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Should Students Have Homework?

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by Suzanne Capek Tingley, Veteran Educator, M.A. Degree

A student stares down a huge stack of homework.

Look before you leap at giving to much or to little homework.

It used to be that students were the only ones complaining about the practice of assigning homework. For years, teachers and parents thought that homework was a necessary tool when educating children. But studies about the effectiveness of homework have been conflicting and inconclusive, leading some adults to argue that homework should become a thing of the past.

What Research Says about Homework

According to Duke professor Harris Cooper, it's important that students have homework. His meta-analysis of homework studies showed a correlation between completing homework and academic success, at least in older grades. He recommends following a "10 minute rule" : students should receive 10 minutes of homework per day in first grade, and 10 additional minutes each subsequent year, so that by twelfth grade they are completing 120 minutes of homework daily.

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But his analysis didn't prove that students did better because they did homework; it simply showed a correlation . This could simply mean that kids who do homework are more committed to doing well in school. Cooper also found that some research showed that homework caused physical and emotional stress, and created negative attitudes about learning. He suggested that more research needed to be done on homework's effect on kids.

Further reading: Get Homework Done and Turned In

Some researchers say that the question isn't whether kids should have homework. It's more about what kind of homework students have and how much. To be effective, homework has to meet students' needs. For example, some middle school teachers have found success with online math homework that's adapted to each student's level of understanding. But when middle school students were assigned more than an hour and a half of homework, their math and science test scores went down .

Researchers at Indiana University discovered that math and science homework may improve standardized test grades, but they found no difference in course grades between students who did homework and those who didn't. These researchers theorize that homework doesn't result in more content mastery, but in greater familiarity with the kinds of questions that appear on standardized tests. According to Professor Adam Maltese, one of the study's authors, "Our results hint that maybe homework is not being used as well as it could be."

So while many teachers and parents support daily homework, it's hard to find strong evidence that the long-held practice produces positive results.

Problems with Homework

In an article in Education Week Teacher , teacher Samantha Hulsman said she's frequently heard parents complain that a 30-minute homework assignment turns into a three-hour battle with their kids. Now, she's facing the same problem with her own kids, which has her rethinking her former beliefs about homework. "I think parents expect their children to have homework nightly, and teachers assign daily homework because it's what we've always done," she explained. Today, Hulsman said, it's more important to know how to collaborate and solve problems than it is to know specific facts.

Child psychologist Kenneth Barish wrote in Psychology Today that battles over homework rarely result in a child's improvement in school . Children who don't do their homework are not lazy, he said, but they may be frustrated, discouraged, or anxious. And for kids with learning disabilities, homework is like "running with a sprained ankle. It's doable, but painful."

Barish suggests that parents and kids have a "homework plan" that limits the time spent on homework. The plan should include turning off all devices—not just the student's, but those belonging to all family members.

One of the best-known critics of homework, Alfie Kohn , says that some people wrongly believe "kids are like vending machines—put in an assignment, get out learning." Kohn points to the lack of evidence that homework is an effective learning tool; in fact, he calls it "the greatest single extinguisher of children's curiosity that we have yet invented."

Homework Bans

Last year, the public schools in Marion County, Florida, decided on a no-homework policy for all of their elementary students . Instead, kids read nightly for 20 minutes. Superintendent Heidi Maier said the decision was based on Cooper's research showing that elementary students gain little from homework, but a lot from reading.

Orchard Elementary School in South Burlington, Vermont, followed the same path, substituting reading for homework. The homework policy has four parts : read nightly, go outside and play, have dinner with your family, and get a good night's sleep. Principal Mark Trifilio says that his staff and parents support the idea.

But while many elementary schools are considering no-homework policies, middle schools and high schools have been reluctant to abandon homework. Schools say parents support homework and teachers know it can be helpful when it is specific and follows certain guidelines. For example, practicing solving word problems can be helpful, but there's no reason to assign 50 problems when 10 will do. Recognizing that not all kids have the time, space, and home support to do homework is important, so it shouldn't be counted as part of a student's grade.

Further reading: Balancing Extracurriculars with Homework in High School

So Should Students Have Homework?

Should you ban homework in your classroom? If you teach lower grades, it's possible. If you teach middle or high school, probably not. But all teachers should think carefully about their homework policies. By limiting the amount of homework and improving the quality of assignments, you can improve learning outcomes for your students.


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Suzanne Capek Tingley

Suzanne Capek Tingley started as a high school English/Spanish teacher, transitioned to middle school, and eventually became a principal, superintendent, and adjunct professor in education administration at the State University of New York. She is the author of the funny, but practical book for teachers, How to Handle Difficult Parents (Prufrock Press). Her work has appeared in many publications including Education Week, and her blog, Practical Leadership, was featured on the Scholastic website. She has been a presenter and consultant, and with Magna Publications she developed videos on demand highlighting successful strategies for classroom teachers. Among her honors is a Woman of Distinction Award from the New York State Senate. She is a strong believer that all kids can learn and that teaching requires art, skill, and a good sense of humor.

We're currently in our 2023 funding drive.  Nearly everything HRP produces is free — your donation ensures that our work sustains itself. We need your help to keep HRP alive! Check out our fundraising page, support us, and receive donor gifts. Let's restore humanity, together.

This is why we should stop giving homework

At Human Restoration Project, one of the core systemic changes we suggest is the elimination of homework. Throughout this piece, I will outline several research studies and reports that demonstrate how the negative impact of homework is so evident that any mandated homework, outside of some minor catching up or for incredibly niche cases, simply does more harm than good.

I’ll summarize four main reasons why homework just flat out doesn’t make sense.

  • Achievement, whether that be measured through standardized tests or general academic knowledge, isn’t correlated to assigning or completing homework.
  • Homework is an inequitable practice that harms certain individuals more than others, to the detriment of those with less resources and to minor, if any, improvement for those with resources.
  • It contributes to negative impacts at home with one’s family, peer relationships, and just general school-life balance, which causes far more problems than homework is meant to solve.
  • And finally, it highlights and exacerbates our obsession with ultra-competitive college admissions and job opportunities, and other detrimental faults of making everything about getting ahead .

Does Homework Make Us Learn More?

Homework is such a ubiquitous part of school that it’s considered radical to even suggest that lessening it could be good teaching. It’s completely normal for families to spend extra hours each night, even on weekends, completing projects, reports, and worksheets. On average, teenagers spend about an hour a day completing homework, which is up 30-45 minutes from decades past. Kindergartners, who are usually saved from completing a lot of after school work, average about 25 minutes of homework a night (which to note, is 25 minutes too much than is recommended by child development experts).

The “10-minute rule”, endorsed by the National Parent Teacher Association and National Education Association, is incorporated into most school policies: there’s 10 minutes of homework per day per grade level – as in 20 minutes a day in second grade or 2 hours a day in 12th grade. 

It’s so normalized that it was odd, when seemingly out of nowhere the President of Ireland recently suggested that homework should be banned . (And many experts were shocked at this suggestion.)

Numerous studies on homework reflect inconsistent results on what it exactly achieves. Homework is rarely shown to have any impact on achievement, whether that be measured through standardized testing or otherwise. As I’ll talk about later, the amount of marginal gains homework may lead to aren’t worth its negative trade-offs.

Let’s look at a quick summary of various studies:

  • ‍ First off, the book National Differences, Global Similarities: World Culture and the Future of Schooling by David P. Baker and Gerald K. LeTendre draws on a 4 year investigation of schools in 47 countries. It’s the largest study of its type: looking at how schools operate, their pedagogy, their procedures, and the like. They made a shocking discovery: countries that assigned the least amount of homework: Denmark and the Czech Republic, had much higher test scores than those who assigned the most amount of homework: Iran and Thailand. The same work indicated that there was no correlation between academic achievement and homework with elementary students, and any moderate positive correlation in middle or high school diminished as more and more homework was assigned. ‍
  • A study in Contemporary Educational Psychology of 28,051 high school seniors concluded that quality of instruction, motivation, and ability are all correlated to a student’s academic success. However, homework’s effectiveness was marginal or perhaps even counterproductive: leading to more academic problems than it hoped to solve. ‍
  • The Teachers College Record published that homework added academic pressure and societal stress to those already experiencing pressures from other forces at home. This caused a further divide in academic performance from those with more privileged backgrounds. We’ll talk about this more later. ‍
  • A study in the Journal of Educational Psychology examined 2,342 student attitudes toward homework in foreign language classes. They found that time spent on homework had a significant negative impact on grades and standardized test scores. The researchers concluded that this may be because participants had to spend their time completing worksheets rather than spend time practicing skills on their own time.
  • Some studies are more positive. In fact, a meta-analysis of 32 homework studies in the Review of Educational Research found that most studies indicated a positive correlation between achievement and doing homework. However, the researchers noted that generally these studies made it hard to draw causal conclusions due to how they were set up and conducted. There was so much variance that it was difficult to make a claim one way or another, even though the net result seemed positive. This often cited report led by Dr. Harris Cooper at Duke University is the most commonly used by proponents of the practice. But popular education critic Alfie Kohn believes that this study fails to establish, ironically, causation among other factors. ‍
  • And that said in a later published study in The High School Journal , researchers concluded that in all homework assigned, there were only modest linkages to improved math and science standardized test scores, with no difference in other subjects between those who were assigned homework and those who were not. None of the homework assigned had any bearing on grades. The only difference was for a few points on those particular subject’s standardized test scores.

All in all, the data is relatively inconclusive. Some educational experts suggest that there should be hours of homework in high school, some homework in middle school, and none in elementary school. Some call for the 10-minute rule. Others say that homework doesn’t work at all. It’s still fairly unstudied how achievement is impacted as a result of homework. But as Alfie Kohn says , “The better the research, the less likely one is to find any benefits from homework.” That said, when we couple this data with the other negative impacts of assigning homework: how it impacts those at the margins, leads to anxiety and stress, and takes away from important family time – it really makes us question why this is such a ubiquitous practice. 

Or as Etta Kralovec and John Buell write in The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning,

‘Extensive classroom research of ‘time on task’ and international comparisons of year-round time for study suggest that additional homework might promote U.S. students’ achievement.’  This written statement by some of the top professionals in the field of homework research raises some difficult questions. More homework might promote student achievement? Are all our blood, sweat, and tears at the kitchen table over homework based on something that merely might be true? Our belief in the value of homework is akin to faith. We assume that it fosters a love of learning, better study habits, improved attitudes toward school, and greater self-discipline; we believe that better teachers assign more homework and that one sign of a good school is a good, enforced homework policy.

Our obsession with homework is likely rooted in select studies that imply it leads to higher test scores. The authors continue by deciphering this phenomena:

“[this is] a problem that routinely bedevils all the sciences: the relationship between correlation and causality. If A and B happen simultaneously, we do not know whether A causes B or B causes A, or whether both phenomena occur casually together or are individually determined by another set of variables…Thus far, most studies in this area have amounted to little more than crude correlations that cannot justify the sweeping conclusions some have derived from them.”

Alfie Kohn adds that even the correlation between achievement and homework doesn’t really matter. Saying,

“If all you want is to cram kids’ heads with facts for tomorrow’s tests that they’re going to forget by next week, yeah, if you give them more time and make them do the cramming at night, that could raise the scores…But if you’re interested in kids who know how to think or enjoy learning, then homework isn’t merely ineffective, but counterproductive… The practice of homework assumes that only academic growth matters, to the point that having kids work on that most of the school day isn’t enough…”

Ramping Up Inequity

Many justify the practice of assigning homework with the well-intentioned belief that we’ll make a more equitable society through high standards. However, it seems to be that these practices actually add to inequity. “Rigorous” private and preparatory schools – whether they be “no excuses” charters in marginalized communities or “college ready” elite suburban institutions, are notorious for extreme levels of homework assignment. Yet, many progressive schools who focus on holistic learning and self-actualization assign no homework and achieve the same levels of college and career success.

Perhaps this is because the largest predictor of college success has nothing to do with rigorous preparation, and everything to do with family income levels. 77% of students from high income families graduated from a highly competitive college, whereas 9% of students from low income families did the same .

It seems like by loading students up with mountains of homework each night in an attempt to get them into these colleges, we actually make their chances of success worse .

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When assigning homework, it is common practice to recommend that families provide a quiet, well-lit place for the child to study. After all, it’s often difficult to complete assignments after a long day. Having this space, time, and energy must always be considered in the context of the family’s education, income, available time, and job security. For many people, jobs have become less secure and less well paid over the course of the last two decades.

In a United States context, we work the longest hours of any nation . Individuals in 2006 worked 11 hours longer than their counterparts in 1979. In 2020, 70% of children lived in households where both parents work. We are the only country in the industrial world without guaranteed family leave. And the results are staggering: 90% of women and 95% of men report work-family conflict . According to the Center for American Progress , “the United States today has the most family-hostile public policy in the developed world due to a long-standing political impasse.”

As a result, parents have much less time to connect with their children. This is not a call to a return to traditional family roles or to have stay-at-home parents – rather, our occupation-oriented society is structured inadequately which causes problems with how homework is meant to function. 

For those who work in entry level positions, such as customer service and cashiers, there is an average 240% turnover per year due to lack of pay, poor conditions, work-life balance, and mismanagement. Family incomes continue to decline for lower- and middle-class Americans, leaving more families to work increased hours or multiple jobs. In other words, families, especially poor families, have less opportunities to spend time with their children, let alone foster academic “gains” via homework.

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Even for students with ample resources who attend “elite schools”, the amount of homework is stressful. In a 2013 study in The Journal of Experiential Education, researchers conducted a survey of 4,317 students in 10 high-performing upper middle class high schools. These students had an average of more than 3 hours of homework a night. In comparison to their peers, they had more academic stress, notable physical health problems, and spent a worrying amount of time focused entirely on school and nothing else. Competitive advantage came at the cost of well-being and just being a kid.

A similar study in Frontiers of Psychology found that students pressured in the competitive college admissions process , who attended schools assigning hours of homework each night and promoting college-level courses and resume building extracurriculars, felt extreme stress. Two-thirds of the surveyed students reported turning to alcohol and drugs to cope.

In fact, a paper published by Dr. Suniya Luthar and her colleagues concluded that upper middle-class youth are actually more likely to be troubled than their middle class peers . There is an extreme problem with academic stress, where young people are engaging in a rat race toward the best possible educational future as determined by Ivy League colleges and scholarships. To add fuel to the fire, schools continue to add more and more homework to have students get ahead – which has a massively negative impact on both ends of the economic spectrum.

A 2012 study by Dr. Jonathan Daw indicated that their results,

“...imply that increases in the amount of homework assigned may increase the socioeconomic achievement gap in math, science, and reading in secondary school.”

In an effort to increase engagement with homework, teachers have been encouraged to create interesting, creative assignments. In fact, most researchers seem to agree that the quality of assignments matters a whole lot . After all, maybe assigning all of this homework won’t matter as long as it’s interesting and relevant to students? Although this has good intentions, rigorous homework with increased complexity places more impetus on parents. As researcher and author Gary Natrillo, an initial proponent of creative homework , stated later:

…not only was homework being assigned as suggested by all the ‘experts,’ but the teacher was obviously taking the homework seriously, making it challenging instead of routine and checking it each day and giving feedback. We were enveloped by the nightmare of near total implementation of the reform recommendations pertaining to homework…More creative homework tasks are a mixed blessing on the receiving end. On the one hand, they, of course, lead to higher engagement and interest for children and their parents. On the other hand, they require one to be well rested, a special condition of mind not often available to working parents…

Time is a luxury to most people. With increased working hours, in conjunction with extreme levels of stress, many people don’t have the necessary mindset to adequately supply children with the attention to detail for complex homework. As Kralovec and Buell state,

To put it plainly, I have discovered that after a day at work, the commute home, dinner preparations, and the prospect of baths, goodnight stories, and my own work ahead, there comes a time beyond which I cannot sustain my enthusiasm for the math brain teaser or the creative story task.

Americans are some of the most stressed people in the world. Mass shootings, health care affordability, discrimination, racism, sexual harassment, climate change, the presidential elections, and literally: staying informed on current events have caused roughly 70% of people to report moderate or extreme stress , with increased rates for people of color, LGBTQIA Americans, and other discriminated groups. 90% of high schoolers and college students report moderate or higher stress, with half reporting depression and a lack of energy and motivation .

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In 2015, 1,100 parents were surveyed on the impact of homework on family life. Fights over homework were 200% more likely in families where parents didn’t have a college degree. Generally, these families believed that if their children didn’t understand a homework assignment then they must have been not paying attention at school. This led to young people feeling dumb or upset, and parents feeling like their child was lying or goofing off. The lead researcher noted, 

All of our results indicate that homework as it is now being assigned discriminates against children whose parents don’t have a college degree, against parents who have English as a second language, against, essentially, parents who are poor.

Schooling is so integrated into family life that a group of researchers noted that “...homework tended to recreate the problems of school, such as status degradation.” An online survey of over 2,000 students and families found that 90% of students reported additional stress from homework, and 40% of families saw it as nothing more than busy work. Authors Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish wrote the aptly titled The Case Against Homework which conducted interviews across the mid-2000s with families and children, citing just how many people are burdened with overscheduling homework featuring over-the-top assignments and constant work. One parent remarked,

I sit on Amy's bed until 11 p.m. quizzing her, knowing she's never going to use this later, and it feels like abuse," says Nina of Menlo Park, California, whose eleven-year-old goes to a Blue Ribbon public school and does at least three-and-a-half hours of homework each night. Nina also questions the amount of time spent on "creative" projects. "Amy had to visit the Mission in San Francisco and then make a model of it out of cardboard, penne pasta, and paint. But what was she supposed to be learning from this? All my daughter will remember is how tense we were in the garage making this thing. Then when she handed it in, the teacher dropped it and all the penne pasta flew off." These days, says Nina, "Amy's attitude about school has really soured." Nina's has, too. "Everything is an emergency and you feel like you're always at battle stations."

1/3rd of the families interviewed felt “crushed by the workload.” It didn’t matter if they lived in rural or suburban areas, or if they were rich or poor.

Learning this way is also simply ineffective because well, that’s just not how kids learn! Young people build upon prior knowledge. They use what they know to make what they’re currently doing easier. Adding more and more content to a student’s plate – having to connect the dots and build upon more information – especially with the distractions of home life is unrealistic. Plus, simply put…it’s just not fun! Why would I want to spend all of my free time on homework rather than hanging out with my friends or playing video games?

Even with all that said – if other countries demonstrate educational success on standardized testing with little to no assigned homework and limited school hours (nevermind the fact that this is measured through the questionable method of standardized testing), shouldn’t we take a step back and analyze the system as a whole, rather than figure out better homework policies? If other countries do this with limited to no homework , why can’t everyone else?

Investigating Systemic Problems

Perhaps the solution to academic achievement in America isn’t doubling down on increasing the work students do at home, but solving the underlying systemic inequities: the economic and discriminatory problems that plague our society. Yes, the United States tends to fall behind other countries on math and reading scores. Many countries impose increased workloads on students because they are afraid that they will fall behind economically with the standard of living to the rest of the world. But perhaps the problem with education doesn’t lie in not having enough “rigorous” methods, but with how easy it is for a family to simply live and be content.

Finland, frequently cited as a model education system which grew to prominence during the 2000s through popular scholars like Pasi Sahlberg, enjoys some of the highest standards of living in the world:

  • Finland’s life expectancy is 81.8 years, compared to the US’ 78.7 years . Unlike Finland, there’s a notable difference between the richest and poorest Americans . The richest Americans are expected to live, on average, nearly 15 years longer than the poorest. Further, America’s life expectancy is declining, the only industrialized country with this statistic .
  • Finland’s health care is rated best in the world and only spends $3,078 per capita, compared to $8,047 in the US.
  • Finland has virtually no homelessness , compared to the 500,000 (and growing) homeless population in the United States .
  • Finland has the lowest inequality levels in the EU , compared to the United States with one of the highest inequality levels in the world . Research has demonstrated that countries with lower inequality levels are happier and healthier .

These statistics reflect that potentially — instead of investing hundreds of millions of dollars in initiatives to increase national test scores , such as homework strategies, curriculum changes, and nationwide “raising the bar” initiatives — that we should invest in programs that improve our standard of living, such as universal healthcare and housing. The solution to test scores is rooted in solving underlying inequities in our societies — shining a light on our core issues — rather than making teachers solve all of our community’s problems.

This doesn’t mean that there’s no space for improving pedagogy, schooling, or curriculums, but at the end of the day the solution cannot solely be by improving education.

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‍ Creating Future Workers

Education often equates learning with work. As a teacher, I had to stop myself from behaving like an economics analyst: telling students to quit “wasting time”, stating that the purpose of the lesson is useful for securing a high salary career, seeing everything as prep for college and career (and college’s purpose as just for more earnings in a career), and making blanket assumptions that those who aren’t motivated will ultimately never contribute to society, taking on “low levels” of work that “aren’t as important” as other positions.

A common argument exists that the pressure of homework mirrors the real world – that we should assign homework because that’s “just the way things are.” If we want kids to succeed in the “real world”, they need to have this pressure.

But this mentality is unhealthy and unjust. The purpose of education should be to develop purpose. People live happier and healthier lives as a result of pursuing and developing a core purpose. Some people’s purpose is related to their line of work, but there is not necessarily a connection. However, the primary goal for education stated by districts, states, and the national government is to make “productive members of society” – those who are “prepared for the future” through “college and career readiness.” When we double down on economic principles, rather than look to developmental psychology and holistic care, to raise young people, it’s no wonder we’re seeing such horrific statistics related to childhood .

Further, the consistent pressure to solely learn for future economic gain raises generations of young people to believe that wealth is a measurement of success, and that specific lines of work create happiness. Teachers and parents are told to make their children “work hard” for future success and develop “grit.” Although grit is an important indicator of overcoming obstacles , it is not developed by enforcing grit through authoritarian classrooms or meaningless, long tasks like homework. In fact, an argument could be made that many Americans accept their dramatically poor work-life balance and lack of access to needs such as affordable health care by being brought up in a society that rewards tasks of “working through it” to “eventually achieve happiness.”

Many families have shifted from having children participate in common household chores and activities to have them exclusively focus on their school work. Americans have more difficulty than ever raising children, with increasing demands of time and rising childcare costs . When teachers provide more and more homework, they take away from the parents’ ability to structure their household according to their needs. In fact, children with chores show completely positive universal growth across the board , from time management skills to responsibility to managing a healthy work-life balance. 

Of course, this is not to say that it is all the teacher’s fault. Educators face immense pressure to carry out governmental/school policies that place test scores at the forefront. Plus, most families had homework themselves – so continuing the practice only makes sense. Many of these policies require homework, and an educator’s employment is centered on enacting these changes. Barbara Stengel , an education professor, noted that the reason why so much homework isn’t necessarily interesting or applicable to a student’s lived experience is because “some of the people who would really have pushed the limits of that are no longer in teaching.” The constant pressure on teachers to raise test scores while simultaneously being overworked and underpaid is making many leave the profession. Etta Kralovec and John Buell add:

As more academic demands are placed on teachers, homework can help lengthen the school day and thus ensure ‘coverage’ — that is, the completion of the full curriculum that each teacher is supposed to cover during the school year…This in itself places pressure on teachers to create meaningful homework and often to assign large amounts of it so that the students’ parents will think the teacher is rigorous and the school has high academic standards. Extensive homework is frequently linked in our minds to high standards.

Therefore, there’s a connection to be made between the school- or work-life balance of children and the people who are tasked with teaching them. 8% of the teacher workforce leaves every year , with one of the primary reasons being poor work-life balance . Perhaps teachers see an increased desire to “work” students in their class and at home due to the pressures they face in their own occupation?

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The more we equate work with learning, and the more we accept that a school’s primary purpose is to prepare workers, the less we actually succeed at promoting academics. Instead, we bolster the neoliberal tendencies of the United States (and others like it) to work hard, yet comparably to other countries’ lifestyle gains, achieve little.

This is why so many families demand that their children have ample amounts of homework. In fact, the majority of parents believe their students have just the right amount. They’re afraid that their kids are going to fall behind, doomed to a life within an increasingly hostile and inequitable society. They want the best for their children, and taking the risk of not assigning homework means that someone else may take that top slot. The same could be said for many parts of the “tracks toward college and career readiness” that professor William Deresiewicz refers to as “zombication” – lurching through each stage of the rat race in competitive admissions: a lot of assignments, difficult courses, sports, clubs, forced volunteerism, internships, and other things to pack our schedules.

The United States must examine the underlying inequities of peoples’ lives, rather than focus on increasing schools’ workloads and lessening children’s free time for mythical academic gains that lead to little change. Teacher preparation programs and popular authors need to stop promoting “interesting and fun ways to teach ‘x’!” and propose systemic changes that radically change the way education is done, including systemic changes to society at large. Only then will the United States actually see improved livelihoods and a better education system for all.

And what could be done instead? Much of the research and writing on homework tends to conclude that we should find a “happy middle ground” to continue the practice of homework, just in case it does indeed work. However, based on the decades of studies we have on this issue…I’m not really sure. It seems the best practice, by far, is to eliminate homework altogether outside of incredibly niche and rare scenarios. If a student asks for more things to do at home because they want to explore something that interests them, great! But that doesn’t need to be mandated homework.

Human Restoration Project believes that the four recommendations of the late educator and scholar Ken Robinson allows young people to learn for themselves and make the most of their lives:

  • Let children spend time with their families. The single strongest predictor of academic success and fewer behavioral problems for a child, 3-12 years old, is eating as a family. Make planned time during the day to catch up with children, talking to them about what they’re learning, and encouraging them to achieve.
  • Give children time to play outside or create something, preferably not always with a screen. Let them dive into their passions and plan a trip to a library, park, or museum. Explore free online resources to discover new skills and interests.
  • Give children opportunities to read by themselves or with their family. One of the best ways to learn about the world is developing a lifelong love of reading. Children who prioritize reading are more motivated to learn and see drastically improved academic outcomes.
  • Let children sleep! Elementary students should sleep at least 10 hours each night and adolescents, 9 hours. Being awake and ready to tackle each day keeps us energized and healthy.

If you’re interested in learning more, see The Case Against Homework by Nancy Kalish and Sara Bennett, The Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn, The End of Homework by Etta Kralovec and John Muelle, or one of the many citations linked in the show notes.

You can also watch a modified video version of this piece on our YouTube channel:

Anderson, J. (2019, December 3). Finland has the most efficient education system in the world. Quartz .

APA. (2019a). Stress in America .

APA. (2019b). Stress in America TM 2019: Interactive Graphics .

Baker, D., & LeTendre, G. K. (2005). National differences, global similarities: World culture and the future of schooling . Stanford University Press.

Balingit, M. (2022, September 13). Wanted: Teachers. No training necessary. The Washington Post .

Bennett, S., & Kalish, N. (2007). The Case Against Homework: How homework is hurting children and what parents can do about it . Harmony.

Byrnes, H. (2019a, April 11). U.S. leads among countries that spend the most on public health care. WLST .

CDC. (2022, June 3). Data and statistics on children’s mental health . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chang, C. B., Wall, D., Tare, M., Golonka, E., & Vatz, K. (2014). Relationships of attitudes toward homework and time spent on homework to course outcomes: The case of foreign language learning. Journal of Educational Psychology , 106 (4), 1049–1065.

Chetty, R., Stepner, M., Abraham, S., Lin, S., Scuderi, B., Turner, N., Bergeron, A., & Cutler, D. (2016). The Association Between Income and Life Expectancy in the United States, 2001–2014: Association Between Income and Life Expectancy in the United States. JAMA , 315 (16).

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I've read a lot about it being called a zero-sum game, right? This idea that we cannot both win. It's just not possible. I'm like, who said? There are all kinds of games and activities you play where you think someone has to lose, and then you realize, did you have to? The sharing of the orange. You all have seen these activities, but wow. I don't want to talk about where it came from, but I am curious. It's so ingrained in this country, and probably other countries, but I don't know.

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Delving into the Perspectives of Teachers in No Homework Policy: A Qualitative Investigation


International Journal of Research Publications

Free Related PDFs

2021, Sapienza: International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

This qualitative-phenomenological study was initiated to explore and understand the lived experiences and different perceptions of parents on no-homework policy in Nangan Elementary School, Nangan, Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental. Subsequently, this qualitative exploration hoped to draw out conclusions on the perceptions of the parents. The data source in this study derived from seven (7) research participants for the in-depth interview and another seven (7) parents for the focus group discussion. The research participants of this study were the selected Grade Five to Grade Six parents in Nangan Elementary School who were usually having many assignments compared to lower grade levels. The following themes emerged from analysis based in the perspectives of participant interviews: no-homework policy can be optional; no-homework policy is unfavorable and unhelpful to students; no-homework policy causes students to become irresponsible; and no-homework policy causes less learning amon...

Unveiling the parents’ perceptions on no-homework policy in Nangan Elementary School

Jasmine Pangarungan

Indonesian Journal of Educational Research and Technology

The purpose of our study is to understand the attitude of the university students and teachers on the proposed ‘No Homework Policy” bill and how it could impact their studies and personal lives. The main objective was focused on (1) understanding the impact of the “No Homework Policy” bill to the students and teachers if the said policy bill will be implemented, (2) knowing the struggles of the students and teachers when it comes to homework, and (3) finding out the possible solution that could be implemented to lessen the struggles of both students and teachers regarding homework. A phenomenological design was used as an approach to conduct this study. Based on the results, most of the students are in favor of the said proposed bill. However, some teachers are against or undecided about it. The results also showed that the said proposed bill could affect both students and teachers in a positive and also a negative way. This study does not only help the student to realize how homewo...

Attitude of Sultan Kudarat State University Laboratory High School Students and Teachers on Proposed “No Homework Policy” Bill

Vahit Ağa Yıldız

The study aimed to scrutinize the viewpoints of primary school teachers, students, and parents about homework in various parameters such as types, frequency, subject and functions of homework. In the study, the case study design based on the qualitative research method, was utilized. The participants comprised 32 teachers, 36 fourth-grade students and 28 parents from different primary schools in Erzurum, in the east of Turkey. The data were collected via semi-structured interview forms, and were processed using the content analysis method. The findings of the study released that although all participant students, most teachers and parents said homework increased the academic success, a closer look in to their responses to different interview questions illustrated that all of the participant groups also had some negative opinions about the homework in primary schools. The students reported that the most homework covered problem-solving tasks, and the least was practice with musical i...

An Investigation on the Viewpoints of Students, Teachers, and Parents About Homework in Primary Schools

Naglaa Hassaan

School teachers' perspectives on homework: a comparative study

The selection of the respondents was done based from the title, and it is also based from the standards of purposive sampling technique that was used by the researchers. The utility of the survey questionnaire was systematically followed for data collection, evaluation, and analysis. Most of the respondents had the verbal interpretation of Agree to the no homework policy in mathematics, for the statements that these no homework policy in mathematics could help students to have time to rest, etc. . The respondents, grade ten learners had the verbal interpretation of Agree from the no homework policy in mathematics to have more free time to rest. To have more time to do household chores. To have more time to do outdoor activities. To have more time to bond with family, friends. And the most important is, to have more time in studying. On the other hand, the respondents, grade ten learners were agreed from the negative effects of no homework policy. . The respondents had the verbal interpretation of Agree from the negative effect of no homework policy that could make us tardy, could make us addicted to online games, and could bring lack of time management or difficulty in time management. There will be slow learning, and there will be no more source of knowledge were interpreted by the respondents as Neutral. There is a significance difference between the Student’s Assessment on No Homework Policy in Mathematics of Grade Ten Learners of SJCR and their profile in terms of previous Grade in Math. To the students. Make ourselves active in class by participating and letting ourselves in one room during class in Mathematics. Focus and invest interest from learning Mathematics. Use the time properly. List down all the requirements and its deadlines. And the most important is to make a time to rest, physically and mentally. To the parents. This study will help all of you to determine and to be fully aware to the problems and Student’s Assessment on the No Homework Policy in mathematics. Likewise, to know what should be the right way to do for their children that will lead to a proper use of time for their families and as well to the studies of their children. To the future researchers. The success of this research study is not just the researcher’s success, but also the future researcher’s as well. By the used 8 of the research paper as the reference for the study of the future researchers, it is also not just the researcher’s glory but also the St. Joseph’s College of Rodriguez School, the school administrators, teachers, school personnel, and school staff’s pride. If the future researchers would use the study to help them in their future endeavors’, this may create a way of growth, development and enhancement among generations of youth. Moreover, they are free to do various enrichment and modification to gain further knowledge. Nevertheless, the researchers are assured that the research paper would be a great help for the future researchers that would have the chance to continue this study

Students Assessment on No Homework Policy in Mathematics among Grade Ten Learners of SJCR20191031 13840 1p62wr6

Shumaila Hameed

Teachers' opinions regarding the effectiveness of homework and their intentions towards homework assignments at the secondary school level

Gladys Landing-Corretjer

Most of the research conducted about homework is based on adults' perspectives. This case study explored the perspectives of 5th and 6th grade students in comparison with 10 teachers' perceptions about homework. The author administered questionnaires and conducted in depth interviews using a stratified purposive sample and extreme case sampling; which educed the participants' perceptions and practices about homework. The students' represented 4 distinct groups: English Language Learners, general education, gifted and talented and special education. The teachers' instruct 5th and 6th grade. The results of the study indicate that students do not complete their homework because they find it too hard, boring, or they do not understand it. Interestingly, students think that worksheets are hard and boring. However, they are not against homework! This book should benefit teachers, parents, school administrators and staff developers. It would also help develop homework p...

Listen to Me! an Exploration of the Students Voices Regarding Homework


2010, Thoidis, I. & Chaniotakis, N. (2010). Homework in Elementary School: Prac-tices and Perceptions of Teachers and Students. Proceedings of ICERI 2010 Conference. 15th-17th November 2010, Madrid, Spain (3677-368

By reviewing the literature about homework we come to realize that homework is very often the epicentre of interest in education science and educational policy, while also drawing attention of the mass media. This situation has led to the division of two “camps”: on the one side are those who believe in the value and importance of homework, while on the other, there are those who reject homework and propose its integration in everyday schoolwork. In this study we investigated the conditions under which elementary school teachers assign and appraise the homework of their students. We also tried to find the reasons and the consequences that (could) explain and influ-ence the attitude and practices of teachers and students in this field. Moving in this direction we used on the one side, the method of observation in the school classroom and on the other side we used the method of interviewing the pupils and handing out questionnaires to teachers, so that we could form a more complete picture. The obser-vation was conducted in 52 classrooms of elementary schools in Greece (in a total of 104 teaching hours) and the interviews took place with 260 pupils, while the ques-tionnaires were answered by all of the teachers of these classrooms. We conclude that the practices of teachers concerning homework are not in accordance with the modern pedagogic opinion and are rather moved in accordance to a traditional picture. The findings of this study do not differ a lot from other research on an international level and the problems seem common.

Homework in Elementary School: Practices and Perceptions of Teachers and Students

Curriculum Department

2018, South African Journal of Education

Homework policy review: A case study of a public school in the Western Cape Province

Robert Marzano

Homework has been a perennial topic of debate in education, and attitudes toward it have been cyclical (Gill & Schlossman, 2000). Throughout the first few decades of the 20th century, educators commonly believed that homework helped create disciplined minds. By 1940, growing concern that homework interfered with other home activities sparked a reaction against it. This trend was reversed in the late 1950s when the Soviets' launch of Sputnik led to concern that U.S. education lacked rigor; schools viewed more rigorous homework as a partial solution to the problem. By 1980, the trend had reversed again, with some learning theorists claiming that homework could be detrimental to students' mental health. Since then, impassioned arguments for and against homework have continued to proliferate.

Special Topic / The Case For and Against Homework Teachers should not abandon homework. Instead, they should improve its instructional quality


Students Assessment on No Homework Policy in Mathematics among Grade Ten Learners of SJCR20191031 115412 1tuhd12

Horatiu Catalano

2018, LUMEN Proceedings

Quantitative Study on the Usefulness of Homework in Primary EducatioN

Research on students\u27 voices and perspectives regarding homework is absent from the literature. This qualitative case study explored the perspectives of 5th and 6th grade students and ten teachers\u27 perceptions regarding homework completion. The literature review revealed 3 trends in homework, including support homework, support against homework, and homework reform. However, most of this research considers the adults\u27 perspective. The researcher administered 46 questionnaires and conducted 12 in depth interviews using a stratified purposive sample and extreme case sampling. The questionnaires and interviews educed the participants\u27 perceptions and practices regarding homework. The students represented 4 distinct groups: English language learners, general education, gifted and talented, and special education. The teachers instruct 5th and 6th grade. The researcher analyzed the data using critical pedagogy framework, constant comparison method and a transcript based analys...

Listen to me! An exploration of the students\u27 voices regarding homework

Sarol St Xavier


Athanasios Gregoriadis

The effectiveness of homework is influenced by a variety of factors, but it is also correlated with the importance the teachers attribute to them (Appel & Rutz, 1998). Most teachers prepare and assign homework to students, because they consider them to be necessary to improve students' performance, to enhance the development of positive aspects of the students' character and to encourage the development of future skills that are essential for a successful academic trajectory, such as effective time management, responsibility and consistency (Brock, Lapp, Flood, Fisher & Tao Han, 2007. Cooper & Valentine , 2001). Additional reasons that drive teachers to assign homework at home, are their traditional perceptions about homework, the tendency that teachers have to respond to parents' wishes and demands, the saving of time that occurs when teachers transfer a part of the school work and learning to the children's homes and the easier preparation of the next teaching unit

Teachers' perceptions about homework in full-day school

Harris Cooper

1994, Research/Practice

Homework research and policy: A review of the literature

Dr Shawana Fazal

This qualitative study explored the parents’ perceptions and involvement in homework for secondary school students. The study also explored parents’ challenges and suggestions in completing homework as an engaging activity. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 parents selected through a purposive sampling technique. Thematic analysis was used to draw themes and sub-themes from qualitative data. The findings revealed that parents of secondary school students believed that homework is an activity that supports the learning process of their children. They considered homework the responsibility of the school and teachers. The challenges were that homework was an overloaded activity that teachers and schools did not support. These findings led to some important implications for the study. It is important to involve parents in devising homework policies and providing training to support their children in homework completion. The study also suggested developing a nation-wide ...

Homework as an Assignment: Parents’ Perceptions and Involvement

nitza davidovitch

2017, International Education Studies

The current study seeks to examine the perception of the three main populations that have a part in the educational and pedagogic domain: teachers, parents, and elementary school students, while comparing between religious and secular schools. The major hypothesis of the study is that teachers, parents, and students do not have congruent views on the aims and effectiveness of homework. Another hypothesis was that differences would be found between parents’ views of homework by religiosity. In addition, a negative association will be found between the teacher’s years on the job and attitude towards homework assignment–such that the more years of experience the more negative their attitudes towards homework assignment. Finally, differences will be found in the respondents’ views on homework assignment by the school’s geographic location. The research findings show that the first hypothesis was partially confirmed. Teachers are the most positive about homework, followed by students and...

Views of Students, Parents, and Teachers on Homework in Elementary School

Douglas Kauffman

What Parents, Researchers, and the Popular Press Have to Say About Homework

Mehmet Özenç

2020, International Online Journal of Education and Teaching

What Do the Primary School Teachers Think about Homework? A Phenomenological Study

Dr. Anila Fatima Shakil

Volume V Issue I

Homework is the means by which the relationship between home and school is demonstrated and developed, leading to more consistent progress in all aspects of school life. The current research was carried out in Gilgit Baltistan to find out the impact of homework on the academic performance of students at secondary level. The research was observed by teachers of Gilgit Baltistan public schools while 100 teachers were chosen by a random sampling technique as a sample. Questionnaires were as a research instrument. The study found that homework impacts learning for learners, its impact differs with the age of students, and it plays an important role in student achievement. The study proposed that homework should be purposeful, i.e. it should include the introduction of new content, the practise of skills, the creation of any data and the ability for students to explore topics of their own interest.

Impact of Homework on the Student Academic Performance at Secondary School Level

2016, School Community Journal

IntroductionIt is generally accepted that student homework has the potential to extend the learning process commenced in the classroom by providing opportunities for practicing skills, increasing learning-task involvement, as well fostering selfdiscipline and responsibility (Epstein, 1988). Given its significance, there has been discussion in various education systems around the world with regard to appropriate homework load, assignment type, and purposes (Cooper, 2001; Eren & Henderson, 2011; Kralovec & Buell, 2000). Homework assigned to students at elementary or primary school levels is particularly worthy of attention so as to optimize the use of these young children's limited cognitive and physical capacity in managing take-home assignments. As teachers play a crucial role in homework design and implementation, there is a need to understand their views and thinking so as to prepare new educators for these important tasks.It is the focus of this study to examine the homework ...

What Is Homework For? Hong Kong Primary School Teachers' Homework Conceptions

Sharath Kumar C R

2023, International Journal of Enhanced Research in Educational Development

Continuous comprehensive evaluation has become a boon to students in many ways as it has provided them with various opportunities for overall development of students. The student's attitude towards homework yield substantial incremental validity in predicting academic performance in terms of continuous comprehensive evaluation. Homework is the work assigned for students by the concerned teacher where the child study the concept well and then able to complete the assigned work. This helps the students to understand the concept better which in turn develops confidence and hence motivated towards a subject. It increases the level of knowledge and improves overall abilities of students. The present study was conducted to know the student's attitude towards homework among secondary level. Samples of 800 students were selected from Mysuru district including SBSE and ICSE board students of 400 each. After all the data analysis and interpretation it is found that 37.5% of the students show average favorable attitude towards homework whereas 15% of the students are having highly favorable and 0% of the students is found to have highly unfavorable attitude towards homework.

A Study on Attitude towards Homework among Secondary Level Students

Yuen Fook Chan

Organisation of Homework: Malaysian Teachers' Practices and Perspectives


International Journal of Psychology and Educational Studies

One of families' roles and responsibilities for their children is participation in their education. Family participation in the educational processes of their children can sometimes be helping the children with their homework. The purpose of this study is to determine the opinions of parents living in rural areas about their children's homework.This research is a case study, one of the qualitative research designs. The data have been collected from 27 parents living in rural areas of Konya in May 2021. The data, collected through the semi-structured interview form, have been analysed using the descriptive analysis method. According to the findings, parents believe that homework reinforces learning, encourages study, and ensures that knowledge is retained.They also think that homework is useful because it increases student success in courses, and reinforces learning. While the majority of parents state that their children do not spend more time on homework than necessary, a s...

Opinions of Parents in Rural Areas on Homework: A Case Study

Jagadish Paudel

2013, Journal of NELTA

Homework is a good means of reactivation; it helps students to practice language items and consolidates learnt knowledge and skills at their home. It is an indispensible tool for students to step forward in the subject. But if we glance at homework dealing situation at school level education in Nepal, the role of homework is hardly talked about in the majority of the schools, especially at government aided school. Similarly, if we look at researches and papers that are talked about on homework dealing situation at school level education, we will rarely find. For this reason, I have strived to explore homework dealing situation of English langauge teaching at grade eight in Dadeldhura District through survey questions to the students and the teachers, such as when do students feel difficult to do homework, why do they do homework, how much time do they spend to do homework, who does help them to do homework at home, how do they like their homework to be corrected, how do the teachers...

Dealing with Homework in English Language Teaching: A Case of Dadeldhura District

Rima Jasnauskaitė

The article deals with the issue of homework in general and the role of English homework in particular. Homework being a part of teaching/learning process at school plays a number of roles that are attributed to the nature and the reasons of homework assignment and the reasons are such as reinforcing material, introducing to new material, increasing skills, applying the learned in new situations, helping to improve time management skills and domestic communication . Homework helps to improve not only academic skills but it also develops learners’ personality, character features as well as social skills. The article suggests the theoretical review of the concept of homework, the role and reason of assigning the latter. It also suggests the results of the research that was performed applying two approaches of investigation: quantitative (survey with a questionnaire and statistic analysis methods) and qualitative (interview and content analysis methods). The survey that was carried out...

The role of english homework in the teaching-learning process in the basic school

Lamyae Amchich

International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

This study replicates Matei and Ciasca’s (2015) article about teachers’ perceptions concerning assignments. The purpose of this study is to examine the similarities and differences between the opinions of Math and Romanian primary teachers and primary English teachers, and the main aim of this study is to determine if teachers in this study would focus solely on the efficacy of homework and neglect its negative side as did the teachers in the original study. The data were collected using the original study questionnaire with some slight adaptations. The participants were 71 primary English teachers in Turkey. After the data was collected and analyzed, the results indicated a significant number of similarities between the teachers’ opinions. It was revealed that most teachers have positive perceptions about homework, but compared to the original study, the opinions about homework efficacy and students’ achievement varied and were different. Teachers in the present study have shown so...

English Language Primary Teachers’ Perceptions about Homework: A Replication Study

Homework has been a perennial topic of debate in education, and attitudes toward it have been cyclical (Gill & Schlossman, 2000). Throughout the first few decades of the 20th century, educators commonly believed that homework helped create disciplined minds. By 1940, growing concern that homework interfered with other home activities sparked a reaction against it. This trend was reversed in

The Case For and Against Homework

Snježana Dubovicki

This paper questions if homework is a learning strategy that represents compulsory, optimum or additional indefinite student overload. In the pedagogical theory and practice there are opposite stances as to the mentioned dilemma. It is necessary to analyse the overall overload with school commitments and homework in this context. The results of the research presented in this paper, which are based on empirical evidence, point to the total student overload from the first (6.4 hours per day) to the eighth grade (10.4 hours per day). Analysing the total expected student overload and adding demands relative to homework, it is evident that students are overburdened in Croatian compulsory education. The results of the research conducted suggest that homework as a learning strategy additionally burdens students in Croatian compulsory education. It is necessary to solve the problem of overloaded students in a systematic manner. Disburdening students, which is inevitable, involves dimensioni...

Does homework as a learning strategy stimulate additional student overload

European Scientific Journal ESJ , Ayten Saban

The purpose of this study is to identify the relationship between students' views on homework and their learning styles. The study follows a descriptive survey model. It is also an example of descriptive study in relational screening model. Target population is all first, second, third, and fourth year students who are enrolled in Çukurova University Primary School Classroom Teaching Department. The participants are 443 students who volunteered to fill in the data collection forms used in the study. Of the participants, 90 were first year, 103 were second year, 140 were third year, and 110 were fourth year students. 275 of the students participating in the study were female (62.1%) and 168 were male (37.9%). The data were collected through " Homework Attitudes Scale " developed by Gündüz (2005), Kolb's Learning Styles Inventory (LSI) which was first examined for its applicability in Turkey by Aşkar and Akkoyunlu (1993), " Homework Purpose Scale " , " Homework Management Scale " and " Personal Information Form " developed by the researcher. No instruments were used to measure students' academic success levels; their academic success was identified according to the overall mean score obtained from the scores they received from all lessons. Findings show that 141 students (31.8%) preferred assimilating learning style while 133 students (30%) preferred converging learning style. Dominant learning style was found to differ according to grade level and grade point average. The difference in terms of homework attitudes, homework purpose, and homework management scale mean scores was in favour of mostly students who have converging learning style. Besides, there was a significant difference in terms of doing homework on time in favour of students who have converging learning style, and there was a significant difference in terms of coming to class without homework in favour of students who have diverging learning style.

An Investigation Of The Relationship Between Students' Views On Homework And Their Learning Styles

gagan shergill

Child & Youth Care Forum

Background Increasing academic demands, including larger amounts of assigned homework, is correlated with various challenges for children. While homework stress in middle and high school has been studied, research evidence is scant concerning the effects of homework on elementary-aged children. Objective The objective of this study was to understand rater perception of the purpose of homework, the existence of homework policy, and the relationship, if any, between homework and the emotional health, sleep habits, and parent–child relationships for children in grades 3–6. Method Survey research was conducted in the schools examining student (n = 397), parent (n = 442), and teacher (n = 28) perception of homework, including purpose, existing policy, and the childrens’ social and emotional well-being. Results Preliminary findings from teacher, parent, and student surveys suggest the presence of modest impact of homework in the area of emotional health (namely, student report of boredom ...

Homework and Children in Grades 3–6: Purpose, Policy and Non-Academic Impact

Tshering Chophel

Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science

Our service as the principal in a very remote school under Mongar District evoked our conscience in realizing the impact of parental involvement in homework on children’s learning. Being in the farm with many daily chores and activities, the parents’ concern for children’s learning was left as a secondary option. The parents have vital roles to play in the life of a child. The involvement of parents determines the future of the child, and the parental involvement was seen as a means to bridge the gap between the school and home. Family is the primary cell of society where the child's upbringing must begin since his birth. The researcher used the qualitative approach and phenomenology as a research design. The study involved twelve interview participants, comprising of 3 principals, 3 teachers, 3 students and 3 parents from the participating schools in Yadi Cluster under Mongar District. The data were collected through the use of semi-structured interviews. The interviews were au...

Impact of Parental Involvement in Homework on Children’s learning

Nafiza Ferdowshi

2014, Dhaka University Journal of Biological Sciences

A comparative analysis between parental and children’s attitude toward homework for three grade levels (Grade?III, V and VII) reveals the importance of homework in educational experience. Two hundred sixty parents (140 mothers and 120 fathers) and 260 children (148 girls and 112 boys) of different schools in Dhaka city responded to parent and children forms of attitude toward homework questionnaire. Chi square value indicated common agreement between the children and the parents’ attitude toward homework. Certain dimension of children’s attitude differed for grade levels and gender. The study also focused on the effect of homework on family relationship and general attitude toward school. DOI: Dhaka Univ. J. Biol. Sci. 23(1): 77-83, 2014

Parental and children attitude toward homework

Sirje Piht , Mari-Liis Rei

2015, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences

Parents Opinions on Homework in the II Stage of Primary School (Estonian Example)

Adem Turanlı

Students’ and Parents’ Perceptions about Homework Öğrencilerin ve Anne-Babaların Ödeve İlişkin Algıları.pdf

Marie Flynn

2020, Issues in Educational Research

Homework is a pervasive pedagogical practice worldwide, and somewhat neglected as a research topic. This study aims to provide a comprehensive account of teachers’ homework practices, an aspect of teachers’ work about which relatively little is known. We seek to explore what constitutes teachers’ homework practices, illuminate their complexity, and explain what influences them. Findings are drawn from a qualitative study in two middle-class, urban, primary schools in Ireland, using in-depth semistructured interviews with six teachers and six parents of pupils aged 10-11 years. Our analysis reveals a complex set of practices (designing, implementing, assessing, and providing feedback) that are shaped by professional identity, expectations of parents and colleagues, school homework policies, and cultural values. These practices are characterised by a deliberateness, wherein a careful weighing up of elements is evident, indicative of the importance of professional identity; and by an a...

Primary teachers' homework practices: Identity, expectations, policies and cultural values

Isa Deveci, Ph.D.

Deveci, İ. & Önder, İ. (2013). Parents’ Views About the Homework Given in Science and Technology Classes A Qualitative Study. US-China Education Review. 3(7), 561-569

2013, Universal Journal of Educational Research

Some parents and students perceived demanding homework assignments as a frequent source of grievance, particularly for those high performing students who want spare time for independent study and cultivation of talents through extracurricular activities. Teachers tended to perceive homework assignments as a meaningful extension of instruction time and a media of communication between school and home. Cognizant of the possible conflicts about homework practices between school and home, the current study investigated homework issues from the students' and their parents' perspective while maintaining the integrity and information provided by the teachers of those students. The overarching goal of the current study was to establish a conceptual and applicable model for evaluating homework practices in local schools. Data collected included student and parent surveys, teacher homework philosophies, sample homework assignments, and homework hallway charts. The survey results were ...

In Search of the Epiphany of Homework Assignments: A Model of Evaluating Local Schools' Homework Practices

Rawatee Maharaj-Sharma

2016, Australian Journal of Teacher Education

What Students say about Homework – Views from a Secondary School Science Classroom in Trinidad and Tobago

John Macbeath

Learning Out of School: Homework, Policy and Practice. A Research Study Commissioned by the Scottish Education Department

CERJ Journal

2019, Contemporary Educational Researches Journal

In this study, the aim was to determine the motivation levels of primary school fourth grade students with regard to their homework, and whether their motivations differ in terms of some variables. The sample used in the study, conducted using a survey method, consists of 256 students studying in schools in the province of Erzurum of the Republic of Turkey. The data of the study were collected using a 'Homework Motivation Scale'. Data were analysed using descriptive statistical techniques, a t-test and a one-way analysis of variance test. It was seen that the internal and external motivations of the students differed with regard to intrinsic motivation. In addition, it was seen that students' autonomous motivations differed with regard to those who have someone who helps them with homework. Students' intrinsic motivation is higher than their external motivation. It is thought that this will contribute to students completing their homework successfully.

Examining the motivations of primary school fourth grade students with regard to homework Contemporary Educational Researches Journal

Lúcia Macedo

2015, Psicothema

Homework is a universal practice used in schools, and is commonly related to academic achievement. According to literature, parental homework involvement has positive and negative aspects, depending on parents’ behaviors. Assuming a phenomenographic perspective, this study examined 4th graders’ parents’ conceptions of their involvement in homework. With the purpose of mapping the parents’ various conceptions of homework involvement, 32 semi-structured interviews were conducted and analyzed. The results show that parents’ conceptions of homework involvement have a positive meaning, and focus primarily on the role played in the promotion of academic learning by (a) fostering their…

Parents' conceptions of their homework involvement in elementary school

Frosyl Miguel

This study focuses on the essential role of teachers in initiating collaborative efforts with parents in helping the children do their homework. To establish teacher-parents’ partnership in this endeavour, four engaging interventions were utilized in this action research. These are focus group discussion (FGD), home visitation, follow up by texting and homework logs.An intact Grade 8 science class in one of the pilot secondary schools in the City of Manila was involved in the study. Results showed that the collaborative efforts between parents and teachers apparently contributed to the improvement of students’class performance. Home visitation was seen as a means of rekindling commitment of the parents to monitor their children’s progress in school. In the same way, it was found out that homework logs and texting are strategies that could enhance parental involvement leading to close supervision of their children doing their assignments at home.

Teacher-Parent Collaborative Efforts in Facilitating Students’ Homework

Lehlohonolo Mofokeng

Does homework serve learners from schools facing multiple deprivations well?

Dymanics of Homework in Challenging Circumstances: Every Principal's Dilemma

Richard Bennett

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings

Characteristics of Students Who Do Not Do Homework


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Is Homework Good for Kids? Here's What the Research Says

A s kids return to school, debate is heating up once again over how they should spend their time after they leave the classroom for the day.

The no-homework policy of a second-grade teacher in Texas went viral last week , earning praise from parents across the country who lament the heavy workload often assigned to young students. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early.

But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage. Here’s what you need to know:

For decades, the homework standard has been a “10-minute rule,” which recommends a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night. High school seniors should complete about two hours of homework each night. The National PTA and the National Education Association both support that guideline.

But some schools have begun to give their youngest students a break. A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction. “We really want kids to go home at 4 o’clock, tired. We want their brain to be tired,” Kelly Elementary School Principal Jackie Glasheen said in an interview with a local TV station . “We want them to enjoy their families. We want them to go to soccer practice or football practice, and we want them to go to bed. And that’s it.”

A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders.

New solutions and approaches to homework differ by community, and these local debates are complicated by the fact that even education experts disagree about what’s best for kids.

The research

The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school. The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.

Cooper’s analysis focused on how homework impacts academic achievement—test scores, for example. His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills. On the other hand, some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children. At the end of his analysis, Cooper recommended further study of such potential effects of homework.

Despite the weak correlation between homework and performance for young children, Cooper argues that a small amount of homework is useful for all students. Second-graders should not be doing two hours of homework each night, he said, but they also shouldn’t be doing no homework.

Not all education experts agree entirely with Cooper’s assessment.

Cathy Vatterott, an education professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, supports the “10-minute rule” as a maximum, but she thinks there is not sufficient proof that homework is helpful for students in elementary school.

“Correlation is not causation,” she said. “Does homework cause achievement, or do high achievers do more homework?”

Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs , thinks there should be more emphasis on improving the quality of homework tasks, and she supports efforts to eliminate homework for younger kids.

“I have no concerns about students not starting homework until fourth grade or fifth grade,” she said, noting that while the debate over homework will undoubtedly continue, she has noticed a trend toward limiting, if not eliminating, homework in elementary school.

The issue has been debated for decades. A TIME cover in 1999 read: “Too much homework! How it’s hurting our kids, and what parents should do about it.” The accompanying story noted that the launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to a push for better math and science education in the U.S. The ensuing pressure to be competitive on a global scale, plus the increasingly demanding college admissions process, fueled the practice of assigning homework.

“The complaints are cyclical, and we’re in the part of the cycle now where the concern is for too much,” Cooper said. “You can go back to the 1970s, when you’ll find there were concerns that there was too little, when we were concerned about our global competitiveness.”

Cooper acknowledged that some students really are bringing home too much homework, and their parents are right to be concerned.

“A good way to think about homework is the way you think about medications or dietary supplements,” he said. “If you take too little, they’ll have no effect. If you take too much, they can kill you. If you take the right amount, you’ll get better.”

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Write to Katie Reilly at [email protected] .

no homework policy type of factual text

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The role of homework

Homework seems to be an accepted part of teachers’ and students’ routines, but there is little mention of it in ELT literature.

no homework policy type of factual text

The role of homework is hardly mentioned in the majority of general ELT texts or training courses, suggesting that there is little question as to its value even if the resulting workload is time-consuming. However, there is clearly room for discussion of homework policies and practices particularly now that technology has made so many more resources available to learners outside the classroom.

Reasons for homework

  • Attitudes to homework
  • Effective homework
  • Types of homework
  • Homework is expected by students, teachers, parents and institutions.
  • Homework reinforces and helps learners to retain information taught in the classroom as well as increasing their general understanding of the language.
  • Homework develops study habits and independent learning. It also encourages learners to acquire resources such as dictionaries and grammar reference books. Research shows that homework also benefits factual knowledge, self-discipline, attitudes to learning and problem-solving skills.
  • Homework offers opportunities for extensive activities in the receptive skills which there may not be time for in the classroom. It may also be an integral part of ongoing learning such as project work and the use of a graded reader.
  • Homework provides continuity between lessons. It may be used to consolidate classwork, but also for preparation for the next lesson.
  • Homework may be used to shift repetitive, mechanical, time-consuming tasks out of the classroom.
  • Homework bridges the gap between school and home. Students, teachers and parents can monitor progress. The institution can involve parents in the learning process.
  • Homework can be a useful assessment tool, as part of continual or portfolio assessment.

Attitudes to homework Teachers tend to have mixed feelings about homework. While recognising the advantages, they observe negative attitudes and poor performance from students. Marking and giving useful feedback on homework can take up a large proportion of a teacher’s time, often after school hours.

  • Students themselves complain that the homework they are given is boring or pointless, referring to homework tasks that consist of studying for tests, doing workbook exercises, finishing incomplete classwork, memorising lists of vocabulary and writing compositions. Where this is actually the case, the negative effects of homework can be observed, typified by loss of interest and a view of homework as a form of punishment.
  • Other negative effects of poorly managed homework include lack of necessary leisure time and an increased differential between high and low achievers. These problems are often the cause of avoidance techniques such as completing homework tasks in class, collaborating and copying or simply not doing the required tasks. In turn, conflict may arise between learners, teachers, parents and the institution.

Effective homework In order for homework to be effective, certain principles should be observed.

  • Students should see the usefulness of homework. Teachers should explain the purpose both of homework in general and of individual tasks.
  • Tasks should be relevant, interesting and varied.
  • Good classroom practice also applies to homework. Tasks should be manageable but achievable.
  • Different tasks may be assigned to different ability groups. Individual learning styles should be taken into account.
  • Homework should be manageable in terms of time as well as level of difficulty. Teachers should remember that students are often given homework in other subjects and that there is a need for coordination to avoid overload. A homework diary, kept by the learner but checked by teachers and parents is a useful tool in this respect.
  • Homework is rarely co-ordinated within the curriculum as a whole, but should at least be incorporated into an overall scheme of work and be considered in lesson planning.
  • Homework tends to focus on a written product. There is no reason why this should be the case, other than that there is visible evidence that the task has been done.
  • Learner involvement and motivation may be increased by encouraging students to contribute ideas for homework and possibly design their own tasks. The teacher also needs to know how much time the students have, what facilities they have at home, and what their preferences are. A simple questionnaire will provide this data.
  • While homework should consolidate classwork, it should not replicate it. Home is the outside world and tasks which are nearer to real-life use of language are appropriate.
  • If homework is set, it must be assessed in some way, and feedback given. While marking by the teacher is sometimes necessary, peer and self-assessment can encourage learner independence as well as reducing the teacher’s workload. Motivating students to do homework is an ongoing process, and encouragement may be given by commenting and asking questions either verbally or in written form in order to demonstrate interest on the teacher’s part, particularly in the case of self-study and project work.

Types of homework There are a number of categories of useful and practicable homework tasks.

  • Workbook-based tasks Most published course materials include a workbook or practice book, mainly including consolidation exercises, short reading texts and an answer key. Most workbooks claim to be suitable for both class and self-study use, but are better used at home in order to achieve a separation of what is done in class and at home. Mechanical practice is thus shifted out of class hours, while this kind of exercise is particularly suited to peer- or self-checking and correction.
  • Preparation tasks Rarely do teachers ask learners to read through the next unit of a coursebook, though there are advantages in involving students in the lesson plan and having them know what is coming. More motivating, however, is asking students to find and bring materials such as photographs and pictures, magazine articles and realia which are relevant to the next topic, particularly where personalisation or relevance to the local context requires adaptation of course materials.
  • Extensive tasks Much can be gained from the use of graded readers, which now often have accompanying audio material, radio and TV broadcasts, podcasts and songs. Sometimes tasks need to be set as guidance, but learners also need to be encouraged to read, listen and watch for pleasure. What is important is that learners share their experiences in class. Extensive reading and listening may be accompanied by dictionary work and a thematic or personalised vocabulary notebook, whereby learners can collect language which they feel is useful.
  • Guided discovery tasks Whereas classroom teaching often involves eliciting language patterns and rules from learners, there is also the option of asking learners to notice language and make deductions for themselves at home. This leads to the sharing of knowledge and even peer teaching in the classroom.
  • Real-world tasks These involve seeing, hearing and putting language to use in realistic contexts. Reading magazines, watching TV, going to the cinema and listening to songs are obvious examples, offering the option of writing summaries and reviews as follow-up activities. Technology facilitates chat and friendship networks, while even in monolingual environments, walking down a shopping street noticing shop and brand names will reveal a lot of language. As with extensive tasks, it is important for learners to share their experiences, and perhaps to collect them in a formal or informal portfolio.
  • Project work It is a good idea to have a class or individual projects running over a period of time. Projects may be based on topics from a coursebook, the locality, interests and hobbies or selected individually. Project work needs to be guided in terms of where to find resources and monitored regularly, the outcome being a substantial piece of work at the end of a course or term of which the learner can claim ownership.

Conclusion Finally, a word about the Internet. The Web appears to offer a wealth of opportunity for self-study. Certainly reference resources make project work easier and more enjoyable, but cutting and pasting can also be seen as an easy option, requiring little originality or understanding. Conferring over homework tasks by email can be positive or negative, though chatting with an English-speaking friend is to be encouraged, as is searching for visual materials. Both teachers and learners are guilty of trawling the Net for practice exercises, some of which are untried, untested and dubious in terms of quality. Learners need guidance, and a starting point is to provide a short list of reliable sites such as the British Council's  LearnEnglish  and the BBC's Learning English  which provide a huge variety of exercises and activities as well as links to other reliable sources. Further reading Cooper, H. Synthesis of Research on Homework . Educational Leadership 47/3, 1989 North, S. and Pillay, H. Homework: re-examining the routin e. ELT Journal 56/2, April 2002 Painter, L. Homework . English Teaching Professional, Issue 10, 1999 Painter, L. Homework . OUP Resource Books for Teachers, 2003

First published in October 2007

Mr. Steve Darn I liked your…

Mr. Steve Darn I liked your method of the role of the homework . Well, I am one of those laggard people. Unfortunately, when it comes to homework, I definitely do it. Because, a student or pupil who understands new topics, of course, does his homework to know how much he understands the new topic. I also completely agree with all of Steve Darn's points above. However, sometimes teachers give a lot of riff-raff homework, just like homework is a human obligation. This is a plus. But in my opinion, first of all, it is necessary to divide the time properly, and then to do many tasks at home. Only then will you become an "excellent student" in the eyes of the teacher. Although we live in the age of technology, there are still some people who do not know how to send homework via email. Some foreign teachers ask to send tasks by email. Constant email updates require time and, in rare cases, a fee. My above points have been the cause of constant discussions.

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exam and certificate

Setting homework, busy work or homework, setting homework.

I could not agree more!

Homeworks are an excellent way to revise and learn.

However, students are not likely to accept homeworks. That is why, as you claimed, the homeworks need to be useful, to have purpose.

I like your idea of ,, Real-world tasks,, since they definitely involve their background knowledge and such a type of homework is interesting and contemporary!

I totally agree. I am one of those teachers who give a lot of homework, and sometimes pupils don't like it. But homework help a lot. I mostly prefer project works, especially to upper levels.

I want to learn more about upper English specially law and business English all terms and words that we can use when we are making business.

Research and insight

Browse fascinating case studies, research papers, publications and books by researchers and ELT experts from around the world.

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