What Are the Benefits of Homework?
If the type and amount of homework given to students are of any benefit is one of the top debate questions in the education sector.
In the early 1900s, education theorists condemned the negative impact of homework on children’s physical and mental health, resulting in the State of California placing a ban on the task of children below the age of 15.
In the 1950s, the rising concerns of keeping up with the technological advancement of the Soviet Union swayed public opinion in favor of homework.
In recent times, kindergartens to fifth-graders tackle an average of 2.9 hours of homework per week, while sixth to eighth graders have to do 3.2 hours of lesson per teacher, and ninth to twelfth graders have 3.5 hours of homework per teacher.
These statistics show that students with five teachers will already have 17.5 hours of homework per week in high school. It is conclusive now that teenagers spend twice as much time doing homework each day than teens in the 1950s.
Homework advocates think that doing homework improves students’ academic achievement and encourages independent learning in the classroom and life skills. They also stated that assignments allow parents to monitor their child’s academic progress and get involved in their education.
However, homework critics argued that giving too much homework is harmful to the students as it induces stress, reduces their leisure, sleep time, and encourages cheating. They also said that homework widens the gap in social inequality and has not been proven beneficial to younger children.
What are the Pros and Cons of Homework?
Pro 1: Homework improves academic achievement in terms of grades, test results and increases the likelihood of a child going to college.
Con 1: In a poll carried out in California, 59% of the students thought they were given too much homework and reported feeling stressed by the workload.
Pro 2: Homework helps develop essential life skills by providing a means for students to practice all that has been taught in class, helping them retain information. They also develop crucial skills such as discipline, time management, and accountability.
Con 2: Homework is a significant disadvantage to low-income students, which is approximately 41% of US students. These students are less likely to have access to resources needed to complete homework, such as internet access, a quiet workspace, and a parent available to help.
Pro 3: Homework encourages parental involvement in their child’s education to track the child’s academic strengths and weaknesses. This involvement can also help parents’ clue in if their child has a learning disability.
Con 3: There is no conclusive evidence that homework is of any benefit to younger children. An article published in the “Review of Educational Research” reported that assignment is not associated with elementary school academic achievement.
Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) also show that students who were not doing any homework scored roughly the same on a math test as those engaged in 30 minutes of task every night.