Homework’s Powerful Effects on Learning (1985)

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What sort of effect does homework have on student learning? In the April 1985 issue of Educational Leadership, educators Herbert J. Walberg, Rosanne A. Paschal, and Thomas Weinstein synthesize 15 studies and find a direct correlation between homework and student achievement.

Read the article: Homework’s Powerful Effects on Learning (PDF)

“There seems little doubt that homework has substantial effects on students’ learning,” the group notes. The authors cite studies claiming that if homework is assigned, a student in the 50th percentile will jump to the 60th. If the homework is graded, the increase is even more dramatic, with students jumping from 50th to 79th. The authors also argue that Japanese students have higher student achievement scores as a direct result of the larger amount of homework they do.

Those of you following discussions of homework policy might want to put a footnote or two on this conclusion.

In a recent post on the homework/no homework debate as framed by Bob Marzano, Dina Strasser summarizes Marzano’s checklist for effective homework

  • Homework needs to be completed in order to produce the highest achievement gains. Design it with ease of completion in mind.
  • A large amount of homework does not result in better learning.
  • Homework should be academically purposeful, not a punishment or a symbol of the seriousness of study.
  • Homework should be explicitly tied to the current learning goals of the class.
  • Homework should be able to be completed without adult assistance.
  • Parents or guardians should not be expected to act as content experts.
  • Parents should, however, be provided with clear homework guidelines.
  • Assignments that involve using the parents’ expertise or personal experiences (such as interviews) are often successful.

What about grading homework? One high school math teacher doesn’t grade homework, and her homework completion rates have stayed steady.

Our “homework lady” Cathy Vatterott calls for major reforms to large amounts of take-home work.

And no surprise here, CBS’s “Assignment America” video interview with an 11 year-old student saying homework is forced and unnecessary.

What homework philosophy guides your classroom policy? How do you wisely wield the correlation between homework (or practice) and achievement to the advantage of your students?

In “My Back Pages,” we look at important issues through the historical lens of the Educational Leadership archives. ASCD members can access EL issues from 1943 to the present by signing in.

66 COMMENTS

  1. How realistic is this? Research often seems so biased.
    I find this rather ironic in light of research and publishings suggesting that worksheets diminish children’s interest in school and do not treat them as purposeful people. Educational researchers push for us to avoid worksheets and other “meaningless hoop jumping” in class, but then what is it that we send home? Certainly not all homework is just a worksheet, but most of it is some form of paperwork to do.
    Add into that equation the research which suggests that parental support is diminishing at a rapid rate and I am wondering how it is that these studies could have been successful.
    Is it possible that the groups selected are filled with students who’s parents have the time, money, and values to take an active role in their child’s life…enough to enrole thier child in a research study on homework?
    Could it be that this same study could be performed in a lower class area and the findings would be that the students barely even looked at the homework; it was found crumbled in the bottom of their bookbag at best?
    As a teacher, I am often frustrated by being consistantly told how to do things best and that research shows me that if I want success, I have to do x,y, or z. There is always some justification for why someone knows best what I should do.
    Why study Japanese students and expect to apply that to American students? Our students don’t think or have the same cultural values as they do. Why compare apples and oranges and tell me to treat them the same way? Surely you wouldn’t have the fortitude to tell a cook how to handle produce, let alone encourage them to treat every produce as though he or she should expect the same thing out of them.
    I whole-heartedly believe that homework is important. You won’t hear me say otherwise, but that 11 year old that has an attitude, that is the one that I am teaching, not the over-achieving Japanese one. And, the Japanese one is probably learning a very set way to follow proceedures rather than being asked to problem-solve and come up with their own solutions. Did the research find a set of good thinkers or just a good set of mimics?
    We want to keep American values of having students who are free-thinkers, and then we take research done in another country that doesn’t place as much value on free-thinking and apply it as the example for our students? Please, let’s be rational here.

  2. I believe that homework is very important for our students. It is very important for practice of the skills being taught. Unfortunately in the world we live in families that work two jobs to support their families don’t always have the time or energy to help with homework. In a perfect world everyone would have the energy and time to help their children with homework and I believe this would raise scores across the board.

  3. Greetings. I am walden student who is new to the world of blogging but I find the conversation herein very interesting.
    My take on homework is that it is not punishment and whether a child’s circumstance in life is one of poverty or wealth the objective of giving home work should remain and that is to provide independent practice. This independent practice helps the child to believe in their capabilities and this boosts their self esteem.
    As a teacher of special needs students I have experienced the downside to home work. Instead of independent practice by pupils, parents wanting to be involved in their child’s learning have gone about it the wrong way and are completing their work. I urge my pupils to recognize the fact that they are growing up and and school prepares them for life. An adult will not always be there to “do it for them” There fore they have to learn to work independently and to do so they can start by asking parents not to do their work. On the other hand the child does not return the work and its not because they can’t do it.
    A teacher knows the abilities of their pupils. They should therefore differentiate the home work just as they do their lesson in class. It should be fun and interesting too.
    Finally, I think home work should never be given when a new concept is just introduced. The child shopuld be given a few days to practince with the teacher monitoring the progress. It is only then that home work should be assigned. Parents will then act as guides not teachers.

  4. Homework is necessary and beneficial not only to the students but also the teacher.It helps the teacher to look more closely at their lessons and tailor their instruction to fit the needs of the students. Teachers should be cognizant of the fact that homework is for students not parents therefore the language of assignment should be at their level.
    finally given the findings on brain based learning Home work should be given to pupils as this is another way that the brain learns.

  5. I find this conversation very interesting as this is becoming a “hot” topic in my school. We have put in place a “10 minute by grade level” rule with regards to homework. As a fourth grade teacher, I am supposed to limit my students to 40 minutes of homework each night, 5th grade 50 minutes and so on. This rule has caused many concerned parents to contact me wondering why their child isn’t getting more homework each night, or wondering what their child is forgetting each night. While students are not having trouble turning in homework in my class, I’m not sure it’s helping all students achieve better on tests. I try to provide individualized comments with students about homework that I check but it still seems to be the same students that don’t show improvement. However, they are also the same students whose parents don’t appear to be that involved with their learning.

  6. I am currently co-teaching in a class which consists of the “haves and have-nots” of my community. The population of my classroom ranges on the socioeconomic spectrum from extended families living together in small apartments to low-income one-parent families to very wealthy students with stay-at-home moms.
    At back to school night, I tell parents that homework should be completed by the students independently so I can get a fair assessment of the child’s strengths and weakness in various content areas. I don’t believe in busy work, but I am a firm believer in the benefits of homework. The reality is, in the future years of schooling, students need to have independent work habits in place… with or without parental support.
    The benefit of grading homework has been a heated discussion among my colleagues for many years. We never dispute the necessity of assigning homework, but I have heard so many good arguments debating the need to grade it.
    Many times students with parental support receive high homework scores because homework is corrected and re-done at home. Students without support may have the same initial errors on homework assignments and turn it in that way. As a result, homework is not always a true indicator of student learning.
    I am sure I am not the only teacher who has faced this dilemma: how do I grade the book report written in the cursive writing of a fifth grader that contains the vocabulary and the phrases of a 30 year old?

  7. Homework needs to be manageable and meaningful. I discuss the importance of homework with my students and track the completion rate as a class. This keeps them motivated and supportive of one another. I keep homework simple and relevant to my teaching objectives. It should be used to reinforce learning or provide reflection. The worst thing you can do is assign homework that is too difficult or too timely to complete. One good, thoughtful question is better than 20 rote ones. Homework should not be assigned without the proper resources/skills for support. You don’t want students to practice the wrong thing. It’s harder to undo that damage. I don’t count homework as a grade, but I do review it so students know that it matters. By completing a quick review, the students that did not complete the assignment can still benefit.

  8. I teach in a school that has a population where approximately 99% of our students are economically disadvantaged. The majority of our students also speak English as a second language. I assign homework daily, but it must be something easy enough for students to do on their own without any parent guidance due to language barriers. Homework always reviews a skill we have already worked on.
    A school rule we have in place is that homework cannot count for a grade, because we cannot be sure of the home situation for our students – therefore causing them to not complete their homework. After reading the information above, which shows the dramatic growth and improvement for students who have graded homework, I feel disheartened by our current school homework policy. Our students already need so much help, I wonder if grading their homework and making them more accountable for it would help themin the long run?

  9. Our district is in the middle of the homework debate as we speak. Some feel it is an important practice. Others feel it does nothing to improve improve academic performance. It was almost “thrown out” this year at my schoolsite because studies shown it’s irrelevance to student learning. I agree there are students with challenges at home we cannot see, but I’m not sure if it’s ok to lower our expectations for these students because of obstacles in their lives. Obstacles are relative to everyone in every situation. There may be that one special student, in the face of challenges, who thrives to “push on” and be something more than their surroundings. Maybe it shouldn’t be graded. Maybe it should be differentiated so students feel successful at it. I wrestle with throwing it out. If high performing schools in affluent areas are using it, and they are performing well, maybe we can expect it of our students in title 1 schools. I personnaly believe in it’s effectiveness. To me, I feel it gives some students an additional building block to get them out of their “undesirable” surroundings.

  10. This is my first time conversing within a weblog. I am througly enjoying the conversation on the views of homework. As we all know as educators, homework should be only for review. No new material, or material which has not been studied in depth in class should be sent home for homework. Homework is the reinforcement for what is taught in class.
    Now let us look at what to do with homework. Well in an article by (Knollmann, Martin & Wild, Elke) they discussed student motivations concerning homework, including intrinsic and extrinsic. The article further discusses how motivations are greatly influenced by parental involvement during homework. You have some parents who are dominant and others which are not present; furthermore you have students who strive to do well on homework without parents involvement while others have to be forced into doing homework. (Knollman. M, & Wild. E,2007). This is where homework grading concerns me as an educator.
    I am a recent elementary teaching graduate who student taught in Kindergarten and fifth grade which enabled me to learn much about student involvement concerning homework. Many times the only homework turned in was completed after school, participation was mainly with the students who stayed with the afterschool program. This experience taught me not to punish students for no homework, rather go over homework together with the class. No matter what your view is concerning homework if review is not completed in class than review of material covered has been lost.
    In concluding the teacher is responsible for the advancement of his/her students; therefore in my opinion it is in the teachers best interest not to worry with grading homework, but whether or not the review of material has been mastered by the class. Homework is the helper for review, not a factor of grading.
    Knollmann, Martin; Wild, Elke | European Journal of Psychology of Education – EJPE | 2007-03 | 22:1 | 63(14) | ISSN: 02562928 | MOTIVATION (Psychology); PARENT & child; HOMEWORK; STUDY skills; LEARNING; EDUCATION

  11. I agree that homework can be very helpful in promoting academic achievement. I think Donnaleigh is right on in saying that homework should be “meaningful and manageable.” If homework assignments are not relative to the curriculum or students’ lives, then what is the point? Also,when I assign homework to my fourth graders, I try to make sure that the assignments can be completed without parent help.
    I do not usually take away points for incorrect homework answers. I used to meticulously grade homework assignments, but then I found that some parents were doing too much of the work for the students to help them get good grades. I give my students full credit for completing homework, and then we go over the correct answers together.
    Homework is a great way to make sure that learning continues when students go home. With television, video games, the internet, and other distractions at home, it is important that students reflect on what they have been learning in school at some point.

  12. I am a first grade teacher. I believe I am the first to start instilling responsibility for homework in our students. It is interesting to read so many views on homework. I agree with many of the ideas above. I feel strongly that homework is strictly for reinforcing skills that have already been presented and practiced in the classroom. I am not looking for students to learn something new by doing their homework. Most students should be able to complete their homework independently. I also do not grade homework. I agree that those students with parental support will be support and check their child’s work, as those without parental support will not. It is unfair and inaccurate to provide a grade in this scenario. I do hold students accountable by checking off those students that return their homework. Those that do not turn it in, do it at recess, or at another time during the school day. I believe homework is still relevant in todays fast paced world. I think we just need to be realistic about what we define as homework and what we do with it as educators.

  13. I have taught first grade and fifth grade at two different schools; one public and one private. Both schools had completely different views of homework. At the public school, homework was strongly suggested, but it had to be given in small amounts. We could take grades on homework, but it was left up to the discretion of the teacher. At the private school however, homework was required and counted as 15% of the students’ grade. The homework that I sent home in both places was always relevant to what we were learning in class. I never sent work home over something we had not covered. I agree that homework is for reinforcement and not to be sent home as punishment. Never the less, in both schools I had students who always turned in the work, and students who never turned in anything. I had better success receiving homework from the students at the private school. I think homework will always be a battle. There will always be people who are pro-homework and who are against homework. Will we ever find a “happy medium” where everyone will be satisfied about how much homework to send and whether to grade it or not?

  14. I agree that homework is quite beneficial to students, especially when the level of difficulty and content are aligned with the standards being taught during classes. In addition, clarity of instructions and parent support are critical for this to be a success. Having carried out a research on this topic for my Thesis while pursuing Undergraduate studies I have vested interest in any similar research. It is indeed an applicable method to introduce/ preview new content or to reinforce previous learning. Being a Mathematics teacher at the high school level, I know the importance of practicing the skills learned in order to reinforce them.
    Rose – Walden University MSED student
    Teacher -South Carolin,

  15. Homework should be related to the subject material taught in class. I always discussed with my students the expectations for the homework and gave detailed instructions on how to best complete the work before sending it home each day. I expected them to complete the work independently and coached parents at the beginning of the school year on how to best assist their child. If students were out sick from school or away on vacation, I would provide alternative homework for them to complete upon returning. They were not expected to complete the homework missed during that time period. Instead, I had them write a short reflective essay related to their vacation experience. I found other time during the school day to meet with them to introduce or review relevant material that they missed. Some of my students lacked the strong parental support at home. This affected their confidence. Some had anxiety about handing in assignments with possible errors. Homework results made me more aware of what concepts needed to be reviewed. On the other hand, I was concerned that if there were errors on homework that the materiel was reinforced incorrectly at home, which could form bad habits.
    Homework sometimes caused dissension between students and parents because the parents were disappointed with the outcome. Parents sometimes disagreed with how the material was taught or the process used to complete the assignment. I assigned ten minutes of homework per grade level. I felt that the students needed “down time” after school. They also needed time to process the information learned during the school that day.
    Nichola – Walden University MSED student
    Teacher -Pennsylvania

  16. I feel that homework is an extension of material presented in the classroom. This is an opportunity for students to practice their newfound skills at home. I believe students benefit from nightly homework. As a third grade teacher, I hold my students accountable for returning their homework daily. This is an important skill for my students to learn. In the past, my fellow colleagues had many discussions regarding homework. There have been pros and cons to what one observes as appropriate homework. With this new advice, I have stuck to the ten minute grade rule. This has been beneficial and successful with my students. It has been fascinating to read the comments regarding homework from the above comments.

  17. Donnaleigh, I am right there with you. I have become very limited in the amount of projects that I assign in recent years partly because all the students with a lot of home support magically turn in the best projects, while those without home support are not as good. These are for the most part not accurate reflections of each student’s abilities.

  18. Assigning homework is imperative in my foreign language classroom because it ensures students are using the target language outside of the classroom. I do not believe all homework must be written, but it is necessary to provide students with outside practice! I agree that homework not only benefits the students, but it also benefits the teachers! I hope teachers use homework as a way to distinguish students’ strengths and weaknesses in order to help them succeed in a class. Unfortunately I think many teachers assign it as “busy work” and do not take the time to go over it in detail. I will continue to assign homework to assist with language acquisition and outside practice.
    Alisha Stratton – Walden University

  19. In my classroom, homework is given in order to re-inforce what is being taught in the classroom. Students are required to complete 2 to 3 homework assignments nightly. Those assignments are checked but not graded. I find that students who consistently turn in their homework on time do better on their weekly assessments than those who turn it in late or not at all. I am definately a strong advocate for homework. It also serves as a guide for parents so that they can have an idea of what their children are learning about in school. I don’t feel that anything sent home should be graded since authenticity becomes a factor. Did the student complete the assignment(s) without help from an adult? Was a calculator used in place of counters? These are the questions I ask myself when considering whether or not to grade homework. It is merely a re-inforcement of concepts taught in the classroom.

  20. I have struggled with the topic of homework for the past 9 years as a teacher. When I was in school, homework was a given. I knew I’d have lots of it based on the classes I took, and I always did it. In college, homework was no longer assigned, but assumed.
    As a high school teacher, I have found that students do not do homework unless you specifically tell them to do it. But even then, about half of them won’t remember or care to do it. I realize that these kids don’t think like me. I knew if I had a quiz coming up, it was up to me to read, review, and study. No one had to tell me to do it. Kids today don’t seem to get that. I tell them days in advance that they have a quiz coming up. I tell them what is on the quiz, where to look to study, etc. And they still fail.
    When it comes to assigning homework with the intention to further student learning and understanding, I’ve almost completely stopped. I never thought it would come to that, but it has. At my school, teachers are questioned when their failure rates jump over 20-25% per class. We are asked what we are doing, what we could do better, and how we plan to raise our students’ grades. So here’s what I have learned: by assigning homework and trying to hold my students accountable for their own learning, they end up not doing it (no matter how hard I try….I even give them class time to start), their grades go down, and I get called in about it. Backwards, isn’t it? I long for the day that my students get called in to the administrators office to answer for their bad grades. Why me? I’m just trying to do my job to educate them.
    So while I, myself, have always known the benefits of homework (assigned or assumed), as a teacher I no longer assign it because I get in trouble for my efforts!

  21. Hi,
    My name is Sarah and I am a graduate student at Walden University and currently teaching third grade. I have been reading many articles and books lately on brain research. One element of brain research stuck out to me and how it relates to homework. In the article “Brain Research and Education: Fad or Foundation?” by Pat Wolfe, she reports on the general studies that have been done on learning. Many studies agree that “Experience shapes the brain”. As educators, we were born knowing this is true.
    My take on homework is this: homework should not be new learning, and it should be purposeful. Therefore, giving students homework assignments that require them to partake in an experience seems crucial. For example, I agree with Marzano when he says a good example of a homework assignment is an interview with a relative. Also, having students participate in making family recipes and writing about them would be both authentic and meaningful for the student and their family members.
    Giving these homework assignments consistently seems both ideal and unrealistic. Many parents work two jobs and don’t have time to support their children with their homework. Also, the current economic situation makes it more challenging for families to take “mini field trips” or buy supplies needed for an experiment or project.
    So here is my struggle: How do we as teachers give students purposeful homework assignments that create unique and meaningful experiences?

  22. Homework is a tool that should be used to assess whether students are independent in the practice of strategies that should be employed when problem-solving. It fits perfectly into the explicit teach model that states that the teacher models, provides guided practice,then provides pupils with independent practice. Additionally, I agree that homework does not have to be abundant to help students actualize self awareness of skills/strategies.

  23. Homework is an essential part to school. It provides time for the student to practice the skills they are learning at school independently at home or with a parent if available. Homework is additional practice that I feel helps the student to retain the information while at the same time it provides feedback to the teacher on whether or not they are understanding the skills being taught in class. Completed homework helps the teacher determine if reteaching is necessary either as whole group or small/individual groups.
    Also, I do feel it is important to grade and provide feedback on the homework assigned, especially in the intermediate grades. The students need to see that as their teacher you take homework seriously and deomonstrate to them its importance. I think the only way for homework to be successful and useful is to grade it. It is more likely that the homework will be completed in a more thoughtful manner and in turn it will be more effective to the student if you have higher expectations. I do feel homework is important for the primary grade levels but I personally didn’t grade their homework when I taught at that level. We would go over it as a class and I would answer any questions then collect it so I could look it over personally and provide feedback. There were however consequences to those students who did not finish. Now that I’m back to teaching fifth grade students, I grade their homework that they are assigned each week and I am understanding to those students who do not have the additional support at home to complete the work. I do however feel that each grade level or school should maintain the same homework policies and grade criteria for both primary and intermediate grades.

  24. At the school I teach at, homework only counts 5% towards my students total grade. The percentage is set by the principal, not me. I have mixed feelings about raising the percentage for my students. I want to raise it because homework is supposed to be a continuation of mastery of the lesson being taught. Homework is supposed to provide additional practice and repetition of the content at hand. Therefore, students should be responsible and complete the assignment when given. This being said, I feel the percentage should be raised to 10% or 15%. Then I get to thinking of my low socioeconomic students. I have students who don’t have running water and electricity. I have students who play the role of “mommy and daddy” for their younger siblings because their parent or parents are working three jobs to make ends meet. For these students, homework is the least of their concerns and the majority of the time does not get completed. For these students, I would not want homework to count at all or at a maximum of 1% of their grade. Unfortunately, all students are supposed to be held to the same expectations and be on the same learning level. How is this possible when you have students on the complete opposite end from each other? I rarely give homework simply for the fact I don’t think it is fair when some students have more than ample opportunities to do their homework or get parental assistance, when others don’t.

  25. In my middle school I teach at we are having this same debate currently. I find homework is essential for my students as they need the extra practice at home when I only have them for 5o minutes per day to teach them necessary core content information. Other teachers at my school disagree saying it is a waste of their time and their students’ time. They feel that many of their students just don’t do it so why assign it. If I have fifty percent or more of my class turning in homework than that means those kids are gaining valuable learning skills. Homework is a habit all students should be in. Currently, I am working on my master’s in reading and literacy. I have weekly assignments for homework. If we encourage our students to attend college, they will have homework there. Why is it fair to our kids to not train them with the proper study skills necessary to be successful in life. If they are never taught to be independent learners at home through homework we will find our future college students struggling to graduate!

  26. I believe homework is an important part of a child’s education. My idea of homework is that it is extra practice to help the child with what they are learning. When I was in school , both of my parents worked and I still seemed to be able to get my homework finished. As I became older, my homework became harder. My parents were unable to help me, but I never used that as an excuse to not do my homework. I think in today’s society we put to much focus on excuses. Every family has something going on that could become an excuse. Life is hard. Life is even harder without an education. I believe parents should stop giving excuses for and to their children about homework and actually encourage them to do it. I don’t feel that homeowrk needs to be assigned everyday or in every subject. It should be used to help foster learning.

  27. I am a kindergarten teacher and have just started giving homework this year to my students. The homework I give is to be done at home with parents/guardians. I choose to give homework to allow parents to see what their students should be learning and show them where there child is academically. I try to reinforce parental involvement. This works great for the younger grades and involving parents, however, I distinctly remember copying friends papers in high school.
    Through my experience in education, I find that most students learn in the classroom and most do not attempt to complete homework. If the teacher is keeping each student intrigued and engaged in class, the student is learning. I do agree there are positives to giving homework but am not sure if I agree with homework having a powerful effect on the students learning.

  28. I, like most other teachers here it seems, believe that homework is an important part of teaching and learning. However, that being said, homework must be meaningful. Many teachers throughout the years have given homework for the sake of homework. I think we have grown to learn over the years that homework is not busywork. It should reinforce what has been taught. Homework should give students a chance to practice what has been taught and it should give teachers a chance to realize what the students have not understood. Homework can be an important tool. Teachers should use it to see what needs to be retaught. This is how I will continue to use homework in my classroom.

  29. My school site is currently debating the value of homework. We, also have, the 10 minute per grade level rule but as a K/1 combo teacher I know 10 minutes isn’t nearly enough to support the curriculum I’m teaching in class.
    I send home sight words to practce and match facts to master. I expect my students to read every night and also complete math and language arts support pages. My class day is packed and there is no additional time to do these things at school. I must cound on the parents to support their childs learning and work with them at home.
    Not all my students have the home support necessary to be completely successful. We try to offer homework support after school and have a few programs available in out community. Participation is limited though but is based on teacher recommendation. It does allow some of these students to get the additional help they need.

  30. I find this a very interesting and increasingly contraversial topic. As a teacher of mathematics at the high school level, I see students being assigned homework on a daily basis in all content areas. In my classroom, homework is utilized for the most part when the student does not use class time appropriately and effectively. Occasionally, I give them something to do as homework purposefully. But, too often, I see students having hours of homework to do each day and wonder how they can fit it in to their nightly routines. In a world of households with two working parents, many times the children are left with many more responsibilities than what were once known. In other homes, there is a complete lack of parental support altogether. I do not believe these justify not giving students any homework, but I believe it should serve a strong purpose and be meaningful to their learning, just as others have said. I will not assign homework if it is not a direct extension of what we are working on.
    In addition, I believe that homework should be graded upon honest effort of completion. If a student struggles, but makes an attempt, I believe they deserve the grades to reflect that. Homework itself should not represent a large percentage of one’s grade anyway. But, used as a tool for learning, instead of an assessment without support available, it can be much more meaningful and successful for learning.

  31. I have always believed that homework was important and have read the studies that have studied the effects. However after teaching middle school for 20+ years I have some serious concerns. What I have seen is an increase in the amount of time that our students are spending on homework at an earlier age.
    I know a lot of school district believes in the 10 minutes per grade level rule, then there is reading for 20 minutes a night and memorizing their math facts. Even in 1st grade you are looking at 30 minutes. I have found that by the time they get to middle school they no longer want to do homework. In the past 10 years I have seen a steady decline in the number of students who complete homework. The students who are not doing homework include students with supportive parents.
    I believe that homework should be only assigned if it has value and not for the sake of busy work.

  32. I go back and forth on homework in my class. I am a high school social studies teacher and it is hard for me to justify homework. What I end up doing is assigning classwork that is not finished in class for homework. I feel that it allows those students who need more time to finish the work and then they can become part of the class conversation.
    I feel that I can get more out of my students by assigning multiple day assignments to get good work from them. I also see that they work harder on it and give me a better product.
    I have also learned that the students that do not do their homework get a lower overall grade but do well on their tests. I feel that if they can learn the material and do well on their tests, then homework grades should not hurt them. I have gone to optional assignments. These assignments not only help their grade, but allow them to practice the material before a test. I even tell them to bring their optional assignments to class to fill out while we are going over material.
    Just some thoughts I thought I would share. If anyone has any suggestions then I would like to hear from you.

  33. I’m commenting on the homework debate. I think the necessity of the homework differs with content. I also think that homework guidelines, such as the purpose of the homework assignment, need to be established. I teach math, so for me homework is practice to reinforce the skill taught for that day, therefore, I don’t think it should be graded. It’s also to see if the students actually understood what was taught. However, I do think it needs to be reviewed the following day so that questions or problems that the students may have encountered with the assignment may be addressed. I think the purpose for assigning homework is defeated if you don’t go over it. I say that in the video, the student felt as though homework was unnecessary. We somehow have to get students to understand that homework is to help them and not to punish them.

  34. I’m not a big fan of homework. Most often I find that the students who need the extra practice and could benefit the most don’t do the homework and the ones who do the homework don’t really need the extra practice. I teach at a school where nearly 80% of the students are on free or reduced lunch and many do not have the support at home to complete assignments out of class. I teach 2nd grade and my school also limits homework to 10 minutes per grade level so I give about 20 minutes of homework a night, which I think is enough seeing that students have already been at school all day. When I assign homework, I feel that I spend valuable class time the next day trying to find out who did/did not do their homework and sending notes home to the ones who did not.

  35. Jennifer, I come from a school that holds the same convictions about homework as you do. In an ideal world, I think homework could be very beneficial to my students. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world. My school is 73% free and reduced lunch. The majority of students in my class do not receive any help from home. I send about 10 minutes of homework with my students a night. I do not grade homework, but do require that the students attempt it. I always make sure it is concepts we covered thoroughly in class so that the students who do not have parents that help, can still get it done. I view checking the homework differently than you. I feel that is an opportunity for review. The bottom line is, I am still personally on the fence about homework.

  36. I am a graduate student through Walden University. I also think that homework is important but it should be meaningful to the student. The students should be able to do the work independently and it should be practice for them, not new material. I also think that the homework should not take up most of their evening either. The students should be involved in family time or time to themselves in the evening as well. I realize that not all families are going to spend time together in the evening, however, children do still need time to themselves and relax too.
    I also think that the homework should not be graded. If a student is having trouble with a question or two then they should be able to ask about it the next day without stressing because they didn’t complete the assignment. Overall, I think homework is important but it needs to be monitored closely by the teacher to make sure it is not too much.

  37. To tag off of the past 2 bloggers, I am from a similar school. My school is Title 1, with insignificant parent support. I give homework every night as mandated by supervisors, and it counts for 25 percent of my students grades. The 5th grade team I work with was outraged by the end of the year by the fact that so many of our students had D’s and F’s due to incompleted homework assignments. I do feel that it is a vital review tool, in certain cases. The night before a quiz or test I find that all of my students complete their homework, because of the emphasis I put on the assignment during class time. All of the other days of the week, it is usually not completed by most students. I feel that homework assignments in a school like mine should be solely given on Review days, or for vital skills that need to be practiced. That way the students’ grades reflect their knowledge, not laziness and/or helplessness that my students may have given the area they reside in.

  38. As a middle school math teacher, I feel short homework is needed in order to reinforce the day’s concepts learned in class. Students run through so many classes in one day, that it is necessary to have a reminder later in the day, before the next day builds on those concepts. I assign 10-15 minutes often and it is not graded. They accummulate effort/completion points that translate to a grade. I find a correlation between those that do it and those that don’t compared to performance and test grades. I sometime let them start the first few problems in class so that they can ask questions. Many get hooked and want to get as much done as possible before the bell. I find that those that typically do not do the homework, at least work on the first few math problems in class, when time permits, and at times might even feel a sense of confidence to do more, because they see they can actually do it, and these are usually the students that need the practice, any kind of practice, the most.

  39. I want to share with everyone an e-book I found through using the online library at Walden University. I am a graduate student with Walden University, and recommend this program to anyone. I have not had the change to read the whole book due to the size but have read many good points about homework. The author describes socioeconomic status of many families and how this affects attitudes concerning homework. In today’s society there are so many families lacking time, due to work, issues to help their children. Other families in dire economic conditions believe homework is the gateway to getting their children to a better life. As teachers today we have to remember as further discussed in the book that 20% of America’s students live in severe poverty which means most of these students do not have the adequate space to even do homework (Buell John, 2003). We must remember where are children are coming from and help them the best when can with the time in which we have them; unfortunatly we are unable to take them home with us.
    Check out the book, great insight.
    The book is, Closing the Book on Homework : Enhancing Public Education and Freeing Family Time
    Buell, John (Author)
    Publisher: Temple University Press
    Released: 2003

  40. Homework can be beneficial when it is assigned correctly. When I first started teaching at my school, the parents were concerned about how much homework I was assigning. However, our school’s policy is 10 minutes per grade level and I teach sixth grade, therefore I could assign up to 60 minutes of homework. I wasn’t assigning that much, but homework was getting in the way of sport activities at night. As the years have progressed, I have modified and developed a homework policy. I would always recommend a homework policy, so the parents know the clear expectations for homework. The homework I assign is an extension of the day’s learning. I also think homework builds responsibility. Overall, homework can be beneficial and helpful to the teacher.

  41. Maria, if you do not grade homework, are students in your classroom self motivated to complete their homework daily? I give 100 percent for completion, unless there is no work to prove their answers in Math. I feel that if homework is not graded, there will be no motivation for most students to complete the assignment.

  42. I think homework is for emphasizing the coursework done at school. Once a new topic has been introduced and practiced at school, homework should be sent home to emphasize the learning that took place throughout the school day. Parents should not be doing it for their children and the child should have independent work ethics and practice to complete the homework.

  43. Something I forgot to add to my post was about feedback. Students like to know that their work is appreciated and feedback helps. Feedback from teachers should be positive and if the student does attempt it but doesn’t fully understand it, they should receive some credit because it shows they tried and their parents didn’t complete it for them.

  44. Crystal, when I say I don’t grade the homework, I mean I don’t collect it and grade for correctness or accuracy. I use various means to go over the assignment with the class to keep things different from day to day, and I do go around and check each student for completion. I also call on them for answers and demonstration. They earn 10/10 daily points if attempted in full or 8/10 if almost complete and of course 0/10. And yes, just like you do, no work shown means no credit. Our electronic gradebook feeds into a program the parents can access and see daily grades, so parents find out daily if the work was not done (if they check the site). In addition to that, the system automatically kicks out a generic message to parent’s email on record, stating “a failed assignment…” was recorded. Again, that’s only as good as the parent lets it be. For the most part, my students do homework regularly and those that are missed are scattered throughout the year. At the same time, I have the ones that do not do homework no matter what, or do very little, and these are the same studnets that do not apply themselves regardless of the task. Sometimes, these students don’t even do it as we are reviewing the answers. Many of these parents have been to conference and are aware of the problem, but little seems to work. I just keep trying. When you grae yours, do you grade completion and correct answers?

  45. At my school, homework is decided on as a team. Therefore, at the beginning of each school year my 2nd grade team and I talk about what we want our homework to look like. Last year, we had complaints from parents that our homework packet (sent home Friday, due back the following Friday) was too much for a 2nd grader. In our homework packets we had one math page, one spelling activity page, one reading/comprehension page, and a writing prompt. This year we have cut our packet down to a reading log, a math fact practice page, and a spelling word list (and students need to write each spelling word in a sentence). This was a hard transition for me to make because I felt like we were really back tracking and not providing enough practice for our students at home. One of the main reasons I feel homework is important is that I strongly believe that families should know what their students are learning and work with them to strengthen their skills. Nothing we ever send home is new, but rather it is always review. This helps with the transfer students need to make from the classroom to the real world. Plus, parents usually have new strategies they know that they can teach their student to help strengthen their skills.
    My hope as the year goes on is that my team leans more toward making our homework packets more meaningful, right now, I just do not feel they are benefitting our students like they could be.

  46. After having my first grade son’s first research project due today, I was really surprised by what was required of them. I was flabbergasted that a first grader would need to do not only a family time line, but also a country of origin poster. Have they really been talking about different countries already, how much have they really talked about time lines? As a parent at the school and a teacher at the school also I was absolutely amazed. I know that even though I did not want to do the project for him I definitely did more than I should have. I talked to the teacher and I guess next year they will only be doing one of these, the time line or the poster, but not both. As teachers we have to remember what is appropriate to expect from our students. How could these teachers think that this was something the students would be able to complete with little to no help? There are five first grade teachers; I can’t believe they all missed this.

  47. I do not grade homework because I do not feel it is an accurate reflection of what my students know when I do not know when they are working independently or working with a parent or older sibling. I try to follow what Marzano suggests in that I ensure homework is extra practice in concepts my students have already learned and not something they do not understand. Nevertheless, I still know that many of my students get help from their parents. If this is the case, how do I know whether or not an answer is authentic? As a fifth grade teacher, my policy is that students do homework each night, I look at it and stamp it if it is completed, and I occasionally correct it with my students (especially if I notice many students made mistakes). If students do not turn their homework in, they have to stay in from recess and work on it. I teach in a low socioeconomic school, and I know that some students have a difficult time getting their homework done at home — they do not have a place to do it, they do not have time, or they do not have a parent to ask for help. I let the students know that I will be in for the first fifteen minutes of recess to assist them with their homework. This way, my students know it is important and that it has to be completed. If I only checked homework off and did not have some sort of consequence for getting it done, I do not feel my turn-in rate would be as high.

  48. I give homework to my kindergarten students. I feel it is a great way to communicate to parents what they are learning and what they are expected to know. I do not average the grades into their academics reports but I give them a plus in work ethics if they return their homework. My frustration with homework is that it needs to be as individual as our teaching. It needs to be on the student’s level or it is a waste of time. Also, as students become more involved with extracurricular events and family time becomes scarcer, but just as valuable, homework might need to become more flexible. I would like to see homework be extra credit. If a student didn’t need extra credit, then it would be optional.

  49. As a parent, teacher,and student I have mixed feeling about homework for students. As a parent I feel my children need to have homework a couple days a week. What I do not like is the huge assignments that require more parent attention than their child’s attention. We just finished a science project that consumed many hours and I feel I learned more than my child.
    As a teacher I hate to give out homework. It is often difficult to get permission slips back from my students much less homework. I work in a title one school and many students care for themselves. In our school we do not have a homework policy, but I think it would be worth looking into.
    I wish there was a happy median with a happy ending when it comes to asigning homework.

  50. Japanese students achieve higher test scores because their society values education. It is because of these values that the children do their homework. If I tried to assign twenty minutes of homework I would receive emails and phone calls from parents complaining about the amount of homework, and the students would not complete the assignment. Please do not misunderstand me; I believe homework is an important component in education. The assignment should reinforce the day’s lesson and help further the students understanding of the concepts covered within the classroom. Assigning more homework is not the answer to our education problems; we must change our society’s values of education.

  51. I think homework is important and should be given. It should relate to the material learned during class and it should be given as a review. If the students are required to do the homework, then the teacher should grade the homework. I know teachers are busy, but even if the teacher takes 10 to 15 minutes and have the students grade their own papers during class, the students will be able to see what they missed. I like the idea of homework packets given on friday and returned the next friday.

  52. As a teacher I have not had to think about homework since I have taught preschool and Pre-kindergarten. I have only give one piece of homework unless the parents have asked for assignments to work on at home or while they are on vacation. I do remember I hated homework when I was a kid but also remember I was more inclined to do it since I knew it would be graded. I think it also depend if the student is doing the homework with a little help from parents or if the parents are doing it. I do however think a little homework can be good depending on the grade.It can be a good way for parents to see what the students are doing in class.Over all I think homework can be benefical as long as it is not given out in large amount. Maybe school should look at how much homework is given out and then think about what should be done.

  53. Homework is so important in the classroom if its used for a learning purpose. I am very thoughtful what I assign and how its used in my class. I use it to lead off into class discussions, lectures, class-activites and critical thinking journal questions. Teachers can not just assign work to keep students busy or it must enforce the lesson or cirriculum of the class.
    To be successful, teachers must make assignments do-able. Giving clear instructions and model a few questions helps student accomplish the task. Don’t assume that student know how to do it or will ask questions on how to complete it. Big projects should be broken down so students can accomplish each stup. Students should not get fraustrated in doing thier homework because that is not the purpose. Having high expectations is a must but the work must work of all students no matter what learning level they are at.

  54. I am a graduate student through Walden University as well. As a fifth grade teacher, I have mixed feelings about assigning homework to my students. I have come to the realization that many of my students participate in a variety of afterschool activities and they are constantly on the go from morning until night. As a result, many parents as well as students, are frustrated when it finally comes time to wind down for the day and homework is the last thing they want to complete. On the other hand, as an educator I feel as though homework is that crucial time when the day’s lessons are reinforced. It is when the students’ can self reflect o how well they know the content.

  55. I believe homework is vital to student achievement if assigned properly. I have been in schools where teachers will assign a vast number of rote problems nightly for homework. I do not think that will help a student achieve. If you assign 5 math problems you will be able to tell if a student understands the concept. I believe in assigning more of the application type homework assignments such as projects, essays, creations, etc. I believe that the application and the higher order thinking is where our students are missing out.

  56. I also struggle with the idea of homework and have found this discussion very interesting. I teach math and feel it is essential for students to practice. I am finding that students with supportive homes are receiving much guidance from parents (to the point where they cannot explain how they got an answer because the parent did it). Students with nonsupportive homes are failing to complete any homework. I like the idea of taking the homework for a small grade. I feel this way, the students see a purpose to it. Right now I take all homework assignments for 5 points. I also feel like if students complete homework, I must check it with them (which is very time consuming) or grade it myself (which is also very time consuming.) Does anyone have any effective methods for checking homework with students?

  57. I agree with the study that homework is important in raising achievement levels and fostering learning. Students need opportunities to practice and extend on the concepts that they are learning about in class. What this study fails to realize is that the issue is not that schools/teachers are not assigning homework, it’s that teh homework is not being completed by the students, therefore the students are not cashing in on the benefits that homework bring. It pains me when I see studies that compare our society to those of countries like China. Our societies and priorities in society are completely different than a country like China or India. Schooling and education are held in high regard culturally in China and India and most times it seems like school is just something that you have to do here in our country. Many parents and students find little benefit from an education in our country and little attention is paid to homework or projects or tests or anything related to school. When our country and society change their priorities toward getting a good education and education being the number one priority, then we can begin the discussion about how homework can further the achievement levels in our students.

  58. Being that this was my first time on a blog I have found this experience rather interesting. I found this blog intriguing to me because not too long ago I brought up the “homeowrk” issue to my assistant principal. I wanted her opinion on what I should do about my students not completing their homework. At my school is it required that we grade homeowrk and have a certain number by the time report cards come out. This rerquirement I do not agree with. I believe that homework should not be graded, but is another resource to help students learn what has been taught in class. I feel that homework should not be graded because other factors impact each individual student in whether or not they have assistance at home with completing their homework. I am not saying that homework should not be given, but not graded. Since the school I am at now requires that we grade I only grade assignments that I know my students can complete on their own. Even then, some of my students still fail to complete homework.

  59. As a substitute, I have seen many different homework policies. There was one particular policy that I liked. Each student got a HOT (Homework On Time) Card. When students turned in completed homework, they got their card punched; when the card is filled up they get to go to the prize box. I noticed that this really motivated the students to do their homework. I subbed in their for several days and each day there were no more than 4/5 students out of 33 that didn’t do their homework.

  60. I too view homework as being beneficial. Homework should not be seen as a form of punishment. Homework reinforces the skills that’s been taught by the teacher. I have found that when students know that their homework is being checked, they tend to take it seriously. Homework is counted at my school as 5% of the student’s grade. Since the beginning of the school year , I have had only two students that have never turn in their homework for one reason or another. One reason I always hear is that I don’t have anyone at home to help me. That may be true but I never give homework over a skill that I have not covered. My homework is posted on my blog page and web page. I send a homework assignment sheet home on Friday therefore, excuses about not knowing what to do is not acceptable.

  61. Teaching younger students has shown me that you don’t need home work to be successful at learning. My students never had homework and most have been successful. The students who struggled were ESL and they did improve but it wasn’t quite the same as the other student. I do believe that homework can be benficial but it is not necessary for success.

  62. I believe that homework is a reinforcement of the days lesson and should be instilled as a daily task for each student that goes to school. I also believe it is a good way for parents to get involved with their child’s academics. Parental involvement is an excellent way to communicate with the school and student.

  63. My name is Danielle and I’m a Walden University student. I had the assignment of experiencing “blogging”. I have read blogs before, but due to lack of time have not ever taken part in discussion, so here goes my first attempt.
    I have always had an issue with homework. When I was a student, I felt that most of the homework assigned to me was simply “busy work”. I rarely felt that I learned anything for most of that homework assigned, with the exception of math. Math was something that I felt I needed that extra practice to perfect the processes. As a first-year teacher I found that class work has proven to be more beneficial than homework. It gives students the opportunity to practice skills while having a source for additional aid working right along with them. Students can work together and bounce ideas among themselves. After all, students know best how to explain to other students.
    The data given in the above passage from 1985 does not apply to all students. Yes homework increases overall achievement, but it is not always necessary. Kids today seem to get lazier each year. I can barely get my students to do the reading required to participate in daily classroom activity let alone do any additional work. We are reading Of Mice and Men and every other student in the school that has read it, loved it! However, this group cannot get into it. We have tried group reading, worksheets, games, and role playing and they just refuse to give the reading a try. I have read to them and left them with 5-10 pages of reading to do on their own and 90% of the students will not do it. What is there to do?
    I do share similar thoughts to the list compiled by Dina Strasser. Homework should have a point. It should not be just for busy work or a grade in the book. Students constantly pose the question, “Why?”, so teachers should be ready with an answer as to how the work is relevant. Homework should also be relatively easy to complete. Students should be able to complete their work, for the most part, on their own. After all, it is designed for the student, not the parent or the teacher, to learn.

  64. I am a strong advocate of homework. As an ELL teacher I find that it is imperative to involve my students in activities that require them to practice their English outside of the classroom. However, since most of my students do not have anyone at home to help them if they are confused I have to make sure they are using skills that have been taught thoroughly. I do not assign projects for home. We work on them in class. This allows for peer and student/ teacher interaction. I require my students to read 20 minutes every night, do something with their spelling words, and then either math or language practice. I check for completeness (before recess) and either grade it for accuracy or we grade it in class.

  65. I go back and forth when it comes to homework. I teach second grade and I feel that the students need to study their spelling words and read at home. That is just about the only homework I give. As far as my spelling homework, I do not assign a worksheet, but rather and spelling contract. Each child is responsible for choosing one item per night, three times a week from their contract. This way it is their choice. The spelling activities are not always paperwork either. I believe that homework reinforces what we do in class, but has to be done correctly, or the students are learning the wrong thing. We all know it is harder to “unlearn” something than it is to learn it.

  66. I have had the experience with homework policies in two different schools. My first school I worked at was a private school. At this school we had to give at least two assignments for homework, along with reading homework. If we did not give homework, the parents were very upset. At this school, the parents were very involved with their student’s education, and it showed. They wanted their children to be constantly challenged. I taught first grade, and found it very easy to give challenging homework because I knew they were getting guidance from their parents. Currently, I am teaching first grade at a public school. There is no set limit to homework, but I usually give at least ten minutes of homework each night. Right now, I am having a difficult time getting my students to complete the homework due to no parent involvement. Times are tough right now and many parents are working two jobs to make ends meet and I understand this. So why make students struggle with homework and lose their compassion in learning?

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