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Alfie Kohn

Homework haterz

❶When Cooper and his associates looked at recent studies in which the time spent on homework was reported by students, and then compared them with studies in which that estimate was provided by their parents, the results were quite different.

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Does homework improve student achievement?

So how can you know if your child is doing the right amount? But where did it come from? If you think your child is doing too much homework, Cooper recommends talking with her teacher. Recent studies suggest that proper sleep may be far more essential to brain and body development. In fact, for elementary school-age children, there is no measureable academic advantage to homework. For middle-schoolers, there is a direct correlation between homework and achievement if assignments last between one to two hours per night.

For high schoolers, two hours appears optimal. As with middle-schoolers, give teens more than two hours a night, and academic success flatlines. It appears middle- and high schoolers have much to gain academically by doing their homework.

Homework in middle school was half as effective. In elementary school, there is no measurable correlation between homework and achievement. Despite all the research, homework remains something of a mystery. Choosing the wrong college can be bad for mental health. How to talk to your teen about their reach school. Please enter a valid email address. Thank you for signing up! Please try again later. Sorry for the inconvenience. Does homework really work? After decades spent trying to assess the value of homework, researchers still argue over the simplest findings.

Leslie Crawford June 14, Print article. Get the GreatSchools newsletter - our best articles, worksheets and more delivered weekly. But let's pretend that we really do know how much homework students do. Did doing it make any difference? The Maltese et al. They emphasized the latter, but let's get the former out of the way first.

Was there a correlation between the amount of homework that high school students reported doing and their scores on standardized math and science tests? Yes, and it was statistically significant but "very modest": Even assuming the existence of a causal relationship, which is by no means clear, one or two hours' worth of homework every day buys you two or three points on a test.

Is that really worth the frustration, exhaustion, family conflict, loss of time for other activities, and potential diminution of interest in learning? And how meaningful a measure were those tests in the first place, since, as the authors concede, they're timed measures of mostly mechanical skills?

Thus, a headline that reads "Study finds homework boosts achievement" can be translated as "A relentless regimen of after-school drill-and-skill can raise scores a wee bit on tests of rote learning. But it was grades, not tests, that Maltese and his colleagues really cared about. They were proud of having looked at transcript data in order to figure out "the exact grade a student received in each class [that he or she] completed" so they could compare that to how much homework the student did.

Previous research has looked only at students' overall grade-point averages. And the result of this fine-tuned investigation? There was no relationship whatsoever between time spent on homework and course grade, and "no substantive difference in grades between students who complete homework and those who do not.

This result clearly caught the researchers off-guard. Frankly, it surprised me, too. When you measure "achievement" in terms of grades, you expect to see a positive result -- not because homework is academically beneficial but because the same teacher who gives the assignments evaluates the students who complete them, and the final grade is often based at least partly on whether, and to what extent, students did the homework.

Even if homework were a complete waste of time, how could it not be positively related to course grades? And yet it wasn't. Even in high school. The study zeroed in on specific course grades, which represents a methodological improvement, and the moral may be: The better the research, the less likely one is to find any benefits from homework. That's not a surprising proposition for a careful reader of reports in this field. We got a hint of that from Timothy Keith's reanalysis and also from the fact that longer homework studies tend to find less of an effect.

Maltese and his colleagues did their best to reframe these results to minimize the stunning implications. But if you read the results rather than just the authors' spin on them -- which you really need to do with the work of others working in this field as well[7] -- you'll find that there's not much to prop up the belief that students must be made to work a second shift after they get home from school.

The assumption that teachers are just assigning homework badly, that we'd start to see meaningful results if only it were improved, is harder and harder to justify with each study that's published. If experience is any guide, however, many people will respond to these results by repeating platitudes about the importance of practice[8], or by complaining that anyone who doesn't think kids need homework is coddling them and failing to prepare them for the "real world" read: Those open to evidence, however, have been presented this Fall with yet another finding that fails to find any meaningful benefit even when the study is set up to give homework every benefit of the doubt.

It's important to remember that some people object to homework for reasons that aren't related to the dispute about whether research might show that homework provides academic benefits. They argue that a six hours a day of academics are enough, and kids should have the chance after school to explore other interests and develop in other ways -- or be able simply to relax in the same way that most adults like to relax after work; and b the decision about what kids do during family time should be made by families, not schools.

Let's put these arguments aside for now, even though they ought to be but rarely are included in any discussion of the topic. Cool and Timothy Z. Keith, "Testing a Model of School Learning: Other research has found little or no correlation between how much homework students report doing and how much homework their parents say they do.

When you use the parents' estimates, the correlation between homework and achievement disappears.


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Sep 23,  · Beyond achievement, proponents of homework argue that it can have many other beneficial effects. They claim it can help students develop good study habits so they are ready to grow as their cognitive capacities mature. It can help students recognize that .

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Nevertheless, most research purporting to show a positive effect of homework seems to be based on the assumption that when students who get (or do) more homework also score better on standardized tests, it follows that the higher scores were due to their having had more homework.

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Specific types of homework can be very beneficial to students with learning disabilities, however. Some research also suggests that homework has nonacademic benefits, such as helping children establish routines, develop study skills, and take responsibility. The average high school student doing homework outperformed 69% of the students in a class with no homework. Homework in middle school was half as effective. In elementary school, there is no measurable correlation between homework and achievement. Despite all the research, homework remains something of a mystery.

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When you use the parents' estimates, the correlation between homework and achievement disappears. See Harris Cooper, Jorgianne Civey Robinson, and Erika A. Patall, "Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement?: A Synthesis of Research, ," Review of Educational Research 76 (): 1 . Help Customer Service 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.