When Cooper and his associates looked at recent studies in which the time spent on homework was reported by students, and then compared them with studies in which that estimate was provided by their parents, the results were quite different.
These first two flaws combine to cast doubt on much of the existing data, according to a damning summary that appears in the Encyclopedia of Educational Research: Homework studies confuse grades and test scores with learning.
Each is seriously flawed in its own way. In the second kind of study, course grades are used to determine whether homework made a difference. Any given assignment may well be given two different grades by two equally qualified teachers — and may even be given two different grades by a single teacher who reads it at two different times. The final course grade, moreover, is based on a combination of these individual marks, along with other, even less well defined considerations.
The same teacher who handed out the assignments then turns around and evaluates the students who completed them. The final grade a teacher chooses for a student will often be based at least partly on whether, and to what extent, that student did the homework. Thus, to say that more homework is associated with better school performance as measured by grades is to provide no useful information about whether homework is intrinsically valuable.
Yet grades are the basis for a good number of the studies that are cited to defend that very conclusion.
The studies that use grades as the outcome measure, not surprisingly, tend to show a much stronger effect for homework than studies that use standardized test scores. Cooper and his colleagues conducted a study in with both younger and older students from grades 2 through 12 , using both grades and standardized test scores to measure achievement. They also looked at how much homework was assigned by the teacher as well as at how much time students spent on their homework.
Thus, there were eight separate results to be reported. The last, and most common, way of measuring achievement is to use standardized test scores. They are, however, excellent indicators of two things. The first is affluence: Up to 90 percent of the difference in scores among schools, communities, or even states can be accounted for, statistically speaking, without knowing anything about what happened inside the classrooms.
The second phenomenon that standardized tests measure is how skillful a particular group of students is at taking standardized tests — and, increasingly, how much class time has been given over to preparing them to do just that.
In my experience, teachers can almost always identify several students who do poorly on standardized tests even though, by more authentic and meaningful indicators, they are extremely talented thinkers.
These anecdotal reports have been corroborated by research that finds a statistically significant positive relationship between a shallow or superficial approach to learning, on the one hand, and high scores on various standardized tests, on the other.
To that extent, students cannot really demonstrate what they know or what they can do with what they know. Multiple-choice tests are basically designed so that many kids who understand a given idea will be tricked into picking the wrong answer. Instead, its primary purpose is to artificially spread out the scores in order to facilitate ranking students against each other. Moreover, the selection of questions for these tests is informed by this imperative to rank. Thus, items that a lot of students answer correctly or incorrectly are typically eliminated — regardless of whether the content is important — and replaced with questions that about half the kids will get right.
This is done in order to make it easier to compare students to one another. In the latter case, a high or rising average test score may actually be a reason to worry.
Every hour that teachers spend preparing kids to succeed on standardized tests, even if that investment pays off, is an hour not spent helping kids to become critical, curious, creative thinkers. The limitations of these tests are so numerous and so serious that studies showing an association between homework and higher scores are highly misleading.
The fact that more meaningful outcomes are hard to quantify does not make test scores or grades any more valid, reliable, or useful as measures. To use them anyway calls to mind the story of the man who looked for his lost keys near a streetlight one night not because that was where he dropped them but just because the light was better there.
Even taken on its own terms, the research turns up some findings that must give pause to anyone who thinks homework is valuable. Homework matters less the longer you look. The longer the duration of a homework study, the less of an effect the homework is shown to have.
The studies finding the greatest effect were those that captured less of what goes on in the real world by virtue of being so brief. Even where they do exist, positive effects are often quite small. The same was true of a large-scale high school study from the s. There is no evidence of any academic benefit from homework in elementary school. The absence of evidence supporting the value of homework before high school is generally acknowledged by experts in the field — even those who are far less critical of the research literature and less troubled by the negative effects of homework than I am.
But this remarkable fact is rarely communicated to the general public. In , Cooper summarized the available research with a sentence that ought to be e-mailed to every parent, teacher, and administrator in the country: It, too, found minuscule correlations between the amount of homework done by sixth graders, on the one hand, and their grades and test scores, on the other.
For third graders, the correlations were negative: He was kind enough to offer the citations, and I managed to track them down. The point was to see whether children who did math homework would perform better on a quiz taken immediately afterward that covered exactly the same content as the homework. The third study tested 64 fifth graders on social studies facts. All three of these experiments found exactly what you would expect: The kids who had drilled on the material — a process that happened to take place at home — did better on their respective class tests.
The final study, a dissertation project, involved teaching a lesson contained in a language arts textbook. It seems safe to say that these latest four studies offer no reason to revise the earlier summary statement that no meaningful evidence exists of an academic advantage for children in elementary school who do homework.
The correlation only spikes at or above grade A large correlation is necessary, in other words, but not sufficient. Indeed, I believe it would be a mistake to conclude that homework is a meaningful contributor to learning even in high school.
Remember that Cooper and his colleagues found a positive effect only when they looked at how much homework high school students actually did as opposed to how much the teacher assigned and only when achievement was measured by the grades given to them by those same teachers.
All of the cautions, qualifications, and criticisms in this chapter, for that matter, are relevant to students of all ages. Students who take this test also answer a series of questions about themselves, sometimes including how much time they spend on homework.
For any number of reasons, one might expect to find a reasonably strong association between time spent on homework and test scores. Yet the most striking result, particularly for elementary students, is precisely the absence of such an association.
Consider the results of the math exam. Fourth graders who did no homework got roughly the same score as those who did 30 minutes a night. Remarkably, the scores then declined for those who did 45 minutes, then declined again for those who did an hour or more! In twelfth grade, the scores were about the same regardless of whether students did only 15 minutes or more than an hour.
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: Those that have not grasped the material are not going to learn it by doing an assignment at home.
If a student does not understand a particular concept when it is explained, that same student is not going to get an epiphany while doing homework for that subject.
The point of school is that you're learning. You should not have to teach yourself concepts and learn outside o school on your free time. Kids should not be learning from their homework but using it to practice skills they've learned in class.
All too often children will come home with a boatload of homework with concepts they don't understand. This leads to kids not doing their homework because they don't understand it and don't have the time to figure it out or have a parent help them.
I think a majority of the time teachers give out homework because they are on a set plan and they don't have enough time to teach all of the concepts they are required to. Homework should only be given out when extra practice is needed to help with a skill or prepare for a test. When you walk out of school you shouldn't need to do more work. If school isn't a place for fun then home isn't a place for work. Why don't all the students just take out a pillow and sleep in class?
For the students who like outdoor games they should start throwing a football in class. Homework is a pain in the butt. No kid wants to go home and say they have homework to their parents. Especially on a Friday.
They don't want to use a perfect Saturday to figure out the mass of his shoe, or write a word essay. They want to go out with friends and family. They want to sleep. They want to play with the family pet. Homework today is a quantity over quality thing. From where I stand as a student it's less about reinforcing concepts that need it of if I understand the material, and more about whether I can keep up with the workload, which is often massive and overly complicated or arbitrary.
It's painful because the homework is easy to do, it's just too much to complete these days: I do believe that everything taught in the class needs to be reinforced, but the way it's being done now is not an effective measure. As John Dewey would say in his article "Thinking in Education" subjects need to be reinforced with real world application, not pluralistic assignments, or cut and paste facts. If you want to know a fact, google it If you want to understand a subject, apply it to the real world around us, and work on coming up with answers on your own terms.
Students are not being taught how to be independent thinkers with homework, they're being taught how to reference material easily accessed with today's technology. So, if there must be homework, it should be more along the lines of taking the parents grocery bill and calculate the average expense, or read a news article, and articulate a counter argument.
Becasuse student take it as an pressure. He don't take interest in it. So due to this they waste their time for doing copy from book. Insted of this if they utilise this time for doing study they can get more chance to success. So i think that homework have no matter in the students learn.
Homework is usually given so that students learn while writing. But the pressure of completing h. W is more than studying itself. It takes the student's mind off studies.
If the students do the homework without refering to their books, then they are actually learning and using their minds. But they almost always copy from their books, which makes them more of a copycat than a student. If the time given for hw can be utilised by the students for studying, then they have a better chance of scoring well.
Most teacher are just throwing a bunch of crap on the kids to do which is unfair to the children. The students could be doing other things like studying and practicing for sports, but NOOOOO they have to do homework. Either get rid of home work or put more time into making it. Sign In Sign Up.
Add a New Topic. Does homework help students learn? New to Old Created: Old to New Likes: Most to Least Likes: Least to Most Replies: Most to Least Replies: Homework wastes time Sometimes homework takes hours and hours to do , and it even wastes your time for having fun and relaxing from school.
2. Do we really know how much homework kids do? The studies claiming that homework helps are based on the assumption that we can accurately measure the number and length of assignments. But many of these studies depend on students to tell us how much homework they get (or complete).
Since , educators around the world have conducted studies to answer a simple question: Does homework help or hinder a student’s ability to learn? As simple as the question seems to be, the answer is quite complex. So many variables affect student achievement.
For better or worse, homework is on the rise in the United States. A survey done through the University of Michigan found that by the ’03 school year, students ages 6 to 17 were doing twice as much homework as in ’ Sometimes homework takes hours and hours to do, and it even wastes your time for having fun and relaxing from school. School is from am until pm and when your back home you got only 3h left. Homework gives lots of stress and pain. Homework is useless, .
Does homework help improve learning? Do your children ask you for homework help? Do you sometimes question why they need to do so much homework? Children of all ages are bringing home all sorts of homework assignments these days. Perhaps your child has . Sep 14, · Homework definitely helps me learn. By the time i get home from school some subjects become unfamiliar and homework help reinforce what i learned in class. Better students do their homework and teachers recognize that frequently. Repetition of your homework also helps memorize which you could benefit from on tests and other classwork activities.