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Students debate homework loads

Homework plays crucial role in effective learning

By Joseph Valencia ’17

Homework remains one of the most dreaded aspects of school, but most people realize to some degree that it has a role to play in learning.

According to a study by Duke University, homework significantly helps students learn the material they are studying, especially students in high school.

“With only rare exception, the relationship between the amount of homework students do and their achievement outcomes was found to be positive and statistically significant,” the researchers report in a paper that appears in the spring 2012 edition of Review of Educational Research.

However, the Duke study also discussed how overloading students with homework can be detrimental to their learning abilities.

In a separate study in 2008, Harris Cooper, an educational psychologist, performed a meta-analysis, which is the summation of various sources of data.

Cooper’s results showed that 70 percent of the comparisons associated homework with higher achievement.

Personally, I feel that homework provides students with an opportunity to practice and further learn the material discussed in class. Without the obligation that homework provides, many students probably wouldn’t take the time to review the material.

Homework also acts as an effective way to teach students time management, which is a skill needed for life beyond school.

Schools that have a homework-free curriculum are depriving their students of the chance to build effective study habits. This absence of study habits will only lead to students faltering later on, possibly in college and the workforce.

Another often overlooked benefit of homework is the possibility of gaining points and boosting your class grade. Homework has made the difference between an A and a B grade for me in numerous classes.

Homework has many benefits, but it must be used by teachers in moderation, as previously mentioned in Cooper’s analysis. There is too much of a good thing.

Assigning too much homework to students can lead to them forgetting crucial information in their struggle to cram and finish their work.

At the same time, too little homework, or no homework, can lead to students not getting enough practice and review.

Though many students dread their nightly homework, its benefits outweigh its negative effects.

More homework shows diminishing returns, stressful nights

By Reece M. Krantz ’16

The homework debate has been raging for decades with no end in sight.

On one hand there are the proponents of homework who swear by its benefits and efficacy.

On the other hand we have the detractors who would like schools to end the practice of giving homework.

Among the proponents there is also the burning question of just how much homework should be given. Parents, educators, students and indeed the general public have all been deeply divided over the homework issue for a long time.  

It seems as though the numbers of detractors are slowly growing.  Some schools in the United States and elsewhere have a no homework policy.

I think that homework should be limited in length and scope because of there many studies that show zero correlation to test scores and the amount of homework assigned.

Students should learn the same amount from six hours of homework as from at least one hour of homework.

But just how much is too much homework? According to the study, more than two hours of homework a night may be counterproductive.

Denise Pope, a senior lecturer at the Stanford University School of Education and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education, has found that too much homework has negative effects on well-being and behavior. What’s more, the negative effects can extend to students’ lives outside of school, including family, friends and other activities.

“Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good,” Pope said in an interview with Healthline.
The researchers studied 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities (median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college). Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues interviewed the students about their views on homework.

Students in these schools complete an average about 3.1 hours of homework each night. Students who did more hours of homework experienced greater behavioral engagement in school, but they also experienced more academic stress, physical health problems and lack of balance in their lives.

While having less homework can benefit a student, homework does have some objective benefits.

Homework helps to consolidate and clarify what was learned during the school day.

It gives practice with content, concepts and skills.

It can teach self-discipline, time management and research skills.

These benefits provided by homework have diminishing returns as the amount increases. The difference between an average of one hours to three hour is monumental in stress and well-being.

Speaking from personal experience, the nights I have more than three or even four ours of homework are extremely difficult and I feel drained the next day.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, whenever I have an hour or less of homework, I am more sociable and can get to extracurriculars on time and completed.

Less homework means less stress and more community involvement for me. The amount of time and energy saved can be used for so many differing things, such as music or debate.

Now this is not to say that zero homework is the way of the future.

I do think we need some standard to measure and make sure students are learning.

But studies clearly show that too much of anything is bad for mental and physical abilities.

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