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Homework

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Some mathematics homework

Homework, or a homework assignment, is a set of tasks assigned to students by their teachers to be completed outside the class. Common homework assignments may include a quantity or period of reading to be performed, writing or typing to be completed, math problems to be solved, material to be reviewed before a test, or other skills to be practiced.

The effect of homework is debated. Generally speaking, homework does not improve academic performance among children and may improve academic skills among older students. It also creates stress for students and their parents and reduces the amount of time that students could spend outdoors, exercising, playing sports, working, sleeping or in other activities.


Purposes

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]

Teachers have many purposes for assigning homework including:[3]

  • practice,
  • preparation,
  • participation
  • personal development,
  • parent–child relations,
  • parent–teacher communications,
  • peer interactions,
  • policy,
  • public relations, and
  • punishment.

Effect

Academic performance

Homework research dates back to the early 1900s. However, no consensus exists on the general effectiveness on homework.[4] Results of homework studies vary based on multiple factors, such as the age group of those studied and the measure of academic performance.[5]

Among teenagers, students who spend somewhat more time on homework generally have higher grades, and somewhat higher test scores than students who spend less time on homework.[6] Very high amounts of homework cause students' academic performance to worsen, even among older students.[6] Students who are assigned homework in middle and high school score somewhat better on standardized tests, but the students who have 60 to 90 minutes of homework a day in middle school or more than 2 hours in high school score worse.[7]

However, younger students who spend more time on homework generally have slightly worse, or the same academic performance than those who spend less time on homework.[6] Homework does not improve academic achievements for grade school students.

Low-achieving students receive more benefit from doing homework than high-achieving students.[8] However, schoolteachers commonly assign less homework to the students who need it most, and more homework to the students who are performing well.[8]

Non-academic

The amount of homework given does not necessarily affect students' attitudes towards homework and various other aspects of school.[5]

Epstein (1988) found a near-zero correlation between the amount of homework and parents' reports on how well their elementary school students behaved. Vazsonyi & Pickering (2003) studied 809 adolescents in American high schools, and found that, using the Normative Deviance Scale as a model for deviance, the correlation was r = .28 for Caucasian students, and r = .24 for African-American students. For all three of the correlations, higher values represent a higher correlation between time spent on homework and poor conduct.[9]

Bempechat (2004) says that homework develops students' motivation and study skills. In a single study, parents and teachers of middle school students believed that homework improved students' study skills and personal responsibility skills.[10] Their students were more likely to have negative perceptions about homework and were less likely to ascribe the development of such skills to homework.[10] Leone & Richards (1989) found that students generally had negative emotions when completing homework and reduced engagement compared to other activities.

Health and daily life

Homework has been identified in numerous studies and articles as a dominant or significant source of stress and anxiety for students.[11] Studies on the relation between homework and health are few compared to studies on academic performance.[12][13]

Cheung & Leung-Ngai (1992) surveyed 1,983 students in Hong Kong, and found that homework led not only to added stress and anxiety, but also physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomachaches. Students in the survey who were ridiculed or punished by parents and peers had a higher incidence of depression symptoms, with 2.2% of students reporting that they "always" had suicidal thoughts, and anxiety was exacerbated by punishments and criticism of students by teachers for both problems with homework as well as forgetting to hand in homework.

A 2007 study of American students by MetLife found that 89% of students felt stressed from homework, with 34% reporting that they "often" or "very often" felt stressed from homework. Stress was especially evident among high school students. Students that reported stress from homework were more likely to be deprived of sleep.[14]

Homework can cause tension and conflict in the home as well as at school, and can reduce students' family and leisure time. In the Cheung & Leung-Ngai (1992) survey, failure to complete homework and low grades where homework was a contributing factor was correlated with greater conflict; some students have reported teachers and parents frequently criticizing their work. In the MetLife study, high school students reported spending more time completing homework than performing home tasks.[15] Kohn (2006) argued that homework can create family conflict and reduce students' quality of life. The authors of Sallee & Rigler (2008), both high school English teachers, reported that their homework disrupted their students' extracurricular activities and responsibilities. However, Kiewra et al. (2009) found that parents were less likely to report homework as a distraction from their children's activities and responsibilities. Galloway, Conner & Pope (2013) recommended further empirical study relating to this aspect due to the difference between student and parent observations.

Time use

Galloway, Conner & Pope (2013) surveyed 4,317 high school students from ten high-performing schools, and found that students reported spending more than 3 hours on homework daily. 72% of the students reported stress from homework, and 82% reported physical symptoms. The students slept an average of 6 hours 48 minutes, lower than the recommendations prescribed by various health agencies.

A study done at the University of Michigan in 2007 concluded that the amount of homework given is increasing. In a sample taken of students between the ages of 6 and 9 years, it was shown that students spend more than 2 hours a week on homework, as opposed to 44 minutes in 1981.[16]

Benefits

Some may argue that homework is beneficial to students. Teachers believe that homework contributes to the enhancement of learning, and development of the skills taught in class. “Assigning homework is a good way for teachers to check whether students understand what’s being taught”. Teachers also believe that “homework helps kids develop good study habits, which they’ll need in high school and college” (Grohnke and Merritt 7).[17] In 2012, the Southern Economic Journal was published, which covers the studies of exam performance based on homework completion. Two professors at Virginia Tech University studied the homework issue, and published the Journal. According to the results of a unique experimental method, it was found that the completion of assigned homework is positively correlated with higher scores on some exams. They claim that homework is given by teachers to help students improve their knowledge on topics taught in class. Along with improving your knowledge, homework also improves your study habits. Their reasoning for the claims is that the homework given by teachers is based on the topics learned in class. Doing that homework will help you learn how to apply what’s being taught in different ways, and help expand your knowledge. The two professors at Virginia Tech University use logical evidence to support their reasons. They use factual evidence based off of the results of their study. “Results of the instrumental variables analysis, as well as results of a variety of other analyses, indicate that the completion of the assigned homework is positively correlated with higher scores on the mid terms” (Trost and Salehi-Isfahani 224-243).[18] There are also statistics included in the journal that support their claim that completing homework improves test performance.

History

Hearing the Homework; Yrjö Ollila

United States

Historically, homework was frowned upon in American culture. With few students interested in higher education, and due to the necessity to complete daily chores, homework was discouraged not only by parents, but also by school districts. In 1901, the California legislature passed an act that effectively abolished homework for those who attended kindergarten through the eighth grade. But, in the 1950s, with increasing pressure on the United States to stay ahead in the Cold War, homework made a resurgence, and children were encouraged to keep up with their Russian counterparts. By the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the consensus in American education was overwhelmingly in favor of issuing homework to students of all grade levels.[19]

United Kingdom

British students get more homework than many other countries in Europe. The weekly average for the subject is 5 hours. The main distinction for UK homework is the social gap, with middle-class teenagers getting a disproportionate amount of homework compared to Asia and Europe.[20]

Spain

In 2012, a report by the OECD showed that Spanish children spend 6.4 hours a week on homework. This prompted the CEAPA, representing 12,000 parent associations to call for a homework strike.[21]

Notes and references

Citations

  1. ^ Synthesis of research on homework. H Cooper - Educational leadership, 1989 - addison.pausd.org
  2. ^ Needlmen, Robert. "Homework: The Rules of the Game". 
  3. ^ Epstein, Joyce L.; Voorhis, Frances L. Van (2001-09-01). "More Than Minutes: Teachers' Roles in Designing Homework". Educational Psychologist. 36 (3): 181–193. doi:10.1207/S15326985EP3603_4. ISSN 0046-1520. 
  4. ^ Trautwein & Köller (2003).
  5. ^ a b Cooper, Robinson & Patall (2006), p. 1.
  6. ^ a b c Cooper, Robinson & Patall (2006), pp. 42–51.
  7. ^ Wallis, Claudia (August 29, 2006). "The Myth About Homework". Time Online. 
  8. ^ a b Coughlan, Sean (2016-09-28). "Is homework worth the hassle?". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-04-21. 
  9. ^ Cooper, Robinson & Patall (2006), p. 47.
  10. ^ a b Xu & Yuan (2003).
  11. ^ Bauwens & Hourcade (1992), Conner & Denise (2009), Hardy (2003), Kouzma & Kennedy (2002), West & Wood (1970), Ystgaard (1997).
  12. ^ Cheung & Leung-Ngai (1992), p. 146.
  13. ^ Galloway & Conner (2013), p. 493.
  14. ^ Markow, Amie & Margot (2007), p. 137.
  15. ^ Markow, Amie & Margot (2007).
  16. ^ Seligman, Katherine (1999-12-19). "Parents: Too much homework". Hearst Communications Inc. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  17. ^ Grohnke, Kennedy, and Jake Merritt. "Do Kids Need Homework?" Scholastic News/ Weekly Reader Edition 5/6, vol. 85, no. 3, 2016, pp. 7.
  18. ^ Trost, Steve, and Pjavad Salehi-Isfahani. “The Effect of Homework on Exam Performance: Experimental Results from Principles of Economics.” Southern Economic Journal, vol. 79, no. 1, 2012, pp. 224-243.
  19. ^ "History of Homework". The San Francisco Chronicle. 1999-12-20. Retrieved 2007-03-24. 
  20. ^ Coughlan, Sean (11 December 2014). "UK families' 'long homework hours'". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2 November 2017. 
  21. ^ Marsh, Sarah (2 November 2016). "Parents in the UK and abroad: do your children get set too much homework?". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 2 November 2017. 

Works

Effectiveness of homework

  • Cooper, Harris; Robinson, Jorgianne C.; Patall, Erika A. (2006). "Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, 1987-2003". Review of Educational Research. 71 (6): 1–62. 
  • Epstein, Joyce L. (1988), "Homework practices, achievements, and behaviors of elementary school students", Center for Research on Elementary and Middle Schools 
  • Trautwein, Ulrich; Köller, Olaf (2003). "The Relationship Between Homework and Achievement—Still Much of a Mystery". Educational Psychology Review. 15 (2): 115–145. doi:10.1023/A:1023460414243. 
  • Vazsonyi, Alexander T.; Pickering, Lloyd E. (2003). "The Importance of Family and School Domains in Adolescent Deviance: African American and Caucasian Youth". Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 32 (2): 115–128. doi:10.1023/A:1021857801554. 

Homework and non-academic effects

Other

Further reading

  • Duke Study: Homework Helps Students Succeed in School, As Long as There Isn't Too Much
  • The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It by Sarah Bennett & Nancy Kalish (2006) Discusses in detail assessments of studies on homework and the authors' own research and assessment of the homework situation in the United States. Has specific recommendations and sample letters to be used in negotiating a reduced homework load for your child.
  • Closing the Book on Homework: Enhancing Public Education and Freeing Family Time by John Buell (2004)
  • The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents by Harris Cooper (2007)
  • The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing by Alfie Kohn (2006)
  • The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning by Etta Kralovec and John Buell (2000)

External links