Research Trends: Why Homework Should Be Balanced
It is surprising that there is not a straightforward solution given that the typical high school student spends almost seven hours per week on homework. It is a commonly held belief that homework, particularly for younger students, may do more harm than good, despite the fact that it is widely acknowledged as an efficient way to help students retain the information they have learned in class.
According to the findings of the research:
In general, high school students reap the greatest benefits from having homework, while middle school students see diminishing returns on their investment, and elementary school students see virtually none (Cooper, 1989; Cooper et al., 2006).
While there may be academic benefits to assigning homework, there is also the possibility that it will interfere with important personal and family time (Cooper et al., 2006).
According to Fernández-Alonso et al. (2015), giving students an excessive amount of homework can have a negative impact on their academic performance.
The ability of a student to finish their homework may be contingent on factors that are beyond that student’s control (Cooper et al., 2006; OECD, 2014; Eren & Henderson, 2011).
The objective shouldn’t be to do away with homework entirely, but rather to ensure that it is genuine, significant, and interesting (Darling-Hammond & Ifill-Lynch, 2006).
Why Homework Should Be Balanced
Having homework to complete can be beneficial to one’s education, but doing too much of it can be counterproductive. Both the National PTA and the National Education Association stand behind the “10-minute homework rule,” which suggests that students should spend no more than 10 minutes on their homework each night, regardless of their grade level (10 minutes for first grade, 20 minutes for second grade, and so on, up to two hours for 12th grade) (Cooper, 2010). According to a study that was conducted not too long ago (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-lvarez, & Muiz, 2015), it was discovered that when middle school students were given more than 90–100 minutes of homework per day, their scores in mathematics and science began to decline. It is in everyone’s best interest to avoid the situation in which students become exhausted, stressed out, and lose interest in their academic pursuits because they have too much homework.
Homework Pros and Cons
It has been shown that students who regularly complete their assigned homework have higher academic performance, better study skills, and stronger connections with their schools. On the other hand, it may cause a loss of interest in academics, exhaustion, and a reduction in the amount of quality time spent with one’s family and friends.
Grade Level Makes a Difference
In spite of the fact that most people take sides in the “it works” versus “it doesn’t work” debate regarding homework, studies have shown that different grade levels have different effects. The majority of the positive effects of homework are typically seen in high school students, with middle school students receiving approximately half of the benefits, and elementary school students receiving very few positive effects (Cooper et al., 2006). It is counterproductive to give young students a lot of homework while they are still developing study habits like concentration and self-regulation, so teachers should avoid doing this.
Parents Should Be Supportive, Not Intrusive
Not only does well-designed homework improve student learning, but it also offers ways to create connections between a student’s family and the school where the student is enrolled. Parents gain insight into what their children are learning through homework, opportunities to talk with their children about their education, and assistance in initiating conversations with their children’s schools about ways to support student learning (Walker et al., 2004).
On the other hand, student learning may suffer when parents are too involved. According to research conducted by Patall, Cooper, and Robinson (2008), students’ academic performance suffered when their parents were viewed as being overly intrusive or controlling. Because of the importance of motivation in the learning process, parents can unintentionally do more harm than good if they do not provide their children with sufficient independence and space to complete their schoolwork.
Homework Across the Globe
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which is responsible for creating the international PISA test, released a report in 2014 that investigated the practise of assigning homework in different countries. According to what they discovered, 15-year-olds all over the world spend an average of five hours per week on their homework (the U.S. average is about six hours). Surprisingly, countries such as Finland and Singapore spend less time on homework than the global average (two to three hours per week) but still perform well on the PISA. According to the report, these nations have developed support systems that enable students to rely less on their homework in order to achieve academic success. If a country such as the United States were to reduce the amount of homework that is given to students in high school, it is highly likely that students’ test scores would fall, unless additional support was provided.
Homework Is About Quality, Not Quantity
The Amount of Homework Is Not as Important as Its Quality
Whether you are in favour of or opposed to assigning homework, it is important to keep in mind that research can provide a general idea of which methods are effective and which are not, and that an experienced teacher can make almost anything successful. It is not a question of whether or not students should have homework; rather, the question that needs to be asked is, “How can we transform homework so that it is engaging, relevant, and supports learning?”