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Homework: New Research Suggests It May Be an Unnecessary Evil

From the homework laboratories

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NEA Reviews of the Research on Best Practices in Education
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Experts advise schools or districts to include teachers, parents, and students in any effort to set homework policies. Policies should address the purposes of homework; amount and frequency; school and teacher responsibilities; student responsibilities; and, the role of parents or others who assist students with homework.

When i was in pakistan i made sure to do my homework on the layout of the twin towers so when i flew my plane into it i knew where to bomb. Where does the gathering of special items such as shoe boxes, costumes, etc fall into the homework timeline? Today's parents are constantly being asked to provide various extra items for their kids.

With several children in a family this puts a lot of pressure on everyone. And for what value? Yes, doing book work, reading, problems, etc. But the other stuff seems to be so out of line and over the top. Especially in the advanced program. Even during vacation I had to do a 5 page essay for social studies, which took up almost the whole week of my time.

I find this article to be most truthful with all of the facts on how homework shouldn't be assigned to poor lads with either after after school work or activities. That to me is the biggest thing we should think about and stop because it is taking away time for our active life in sports My thought. This leaves limited to zero time for any other extracurricular activities in our case, one sport, one orchestra, and one club. The bedtime is being pushed further and further close to midnight, if not past.

To better manage to-do and priority, we set up a whiteboard in the study room to list daily and weekly due homework for these two subjects, this past weekend there were six 6 bullet items on the board. I was speechless but try to be positive to provide assistance. This leads me to this board and glad we are not alone. There will need to be a better coordination and balance systems in place at schools so our kids can be challenged but not drained.

I've seen a lot of idiotic comments on this page that make homework look like it actually is needed. The average weekly time for a full time job is around 40 hours give or take, and most jobs have you do the work in the job. Now I'm going to talk about your messed up "education" system One of the biggest faults in your system is the grade system, most teachers have weighted grades on tests, so if you do good at homework, but terrible at tests, you're screwed. And let's talk about the conditions of the machines Kids that have to go to school every day.

Really, switch the teachers with prison guards and you have a juvenile rehabilitation center. Please read this and Email me ohockeyguy13 hotmail. Homework is more important than extracurricular activities, however we need well rounded kids and those extracurricular activities help with that. I think people who spend more than 3 hours a day are probably just fooling around too much. People who spend more than 3 hours seems more like play work than homework.

SO people who are complaining parents need to consider to teach the kids how to manage their time and use it efficiently. Teach them how to focus and how not to be distracted. My parents taught me how to focus on homework and now homework only takes about 15 minutes. So yea do not complain if you have not tried doing these stuff yet.

My first grade grandson has 2 hours of homework per night, as he had in kindergarten. As a seasoned teacher, I feel this is highly inappropriate. His parents feel this is stressing him and not giving him time to unwind and just be a kid. It's no wonder that so many kids hate school. The comments on this article are sad. I am a kid and I know homework is a necessity. The studies proving that there is a positive correlation between homework and achievements is overwhelming.

People need to stop hating homework and start working on it especially when it is helping THEM. As for people who can't find time to do homework due to sports and other activities, make time. Doing well in school is more important than sports. You can exercise any time you want and the chances of getting into a college due to a sports scholarship is very low.

The absence of evidence supporting the value of homework before high school is generally acknowledged by experts in the field — even those who are far less critical of the research literature and less troubled by the negative effects of homework than I am. But this remarkable fact is rarely communicated to the general public. In , Cooper summarized the available research with a sentence that ought to be e-mailed to every parent, teacher, and administrator in the country: It, too, found minuscule correlations between the amount of homework done by sixth graders, on the one hand, and their grades and test scores, on the other.

For third graders, the correlations were negative: He was kind enough to offer the citations, and I managed to track them down. The point was to see whether children who did math homework would perform better on a quiz taken immediately afterward that covered exactly the same content as the homework. The third study tested 64 fifth graders on social studies facts. All three of these experiments found exactly what you would expect: The kids who had drilled on the material — a process that happened to take place at home — did better on their respective class tests.

The final study, a dissertation project, involved teaching a lesson contained in a language arts textbook. It seems safe to say that these latest four studies offer no reason to revise the earlier summary statement that no meaningful evidence exists of an academic advantage for children in elementary school who do homework.

The correlation only spikes at or above grade A large correlation is necessary, in other words, but not sufficient. Indeed, I believe it would be a mistake to conclude that homework is a meaningful contributor to learning even in high school. Remember that Cooper and his colleagues found a positive effect only when they looked at how much homework high school students actually did as opposed to how much the teacher assigned and only when achievement was measured by the grades given to them by those same teachers.

All of the cautions, qualifications, and criticisms in this chapter, for that matter, are relevant to students of all ages. Students who take this test also answer a series of questions about themselves, sometimes including how much time they spend on homework.

For any number of reasons, one might expect to find a reasonably strong association between time spent on homework and test scores. Yet the most striking result, particularly for elementary students, is precisely the absence of such an association. Consider the results of the math exam.

Fourth graders who did no homework got roughly the same score as those who did 30 minutes a night. Remarkably, the scores then declined for those who did 45 minutes, then declined again for those who did an hour or more! In twelfth grade, the scores were about the same regardless of whether students did only 15 minutes or more than an hour.

In the s, year-olds in a dozen nations were tested and also queried about how much they studied. Again, the results were not the same in all countries, even when the focus was limited to the final years of high school where the contribution of homework is thought to be strongest. Usually it turned out that doing some homework had a stronger relationship with achievement than doing none at all, but doing a little homework was also better than doing a lot.

Again they came up empty handed. Our students get significantly less homework than their counterparts across the globe. Every step of this syllogism is either flawed or simply false. Premise 2 has been debunked by a number of analysts and for a number of different reasons. But in fact there is now empirical evidence, not just logic, to challenge the conclusions.

Two researchers looked at TIMSS data from both and in order to be able to compare practices in 50 countries. When they published their findings in , they could scarcely conceal their surprise:. Not only did we fail to find any positive relationships, [but] the overall correlations between national average student achievement and national averages in the frequency, total amount, and percentage of teachers who used homework in grading are all negative!

If these data can be extrapolated to other subjects — a research topic that warrants immediate study, in our opinion — then countries that try to improve their standing in the world rankings of student achievement by raising the amount of homework might actually be undermining their own success.

More homework may actually undermine national achievement. Incidental research raises further doubts about homework. Reviews of homework studies tend to overlook investigations that are primarily focused on other topics but just happen to look at homework, among several other variables. Here are two examples:. First, a pair of Harvard scientists queried almost 2, students enrolled in college physics courses in order to figure out whether any features of their high school physics courses were now of use to them.

At first they found a very small relationship between the amount of homework that students had had in high school and how well they were currently doing. Once the researchers controlled for other variables, such as the type of courses kids had taken, that relationship disappeared.

The same researchers then embarked on a similar study of a much larger population of students in college science classes — and found the same thing: She then set out to compare their classroom practices to those of a matched group of other teachers.

Are better teachers more apt to question the conventional wisdom in general? More responsive to its negative effects on children and families? This analysis rings true for Steve Phelps, who teaches math at a high school near Cincinnati. But as I mastered the material, homework ceased to be necessary. Lyons has also conducted an informal investigation to gauge the impact of this shift. He gave less and less homework each year before finally eliminating it completely.

And he reports that. Homework is an obvious burden to students, but assigning, collecting, grading, and recording homework creates a tremendous amount of work for me as well. Nor is the Harvard physics study. People who never bought it will not be surprised, of course. Put differently, the research offers no reason to believe that students in high-quality classrooms whose teachers give little or no homework would be at a disadvantage as regards any meaningful kind of learning.

That will be the subject of the following chapter…. Two of the four studies reviewed by Paschal et al. The third found benefits at two of three grade levels, but all of the students in this study who were assigned homework also received parental help. The last study found that students who were given math puzzles unrelated to what was being taught in class did as well as those who got traditional math homework.

There is reason to question whether this technique is really appropriate for a topic like homework, and thus whether the conclusions drawn from it would be valid. Meta-analyses may be useful for combining multiple studies of, say, the efficacy of a blood pressure medication, but not necessarily studies dealing with different aspects of complex human behavior.

Homework contributes to higher achievement, which then, in turn, predisposes those students to spend more time on it. But correlations between the two leave us unable to disentangle the two effects and determine which is stronger. Epstein and Van Voorhis, pp. Also see Walberg et al. In Cooper et al. For a more detailed discussion about and review of research regarding the effects of grades, see Kohn a, b.

That difference shrank in the latest batch of studies Cooper et al. See Kohn b, , which includes analysis and research to support the claims made in the following paragraphs. Nevertheless, Cooper criticizes studies that use only one of these measures and argues in favor of those, like his own, that make use of both see Cooper et al. The studies he reviewed lasted anywhere from two to thirty weeks. Quotation appears on p. If anything, this summary understates the actual findings.

Why this might be true is open to interpretation. The unpublished study by C. For example, see any number of writings by Herbert Walberg.

Until they get to high school, there are no such tests in Japan. As far as I can tell, no data on how NAEP math scores varied by homework completion have been published for nine- and thirteen-year-olds. Department of Education , p. In , fourth graders who reported doing more than an hour of homework a night got exactly same score as those whose teachers assigned no homework at all.

Those in the middle, who said they did minutes a night, got slightly higher scores. For older students, more homework was correlated with higher reading scores U. Specifically, the students taking the test in many of the countries were older, richer, and drawn from a more selective pool than those in the U.

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Does Homework Improve Learning? By Alfie Kohn. You might think that open-minded people who review the evidence should be able to agree on whether homework really does help. Overall, the available homework research defines “beneficial” in terms of achievement, and it defines achievement as better grades or standardized test scores.

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Books like The End of Homework, The Homework Myth, and The Case Against Homework and the film Race to Nowhere make the case that homework, by taking away precious family time and putting kids under unneeded pressure, is an ineffective way to help children become better learners and thinkers.

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Sep 23,  · But opinions cannot tell us whether homework works; only research can, which is why my colleagues and I have conducted a combined analysis of dozens of homework studies to examine whether homework is beneficial and what amount of homework is appropriate for our children. It can help students recognize that . 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.

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Second, even at the high school level, the research supporting homework hasn't been particularly persuasive. There does seem to be a correlation between homework and standardized test scores, but. What research says about the value of homework: Research review. History of the homework debate. Does homework affect student learning? Does homework help or hinder student learning—and which students, under what conditions, does it help or hinder? School board members have long struggled with this question as they strive to .