Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.
The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.
Homework battles have raged for decades. For as long as kids have been whining about doing their homework, parents and education reformers have complained that homework's benefits are dubious. Meanwhile many teachers argue that take-home lessons are key to helping students learn. Now, as schools are shifting to the new (and hotly debated) Common Core curriculum standards, educators, administrators and researchers are turning a fresh eye toward the question of homework's value.
Homework can indeed produce academic benefits, such as increased understanding and retention of the material, says Duke University social psychologist Harris Cooper, PhD, one of the nation's leading homework researchers. But not all students benefit. In a review of studies published from 1987 to 2003, Cooper and his colleagues found that homework was linked to better test scores in high school and, to a lesser degree, in middle school. Yet they found only faint evidence that homework provided academic benefit in elementary school (Review of Educational Research, 2006).
Then again, test scores aren't everything. Homework proponents also cite the nonacademic advantages it might confer, such as the development of personal responsibility, good study habits and time-management skills. But as to hard evidence of those benefits, "the jury is still out," says Mollie Galloway, PhD, associate professor of educational leadership at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. "I think there's a focus on assigning homework because [teachers] think it has these positive outcomes for study skills and habits. But we don't know for sure that's the case."
Beyond that point, kids don't absorb much useful information, Cooper says. In fact, too much homework can do more harm than good. Researchers have cited drawbacks, including boredom and burnout toward academic material, less time for family and extracurricular activities, lack of sleep and increased stress.
In a recent study of Spanish students, Rubén Fernández-Alonso, PhD, and colleagues found that students who were regularly assigned math and science homework scored higher on standardized tests. But when kids reported having more than 90 to 100 minutes of homework per day, scores declined (Journal of Educational Psychology, 2015).
"At all grade levels, doing other things after school can have positive effects," Cooper says. "To the extent that homework denies access to other leisure and community activities, it's not serving the child's best interest."
A 2014 report by the Brookings Institution examined the question of homework, comparing data from a variety of sources. That report cited findings from a 2012 survey of first-year college students in which 38.4 percent reported spending six hours or more per week on homework during their last year of high school. That was down from 49.5 percent in 1986 (The Brown Center Report on American Education, 2014).
The Brookings report also explored survey data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which asked 9-, 13- and 17-year-old students how much homework they'd done the previous night. They found that between 1984 and 2012, there was a slight increase in homework for 9-year-olds, but homework amounts for 13- and 17-year-olds stayed roughly the same, or even decreased slightly.
Yet other evidence suggests that some kids might be taking home much more work than they can handle. Robert Pressman, PhD, and colleagues recently investigated the 10-minute rule among more than 1,100 students, and found that elementary-school kids were receiving up to three times as much homework as recommended. As homework load increased, so did family stress, the researchers found (American Journal of Family Therapy, 2015).
Many high school students also seem to be exceeding the recommended amounts of homework. Pope and Galloway recently surveyed more than 4,300 students from 10 high-achieving high schools. Students reported bringing home an average of just over three hours of homework nightly (Journal of Experiential Education, 2013).
Yet homework can be a problem at the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum as well. Kids from wealthier homes are more likely to have resources such as computers, Internet connections, dedicated areas to do schoolwork and parents who tend to be more educated and more available to help them with tricky assignments. Kids from disadvantaged homes are more likely to work at afterschool jobs, or to be home without supervision in the evenings while their parents work multiple jobs, says Lea Theodore, PhD, a professor of school psychology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. They are less likely to have computers or a quiet place to do homework in peace.
One point researchers agree on is that for all students, homework quality matters. But too many kids are feeling a lack of engagement with their take-home assignments, many experts say. In Pope and Galloway's research, only 20 percent to 30 percent of students said they felt their homework was useful or meaningful.
But critics say those skills can be developed with many fewer hours of homework each week. Why assign 50 math problems, Pope asks, when 10 would be just as constructive? One Advanced Placement biology teacher she worked with through Challenge Success experimented with cutting his homework assignments by a third, and then by half. "Test scores didn't go down," she says. "You can have a rigorous course and not have a crazy homework load."
Still, changing the culture of homework won't be easy. Teachers-to-be get little instruction in homework during their training, Pope says. And despite some vocal parents arguing that kids bring home too much homework, many others get nervous if they think their child doesn't have enough. "Teachers feel pressured to give homework because parents expect it to come home," says Galloway. "When it doesn't, there's this idea that the school might not be doing its job."
In recent years, the educational world has been rocked by school districts, parents, teachers, and educational researchers who have been voicing their concerns over the effectiveness of homework. On one hand, many districts around the country have been moving towards eliminating it altogether at the elementary level. On the other, researchers have shown that the right type of assignment can help students succeed academically and on standardized tests.
The case laid out above might seem to seal the deal on the argument, as it does offer valid arguments, but facts and statistics are hard to come by when the educational system varies across the country as much as it does. However, there are many teachable aspects of homework that are often looked over in the rhetoric against the assignments.
Students spend up to a third of their day working hard at school; they deserve to have a break. Not only do students deserve to have a break, but they also deserve to have time for themselves to indulge in extracurricular activities like, sports, music, and swimming, etc. So homework must be banned
I think that kids like me spend a lot of time playing video games . I also think that some kids get torn by homework especially during quarantine. Kids are forced to do school from home and homework from home as well. This can be hours and hours of work and can be very stressful.
I just wanted to say that I had an exam question received late at night which i had forgotten about, about the topic of homework being banned. THIS SAVED MY FRICKING LIFE! THANK YOU WHOEVER MADE THIS!
here is a summary of whats above about why homework should be banned. I added a few things. Also, its in my own words so if anybody wants it for their school classwork they can copy it and put it in their classwork.
ofc it should be banned. I spend HOURS a day trying to complete a simple math problem because my brain was fried at school. school is the majority of my day. I dont want to spend the little time I have with my busy parents and busier siblings alone doing friggin spanish or something. Optional homework is fine, since that is available for the people who have time for it. But for people like me who have siblings to look after and dinner to cook, adding homework to the mix is too much. And now with covid, the workload DOUBLED. fall of 2020 better be better because this spring just wasnt it. Before you fuck up my brain and drive me crazy, please think about how we are entering high school and thats just a little stressful. Think about how we have responsibilites. smh
I think that homework should be banned cause as a senior in high school I can honestly say that this has been my best year yet without worrying about the amount of homework and how long it would take me. I have done better this year because the lack of homework has taken a lot of stress off and has given me time to work on assignments that we do in class and get ahead. SO yeah I think homework should be banned.
Homework is practice. But too much is no good. At the same time, it every student of mine has 30 minutes of homework from each lesson he attends in a day, it adds up to 3 thirds of his school day, leaving little room to explore other interests. I also believe that teachers need to add value to the cirriculum by adding things that are left out, like how to learn, using imagination and teaching budgeting, house work and other subjects deemed unsuitable for class environment. 2b1af7f3a8