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The Great Homework Debate: Is Homework Helpful or Harmful to Students?

The Case Against Homework

❶Thousands of students are asked one question -- How much time do you spend on homework?

The Case for Homework

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Even in high school. The study zeroed in on specific course grades, which represents a methodological improvement, and the moral may be: The better the research, the less likely one is to find any benefits from homework.

Maltese and his colleagues did their best to reframe these results to minimize the stunning implications. Those open to evidence, however, have been presented this Fall with yet another finding that fails to find any meaningful benefit even when the study is set up to give homework every benefit of the doubt.

They argue that a six hours a day of academics are enough, and kids should have the chance after school to explore other interests and develop in other ways -- or be able simply to relax in the same way that most adults like to relax after work; and b the decision about what kids do during family time should be made by families, not schools. Cool and Timothy Z. Keith, "Testing a Model of School Learning: Other research has found little or no correlation between how much homework students report doing and how much homework their parents say they do.

To put it the other way around, studies finding the biggest effect are those that capture less of what goes on in the real world by virtue of being so brief. Even the title of their article reflects this: He had contributed earlier to another study whose results similarly ended up raising questions about the value of homework. Students enrolled in college physics courses were surveyed to determine whether any features of their high school physics courses were now of use to them.

At first a very small relationship was found between the amount of homework that students had had in high school and how well they were currently faring. But once the researchers controlled for other variables, such as the type of classes they had taken, that relationship disappeared, just as it had for Keith see note 2. The researchers then studied a much larger population of students in college science classes - and found the same thing: Sadler and Robert H.

Tai, "Success in Introductory College Physics: Da Capo, , an adaptation of which appears as " Abusing Research: On the alleged value of practice, see The Homework Myth , pp. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. Follow Alfie Kohn on Twitter: Go to mobile site.

But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage. Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night.

High school seniors should complete about two hours of homework each night. But some schools have begun to give their youngest students a break. A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction.

We want them to go to soccer practice or football practice, and we want them to go to bed. A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time.

The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders. The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school. The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.

His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills. On the other hand, some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children. At the end of his analysis, Cooper recommended further study of such potential effects of homework.


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Research doesn't have all the answers, but a review of some existing data yields some helpful observations and guidance. How Much Homework Do Students Do? Survey data and anecdotal evidence show that some students spend hours nightly doing homework.

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Is homework harmful or helpful? Education experts and parents weigh in. Topics To Do Connect. Edit Module “Homework is important because it’s an opportunity for students to review materials that are covered in the classroom. Kohn points out that no research has ever found any advantage to assigning homework — of any kind or in any.

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Research suggests that while homework can be an effective learning tool, assigning too much can lower student performance and interfere with other important activities. Help Customer Service eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other.

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It’s important to remember that some people object to homework for reasons that aren’t related to the dispute about whether research might show that homework provides academic benefits. Even when homework is helpful, there can be too much of a good thing. "There is a limit to how much kids can benefit from home study," Cooper says. He agrees with an oft-cited rule of thumb that students should do no more than 10 minutes a night per grade level — from about 10 minutes in first grade up to a maximum of about two hours in high.