in the popular media, medical research often appears as a blunt instrument, able to obliterate skeptics or opponents by the force of its evidence and arguments.

Yet repeated visits to the medical journals themselves can leave a much different impression. The serious medical journals convey the sense that medical research is an ongoing conversation and quest, punctuated occasionally by important findings that can and should alter practice, but more often characterized by continuing investigations.

These investigations, taken cumulatively, can inform the work of practitioners who are building their own local knowledge bases on medical care. If relying solely on research is problematic, what are busy practitioners to do? Instead, educators should combine research-based generalizations, research from related areas, and their own professional judgment based on firsthand experience to develop specific practices and make adjustments as necessary.

Educators can develop the most effective practices by observing changes in the achievement of the students with whom they work every day. Research-Based Homework Guidelines Research provides strong evidence that, when used appropriately, homework benefits student achievement. To make sure that homework is appropriate, teachers should follow these guidelines: Design homework to maximize the chances that students will complete it. For example, ensure that homework is at the appropriate level of difficulty.

Students should be able to complete homework assignments independently with relatively high success rates, but they should still find the assignments challenging enough to be interesting. When mom and dad help: Student reflections on parent involvement with homework. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 31 3 , — The instructional effects of feedback in test-like events.

Review of Educational Research, 61 2 , — The case against homework: How homework is hurting our children and what we can do about it. The search for methods of group instruction as effective as one-toone tutoring. Educational Leadership, 41 8 , 4— Synthesis of research on homework. Educational Leadership, 47 3 , 85—

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Nevertheless, most research purporting to show a positive effect of homework seems to be based on the assumption that when students who get (or do) more homework also score better on standardized tests, it follows that the higher scores were due to their having had more homework.

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Sep 23,  · Beyond achievement, proponents of homework argue that it can have many other beneficial effects. They claim it can help students develop good study habits so they are ready to grow as their cognitive capacities mature. It can help students recognize that .

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When you use the parents' estimates, the correlation between homework and achievement disappears. See Harris Cooper, Jorgianne Civey Robinson, and Erika A. Patall, "Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement?: A Synthesis of Research, ," Review of Educational Research 76 (): 1 . Specific types of homework can be very beneficial to students with learning disabilities, however. Some research also suggests that homework has nonacademic benefits, such as helping children establish routines, develop study skills, and take responsibility.

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The average high school student doing homework outperformed 69% of the students in a class with no homework. Homework in middle school was half as effective. In elementary school, there is no measurable correlation between homework and achievement. Despite all the research, homework remains something of a mystery. Research suggests that, with two exceptions, homework for elementary children is not beneficial and does not boost achievement levels. The first exception is in the case of a student who is struggling to complete classroom tasks.