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Parental concerns about their children’s homework loads are nothing new.Debates over the merits of homework—tasks that teachers ask students to complete during non-instructional time—have ebbed and flowed since the late 19th century, and today its value is again being scrutinized and weighed against possible negative impacts on family life and children’s well-being. In some middle-class and affluent communities, where pressure on students to achieve can be fierce, yes.
As the educational psychologist Lyn Corno wrote more than two decades ago, “homework is a complicated thing.” Most research on the homework-achievement connection is correlational, which precludes a definitive judgment on its academic benefits.
Researchers rely on correlational research in this area of study given the difficulties of randomly assigning students to homework/no-homework conditions.
As noted above, findings on the homework-achievement connection at the elementary level are mixed.
A small number of experimental studies have demonstrated that elementary-school students who receive homework achieve at higher levels than those who do not.
Overall, high-school students relate that they spend less than one hour per day on homework, on average, and only 42 percent say they do it five days per week.
In one recent survey by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a minimal 13 percent of 17-year-olds said they had devoted more than two hours to homework the previous evening (see Figure 1).We also use this information to show you ads for similar films you may like in the future.Like Oath, our partners may also show you ads that they think match your interests.While correlation does not imply causality, extensive research has established that at the middle- and high-school levels, homework completion is strongly and positively associated with high achievement.Very few studies have reported a negative correlation.It can prepare children to confront ever-more-complex tasks, develop resilience in the face of difficulty, and learn to embrace rather than shy away from challenge.In short, homework is a key vehicle through which we can help shape children into mature learners.Recent years have seen an increase in the amount of homework assigned to students in grades K–2, and critics point to research findings that, at the elementary-school level, homework does not appear to enhance children’s learning.Why, then, should we burden young children and their families with homework if there is no academic benefit to doing it?Suzanne Capek Tingley started as a high school English/Spanish teacher, transitioned to middle school, and eventually became a principal, superintendent, and adjunct professor in education administration at the State University of New York.She is the author of the funny, but practical book for teachers, How to Handle Difficult Parents (Prufrock Press).