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Should Learners Do Homework?

Homework has a lot of contentions among every education stakeholder. Before, it was predominantly students who had reservations while parents and teachers thought it as an essential tool in the learning process. But because of inconclusive and conflicting findings about the effectiveness of homework, adults have joined in supporting the argument that homework needs to get banned.

Research Findings on Homework

Harris Cooper, a Duke professor, did a met-analysis on homework, and his results showed a connection between academic success and finishing homework in more advanced grades. The professor recommends the use of the “ten-minute rule” where first graders get ten minutes of assignments and the subsequent grades an additional ten minutes per grade. However, his analysis never proved better student performance because of their involvement in homework as their performance could be attributed to their commitment to perform well in their education.

Some researchers argue that the focus should be on the type and quantity of homework students get assigned rather than if they should get homework. For instance, homework’s effectiveness has to adhere to the students’ needs. Indiana University researchers unearthed that science and math assignments improved standardized test grades but with no difference in grades between those students who did or didn’t do homework. It says that homework improves familiarity with test questions in standardized tests but not content mastery.

Homework Problems

Samantha Hulsman, a teacher, opined in an article that she heard parents lament how a thirty-minute assignment morphs into a two-hour-plus huddle for the kids. However, she understood their positions after facing similar problems with her kids, leading to a homework belief rethink.

Kenneth Barish, a child psychologist, expressed in the article “Psychology Today” that homework battles hardly translate to academic improvement. Kids who don’t complete homework are possibly frustrated, anxious, or discouraged rather than lazy. He suggests a formulation of a homework plan by parents and their kids that will reduce the homework time. Such a plan should entail switching off of every device in the household to improve concentration.  

Alfie Kohn, a renowned homework critic, says that some individuals erroneously believe kids to be vending machines where you input an assignment, and you get learning as an output. He points out the absence of evidence that puts homework as a useful tool in learning. He goes further to refer to homework as something that extinguishes a kid’s curiosity.

Homework Bans

  • Public learning institutions in Florida, specifically in Marion county, adopted a policy on no-homework for their elementary grade students. In its place, kids have to read for 20 minutes every night.
  • A South Burlington school in Vermont called Orchard Elementary adopted a homework policy of reading nightly, playing outside, having family dinner, and getting a great night’s sleep in place of reading.

But in as much as most of the elementary schools consider adoption of no-homework policies, high and middle schools have not been keen to abandon assignments. Both the teachers and parents support homework that is specific with certain guidelines, as this often proves helpful to their kids.


So is homework important to students in schools? Should you ban it in your class? It all depends on the level of the grade you instruct, such as elementary, middle, or high school. However, as a teacher, you need to carefully think through your homework policy as you can improve a student’s learning outcomes by enhancing the assignment’s quality and reducing the volume. Quality always supersedes quantity.