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THE HOMEWORK CONTROVERSY

THE HOMEWORK DILLEMA:

Does homework help or hinder student learning—and which students, under what conditions, does it help or hinder?

WHAT DO THE EXPERTS SAY?:

According to the School Library Journal (2005) -students are receiving higher grades with less outside preparation.

Some researchers (Corno and Xu 2004; Coutts 2004; Xu and Corno 1998), claim that homework helps students develop responsibility, life skills, the ability to manage tasks, experiential learning, increased motivation, opportunities to learn and to cope with difficulties and distractions, and academic benefits.

Alfie Kohan, a critic of homework disagrees. Kohan recently wrote, "There was no consistent linear or curvilinear relation between the amount of time spent on homework and the child's level of academic achievement" (2006, 15).

Cooper (2001) takes a more balanced approach, stating, "Research on the effects of homework suggests that it is beneficial as long as teachers use their knowledge of developmental levels to guide policies and expectations" . Cooper goes on to explain that homework has both positive and negative effects on various aspects of students' lives.

WHAT DO THE EXPERTS SAY?:

  • Statics prove that the attention span of children in the year 2016 has gone significantly lower than what it used to be. Therefore, according to the survey we conducted, 7 hours of schooling is an ample amount of time for kids to be sitting and focusing. 
  • Research suggests that homework may benefit some students under certain conditions. Older students appear to benefit more than younger students, for example. Although the link between parent involvement in homework and student learning is far from clear, students from lower-income households may not have as much support at home as those from more affluent families; as a result, homework may not be a valuable learning experience for them. 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.

MYTHS:

  • Myth 1: Homework increases academic achievement. 
    What researchers say: Cooper (1989a) argues that reviews on the link between homework and achievement often directly contradict one another and are so different in design that the findings of one study cannot be evaluated fairly against the findings of others.
  • Myth 2: Without excessive homework, students’ test scores will not be internationally competitive.
    What researchers say: Information from international assessments shows little relationship between the amount of homework students do and test scores. Students in Japan and Finland, for example, are assigned less homework but still outperform U.S. students on tests (Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development 2004). Other studies find a positive relationship in math, but not in reading (Fuchs et al. 2004).
  • Myth 3: Those who question homework want to weaken curriculum and pander to students' laziness.
  • FAIR GAME:

    Homework also has potentially negative associations, one involving students' economic status. Some have argued that homework can increase the achievement gap between students from affluent and poor families. High-achieving students who have extra resources from home, they say, benefit from homework because they have more opportunities to complete it and often get help with assignments. Low-achieving students from poor families, on the other hand, suffer due to home circumstances caused by economic deprivation. Such circumstances as parents working several jobs, frequent moves, and crowded homes make it difficult to complete homework or any at-home academic learning (Scott-Jones 1984; McDermott, Goldman, and Varenne 1984). Thus, higher income students who are high achieving gain the most from homework when compared to other high-income or high-achieving students, which begs the question of how much lower-income students—and especially low-achieving lower-income students—can benefit from homework.

    WHAT ARE PARENTS SAYING?:

    We conducted a survey on several social media parental groups and discovered a strong consensus against homework. Parents feel the maximum time their children should be spending on homework is no more than 20 minutes. 
    The average school day is from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. After 7 hours of learning, many parents and caregivers mutually believe that after school hours should be spent allowing children to play freely without the stress and anxiety that homework may bring.

    Furthermore, many believe that after school hours should be spent allowing a child to thrive by participating in an activity, sport, lesson that they can excel and are good at. This will help boost the self-esteem of many children who lack confidence based solely on grades.

      Our goal is to help our children feel great about themselves and thrive in the environment they are in.   With every child being so different and unique, it is almost impossible to achieve this goal in a systematic school setting. After school hours are a vital time when children are able to flourish and succeed in activities that they enjoy and are good at. 
    So, is homework beneficial to students? The studies discussed in this review cite both potentially positive and potentially negative effects on students, highlighting the difficulty in forming sound conclusions about the value of homework.


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