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Homework effect on grades

The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students’ views on homework.

The basic objectives of assigning homework to students are the same as schooling in general: to increase the knowledge and improve the abilities and skills of the students, [1] to prepare them for upcoming (or complex or difficult) lessons, to extend what they know by having them apply it to new situations, or to integrate their abilities by applying different skills to a single task. Homework also provides an opportunity for parents to participate in their children's education. Homework is designed to reinforce what students have already learned. [2]

I have often joked with my students, while teaching the Progressive Movement and rise of unions between the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, that they should consider striking because of how schools violate child labor laws. If school is each student's "job," then students are working hours usually assigned to Washington, DC lawyers (combing the hours of the school day, school-sponsored activities, and homework). This would certainly be a risky strategy for changing how schools and teachers think about homework, but it certainly would gain attention. (If any of my students are reading this, don't try it!)

Third, when homework is related to test scores, the connection tends to be strongest -- or, actually, least tenuous -- with math. If homework turns out to be unnecessary for students to succeed in that subject, it's probably unnecessary everywhere.

Both the National Education Association (NEA) and the National PTA (NPTA) support a standard of “10 minutes of homework per grade level” and setting a general limit on after-school studying.

Little research specifically addresses whether daily homework is beneficial to children. Snyder (1998) suggests that most elementary students do some homework daily.

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.

Harris Cooper is professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke, where he also directs the university's Program in Education, and is author of "The Battle over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents" (Corwin Press)

Children in these high-achieving schools often spend an average of more than three hours each night doing homework. Denise Pope, senior lecturer at Stanford and co-author of the study, and her team of researchers studied 4,317 students in 10 of these schools in California.

Copyright © 2018 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service

Note: This figure describes the eight major research syntheses on the effects of homework published from 1983 to 2006 that provide the basis for the analysis in this article. The Cooper (1989a) study included more than 100 empirical research reports, and the Cooper, Robinson, and Patall (2006) study included about 50 empirical research reports. Figure 1 reports only those results from experimental/control comparisons for these two studies.

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"American students appear to do as much homework as their peers overseas -- if not more -- but still only score around the international average," said co-researcher Gerald LeTendre.

Several studies have actually found a negative relationship between students’ achievement (or their academic performance as judged by teachers) and how much time they spend on homework (or how much help they receive from their parents).[15]  But researchers who report this counterintuitive finding generally take pains to explain that it “must not be interpreted as a causal pattern.”[16]  What’s really going on here, we’re assured, is just that kids with academic difficulties are taking more time with their homework in order to catch up.

Details about the study
Researchers from the Groningen Institute for Educational Research at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands (a place that holds fond memories for me personally) collected data from a large, nationally representative sample of students in the equivalent of . Grade 7 and above (the base-year sample in this longitudinal data set consisted of 19,391 students drawn from 825 classes). In addition to end-of-year grades for language and mathematics, the researchers had data from students' self-reports on homework behavior and personality (Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability and Autonomy).

According to the report’s author, IU School of Education assistant professor Adam Maltese, "if students are spending more time on homework, they're getting exposed to the types of questions and the procedures for answering questions that are not so different from standardized tests.”

The beginning of a new school year brings with it a reawakening of an old debate regarding the value of homework. Parents who feel their children are overburdened with homework are pitted against educators pressed to improve achievement test scores. According to two recent polls, however, the majority of parents remain satisfied with educators’ homework practices.

The issues of grading and reporting on student learning have perplexed educators for the better part of this century. Yet despite all the debate and the multitude of studies, coming up with prescriptions for best practice seems as challenging today as it was for Middleton and his colleagues more than 60 years ago.

If we do not address this issue of students being put under too much stress, the students of today, who will one day be the leaders of our world, will have both mental and physical illnesses that have never been dealt with at such a high rate, and will be even farther behind the countries, who are paying attention to this rising problem.


Homework effect on grades

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homework effect on grades
homework effect on grades

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