The Homework Debate: How Homework Benefits StudentsBy Monica Fuglei • November 21, 2013
This post has been updated for accuracy and relevance as of December 2017.
In another of our blog posts, The Case Against Homework, we articulated several points of view against homework as standard practice for teachers. However, a variety of lessons, content-related and beyond, can be taught or reinforced through homework and are worth exploring. Read on!
Four ways homework aids students’ academic achievement
Homework provides an opportunity for parents to interact with and understand the content their students are learning so they can provide another means of academic support for students. Memphis Parent writer Glenda Faye Pryor-Johnson says that, “When your child does homework, you do homework,” and notes that this is an opportunity for parents to model good behavior for their children.
Pryor-Johnson also identifies four qualities children develop when they complete homework that can help them become high-achieving students:
- Time management
While these cannot be measured on standardized tests, perseverance has garnered a lot of attention as an essential skill for successful students. Regular accomplishments like finishing homework build self-esteem, which aids students’ mental and physical health. Responsibility and time management are highly desirable qualities that benefit students long after they graduate.
NYU and Duke professors refute the idea that homework is unrelated to student success
In response to the National School Board Association’s Center for Public Education’s findings that homework was not conclusively related to student success, historian and NYU professor Diane Ravitch contends that the study’s true discovery was that students who did not complete homework or who lacked the resources to do so suffered poor outcomes.
Ravitch believes the study’s data only supports the idea that those who complete homework benefit from homework. She also cites additional benefits of homework: when else would students be allowed to engage thoughtfully with a text or write a complete essay? Constraints on class time require that such activities are given as outside assignments.
5 studies support a significant relationship between homework completion and academic success
Duke University professor Harris Cooper supports Ravitch’s assessment, saying that, “Across five studies, the average student who did homework had a higher unit test score than the students not doing homework.” Dr. Cooper and his colleagues analyzed dozens of studies on whether homework is beneficial in a 2006 publication, “Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, 1987–2003.”
This analysis found 12 less-authoritative studies that link achievement to time spent on homework, but control for many other factors that could influence the outcome. Finally, the research team identified 35 studies that found a positive correlation between homework and achievement, but only after elementary school. Dr. Cooper concluded that younger students might be less capable of benefiting from homework due to undeveloped study habits or other factors.
Recommended amount of homework varies by grade level
“Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement?” also identifies the amount homework that serves as a learning tool for students. While practice improves test scores at all grade levels, “Homework for junior high students appears to reach the point of diminishing returns after about 90 minutes a night. For high school students, the positive line continues to climb until between 90 minutes and 2.5 hours of homework a night, after which returns diminish.”
Dr. Cooper’s conclusion—homework is important, but discretion can and should be used when assigning it—addresses the valid concerns of homework critics. While the act of completing homework has benefits in terms of developing good habits in students, homework must prove useful for students so that they buy in to the process and complete their assignments. If students (or their parents) feel homework is a useless component of their learning, they will skip it—and miss out on the major benefits, content and otherwise, that homework has to offer.
Continue reading: Ending the Homework Debate: Expert Advice on What Works
Monica Fuglei is a graduate of the University of Nebraska in Omaha and a current adjunct faculty member of Arapahoe Community College in Colorado, where she teaches composition and creative writing.Tags: Leadership and Administration, Pros and Cons, Teacher-Parent Relationships
By – John Bishop
“I hate homework.”
How can parents eliminate the nightly tug-of-war over homework?
In general, students are not excited about the homework they get assigned because they are bombarded with other options that seem far more exciting. Let’s face it – homework is no more exciting today than when we were kids. It was tough for us to do homework and we did not have nearly as many distractions as today’s students.
Their world includes instant communication, multi-tasking, cell phones, exciting video games, texting, and social networking. Homework is vying for your child’s attention against some tough competition.
Some students think homework is a waste of time. Others understand the intrinsic value of homework and take responsibility for doing it correctly and handling it in on time. However, the majority of students are somewhere in between there extremes.
The students that do their homework without a nightly battle view their education differently. They understand that for a couple of hours, schoolwork is the priority, and then they can move on to something more exciting. They understand that homework teaches them where their strengths are and where they need to spend more attention.
For most students, the problem may not be the homework, but in how they look at it. In the “good old days”, we did our homework because it was expected, and because there were far fewer options for our time. Parents should not compete head-on with today’s distractions, but rather try a different tactic.
To compete with the distractions, parents must get more buy-in on the importance of homework. Your job won’t be easy, but perhaps this list can help.
10 Benefits of Homework
- Homework teaches students about time management.
- Homework teaches students how to set priorities.
- Homework helps teachers determine how well the lessons and material are being understood by their students.
- Homework teaches students how to problem solve.
- Homework gives students another opportunity to review the class material.
- Homework gives parents a chance to see what their child is learning in school.
- Homework teaches students that they have to do things, even when they don’t want to.
- Homework teaches students how to take responsibility for their part in the educational process.
- Homework teaches students how to work independently.
- Homework teaches students the importance of planning, staying organized and taking action.
School and homework show students the important life lessons, such as how to read and communicate with others, that they will use as an adult. Homework also teaches students how to problem solve, think independently, and build an understanding and interest for the issues in our society.
We have to show our children and students that homework is not boring and is not a waste of time. We have to show them that there are numerous benefits of not only doing homework, but handing it in on time! If we allow students to only participate in video games of social media after all their homework is done, then homework becomes a win-win situation for parents and their students.
Background Information on John Bishop:
John Bishop is the Executive Director of Accent On SuccessÃ‚Â® and author of the Goal Setting for Students Ã‚Â® book which has recently won three national book awards.
John Bishop went to a parent-teacher conference at a “magnet” school in the St. Louis Public School system. There were essays on a bulletin board in one of his granddaughter’s classrooms entitled “The Night”. One seventh grade girl wrote:
“I’m not afraid of the night. I’m not even afraid when I hear bullets. I take my brother and we lay down in the bathtub until the shooting stops.”
This was the night Mr. Bishop dedicated himself to doing something to help students. With the help of over twenty-five professionals with advanced degrees in education and curriculum development, he wrote the Goal Setting for Students Ã‚Â® book, in order to get children involved in school and education even if there are outside, negative influences holding them back.
For more inspirational teaching moments:
E-Mail John Bishop !