Homework: is it worth it?
Overall, homework does appear to result in higher levels of achievement for older students (at the secondary level).
For these students, more time spent on homework is associated with higher levels of achievement, although there is probably a level beyond which more is counterproductive (perhaps at three hours a day).
For students aged 11-13, homework appears to be of benefit, but not to the same degree as for older students.
For these students, spending more than an hour or two on homework does not result in greater benefit.
There is little evidence of benefit for students younger than 11, although it can be plausibly argued that small amounts of homework can have an indirect benefit for promoting good study habits and attitudes to learning.
The Suggested Benefits of Homework
The most obvious presumed benefit of homework is, of course, that it will improve students’ understanding and retention of the material covered. However, partly because this (most measurable) benefit has not been consistently demonstrated, it has also been assumed that homework has less direct benefits:
• improving study skills, especially time management
• teaching students that learning can take place outside the classroom
• involving parents
• promoting responsibility and self-discipline
The Possible Negative Effects of Homework
Probably the most obvious negative effect is the stress homework can produce in both student and parent. Homework can be a major battleground between parent and child, and in such cases, it’s hard to argue that it’s worth it. There are other potential problems with homework:
• homework demands can limit the time available to spend on other beneficial activities, such as sport and community involvement
• too much homework can lead to students losing interest in the subject, or even in learning
• parents can confuse students by using teaching methods different from those of their teachers
• homework can widen social.