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❶He gave less and less homework each year before finally eliminating it completely.

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Does homework improve student achievement?
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In the s, year-olds in a dozen nations were tested and also queried about how much they studied. Again, the results were not the same in all countries, even when the focus was limited to the final years of high school where the contribution of homework is thought to be strongest. Usually it turned out that doing some homework had a stronger relationship with achievement than doing none at all, but doing a little homework was also better than doing a lot.

Again they came up empty handed. Our students get significantly less homework than their counterparts across the globe. Every step of this syllogism is either flawed or simply false. Premise 2 has been debunked by a number of analysts and for a number of different reasons. But in fact there is now empirical evidence, not just logic, to challenge the conclusions. Two researchers looked at TIMSS data from both and in order to be able to compare practices in 50 countries.

When they published their findings in , they could scarcely conceal their surprise:. Not only did we fail to find any positive relationships, [but] the overall correlations between national average student achievement and national averages in the frequency, total amount, and percentage of teachers who used homework in grading are all negative!

If these data can be extrapolated to other subjects — a research topic that warrants immediate study, in our opinion — then countries that try to improve their standing in the world rankings of student achievement by raising the amount of homework might actually be undermining their own success. More homework may actually undermine national achievement.

Incidental research raises further doubts about homework. Reviews of homework studies tend to overlook investigations that are primarily focused on other topics but just happen to look at homework, among several other variables.

Here are two examples:. First, a pair of Harvard scientists queried almost 2, students enrolled in college physics courses in order to figure out whether any features of their high school physics courses were now of use to them. At first they found a very small relationship between the amount of homework that students had had in high school and how well they were currently doing.

Once the researchers controlled for other variables, such as the type of courses kids had taken, that relationship disappeared. The same researchers then embarked on a similar study of a much larger population of students in college science classes — and found the same thing: She then set out to compare their classroom practices to those of a matched group of other teachers.

Are better teachers more apt to question the conventional wisdom in general? More responsive to its negative effects on children and families?

This analysis rings true for Steve Phelps, who teaches math at a high school near Cincinnati. But as I mastered the material, homework ceased to be necessary.

Lyons has also conducted an informal investigation to gauge the impact of this shift. He gave less and less homework each year before finally eliminating it completely.

And he reports that. Homework is an obvious burden to students, but assigning, collecting, grading, and recording homework creates a tremendous amount of work for me as well. Nor is the Harvard physics study. People who never bought it will not be surprised, of course.

Put differently, the research offers no reason to believe that students in high-quality classrooms whose teachers give little or no homework would be at a disadvantage as regards any meaningful kind of learning. That will be the subject of the following chapter…. Two of the four studies reviewed by Paschal et al. The third found benefits at two of three grade levels, but all of the students in this study who were assigned homework also received parental help.

The last study found that students who were given math puzzles unrelated to what was being taught in class did as well as those who got traditional math homework.

There is reason to question whether this technique is really appropriate for a topic like homework, and thus whether the conclusions drawn from it would be valid. Meta-analyses may be useful for combining multiple studies of, say, the efficacy of a blood pressure medication, but not necessarily studies dealing with different aspects of complex human behavior.

Homework contributes to higher achievement, which then, in turn, predisposes those students to spend more time on it. But correlations between the two leave us unable to disentangle the two effects and determine which is stronger. Epstein and Van Voorhis, pp. Also see Walberg et al. In Cooper et al. For a more detailed discussion about and review of research regarding the effects of grades, see Kohn a, b. That difference shrank in the latest batch of studies Cooper et al. See Kohn b, , which includes analysis and research to support the claims made in the following paragraphs.

Nevertheless, Cooper criticizes studies that use only one of these measures and argues in favor of those, like his own, that make use of both see Cooper et al. The studies he reviewed lasted anywhere from two to thirty weeks. Quotation appears on p. If anything, this summary understates the actual findings.

Why this might be true is open to interpretation. The unpublished study by C. For example, see any number of writings by Herbert Walberg. Until they get to high school, there are no such tests in Japan. As far as I can tell, no data on how NAEP math scores varied by homework completion have been published for nine- and thirteen-year-olds.

Department of Education , p. When a teacher assigns homework incorporating information that was just recently taught or not taught at all, it puts a tremendous amount of stress on students. Worse yet, I think, it puts a great deal of stress on our parents. We rely on our parents to help us be successful.

Our parents have to figure out how to do the assignment and then teach it to us. Students who have no help at home, therefore, are at a total disadvantage and their grades might falter because of this lack of assistance.

If teachers use homework as additional or extended practice, we should be able to do homework with few, if any, difficulties. Our parents can simply check over our homework. I often get calls from my friends asking me how to complete assignments, and I think about how lucky I am to have parents who can actually help me with my homework.

Second, homework should not exceed two hours per night. Again, Cooper provides recommendations about the length of homework. He says the following p. If we assume that we know how to do the homework we are assigned, we should be able to complete it in a reasonable amount of time.

But consider the schedules of many high school students: We have to make time to eat dinner and complete our chores. Now add on three or more hours of homework a night and you have instant stress, not only for students but also for their families.

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.

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? 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. Maltese and his colleagues did their best to reframe these results to minimize the stunning implications. 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.

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.

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Sep 23,  · 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 2½ hours of homework a night, after which returns diminish.

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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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One of the most frequently cited studies in the field was published in the early s by a researcher named Timothy Keith, who looked at survey results from tens of thousands of high school students and concluded that homework had a positive relationship to achievement, at least at that age. School homework help. Children hate homework. Kids become tired enough during school day and after it they have to deal with home tasks, write essays and papers, solve tests and making exercises. Children spend plenty of time for it and have no other life except studying.

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