For other uses, see Homework (disambiguation).
Homework, or a homework assignment, is a set of tasks assigned to students by their teachers to be completed outside the class. Common homework assignments may include a quantity or period of reading to be performed, writing or typing to be completed, math problems to be solved, material to be reviewed before a test, or other skills to be practiced.
The effect of homework is debated. Generally speaking, homework does not improve academic performance among children and may improve academic skills among older students. It also creates stress for students and their parents and reduces the amount of time that students could spend outdoors, exercising, playing sports, working, sleeping or in other activities.
The basic objectives of assigning homework to students are the same as schooling in general: to increase the knowledge and improve the abilities and skills of the students, to prepare them for upcoming (or complex or difficult) lessons, to extend what they know by having them apply it to new situations, or to integrate their abilities by applying different skills to a single task. Homework also provides an opportunity for parents to participate in their children's education. Homework is designed to reinforce what students have already learned.
Teachers have many purposes for assigning homework including:
- personal development,
- parent–child relations,
- parent–teacher communications,
- peer interactions,
- public relations, and
Homework research dates back to the early 1900s. However, no consensus exists on the general effectiveness on homework. Results of homework studies vary based on multiple factors, such as the age group of those studied and the measure of academic performance.
Among teenagers, students who spend somewhat more time on homework generally have higher grades, and somewhat higher test scores than students who spend less time on homework. Very high amounts of homework cause students' academic performance to worsen, even among older students. Students who are assigned homework in middle and high school score somewhat better on standardized tests, but the students who have 60 to 90 minutes of homework a day in middle school or more than 2 hours in high school score worse.
However, younger students who spend more time on homework generally have slightly worse, or the same academic performance than those who spend less time on homework. Homework does not improve academic achievements for grade school students.
Low-achieving students receive more benefit from doing homework than high-achieving students. However, schoolteachers commonly assign less homework to the students who need it most, and more homework to the students who are performing well.
The amount of homework given does not necessarily affect students' attitudes towards homework and various other aspects of school.
Epstein (1988) found a near-zero correlation between the amount of homework and parents' reports on how well their elementary school students behaved. Vazsonyi & Pickering (2003) studied 809 adolescents in American high schools, and found that, using the Normative Deviance Scale as a model for deviance, the correlation was r = .28 for Caucasian students, and r = .24 for African-American students. For all three of the correlations, higher values represent a higher correlation between time spent on homework and poor conduct.
Bempechat (2004) says that homework develops students' motivation and study skills. In a single study, parents and teachers of middle school students believed that homework improved students' study skills and personal responsibility skills. Their students were more likely to have negative perceptions about homework and were less likely to ascribe the development of such skills to homework.Leone & Richards (1989) found that students generally had negative emotions when completing homework and reduced engagement compared to other activities.
Health and daily life
Homework has been identified in numerous studies and articles as a dominant or significant source of stress and anxiety for students. Studies on the relation between homework and health are few compared to studies on academic performance.
Cheung & Leung-Ngai (1992) surveyed 1,983 students in Hong Kong, and found that homework led not only to added stress and anxiety, but also physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomachaches. Students in the survey who were ridiculed or punished by parents and peers had a higher incidence of depression symptoms, with 2.2% of students reporting that they "always" had suicidal thoughts, and anxiety was exacerbated by punishments and criticism of students by teachers for both problems with homework as well as forgetting to hand in homework.
A 2007 study of American students by MetLife found that 89% of students felt stressed from homework, with 34% reporting that they "often" or "very often" felt stressed from homework. Stress was especially evident among high school students. Students that reported stress from homework were more likely to be deprived of sleep.
Homework can cause tension and conflict in the home as well as at school, and can reduce students' family and leisure time. In the Cheung & Leung-Ngai (1992) survey, failure to complete homework and low grades where homework was a contributing factor was correlated with greater conflict; some students have reported teachers and parents frequently criticizing their work. In the MetLife study, high school students reported spending more time completing homework than performing home tasks.Kohn (2006) argued that homework can create family conflict and reduce students' quality of life. The authors of Sallee & Rigler (2008), both high school English teachers, reported that their homework disrupted their students' extracurricular activities and responsibilities. However, Kiewra et al. (2009) found that parents were less likely to report homework as a distraction from their children's activities and responsibilities. Galloway, Conner & Pope (2013) recommended further empirical study relating to this aspect due to the difference between student and parent observations.
Galloway, Conner & Pope (2013) surveyed 4,317 high school students from ten high-performing schools, and found that students reported spending more than 3 hours on homework daily. 72% of the students reported stress from homework, and 82% reported physical symptoms. The students slept an average of 6 hours 48 minutes, lower than the recommendations prescribed by various health agencies.
A study done at the University of Michigan in 2007 concluded that the amount of homework given is increasing. In a sample taken of students between the ages of 6 and 9 years, it was shown that students spend more than 2 hours a week on homework, as opposed to 44 minutes in 1981.
Some educators argue that homework is beneficial to students, as it enhances learning, develops the skills taught in class, and lets educators verify that students comprehend their lessons. Proponents also argue that homework makes it more likely that students will develop and maintain proper study habits that they can use throughout their educational career.
Historically, homework was frowned upon in American culture. With few students interested in higher education, and due to the necessity to complete daily chores, homework was discouraged not only by parents, but also by school districts. In 1901, the California legislature passed an act that effectively abolished homework for those who attended kindergarten through the eighth grade. But, in the 1950s, with increasing pressure on the United States to stay ahead in the Cold War, homework made a resurgence, and children were encouraged to keep up with their Russian counterparts. By the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the consensus in American education was overwhelmingly in favor of issuing homework to students of all grade levels.
British students get more homework than many other countries in Europe. The weekly average for the subject is 5 hours. The main distinction for UK homework is the social gap, with middle-class teenagers getting a disproportionate amount of homework compared to Asia and Europe.
In 2012, a report by the OECD showed that Spanish children spend 6.4 hours a week on homework. This prompted the CEAPA, representing 12,000 parent associations to call for a homework strike.
Notes and references
Effectiveness of homework
- Cooper, Harris; Robinson, Jorgianne C.; Patall, Erika A. (2006). "Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, 1987-2003". Review of Educational Research. 76 (1): 1–62. doi:10.3102/00346543076001001.
- Epstein, Joyce L. (1988), "Homework practices, achievements, and behaviors of elementary school students", Center for Research on Elementary and Middle Schools
- Trautwein, Ulrich; Köller, Olaf (2003). "The Relationship Between Homework and Achievement—Still Much of a Mystery". Educational Psychology Review. 15 (2): 115–145. doi:10.1023/A:1023460414243.
- Vazsonyi, Alexander T.; Pickering, Lloyd E. (2003). "The Importance of Family and School Domains in Adolescent Deviance: African American and Caucasian Youth". Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 32 (2): 115–128. doi:10.1023/A:1021857801554.
Homework and non-academic effects
- Bauwens, Jeanne; Hourcade, Jack J. (1992). "School-Based Sources of Stress Among Elementary and Secondary At-Risk Students". The School Counselor. 40 (2): 97–102.
- Bempechat, Janine (2004). "The Motivational Benefits of Homework: A Social-Cognitive Perspective". Theory In Practice. 43 (3): 189–196. doi:10.1353/tip.2004.0029.
- Cheung, S. K.; Leung-Ngai, J. M. Y. (1992). "Impact of homework stress on children's physical and psychological well-being"(PDF). Journal of the Hong Kong Medical Association. 44 (3): 146–150.
- Conner, Jerusha; Pope, Denise; Galloway, Mollie (2009). "Success with Less Stress". Health and Learning. 67 (4): 54–58.
- Cooper, Robinsin & Patall (2006, pp. 46–48)
- Galloway, Mollie; Conner, Jerusha; Pope, Denise (2013). "Nonacademic Effects of Homework in Privileged, High-Performing High Schools". The Journal of Experimental Education. 81 (4): 490–510. doi:10.1080/00220973.2012.745469.
- Hardy, Lawrence (2003). "Overburdened, Overwhelmed". American School Board Journal. 190: 18–23.
- Kiewra, Kenneth A; Kaufman, Douglas F.; Hart, Katie; Scoular, Jacqui; Brown, Marissa; Keller, Gwendolyn; Tyler, Becci (2009). "What Parents, Researchers, and the Popular Press Have to Say About Homework". scholarlypartnershipsedu. 4 (1): 93–109.
- Kouzma, Nadya M.; Kennedy, Gerard A. (2002). "Homework, stress, and mood disturbance in senior high school students"(PDF). Psychological Reports. 91 (1): 193–198. doi:10.2466/pr0.2002.91.1.193. PMID 12353781.
- Leone, Carla M.; Richards, H. (1989). "Classwork and homework in early adolescence: The ecology of achievement". Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 18 (6): 531–548. doi:10.1007/BF02139072. PMID 24272124.
- Markow, Dana; Kim, Amie; Liebman, Margot (2007), The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: The homework experience(PDF), Metropolitan Life Insurance Foundation
- Sallee, Buffy; Rigler, Neil (2008). "Doing Our Homework on Homework: How Does Homework Help?". The English Journal. 98 (2): 46–51.
- West, Charles K.; Wood, Edward S. (1970). "Academic Pressures on Public School Students". Educational Leadership. 3 (4): 585–589.
- Xu, Jianzhong; Yuan, Ruiping (2003). "Doing homework: Listening to students', parents', and teachers' voices in one urban middle school community". School Community Journal. 13 (2): 25–44.
- Ystgaard, M. (1997). "Life stress, social support and psychological distress in late adolescence". Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 32 (5): 277–283. doi:10.1007/BF00789040. PMID 9257518.
- Duke Study: Homework Helps Students Succeed in School, As Long as There Isn't Too Much
- The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It by Sarah Bennett & Nancy Kalish (2006) Discusses in detail assessments of studies on homework and the authors' own research and assessment of the homework situation in the United States. Has specific recommendations and sample letters to be used in negotiating a reduced homework load for your child.
- Closing the Book on Homework: Enhancing Public Education and Freeing Family Time by John Buell (2004)
- The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents by Harris Cooper (2007)
- The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing by Alfie Kohn (2006)
- The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning by Etta Kralovec and John Buell (2000)
|Look up homework in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Homework.|
- ^Synthesis of research on homework. H Cooper - Educational leadership, 1989 - addison.pausd.org
- ^Needlmen, Robert. "Homework: The Rules of the Game".
- ^Epstein, Joyce L.; Voorhis, Frances L. Van (2001-09-01). "More Than Minutes: Teachers' Roles in Designing Homework". Educational Psychologist. 36 (3): 181–193. doi:10.1207/S15326985EP3603_4. ISSN 0046-1520.
- ^Wallis, Claudia (August 29, 2006). "The Myth About Homework". Time Online.
- ^ abCoughlan, Sean (2016-09-28). "Is homework worth the hassle?". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
- ^Bauwens & Hourcade (1992), Conner & Denise (2009), Hardy (2003), Kouzma & Kennedy (2002), West & Wood (1970), Ystgaard (1997).
- ^Seligman, Katherine (1999-12-19). "Parents: Too much homework". Hearst Communications Inc. Retrieved 2013-06-03.
- ^ abGrohnke, Kennedy, and Jake Merritt. "Do Kids Need Homework?" ScholasticNews/ Weekly Reader Edition 5/6, vol. 85, no. 3, 2016, pp. 7.
- ^"History of Homework". The San Francisco Chronicle. 1999-12-20. Retrieved 2007-03-24.
- ^Coughlan, Sean (11 December 2014). "UK families' 'long homework hours'". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- ^Marsh, Sarah (2 November 2016). "Parents in the UK and abroad: do your children get set too much homework?". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
NEW YORK — Robert Stewart, the man behind the "Ask Dr. Bob" Web service, is glad to answer any questions students may have about oceans.
But he draws the line when students ask him to complete entire homework assignments. When one e-mailed a list of 10 questions from an assignment on octopuses, he replied simply with a link to a Web site about them.
It's all in a day's work for Stewart, a Texas A&M University oceanography professor who responds to questions from teachers and other adults, too.
Stewart is one of scores of experts from academia, government and elsewhere offering free advice to students needing homework help — as long as they're motivated by curiosity and aren't merely lazy.
"I find a lot of very curious students out there who really have an interest and are trying to find out something to arouse their curiosity," said Stewart, who gets a $100,000 a year grant from NASA to run the service and his OceanWorld Web site.
Henry Fliegler gets no such funding, yet he's no less dedicated to helping students around the world with math problems. He spends about three hours daily answering 25 or so questions, up from three or four when he started in 1996.
The retired engineer from Orange, Calif., said he gets enough reward from the "17 jillion responses of thank you notes," including one declaring him "my math God."
"It doesn't get any better than that," Fliegler said.
Among his favorite questions is one from a second-grader who asked whether it's OK to count with her fingers (Yes, as long as the answer isn't more than 10). He also hears from adults, including an Italian math professor who wanted him to critique a paper on a new number theory (He suggested contacting wiser folks at Princeton).
Rosalie Baker, a former Latin teacher who now edits a nine-issue-a-year archaeology magazine for children called dig, said she's happy that students with assignments "are not just looking at a book on archaeology and giving some rote answer."
Students can also turn to for-fee services.
AskMeNow will launch a mobile service this fall in which people can call or message in a simple question and receive a text reply on their phones within a few minutes. More than 10,000 are now participating in a free test, and the company eventually plans to charge up to 49 cents a question, possibly less for students.
Google Inc. offers the Google Answers service, in which users are matched with researchers willing to conduct online searches for a fee. Though a credit card is required, Google says parents sometimes sign up for their kids.
Google also runs ads from companies offering to complete homework assignments, including one promising to "solve hard problems" for a recommended $20 a problem. "Why not pay us to do your homework?" the ad teases.
Such come-ons hint at some of the downsides with homework help services.
For one, students have to evaluate them for credibility, as the Internet allows anyone to claim expertise. Services offered by universities and government agencies, for instance, may be more reliable than a commercial service with little information about its operators.
And because many of the free services are run by volunteers, responses can take days, weeks or even months. Baker said she saves the best questions for her magazine, meaning students with an assignment due in five minutes may be out of luck.
Many services stopped as more people found out about them because the volunteers simply got overwhelmed, said Joshua Koen, who tracks such resources at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J.
Students should think twice before submitting a question and make sure it's not something — such as what "NASA" stands for — easily answered elsewhere, he said.
No student shortcut
The common complaint from those running such services relate to students who see them as shortcuts to doing the work.
"Some will say, 'Show me how to do this step by step,'" said Sally Illman, an online math and physics tutor at Elluminate, which offers free services for customers of certain textbooks and for-fee tutoring for others. "Some people come in thinking they will just watch a movie and see someone doing their homework for them."
But Illman said many students are glad to devote the time once they adjust their expectations.
Some commercial services have shied from such offerings completely.
Scholastic Inc. opted to focus on teaching students good research methods rather than providing answers.
"Learning is not about immediate answers," said Seth Radwell, president of Scholastic's online division. "It's about figuring out how to get better at research and organization."
America Online Inc. recently discontinued a bulletin board where students could post questions, opting instead to let visitors search for answers prepared ahead of time on frequently asked topics.
"It's more efficient," said Jennifer Maffett, director of AOL's Research and Learn unit. "It's the way we can reach the most kids."
Some services, including AskMeNow and Webmath.com, blend automated responses with human-generated answers to serve more users.
Ken Leebow, an author who visits schools to educate parents and teachers on Internet resources, also suggests that students look through answers to frequently asked questions that many sites cull.
Fliegler, for instance, has a page with the basics on fractions, decimals and percentages and suggests that students check there first.
But for tougher questions, the 82-year-old Fliegler said he will keep giving individual responses "as long as I can stay alive and stay alert. It's good mental exercise for me at this stage of the game."
And if he's not helping students with homework? "I'd drive my wife nuts doing all kinds of things," he said.
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