He and his colleagues have found that teachers typically give take-home assignments that are unhelpful busy work.Assigning homework "appeared to be a remedial strategy (a consequence of not covering topics in class, exercises for students struggling, a way to supplement poor quality educational settings), and not an advancement strategy (work designed to accelerate, improve or get students to excel)," Le Tendre wrote in an email.For instance, Shanghai and Singapore, where students spent much of their time on homework, came in first and second respectively in the Pisa mathematics test in 2012.
The same correlation is also seen when comparing homework time and test performance at schools within countries.
Past studies have also demonstrated this basic trend.
"But (the report) also doesn't give any indication of the subjects the time is spent on, or the nature of homework, so it's hard to draw any conclusions from this." Prof Tan added that although students in South Korea and Japan were ranked low in the number of homework hours in this survey, they were not "learning any less".
"Their students spend long hours after school in cram schools similar to tuition centres, called juku in Japan and hagwon in Korea," he said.
Most homework's neutral or negative impact on students' academic performance implies there are better ways for them to spend their after school hours than completing worksheets. According to Le Tendre, learning to play a musical instrument orparticipating in clubs and sports all seem beneficial, but there's no one answer that applies to everyone."These after-school activities have much more diffuse goals than single subject test scores," he wrote.
Students in Singapore are among the world's most hard- working at home, clocking the third-longest time spent on homework, a report released this month has found.
The report was based on results from a questionnaire in 2012 for the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), a test to measure academic achievement for 15-year-olds. They were asked questions about their school environment, families and attitudes towards subjects and school.
The study found that students who did more homework scored higher in Pisa.
[Kids Believe Literally Everything They Read Online, Even Tree Octopuses]This type of remedial homework tends to produce marginally lower test scores compared with children who are not given the work.
Even the helpful, advancing kind of assignments ought to be limited; Harris Cooper, a professor of education at Duke University, has recommended that students be given no more than 10 to 15 minutes of homework per night in second grade, with an increase of no more than 10 to 15 minutes in each successive year.