Should Students Have Homework Assignments?

Should Students Have Homework Assignments?

Some years back, it seemed like students were the only loudest voice against having to do homework. However, parents and teachers had a contrary view believing that assigning homework was one of the best ways of learning. This led to much research into the practice, and it looks like there are still conflicting views. While some studies have shown that homework indeed improves learning, others say it affects students’ physical and mental health. The conflicting views have opened arguments between proponents and people opposed to assignments.

What does research say about homework?

Duke professor Harris Cooper believes assigning students with homework is very important. According to his analysis of the practice, there is a link between homework and academic success, especially at the higher grades. 

Therefore, he recommends what he calls a “10-minute rule,” which stipulates that first-grade kids should receive 10 minutes of homework a day, and it is increased by 10 minutes each at every subsequent year. Consequently, by the twelfth-grade, students should expect to complete about 120 minutes of homework per night.

However, the limitation of Cooper’s study is that it couldn’t prove that students performed better because of homework. All it talked about is the link between them. In essence, it could mean that students who do homework are brilliant; hence, they perform well in school. 

Other researchers believe that the concentration shouldn’t be on whether students should receive homework, but the quality of homework and how much it should be. According to them, homework can only be useful if it addresses the students’ needs. To this effect, some middle school teachers have experimented with online math homework that is altered to suit each student’s learning ability, which has proven to be successful. But, when these same students were given more than an hour and 30 minutes of homework, their math and science scores declined.

Research by Indiana University showed that standardized test grades might improve for students who do science and math homework, but this doesn’t reflect in course grades whether they did homework or not. Therefore, they concluded that homework doesn’t improve content mastery but creates familiarity with what students can expert in standardized tests. 

Homework Bans

Based on research, some schools have begun to eliminate homework at the elementary level. A year ago, public schools in Marion County, Florida, adopted a no-homework policy at the elementary grades. They instead replaced it with a 20-minute nightly reading. Superintendent Heidi Maier cited Cooper’s research, which shows homework doesn’t benefit elementary students. 

The policy has been replicated by schools like Orchard Elementary School in South Burlington, Vermont that has replaced homework with reading at lower grades. Their approach includes a nightly reading, minutes of play, dinner with family, and a good night’s sleep.

Conclusion 

The answer to whether students should have homework or not depends on many factors. Yes, you can eliminate home tasks for lower grade students, but that wouldn’t be possible for higher grades. It, therefore, behooves teachers to weigh the kinds of assignments they give. They should always find a balance between the number of tasks and their quality.


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