Each day, especially in the higher grades, students are assigned homework to complete and return to school for the teacher to grade. Some students complain that homework is just a hassle and has no benefits, while others diligently do their homework in hopes of improving or maintaining grades. Even though homework can have some negative effects, it also has a positive impact on students.
According to a study at East Carolina University, one of the main purposes of assigning homework is to help students retain what they have learned in school. While some students find the time to complete their homework during the school day, many others end up taking it home at night. Some students find the homework repetitive to what they did at school; however, repetition is a key tool in learning material. Homework is meant to cover what the students learned in the class that day to help them retain it.
Impact by Grade Level
Psychologist Harris Cooper at the University of Missouri completed studies that show that the older a student is, the greater the positive impact homework has. For instance, when a child is in high school, homework is at its peak for effectiveness. However, when that student was in middle school, homework was only half as effective, and at the elementary level, it had only one-quarter of the effectiveness, if any. In addition, the amount of homework that is appropriate changes, ranging from 10 to 20 minutes for young children up to a couple of hours for high school students.
In addition to complementing and reinforcing the material the students learn in school, homework offers an opportunity to develop responsibility. While the students are at school, the teacher is there to ensure they are doing their work. However, in the home, the parents are also there, but they have things to do as well and are less likely to hover while children do their homework. This gives the students the responsibility of ensuring their work is done. If the student chooses not to do her homework, she is the one who suffers the consequences.
According to Missouri's Cooper, homework also helps give parents an appreciation of the education their children receive while encouraging parental involvement. Some parents step in to either help with homework or check it over when the child is done, but not every parent does this. Those parents who do help with homework or at least ensure that it is completed, are more likely to become involved in other areas of the school day. For those parents who are not typically involved, homework gives them an opportunity to know what is going on in school and to spend time with their child.
Because homework in the lower grades has very little impact on the academic success of the student, some may wonder why it is necessary. However, as the students move on to the higher grade levels, the need to study to get good grades increases. Therefore, it is important to establish good study habits at an early age. During Cooper's studies, he discovered that working on homework after school helps students get into the habit of studying and helps each student develop a study pattern that works for him.
- Cultural Inquiry Process: Homework: To Do or Not To Do?; Elizabeth Yeow
- University of Minnesota: Homework Research and Policy: A Review of the Literature; Harris Cooper
- StateUniversity.com: Homework -- Purpose, Public Attitudes Toward Homework, the Positive and Negative Effects of Homework, Extensiveness of Homework
- East Carolina University: The Role of Homework in Student Learning Outcomes: Evidence from a Field Experiment; Andrew Grodner and Nicholas G. Rupp
- University of Maine: Homework: A Literature Review; Julie Hancock
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