15 Should Homework Be Banned Pros and Cons

Homework was a staple of the public and private schooling experience for many of us growing up. There were long nights spent on book reports, science projects, and all of those repetitive math sheets. In many ways, it felt like an inevitable part of the educational experience. Unless you could power through all of your assignments during your free time in class, then there was going to be time spent at home working on specific subjects.

More schools are looking at the idea of banning homework from the modern educational experience. Instead of sending work home with students each night, they are finding alternative ways to ensure that each student can understand the curriculum without involving the uncertainty of parental involvement.

Although banning homework might seem like an unorthodox process, there are legitimate advantages to consider with this effort. There are some disadvantages which some families may encounter as well.

These are the updated lists of the pros and cons of banning homework to review.

List of the Pros of Banning Homework

1. Giving homework to students does not always improve their academic outcomes. The reality of homework for the modern student is that we do not know if it is helpful to have extra work assigned to them outside of the classroom. Every study that has looked at the subject has had design flaws which causes the data collected to be questionable at best. Although there is some information to suggest that students in seventh grade and higher can benefit from limited homework, banning it for students younger than that seems to be beneficial for their learning experience.

2. Banning homework can reduce burnout issues with students. Teachers are seeing homework stress occur in the classroom more frequently today than ever before. Almost half of all high school teachers in North America have seen this issue with their students at some point during the year. About 25% of grade school teachers say that they have seen the same thing.

When students are dealing with the impact of homework on their lives, it can have a tremendously adverse impact. One of the most cited reasons for students dropping out of school is that they cannot complete their homework on time.

3. Banning homework would increase the amount of family time available to students. Homework creates a significant disruption to family relationships. Over half of all parents in North America say that they have had a significant argument with their children over homework in the past month. 1/3 of families say that homework is their primary source of struggle in the home. Not only does it reduce the amount of time that everyone has to spend together, it reduces the chances that parents have to teach their own skills and belief systems to their kids.

4. It reduces the negative impact of homework on the health of a student. Many students suffer academically when they cannot finish a homework assignment on time. Although assumptions are often made about the time management skills of the individual when this outcome occurs, the reasons why it happens is usually more complex. It may be too difficult, too boring, or there may not be enough time in the day to complete the work.

When students experience failure in this area, it can lead to severe mental health issues. Some perceive themselves as a scholarly failure, which translates to an inability to live life successfully. It can disrupt a desire to learn. There is even an increased risk of suicide for some youth because of this issue. Banning it would reduce these risks immediately.

5. Eliminating homework would allow for an established sleep cycle. The average high school student requires between 8-10 hours of sleep to function at their best the next day. Grade-school students may require an extra hour or two beyond that figure. When teachers assign homework, then it increases the risk for each individual that they will not receive the amount that they require each night.

When children do not get enough sleep, a significant rest deficit occurs which can impact their ability to pay attention in school. It can cause unintended weight gain. There may even be issues with emotional control. Banning homework would help to reduce these risks as well.

6. It increases the amount of socialization time that students receive. People who are only spending time in school and then going home to do more work are at a higher risk of experiencing loneliness and isolation. When these emotions are present, then a student is more likely to feel “down and out” mentally and physically. They lack meaningful connections with other people. These feelings are the health equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes per day. If students are spending time on homework, then they are not spending time connecting with their family and friends.

7. It reduces the repetition that students face in the modern learning process. Most of the tasks that homework requires of students is repetitive and uninteresting. Kids love to resolve challenges on tasks that they are passionate about at that moment in their lives. Forcing them to complete the same problems repetitively as a way to “learn” core concepts can create issues with knowledge retention later in life. When you add in the fact that most lessons sent for homework must be done by themselves, banning homework will reduce the repetition that students face, allowing for a better overall outcome.

8. Home environments can be chaotic. Although some students can do homework in a quiet room without distractions, that is not the case for most kids. There are numerous events that happen at home which can pull a child’s attention away from the work that their teacher wants them to do. It isn’t just the Internet, video games, and television which are problematic either. Household chores, family issues, employment, and athletic requirements can make it a challenge to get the assigned work finished on time.

List of the Cons of Banning Homework

1. Homework allows parents to be involved with the educational process. Parents need to know what their children are learning in school. Even if they ask their children about what they are learning, the answers tend to be in generalities instead of specifics. By sending home work from the classroom, it allows parents to see and experience the work that their kids are doing when they are in school during the day. Then moms and dads can get involved with the learning process to reinforce the core concepts that were discovered by their children each day.

2. It can help parents and teachers identify learning disabilities. Many children develop a self-defense mechanism which allows them to appear like any other kid that is in their classroom. This process allows them to hide learning disabilities which may be hindering their educational progress. The presence of homework makes it possible for parents and teachers to identify this issue because kids can’t hide their struggles when they must work 1-on-1 with their parents on specific subjects. Banning homework would eliminate 50% of the opportunities to identify potential issues immediately.

3. Homework allows teachers to observe how their students understand the material. Teachers often use homework as a way to gauge how well a student is understanding the materials they are learning. Although some might point out that assignments and exams in the classroom can do the same thing, testing often requires preparation at home. It creates more anxiety and stress sometimes then even homework does. That is why banning it can be problematic for some students. Some students experience more pressure than they would during this assessment process when quizzes and tests are the only measurement of their success.

4. It teaches students how to manage their time wisely. As people grow older, they realize that time is a finite commodity. We must manage it wisely to maximize our productivity. Homework assignments are a way to encourage the development of this skill at an early age. The trick is to keep the amount of time required for the work down to a manageable level. As a general rule, students should spend about 10 minutes each school day doing homework, organizing their schedule around this need. If there are scheduling conflicts, then this process offers families a chance to create priorities.

5. Homework encourages students to be accountable for their role. Teachers are present in the classroom to offer access to information and skill-building opportunities that can improve the quality of life for each student. Administrators work to find a curriculum that will benefit the most people in an efficient way. Parents work hard to ensure their kids make it to school on time, follow healthy routines, and communicate with their school district to ensure the most effective learning opportunities possible. None of that matters if the student is not invested in the work in the first place. Homework assignments not only teach children how to work independently, but they also show them how to take responsibility for their part of the overall educational process.

6. It helps to teach important life lessons. Homework is an essential tool in the development of life lessons, such as communicating with others or comprehending something they have just read. It teaches kids how to think, solve problems, and even build an understanding for the issues that occur in our society right now. Many of the issues that lead to the idea to ban homework occur because someone in the life of a student communicated to them that this work was a waste of time. There are times in life when people need to do things that they don’t like or want to do. Homework helps a student begin to find the coping skills needed to be successful in that situation.

7. Homework allows for further research into class materials. Most classrooms offer less than 1 hour of instruction per subject during the day. For many students, that is not enough time to obtain a firm grasp on the materials being taught. Having homework assignments allows a student to perform more research, using their at-home tools to take a deeper look into the materials that would otherwise be impossible if homework was banned. That process can lead to a more significant understanding of the concepts involved, reducing anxiety levels because they have a complete grasp on the materials.

The pros and cons of banning homework is a decision that ultimately lies with each school district. Parents always have the option to pursue homeschooling or online learning if they disagree with the decisions that are made in this area. Whether you’re for more homework or want to see less of it, we can all agree on the fact that the absence of any reliable data about its usefulness makes it a challenge to know for certain which option is the best one to choose in this debate.

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Student Opinion

Should We Get Rid of Homework?

Some educators are pushing to get rid of homework. Would that be a good thing?

cons should homework be abolished

By Jeremy Engle and Michael Gonchar

Do you like doing homework? Do you think it has benefited you educationally?

Has homework ever helped you practice a difficult skill — in math, for example — until you mastered it? Has it helped you learn new concepts in history or science? Has it helped to teach you life skills, such as independence and responsibility? Or, have you had a more negative experience with homework? Does it stress you out, numb your brain from busywork or actually make you fall behind in your classes?

Should we get rid of homework?

In “ The Movement to End Homework Is Wrong, ” published in July, the Times Opinion writer Jay Caspian Kang argues that homework may be imperfect, but it still serves an important purpose in school. The essay begins:

Do students really need to do their homework? As a parent and a former teacher, I have been pondering this question for quite a long time. The teacher side of me can acknowledge that there were assignments I gave out to my students that probably had little to no academic value. But I also imagine that some of my students never would have done their basic reading if they hadn’t been trained to complete expected assignments, which would have made the task of teaching an English class nearly impossible. As a parent, I would rather my daughter not get stuck doing the sort of pointless homework I would occasionally assign, but I also think there’s a lot of value in saying, “Hey, a lot of work you’re going to end up doing in your life is pointless, so why not just get used to it?” I certainly am not the only person wondering about the value of homework. Recently, the sociologist Jessica McCrory Calarco and the mathematics education scholars Ilana Horn and Grace Chen published a paper, “ You Need to Be More Responsible: The Myth of Meritocracy and Teachers’ Accounts of Homework Inequalities .” They argued that while there’s some evidence that homework might help students learn, it also exacerbates inequalities and reinforces what they call the “meritocratic” narrative that says kids who do well in school do so because of “individual competence, effort and responsibility.” The authors believe this meritocratic narrative is a myth and that homework — math homework in particular — further entrenches the myth in the minds of teachers and their students. Calarco, Horn and Chen write, “Research has highlighted inequalities in students’ homework production and linked those inequalities to differences in students’ home lives and in the support students’ families can provide.”

Mr. Kang argues:

But there’s a defense of homework that doesn’t really have much to do with class mobility, equality or any sense of reinforcing the notion of meritocracy. It’s one that became quite clear to me when I was a teacher: Kids need to learn how to practice things. Homework, in many cases, is the only ritualized thing they have to do every day. Even if we could perfectly equalize opportunity in school and empower all students not to be encumbered by the weight of their socioeconomic status or ethnicity, I’m not sure what good it would do if the kids didn’t know how to do something relentlessly, over and over again, until they perfected it. Most teachers know that type of progress is very difficult to achieve inside the classroom, regardless of a student’s background, which is why, I imagine, Calarco, Horn and Chen found that most teachers weren’t thinking in a structural inequalities frame. Holistic ideas of education, in which learning is emphasized and students can explore concepts and ideas, are largely for the types of kids who don’t need to worry about class mobility. A defense of rote practice through homework might seem revanchist at this moment, but if we truly believe that schools should teach children lessons that fall outside the meritocracy, I can’t think of one that matters more than the simple satisfaction of mastering something that you were once bad at. That takes homework and the acknowledgment that sometimes a student can get a question wrong and, with proper instruction, eventually get it right.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

Should we get rid of homework? Why, or why not?

Is homework an outdated, ineffective or counterproductive tool for learning? Do you agree with the authors of the paper that homework is harmful and worsens inequalities that exist between students’ home circumstances?

Or do you agree with Mr. Kang that homework still has real educational value?

When you get home after school, how much homework will you do? Do you think the amount is appropriate, too much or too little? Is homework, including the projects and writing assignments you do at home, an important part of your learning experience? Or, in your opinion, is it not a good use of time? Explain.

In these letters to the editor , one reader makes a distinction between elementary school and high school:

Homework’s value is unclear for younger students. But by high school and college, homework is absolutely essential for any student who wishes to excel. There simply isn’t time to digest Dostoyevsky if you only ever read him in class.

What do you think? How much does grade level matter when discussing the value of homework?

Is there a way to make homework more effective?

If you were a teacher, would you assign homework? What kind of assignments would you give and why?

Want more writing prompts? You can find all of our questions in our Student Opinion column . Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate them into your classroom.

Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.

Jeremy Engle joined The Learning Network as a staff editor in 2018 after spending more than 20 years as a classroom humanities and documentary-making teacher, professional developer and curriculum designer working with students and teachers across the country. More about Jeremy Engle

Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in.

cons should homework be abolished

It's no secret that kids hate homework. And as students grapple with an ongoing pandemic that has had a wide range of mental health impacts, is it time schools start listening to their pleas about workloads?

Some teachers are turning to social media to take a stand against homework. 

Tiktok user @misguided.teacher says he doesn't assign it because the "whole premise of homework is flawed."

For starters, he says, he can't grade work on "even playing fields" when students' home environments can be vastly different.

"Even students who go home to a peaceful house, do they really want to spend their time on busy work? Because typically that's what a lot of homework is, it's busy work," he says in the video that has garnered 1.6 million likes. "You only get one year to be 7, you only got one year to be 10, you only get one year to be 16, 18."

Mental health experts agree heavy workloads have the potential do more harm than good for students, especially when taking into account the impacts of the pandemic. But they also say the answer may not be to eliminate homework altogether.

Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold , says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health."

"More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies," she says, adding that staying up late to finish assignments also leads to disrupted sleep and exhaustion.

Cynthia Catchings, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist at Talkspace , says heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression. 

And for all the distress homework  can cause, it's not as useful as many may think, says Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, a psychologist and CEO of Omega Recovery treatment center.

"The research shows that there's really limited benefit of homework for elementary age students, that really the school work should be contained in the classroom," he says.

For older students, Kang says, homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night. 

"Most students, especially at these high achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's taking away time from their friends, from their families, their extracurricular activities. And these are all very important things for a person's mental and emotional health."

Catchings, who also taught third to 12th graders for 12 years, says she's seen the positive effects of a no-homework policy while working with students abroad.

"Not having homework was something that I always admired from the French students (and) the French schools, because that was helping the students to really have the time off and really disconnect from school," she says.

The answer may not be to eliminate homework completely but to be more mindful of the type of work students take home, suggests Kang, who was a high school teacher for 10 years.

"I don't think (we) should scrap homework; I think we should scrap meaningless, purposeless busy work-type homework. That's something that needs to be scrapped entirely," she says, encouraging teachers to be thoughtful and consider the amount of time it would take for students to complete assignments.

The pandemic made the conversation around homework more crucial 

Mindfulness surrounding homework is especially important in the context of the past two years. Many students will be struggling with mental health issues that were brought on or worsened by the pandemic , making heavy workloads even harder to balance.

"COVID was just a disaster in terms of the lack of structure. Everything just deteriorated," Kardaras says, pointing to an increase in cognitive issues and decrease in attention spans among students. "School acts as an anchor for a lot of children, as a stabilizing force, and that disappeared."

But even if students transition back to the structure of in-person classes, Kardaras suspects students may still struggle after two school years of shifted schedules and disrupted sleeping habits.

"We've seen adults struggling to go back to in-person work environments from remote work environments. That effect is amplified with children because children have less resources to be able to cope with those transitions than adults do," he explains.

'Get organized' ahead of back-to-school

In order to make the transition back to in-person school easier, Kang encourages students to "get good sleep, exercise regularly (and) eat a healthy diet."

To help manage workloads, she suggests students "get organized."

"There's so much mental clutter up there when you're disorganized. ... Sitting down and planning out their study schedules can really help manage their time," she says.

Breaking up assignments can also make things easier to tackle.

"I know that heavy workloads can be stressful, but if you sit down and you break down that studying into smaller chunks, they're much more manageable."

If workloads are still too much, Kang encourages students to advocate for themselves.

"They should tell their teachers when a homework assignment just took too much time or if it was too difficult for them to do on their own," she says. "It's good to speak up and ask those questions. Respectfully, of course, because these are your teachers. But still, I think sometimes teachers themselves need this feedback from their students."

More: Some teachers let their students sleep in class. Here's what mental health experts say.

More: Some parents are slipping young kids in for the COVID-19 vaccine, but doctors discourage the move as 'risky'

Are You Down With or Done With Homework?

  • Posted January 17, 2012
  • By Lory Hough

Sign: Are you down with or done with homework?

The debate over how much schoolwork students should be doing at home has flared again, with one side saying it's too much, the other side saying in our competitive world, it's just not enough.

It was a move that doesn't happen very often in American public schools: The principal got rid of homework.

This past September, Stephanie Brant, principal of Gaithersburg Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Md., decided that instead of teachers sending kids home with math worksheets and spelling flash cards, students would instead go home and read. Every day for 30 minutes, more if they had time or the inclination, with parents or on their own.

"I knew this would be a big shift for my community," she says. But she also strongly believed it was a necessary one. Twenty-first-century learners, especially those in elementary school, need to think critically and understand their own learning — not spend night after night doing rote homework drills.

Brant's move may not be common, but she isn't alone in her questioning. The value of doing schoolwork at home has gone in and out of fashion in the United States among educators, policymakers, the media, and, more recently, parents. As far back as the late 1800s, with the rise of the Progressive Era, doctors such as Joseph Mayer Rice began pushing for a limit on what he called "mechanical homework," saying it caused childhood nervous conditions and eyestrain. Around that time, the then-influential Ladies Home Journal began publishing a series of anti-homework articles, stating that five hours of brain work a day was "the most we should ask of our children," and that homework was an intrusion on family life. In response, states like California passed laws abolishing homework for students under a certain age.

But, as is often the case with education, the tide eventually turned. After the Russians launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957, a space race emerged, and, writes Brian Gill in the journal Theory Into Practice, "The homework problem was reconceived as part of a national crisis; the U.S. was losing the Cold War because Russian children were smarter." Many earlier laws limiting homework were abolished, and the longterm trend toward less homework came to an end.

The debate re-emerged a decade later when parents of the late '60s and '70s argued that children should be free to play and explore — similar anti-homework wellness arguments echoed nearly a century earlier. By the early-1980s, however, the pendulum swung again with the publication of A Nation at Risk , which blamed poor education for a "rising tide of mediocrity." Students needed to work harder, the report said, and one way to do this was more homework.

For the most part, this pro-homework sentiment is still going strong today, in part because of mandatory testing and continued economic concerns about the nation's competitiveness. Many believe that today's students are falling behind their peers in places like Korea and Finland and are paying more attention to Angry Birds than to ancient Babylonia.

But there are also a growing number of Stephanie Brants out there, educators and parents who believe that students are stressed and missing out on valuable family time. Students, they say, particularly younger students who have seen a rise in the amount of take-home work and already put in a six- to nine-hour "work" day, need less, not more homework.

Who is right? Are students not working hard enough or is homework not working for them? Here's where the story gets a little tricky: It depends on whom you ask and what research you're looking at. As Cathy Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework , points out, "Homework has generated enough research so that a study can be found to support almost any position, as long as conflicting studies are ignored." Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth and a strong believer in eliminating all homework, writes that, "The fact that there isn't anything close to unanimity among experts belies the widespread assumption that homework helps." At best, he says, homework shows only an association, not a causal relationship, with academic achievement. In other words, it's hard to tease out how homework is really affecting test scores and grades. Did one teacher give better homework than another? Was one teacher more effective in the classroom? Do certain students test better or just try harder?

"It is difficult to separate where the effect of classroom teaching ends," Vatterott writes, "and the effect of homework begins."

Putting research aside, however, much of the current debate over homework is focused less on how homework affects academic achievement and more on time. Parents in particular have been saying that the amount of time children spend in school, especially with afterschool programs, combined with the amount of homework given — as early as kindergarten — is leaving students with little time to run around, eat dinner with their families, or even get enough sleep.

Certainly, for some parents, homework is a way to stay connected to their children's learning. But for others, homework creates a tug-of-war between parents and children, says Liz Goodenough, M.A.T.'71, creator of a documentary called Where Do the Children Play?

"Ideally homework should be about taking something home, spending a few curious and interesting moments in which children might engage with parents, and then getting that project back to school — an organizational triumph," she says. "A nag-free activity could engage family time: Ask a parent about his or her own childhood. Interview siblings."

Illustration by Jessica Esch

Instead, as the authors of The Case Against Homework write, "Homework overload is turning many of us into the types of parents we never wanted to be: nags, bribers, and taskmasters."

Leslie Butchko saw it happen a few years ago when her son started sixth grade in the Santa Monica-Malibu (Calif.) United School District. She remembers him getting two to four hours of homework a night, plus weekend and vacation projects. He was overwhelmed and struggled to finish assignments, especially on nights when he also had an extracurricular activity.

"Ultimately, we felt compelled to have Bobby quit karate — he's a black belt — to allow more time for homework," she says. And then, with all of their attention focused on Bobby's homework, she and her husband started sending their youngest to his room so that Bobby could focus. "One day, my younger son gave us 15-minute coupons as a present for us to use to send him to play in the back room. … It was then that we realized there had to be something wrong with the amount of homework we were facing."

Butchko joined forces with another mother who was having similar struggles and ultimately helped get the homework policy in her district changed, limiting homework on weekends and holidays, setting time guidelines for daily homework, and broadening the definition of homework to include projects and studying for tests. As she told the school board at one meeting when the policy was first being discussed, "In closing, I just want to say that I had more free time at Harvard Law School than my son has in middle school, and that is not in the best interests of our children."

One barrier that Butchko had to overcome initially was convincing many teachers and parents that more homework doesn't necessarily equal rigor.

"Most of the parents that were against the homework policy felt that students need a large quantity of homework to prepare them for the rigorous AP classes in high school and to get them into Harvard," she says.

Stephanie Conklin, Ed.M.'06, sees this at Another Course to College, the Boston pilot school where she teaches math. "When a student is not completing [his or her] homework, parents usually are frustrated by this and agree with me that homework is an important part of their child's learning," she says.

As Timothy Jarman, Ed.M.'10, a ninth-grade English teacher at Eugene Ashley High School in Wilmington, N.C., says, "Parents think it is strange when their children are not assigned a substantial amount of homework."

That's because, writes Vatterott, in her chapter, "The Cult(ure) of Homework," the concept of homework "has become so engrained in U.S. culture that the word homework is part of the common vernacular."

These days, nightly homework is a given in American schools, writes Kohn.

"Homework isn't limited to those occasions when it seems appropriate and important. Most teachers and administrators aren't saying, 'It may be useful to do this particular project at home,'" he writes. "Rather, the point of departure seems to be, 'We've decided ahead of time that children will have to do something every night (or several times a week). … This commitment to the idea of homework in the abstract is accepted by the overwhelming majority of schools — public and private, elementary and secondary."

Brant had to confront this when she cut homework at Gaithersburg Elementary.

"A lot of my parents have this idea that homework is part of life. This is what I had to do when I was young," she says, and so, too, will our kids. "So I had to shift their thinking." She did this slowly, first by asking her teachers last year to really think about what they were sending home. And this year, in addition to forming a parent advisory group around the issue, she also holds events to answer questions.

Still, not everyone is convinced that homework as a given is a bad thing. "Any pursuit of excellence, be it in sports, the arts, or academics, requires hard work. That our culture finds it okay for kids to spend hours a day in a sport but not equal time on academics is part of the problem," wrote one pro-homework parent on the blog for the documentary Race to Nowhere , which looks at the stress American students are under. "Homework has always been an issue for parents and children. It is now and it was 20 years ago. I think when people decide to have children that it is their responsibility to educate them," wrote another.

And part of educating them, some believe, is helping them develop skills they will eventually need in adulthood. "Homework can help students develop study skills that will be of value even after they leave school," reads a publication on the U.S. Department of Education website called Homework Tips for Parents. "It can teach them that learning takes place anywhere, not just in the classroom. … It can foster positive character traits such as independence and responsibility. Homework can teach children how to manage time."

Annie Brown, Ed.M.'01, feels this is particularly critical at less affluent schools like the ones she has worked at in Boston, Cambridge, Mass., and Los Angeles as a literacy coach.

"It feels important that my students do homework because they will ultimately be competing for college placement and jobs with students who have done homework and have developed a work ethic," she says. "Also it will get them ready for independently taking responsibility for their learning, which will need to happen for them to go to college."

The problem with this thinking, writes Vatterott, is that homework becomes a way to practice being a worker.

"Which begs the question," she writes. "Is our job as educators to produce learners or workers?"

Slate magazine editor Emily Bazelon, in a piece about homework, says this makes no sense for younger kids.

"Why should we think that practicing homework in first grade will make you better at doing it in middle school?" she writes. "Doesn't the opposite seem equally plausible: that it's counterproductive to ask children to sit down and work at night before they're developmentally ready because you'll just make them tired and cross?"

Kohn writes in the American School Board Journal that this "premature exposure" to practices like homework (and sit-and-listen lessons and tests) "are clearly a bad match for younger children and of questionable value at any age." He calls it BGUTI: Better Get Used to It. "The logic here is that we have to prepare you for the bad things that are going to be done to you later … by doing them to you now."

According to a recent University of Michigan study, daily homework for six- to eight-year-olds increased on average from about 8 minutes in 1981 to 22 minutes in 2003. A review of research by Duke University Professor Harris Cooper found that for elementary school students, "the average correlation between time spent on homework and achievement … hovered around zero."

So should homework be eliminated? Of course not, say many Ed School graduates who are teaching. Not only would students not have time for essays and long projects, but also teachers would not be able to get all students to grade level or to cover critical material, says Brett Pangburn, Ed.M.'06, a sixth-grade English teacher at Excel Academy Charter School in Boston. Still, he says, homework has to be relevant.

"Kids need to practice the skills being taught in class, especially where, like the kids I teach at Excel, they are behind and need to catch up," he says. "Our results at Excel have demonstrated that kids can catch up and view themselves as in control of their academic futures, but this requires hard work, and homework is a part of it."

Ed School Professor Howard Gardner basically agrees.

"America and Americans lurch between too little homework in many of our schools to an excess of homework in our most competitive environments — Li'l Abner vs. Tiger Mother," he says. "Neither approach makes sense. Homework should build on what happens in class, consolidating skills and helping students to answer new questions."

So how can schools come to a happy medium, a way that allows teachers to cover everything they need while not overwhelming students? Conklin says she often gives online math assignments that act as labs and students have two or three days to complete them, including some in-class time. Students at Pangburn's school have a 50-minute silent period during regular school hours where homework can be started, and where teachers pull individual or small groups of students aside for tutoring, often on that night's homework. Afterschool homework clubs can help.

Some schools and districts have adapted time limits rather than nix homework completely, with the 10-minute per grade rule being the standard — 10 minutes a night for first-graders, 30 minutes for third-graders, and so on. (This remedy, however, is often met with mixed results since not all students work at the same pace.) Other schools offer an extended day that allows teachers to cover more material in school, in turn requiring fewer take-home assignments. And for others, like Stephanie Brant's elementary school in Maryland, more reading with a few targeted project assignments has been the answer.

"The routine of reading is so much more important than the routine of homework," she says. "Let's have kids reflect. You can still have the routine and you can still have your workspace, but now it's for reading. I often say to parents, if we can put a man on the moon, we can put a man or woman on Mars and that person is now a second-grader. We don't know what skills that person will need. At the end of the day, we have to feel confident that we're giving them something they can use on Mars."

Read a January 2014 update.

Homework Policy Still Going Strong

Illustration by Jessica Esch

Ed. Magazine

The magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education

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Pros and cons of school assignments: Should kids have homework?

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Do you think homework is good for kids? Should it be abolished? Find out the pros and cons of homework for students and join our education poll and debate. 

Should kids have homework? 

Pros and cons of homework.

Some researchers have identified a strong correlation between homework and academic success. Harris  Cooper, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, led a  meta-analysis  in 2006, " Does homework improve academic achievement?, " which showed that homework can improve students' scores on class tests. The study demonstrated that accross different topics, including Math, English, American History, and Social studies, student who had done homework performed better than their classmates who had not. 

In addition to improving grades and results in standardized tests, there are many other pros to homework such as:

  • Homework provides parents with the opportunity to participate in their children's education.
  • Possibility for kids to further explore a subject at their own pace. Not all children have the same capacity to assimilate all the information covered in class.
  • School assignments can help develop a sense of responsibility and time management.
  • It facilitates rote learning.
  • It reduces the time kids spend watching TV as well as playing video games and with their cell phones .
  • Homework is an opportunity to practice some research and study skills and deepen understanding of some concepts which cannot be fully developed in class.

However, some voices have started to point out some disadvantages of doing homework and questioned the traditional education model in place. Some of them claim that homework should be abolished. The publication   “The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning” by Kralovec and Buell (2000) has brought into the discussion a very interesting new angle. Kralovec and Buell argue that homework contributes to a competitive culture that overvalues work to the detriment of personal and family well-being . Moreover, there are several other problems associated to homework, such as:

  • Homework is very unfair because economically disadvantaged students can’t study at home with the same conditions and support as the wealthier children.
  • Too many school  assignments  can excessively reduce the time for playing, doing sports or simply interacting socially with friends and family. Homework can also interfere with kids' household chores .
  • Cheating is easy. Often students simply plagiarize their assignments from others or from the Internet and therefore the learning objectives of homework are not fulfilled. In occasions parents or older relatives do children's coursework.
  • Sometimes homework is not well designed and do not really contribute to learning. In other cases homework is not marked shortly after being submitted and, therefore, feedback does not reach students as soon as it should. Students may get frustrated and lose interest.
  •  It may keep students up late at night, reduce their sleeping time and therefore their performance in class the following day.
  • As Galloway et al (2013) show, homework can be a source of stress and physical health problems for children.

To summarize, there are several pros and cons to the use of homework as educational tool for children. What side of the debate are you on? Do you think homework is overall good or bad for the development and education of children? Vote and tell us why (see below).

Watch these videos on the homework debate:

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Why I Think All Schools Should Abolish Homework

Two brothers work on laptop computers at home

H ow long is your child’s workweek? Thirty hours? Forty? Would it surprise you to learn that some elementary school kids have workweeks comparable to adults’ schedules? For most children, mandatory homework assignments push their workweek far beyond the school day and deep into what any other laborers would consider overtime. Even without sports or music or other school-sponsored extracurriculars, the daily homework slog keeps many students on the clock as long as lawyers, teachers, medical residents, truck drivers and other overworked adults. Is it any wonder that,deprived of the labor protections that we provide adults, our kids are suffering an epidemic of disengagement, anxiety and depression ?

With my youngest child just months away from finishing high school, I’m remembering all the needless misery and missed opportunities all three of my kids suffered because of their endless assignments. When my daughters were in middle school, I would urge them into bed before midnight and then find them clandestinely studying under the covers with a flashlight. We cut back on their activities but still found ourselves stuck in a system on overdrive, returning home from hectic days at 6 p.m. only to face hours more of homework. Now, even as a senior with a moderate course load, my son, Zak, has spent many weekends studying, finding little time for the exercise and fresh air essential to his well-being. Week after week, and without any extracurriculars, Zak logs a lot more than the 40 hours adults traditionally work each week — and with no recognition from his “bosses” that it’s too much. I can’t count the number of shared evenings, weekend outings and dinners that our family has missed and will never get back.

How much after-school time should our schools really own?

In the midst of the madness last fall, Zak said to me, “I feel like I’m working towards my death. The constant demands on my time since 5th grade are just going to continue through graduation, into college, and then into my job. It’s like I’m on an endless treadmill with no time for living.”

My spirit crumbled along with his.

Like Zak, many people are now questioning the point of putting so much demand on children and teens that they become thinly stretched and overworked. Studies have long shown that there is no academic benefit to high school homework that consumes more than a modest number of hours each week. In a study of high schoolers conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), researchers concluded that “after around four hours of homework per week, the additional time invested in homework has a negligible impact on performance.”

In elementary school, where we often assign overtime even to the youngest children, studies have shown there’s no academic benefit to any amount of homework at all.

Our unquestioned acceptance of homework also flies in the face of all we know about human health, brain function and learning. Brain scientists know that rest and exercise are essential to good health and real learning . Even top adult professionals in specialized fields take care to limit their work to concentrated periods of focus. A landmark study of how humans develop expertise found that elite musicians, scientists and athletes do their most productive work only about four hours per day .

Yet we continue to overwork our children, depriving them of the chance to cultivate health and learn deeply, burdening them with an imbalance of sedentary, academic tasks. American high school students , in fact, do more homework each week than their peers in the average country in the OECD, a 2014 report found.

It’s time for an uprising.

Already, small rebellions are starting. High schools in Ridgewood, N.J. , and Fairfax County, Va., among others, have banned homework over school breaks. The entire second grade at Taylor Elementary School in Arlington, Va., abolished homework this academic year. Burton Valley Elementary School in Lafayette, Calif., has eliminated homework in grades K through 4. Henry West Laboratory School , a public K-8 school in Coral Gables, Fla., eliminated mandatory, graded homework for optional assignments. One Lexington, Mass., elementary school is piloting a homework-free year, replacing it with reading for pleasure.

More from TIME

Across the Atlantic, students in Spain launched a national strike against excessive assignments in November. And a second-grade teacher in Texas, made headlines this fall when she quit sending home extra work , instead urging families to “spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside and get your child to bed early.”

It is time that we call loudly for a clear and simple change: a workweek limit for children, counting time on the clock before and after the final bell. Why should schools extend their authority far beyond the boundaries of campus, dictating activities in our homes in the hours that belong to families? An all-out ban on after-school assignments would be optimal. Short of that, we can at least sensibly agree on a cap limiting kids to a 40-hour workweek — and fewer hours for younger children.

Resistance even to this reasonable limit will be rife. Mike Miller, an English teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., found this out firsthand when he spearheaded a homework committee to rethink the usual approach. He had read the education research and found a forgotten policy on the county books limiting homework to two hours a night, total, including all classes. “I thought it would be a slam dunk” to put the two-hour cap firmly in place, Miller said.

But immediately, people started balking. “There was a lot of fear in the community,” Miller said. “It’s like jumping off a high dive with your kids’ future. If we reduce homework to two hours or less, is my kid really going to be okay?” In the end, the committee only agreed to a homework ban over school breaks.

Miller’s response is a great model for us all. He decided to limit assignments in his own class to 20 minutes a night (the most allowed for a student with six classes to hit the two-hour max). His students didn’t suddenly fail. Their test scores remained stable. And they started using their more breathable schedule to do more creative, thoughtful work.

That’s the way we will get to a sane work schedule for kids: by simultaneously pursuing changes big and small. Even as we collaboratively press for policy changes at the district or individual school level, all teachers can act now, as individuals, to ease the strain on overworked kids.

As parents and students, we can also organize to make homework the exception rather than the rule. We can insist that every family, teacher and student be allowed to opt out of assignments without penalty to make room for important activities, and we can seek changes that shift practice exercises and assignments into the actual school day.

We’ll know our work is done only when Zak and every other child can clock out, eat dinner, sleep well and stay healthy — the very things needed to engage and learn deeply. That’s the basic standard the law applies to working adults. Let’s do the same for our kids.

Vicki Abeles is the author of the bestseller Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation, and director and producer of the documentaries “ Race to Nowhere ” and “ Beyond Measure. ”

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Guy Winch Ph.D.

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Should Homework Be Abolished?

The french president proposes banning homework. is he right.

Posted October 18, 2012

French President François Hollande proposed banning homework as part of his plan to reform the French educational system. But is he throwing out the baby with the bathwater?

Hollande believes homework favors the wealthy and disadvantages children from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds because wealthier parents are more likely to have the time and means to support, monitor, supervise, and assist their children when they are doing their homework. The reality of such distinctions aside, such an all-or-nothing approach misses the more practical problems ALL students face when dealing with homework—the sheer volume of homework they are assigned.

I’ve written about this question previously (read, How Much Homework is Too Much ?) and stated that there are few if any studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of piling on excessive amounts of homework on students, especially when it comes to children in elementary and middle school.

When children are assigned too much homework, it taxes not just them but their parents as well. Further, children who are assigned hours of homework a day are often unable to engage in the kind of socializing and play that are essential for healthy child development . One easy guideline to keep in mind is that children should be assigned no more than 10 minutes a day of homework per grade level. A sixth grader should be doing no more than an hour of homework a day, and a senior in high school should have no more than two hours a day of homework. However, such is rarely the case, especially (but not exclusively) when it comes to private schools.

The French President’s initiative notwithstanding, homework is not likely to be abolished in the United States anytime soon. So what can or should parents do when they have concerns about the amounts of homework their children are assigned? First, parents should try and come together so they can address homework concerns to schools as a group. Second, they also need to become informed about studies that have examined the impact of homework on children. They should also be ready to inform their children’s teachers and principal, many of whom aren't aware of these findings, or in some cases, that such studies even exist.

If your children are doing excessive amounts of homework and you want to learn how to advocate for them you have to become a squeaky wheel, and not just speak up, but learn to do so effectively! For more on how to complain effectively as well as on how complaining psychology impacts our advocacy efforts, check out The Squeaky Wheel .

View my short and quite personal TED talk about Psychological Health here:

Copyright 2012 Guy Winch

Follow me on Twitter @GuyWinch

Guy Winch Ph.D.

Guy Winch, Ph.D. , is a licensed psychologist and author of Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts.

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25 Reasons Homework Should Be Banned (Busywork Arguments)

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As students across the globe plow through heaps of homework each night, one question lingers in the minds of educators, parents, and students alike: should homework be banned?

This question is not new, yet it continues to spark lively debate as research findings, anecdotal evidence, and personal experiences paint a complex picture of the pros and cons of homework.

On one hand, proponents of homework argue that it reinforces classroom learning, encourages a disciplined work ethic, and provides teachers with valuable insight into student comprehension. They see homework as an extension of classroom instruction that solidifies and enriches learning while fostering important skills like time management and self-discipline. It also offers an opportunity for parents to be involved in their children's education.

However, some people say there are a lot of downsides. They argue that excessive homework can lead to stress and burnout, reduce time for extracurricular activities and family interactions, exacerbate educational inequalities, and even negatively impact students' mental health.

child stressed about homework

This article presents 25 reasons why we might need to seriously consider this radical shift in our educational approach. But first, lets share some examples of what homework actually is.

Examples of Homework

These examples cover a wide range of subjects and complexity levels, reflecting the variety of homework assignments students might encounter throughout their educational journey.

  • Spelling lists to memorize for a test
  • Math worksheets for practicing basic arithmetic operations
  • Reading assignments from children's books
  • Simple science projects like growing a plant
  • Basic geography assignments like labeling a map
  • Art projects like drawing a family portrait
  • Writing book reports or essays
  • Advanced math problems
  • Research projects on various topics
  • Lab reports for science experiments
  • Reading and responding to literature
  • Preparing presentations on various topics
  • Advanced math problems involving calculus or algebra
  • Reading classic literature and writing analytical essays
  • Research papers on historical events
  • Lab reports for advanced science experiments
  • Foreign language exercises
  • Preparing for standardized tests
  • College application essays
  • Extensive research papers
  • In-depth case studies
  • Advanced problem-solving in subjects like physics, engineering, etc.
  • Thesis or dissertation writing
  • Extensive reading and literature reviews
  • Internship or practicum experiences

Lack of proven benefits

measured scientific results

Homework has long been a staple of traditional education, dating back centuries. However, the actual efficacy of homework in enhancing learning outcomes remains disputed. A number of studies indicate that there's no conclusive evidence supporting the notion that homework improves academic performance, especially in primary education . In fact, research suggests that for younger students, the correlation between homework and academic achievement is weak or even negative .

Too much homework can often lead to increased stress and decreased enthusiasm for learning. This issue becomes particularly pressing when considering the common 'more is better' approach to homework, where the quantity of work given to students often outweighs the quality and effectiveness of the tasks. For instance, spending countless hours memorizing facts for a history test may not necessarily translate to better understanding or long-term retention of the subject matter.

However, it's worth noting that homework isn't completely devoid of benefits. It can help foster self-discipline, time management skills, and the ability to work independently. But, these positive outcomes are usually more pronounced in older students and when homework assignments are thoughtfully designed and not excessive in volume.

When discussing the merits and drawbacks of homework, it's critical to consider the nature of the assignments. Routine, repetitive tasks often associated with 'drill-and-practice' homework, such as completing rows of arithmetic problems or copying definitions from a textbook, rarely lead to meaningful learning. On the other hand, assignments that encourage students to apply what they've learned in class, solve problems, or engage creatively with the material can be more beneficial.

Increased stress

stressed student

Homework can often lead to a significant increase in stress levels among students. This is especially true when students are burdened with large volumes of homework, leaving them with little time to relax or pursue other activities. The feeling of constantly racing against the clock to meet deadlines can contribute to anxiety, frustration, and even burnout.

Contrary to popular belief, stress does not necessarily improve performance or productivity. In fact, high levels of stress can negatively impact memory, concentration, and overall cognitive function. This counteracts the very purpose of homework, which is intended to reinforce learning and improve academic outcomes.

However, one might argue that homework can teach students about time management, organization, and how to handle pressure. These are important life skills that could potentially prepare them for future responsibilities. But it's essential to strike a balance. The pressure to complete homework should not come at the cost of a student's mental wellbeing.

Limited family time

student missing their family

Homework often infringes upon the time students can spend with their families. After spending the entire day in school, children come home to yet more academic work, leaving little room for quality family interactions. This limited family time can hinder the development of important interpersonal skills and familial bonds.

Moreover, family time isn't just about fun and relaxation. It also plays a crucial role in the social and emotional development of children. Opportunities for unstructured play, family conversations, and shared activities can contribute to children's well-being and character building.

Nonetheless, advocates of homework might argue that it can be a platform for parental involvement in a child's education. While this may be true, the involvement should not transform into parental control or cause friction due to differing expectations and pressures.

Reduced physical activity

student doing homework looking outside

Homework can often lead to reduced physical activity by eating into the time students have for sports, recreation, and simply being outdoors. Physical activity is essential for children's health, well-being, and even their academic performance. Research suggests that physical activity can enhance cognitive abilities, improve concentration, and reduce symptoms of ADHD .

Homework, especially when it's boring and repetitive, can deter students from engaging in physical activities, leading to a sedentary lifestyle. This lack of balance between work and play can contribute to physical health problems such as obesity, poor posture, and related health concerns.

Homework proponents might point out that disciplined time management could allow students to balance both work and play. However, given the demanding nature of many homework assignments, achieving this balance is often easier said than done.

Negative impact on sleep

lack of sleep

A significant concern about homework is its impact on students' sleep patterns. Numerous studies have linked excessive homework to sleep deprivation in students. Children often stay up late to complete assignments, reducing the amount of sleep they get. Lack of sleep can result in a host of issues, from poor academic performance and difficulty concentrating to physical health problems like weakened immunity.

Even the quality of sleep can be affected. The stress and anxiety from a heavy workload can lead to difficulty falling asleep or restless nights. And let's not forget that students often need to wake up early for school, compounding the negative effects of late-night homework sessions.

On the other hand, some argue that homework can teach children time management skills, suggesting that effective organization could help prevent late-night work. However, when schools assign excessive amounts of homework, even the best time management might not prevent encroachment on sleep time.

Homework can exacerbate existing educational inequalities. Not all students have access to a conducive learning environment at home, necessary resources, or support from educated family members. For these students, homework can become a source of stress and disadvantage rather than an opportunity to reinforce learning.

Children from lower socio-economic backgrounds might need to contribute to household chores or part-time work, limiting the time they have for homework. This can create a gap in academic performance and grades, reflecting not on the students' abilities but their circumstances.

While homework is meant to level the playing field by providing additional learning time outside school, it often does the opposite. It's worth noting that students from privileged backgrounds can often access additional help like tutoring, further widening the gap.

Reduced creativity and independent thinking

Homework, particularly when it involves rote learning or repetitive tasks, can stifle creativity and independent thinking. Students often focus on getting the "right" answers to please teachers rather than exploring different ideas and solutions. This can hinder their ability to think creatively and solve problems independently, skills that are increasingly in demand in the modern world.

Homework defenders might claim that it can also promote independent learning. True, when thoughtfully designed, homework can encourage this. But, voluminous or repetitive tasks tend to promote compliance over creativity.

Diminished interest in learning

Overburdening students with homework can diminish their interest in learning. After long hours in school followed by more academic tasks at home, learning can begin to feel like a chore. This can lead to a decline in intrinsic motivation and an unhealthy association of learning with stress and exhaustion.

In theory, homework can deepen interest in a subject, especially when it involves projects or research. Yet, an excess of homework, particularly routine tasks, might achieve the opposite, turning learning into a source of stress rather than enjoyment.

Inability to pursue personal interests

Homework can limit students' ability to pursue personal interests. Hobbies, personal projects, and leisure activities are crucial for personal development and well-being. With heavy homework loads, students may struggle to find time for these activities, missing out on opportunities to discover new interests and talents.

Supporters of homework might argue that it teaches students to manage their time effectively. However, even with good time management, an overload of homework can crowd out time for personal interests.

Excessive workload

The issue of excessive workload is a common complaint among students. Spending several hours on homework after a full school day can be mentally and physically draining. This workload can lead to burnout, decreased motivation, and negative attitudes toward school and learning.

While homework can help consolidate classroom learning, too much can be counterproductive. It's important to consider the overall workload of students, including school, extracurricular activities, and personal time, when assigning homework.

Limited time for reflection

Homework can limit the time students have for reflection. Reflection is a critical part of learning, allowing students to digest and integrate new information. With the constant flow of assignments, there's often little time left for this crucial process. Consequently, the learning becomes superficial, and the true understanding of subjects can be compromised.

Although homework is meant to reinforce what's taught in class, the lack of downtime for reflection might hinder deep learning. It's important to remember that learning is not just about doing, but also about thinking.

Increased pressure on young children

Young children are particularly vulnerable to the pressures of homework. At an age where play and exploration are vital for cognitive and emotional development, too much homework can create undue pressure and stress. This pressure can instigate a negative relationship with learning from an early age, potentially impacting their future attitude towards education.

Advocates of homework often argue that it prepares children for the rigors of their future academic journey. However, placing too much academic pressure on young children might overshadow the importance of learning through play and exploration.

Lack of alignment with real-world skills

Traditional homework often lacks alignment with real-world skills. Assignments typically focus on academic abilities at the expense of skills like creativity, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence. These are crucial for success in the modern workplace and are often under-emphasized in homework tasks.

Homework can be an opportunity to develop these skills when properly structured. However, tasks often focus on memorization and repetition, rather than cultivating skills relevant to the real world.

Loss of motivation

Excessive homework can lead to a loss of motivation. The constant pressure to complete assignments and meet deadlines can diminish a student's intrinsic motivation to learn. This loss of motivation might not only affect their academic performance but also their love of learning, potentially having long-term effects on their educational journey.

Some believe homework instills discipline and responsibility. But, it's important to balance these benefits against the potential for homework to undermine motivation and engagement.

Disruption of work-life balance

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is as important for students as it is for adults. Overloading students with homework can disrupt this balance, leaving little time for relaxation, socializing, and extracurricular activities. All of these are vital for a student's overall development and well-being.

Homework supporters might argue that it prepares students for the workloads they'll face in college and beyond. But it's also crucial to ensure students have time to relax, recharge, and engage in non-academic activities for a well-rounded development.

Impact on mental health

There's a growing body of evidence showing the negative impact of excessive homework on students' mental health. The stress and anxiety from heavy homework loads can contribute to issues like depression, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide. Student well-being should be a top priority in education, and the impact of homework on mental health cannot be ignored.

While some might argue that homework helps students develop resilience and coping skills, it's important to ensure these potential benefits don't come at the expense of students' mental health.

Limited time for self-care

With excessive homework, students often find little time for essential self-care activities. These can include physical exercise, proper rest, healthy eating, mindfulness, or even simple leisure activities. These activities are critical for maintaining physical health, emotional well-being, and cognitive function.

Some might argue that managing homework alongside self-care responsibilities teaches students valuable life skills. However, it's important that these skills don't come at the cost of students' health and well-being.

Decreased family involvement

Homework can inadvertently lead to decreased family involvement in a child's learning. Parents often feel unqualified or too busy to help with homework, leading to missed opportunities for family learning interactions. This can also create stress and conflict within the family, especially when parents have high expectations or are unable to assist.

Some believe homework can facilitate parental involvement in education. But, when it becomes a source of stress or conflict, it can discourage parents from engaging in their child's learning.

Reinforcement of inequalities

Homework can unintentionally reinforce inequalities. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds might lack access to resources like private tutors or a quiet study space, placing them at a disadvantage compared to their more privileged peers. Additionally, these students might have additional responsibilities at home, further limiting their time to complete homework.

While the purpose of homework is often to provide additional learning opportunities, it can inadvertently reinforce existing disparities. Therefore, it's essential to ensure that homework doesn't favor students who have more resources at home.

Reduced time for play and creativity

Homework can take away from time for play and creative activities. These activities are not only enjoyable but also crucial for the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children. Play allows children to explore, imagine, and create, fostering innovative thinking and problem-solving skills.

Some may argue that homework teaches discipline and responsibility. Yet, it's vital to remember that play also has significant learning benefits and should be a part of every child's daily routine.

Increased cheating and academic dishonesty

The pressure to complete homework can sometimes lead to increased cheating and academic dishonesty. When faced with a large volume of homework, students might resort to copying from friends or searching for answers online. This undermines the educational value of homework and fosters unhealthy academic practices.

While homework is intended to consolidate learning, the risk of promoting dishonest behaviors is a concern that needs to be addressed.

Strained teacher-student relationships

Excessive homework can strain teacher-student relationships. If students begin to associate teachers with stress or anxiety from homework, it can hinder the development of a positive learning relationship. Furthermore, if teachers are perceived as being unfair or insensitive with their homework demands, it can impact the overall classroom dynamic.

While homework can provide an opportunity for teachers to monitor student progress, it's important to ensure that it doesn't negatively affect the teacher-student relationship.

Negative impact on family dynamics

Homework can impact family dynamics. Parents might feel compelled to enforce homework completion, leading to potential conflict, stress, and tension within the family. These situations can disrupt the harmony in the household and strain relationships.

Homework is sometimes seen as a tool to engage parents in their child's education. However, it's crucial to ensure that this involvement doesn't turn into a source of conflict or pressure.

Cultural and individual differences

Homework might not take into account cultural and individual differences. Education is not a one-size-fits-all process, and what works for one student might not work for another. Some students might thrive on hands-on learning, while others prefer auditory or visual learning methods. By standardizing homework, we might ignore these individual learning styles and preferences.

Homework can also overlook cultural differences. For students from diverse cultural backgrounds, certain types of homework might seem irrelevant or difficult to relate to, leading to disengagement or confusion.

Encouragement of surface-level learning

Homework often encourages surface-level learning instead of deep understanding. When students are swamped with homework, they're likely to rush through assignments to get them done, rather than taking the time to understand the concepts. This can result in superficial learning where students memorize information to regurgitate it on assignments and tests, instead of truly understanding and internalizing the knowledge.

While homework is meant to reinforce classroom learning, the quality of learning is more important than the quantity. It's important to design homework in a way that encourages deep, meaningful learning instead of mere rote memorization.

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Should homework be banned?

Social media has sparked into life about whether children should be given homework - should students be freed from this daily chore? Dr Gerald Letendre, a professor of education at Pennsylvania State University, investigates.

We’ve all done it: pretended to leave an essay at home, or stayed up until 2am to finish a piece of coursework we’ve been ignoring for weeks. Homework, for some people, is seen as a chore that’s ‘wrecking kids’ or ‘killing parents’, while others think it is an essential part of a well-rounded education. The problem is far from new: public debates about homework have been raging since at least the early-1900s, and recently spilled over into a Twitter feud between Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan.

Ironically, the conversation surrounding homework often ignores the scientific ‘homework’ that researchers have carried out. Many detailed studies have been conducted, and can guide parents, teachers and administrators to make sensible decisions about how much work should be completed by students outside of the classroom.

So why does homework stir up such strong emotions? One reason is that, by its very nature, it is an intrusion of schoolwork into family life. I carried out a study in 2005, and found that the amount of time that children and adolescents spend in school, from nursery right up to the end of compulsory education, has greatly increased over the last century . This means that more of a child’s time is taken up with education, so family time is reduced. This increases pressure on the boundary between the family and the school.

Plus, the amount of homework that students receive appears to be increasing, especially in the early years when parents are keen for their children to play with friends and spend time with the family.

Finally, success in school has become increasingly important to success in life. Parents can use homework to promote, or exercise control over, their child’s academic trajectory, and hopefully ensure their future educational success. But this often leaves parents conflicted – they want their children to be successful in school, but they don’t want them to be stressed or upset because of an unmanageable workload.

François Hollande says homework is unfair, as it penalises children who have a difficult home environment © Getty Images

However, the issue isn’t simply down to the opinions of parents, children and their teachers – governments also like to get involved. In the autumn of 2012, French president François Hollande hit world headlines after making a comment about banning homework, ostensibly because it promoted inequality. The Chinese government has also toyed with a ban, because of concerns about excessive academic pressure being put on children.

The problem is, some politicians and national administrators regard regulatory policy in education as a solution for a wide array of social, economic and political issues, perhaps without considering the consequences for students and parents.

Does homework work?

Homework seems to generally have a positive effect for high school students, according to an extensive range of empirical literature. For example, Duke University’s Prof Harris Cooper carried out a meta-analysis using data from US schools, covering a period from 1987 to 2003. He found that homework offered a general beneficial impact on test scores and improvements in attitude, with a greater effect seen in older students. But dig deeper into the issue and a complex set of factors quickly emerges, related to how much homework students do, and exactly how they feel about it.

In 2009, Prof Ulrich Trautwein and his team at the University of Tübingen found that in order to establish whether homework is having any effect, researchers must take into account the differences both between and within classes . For example, a teacher may assign a good deal of homework to a lower-level class, producing an association between more homework and lower levels of achievement. Yet, within the same class, individual students may vary significantly in how much homework improves their baseline performance. Plus, there is the fact that some students are simply more efficient at completing their homework than others, and it becomes quite difficult to pinpoint just what type of homework, and how much of it, will affect overall academic performance.

Over the last century, the amount of time that children and adolescents spend in school has greatly increased

Gender is also a major factor. For example, a study of US high school students carried out by Prof Gary Natriello in the 1980s revealed that girls devote more time to homework than boys, while a follow-up study found that US girls tend to spend more time on mathematics homework than boys. Another study, this time of African-American students in the US, found that eighth grade (ages 13-14) girls were more likely to successfully manage both their tasks and emotions around schoolwork, and were more likely to finish homework.

So why do girls seem to respond more positively to homework? One possible answer proposed by Eunsook Hong of the University of Nevada in 2011 is that teachers tend to rate girls’ habits and attitudes towards work more favourably than boys’. This perception could potentially set up a positive feedback loop between teacher expectations and the children’s capacity for academic work based on gender, resulting in girls outperforming boys. All of this makes it particularly difficult to determine the extent to which homework is helping, though it is clear that simply increasing the time spent on assignments does not directly correspond to a universal increase in learning.

Can homework cause damage?

The lack of empirical data supporting homework in the early years of education, along with an emerging trend to assign more work to this age range, appears to be fuelling parental concerns about potential negative effects. But, aside from anecdotes of increased tension in the household, is there any evidence of this? Can doing too much homework actually damage children?

Evidence suggests extreme amounts of homework can indeed have serious effects on students’ health and well-being. A Chinese study carried out in 2010 found a link between excessive homework and sleep disruption: children who had less homework had better routines and more stable sleep schedules. A Canadian study carried out in 2015 by Isabelle Michaud found that high levels of homework were associated with a greater risk of obesity among boys, if they were already feeling stressed about school in general.

For useful revision guides and video clips to assist with learning, visit BBC Bitesize . This is a free online study resource for UK students from early years up to GCSEs and Scottish Highers.

It is also worth noting that too much homework can create negative effects that may undermine any positives. These negative consequences may not only affect the child, but also could also pile on the stress for the whole family, according to a recent study by Robert Pressman of the New England Centre for Pediatric Psychology. Parents were particularly affected when their perception of their own capacity to assist their children decreased.

What then, is the tipping point, and when does homework simply become too much for parents and children? Guidelines typically suggest that children in the first grade (six years old) should have no more that 10 minutes per night, and that this amount should increase by 10 minutes per school year. However, cultural norms may greatly affect what constitutes too much.

A study of children aged between 8 and 10 in Quebec defined high levels of homework as more than 30 minutes a night, but a study in China of children aged 5 to 11 deemed that two or more hours per night was excessive. It is therefore difficult to create a clear standard for what constitutes as too much homework, because cultural differences, school-related stress, and negative emotions within the family all appear to interact with how homework affects children.

Should we stop setting homework?

In my opinion, even though there are potential risks of negative effects, homework should not be banned. Small amounts, assigned with specific learning goals in mind and with proper parental support, can help to improve students’ performance. While some studies have generally found little evidence that homework has a positive effect on young children overall, a 2008 study by Norwegian researcher Marte Rønning found that even some very young children do receive some benefit. So simply banning homework would mean that any particularly gifted or motivated pupils would not be able to benefit from increased study. However, at the earliest ages, very little homework should be assigned. The decisions about how much and what type are best left to teachers and parents.

As a parent, it is important to clarify what goals your child’s teacher has for homework assignments. Teachers can assign work for different reasons – as an academic drill to foster better study habits, and unfortunately, as a punishment. The goals for each assignment should be made clear, and should encourage positive engagement with academic routines.

Parents who play an active role in homework routines can help give their kids a more positive experience of learning © Getty Images

Parents should inform the teachers of how long the homework is taking, as teachers often incorrectly estimate the amount of time needed to complete an assignment, and how it is affecting household routines. For young children, positive teacher support and feedback is critical in establishing a student’s positive perception of homework and other academic routines. Teachers and parents need to be vigilant and ensure that homework routines do not start to generate patterns of negative interaction that erode students’ motivation.

Likewise, any positive effects of homework are dependent on several complex interactive factors, including the child’s personal motivation, the type of assignment, parental support and teacher goals. Creating an overarching policy to address every single situation is not realistic, and so homework policies tend to be fixated on the time the homework takes to complete. But rather than focusing on this, everyone would be better off if schools worked on fostering stronger communication between parents, teachers and students, allowing them to respond more sensitively to the child’s emotional and academic needs.

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cons should homework be abolished

Pros and Cons of Banning Homework

Homework has been in existence now for several generations throughout the learning period. Its inception was based largely on the fact that there were things children could learn better from both school and/or home environment.

This contentious topic has led to many propositions with the widely adopted one suggesting that according to their grade level, students should use a maximum of 10 minutes per grade level. Overall, many still argue whether homework should be abolished from the school systems or not.

Pros for banning homework

  • Constrains students’ free time

Having to sit down and do homework for an extra 2 hours on the initial 8 school hours make students have longer workdays and limit their time for developing other skills. Banning homework, therefore, allows these students to engage in other personal development activities like hobbies

  • It won’t necessarily make you smarter

Studies show that younger students are better placed to benefit from the abolishment of homework, as it will separate class and outside experiences.

  • Reduced classroom burnout for students

Banning homework assignments would reduce homework-related stress and frustrations that wear out students.

  • More family time

Homework is becoming more and more demanding by the year forcing students to be unavailable for most family events. Banning homework would help free up their time and allow for more family time.

  • Help avert adverse health impacts

Tight homework deadlines and bulky assignments often cause health issues such as mental health, depression that leads to suicidal tendencies. Banning homework would help mitigate these adverse health threats.

Cons for banning homework

  • Homework is an important assessment tool

Homework is an important indicator used to measure students’ ability to apply whatever they have learned in class. Doing away with them would deprive teachers of the means to assess their students’ progress.

  • It prepares kids for tests

Homework reinforces materials learned in class and enables students to memorize important concepts and theories. This way, it minimizes anxiety, especially during tests. Banning homework would, therefore, put more pressure on kids to excel in their examination tests.

  • Homework helps in identifying learning disorders

Students are masters of disguising their learning struggle and homework provides adults with the opportunity to uncover this lie and help them appropriately. If homework were to be banned, this would disadvantage many students with actual learning disabilities.

  • Homework promotes parental involvement

Homework offers family members a unique opportunity to be involved with their kid’s educational process. To some it is an important bonding session and taking it away from the picture would deprive them of the means of monitoring their kid’s educational progress from home.

  • Homework fosters deep research skills

By doing homework assignments, students get the opportunity to do independent research and learn more in the process. By abolishing homework, kids will no longer have this necessary tool to help build their research skills.

The verdict

Homework assignments have a good and bad side and entirely banning them still has consequences. Based on the discussed pros and cons of banning homework, we advise that you work closely with your kids’ educators in making their homework more effective.

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Controversial issues at schools in Germany

The pros and cons of handwriting, marks and homework – issues that pupils, teachers and parents get het up about.

Write by hand or type? A subject for debate at German schools.

Abolishing handwriting  

For: Our everyday lives are becoming increasingly digital and we rarely have to write anything by hand. Finland has already abolished handwriting at schools . Pupils who use a keyboard to write texts can concentrate better on the content and do not waste time practising their handwriting, claim supporters. The autocorrect function helps with spelling. Furthermore, teachers benefit when all the texts look the same, and pupils with bad handwriting will not be disadvantaged when it comes to marking.

Against: Handwriting is a cultural asset that should not be abolished lightly, argue opponents. Handwriting is an expression of our personality. Forming the letters is good training for fine motor skills. Furthermore, the actions involved in writing by hand help pupils understand the sense of and better remember the content.

Marks  

For: Marks give pupils a sense of orientation, as they allow them to compare their performance with that of others. Good marks should motivate pupils to continue learning, while bad marks should encourage them to make more effort. Children must also learn how to cope with failure. Parents can use the marks to tell whether their child is making good progress at school or needs some private tuition.

Against: Opponents believe marks to be unfair and not particularly objective because they depend on the teacher in question, on how the teacher is feeling on a particular day, and on whether or not he or she likes the child being marked. This system of reward and punishment exerts unnecessary pressure on pupils. It is better to ensure that teachers and pupils have regular discussions of learning development and progress that has been achieved.

Homework  

For: Homework serves to revise and consolidate at home the content that has been learnt at school. Vocabulary can only be learnt through repetition, for example. Pupils learn to be conscientious, to work independently and to manage their time. This can be reinforced through weekly plans, with the teacher setting homework on Mondays that pupils are to complete during the course of the week.

Against: After a long day at school, pupils need free time to engage in sport and meet with their friends, while homework merely generates additional stress. Pupils from non-academic families have a disadvantage as compared with those whose parents support them or can afford private tuition. Exercises should be included in lesson time so that teachers can help their pupils.

G8 reform  

For: Pupils in Germany used to spend nine years at grammar school (G9), but now the G8 reform has shortened this to eight years. Curricula were streamlined so as not to overburden pupils with unnecessary knowledge. Pupils take their final exams (Abitur) a year earlier and can therefore embark on a professional career sooner. This makes them internationally competitive and gives them greater opportunities on the job market . The year they gain also makes it possible for them to take a gap year for their personal development.

Against: G8 is an achievement-oriented model. Many pupils complain about their heavy workload. Pressure is high and little time remains to practise the lesson content or explore it in greater depth. School days are longer, so there is no longer enough time to pursue hobbies or personal interests. Most school-leavers in the G9 model are already 18, while many are still minors when they begin work or university in the G8 system.  

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Effects Of Grading System On Students: Pros And Cons

Updated: December 23, 2022

Published: March 15, 2021

Effects-Of-Grading-System-On-Students-Pros-And-Cons

When you think of school, you probably think of grades. Grades are an important aspect of the education system. They’re used by college admissions committees to determine acceptance, looked at by parents to understand how their child is performing, and used as a marker of success or failure for a student to judge themself.

The effects of grading systems on students has both upsides and downsides. In some cases, they are unavoidable, and in others, it may be better to learn without incorporating grades into the picture.

To truly understand what grades mean, we’ll take a quick look at the history of grades, what a traditional grading system is, and the pros and cons of grading systems on students.

The History of Grades

As a student, you take grades at face value. But have you ever wondered how the education system came to have grades in the first place?

Before a grading system was made, schools like Harvard and Stanford would award students with medals and class ranks. Back around the 1940s, the grading system was invented. The main reason that grades were invented was to make it easy for institutions to communicate with one another about a student’s academic readiness. When there wasn’t a standard letter grading system, most teachers relied on a 100-point scale system.

Photo by  Startup Stock Photos  from  Pexels

What is a traditional grading scale.

One of the most universally recognized and traditional grading scales is the A-F letter grading scale. It’s as follows:

A= 90-100% B= 80-89% C= 70-79% D= 60-69% F= 0-59%

Some schools may add on a plus or minus to signal which half of the letter grade you fall into. For example, if it’s above halfway, then you can have a plus grade, like 96% being an A+, and 93% being an A-.

Pros of Grades

With the traditional grading system, many institutions and students can benefit in a variety of ways. Some of the pros of grades include:

  • Standardization and universally recognized: In virtually any corner of the globe, people will understand what an A, B, C, D, or F letter grade stands for. This makes it easy for students to see where they stand in their academic performance. It also gives students a quantifiable scale to set their own goals for how to attain good grades .
  • Easy to understand: The system is set up to be as simple as possible. Since each percentage is associated with a letter grade, it’s user friendly for students, teachers, admissions committees, and parents to understand.
  • Comparison: With the scale, teachers can see how a student is performing compared to the majority of the class. Not only does this help college admissions committees assess who is ready for college-level academics, it can also help teachers know who needs extra help.

Cons of Grades

Although grades clearly serve a purpose, there are some negative consequences of their existence. For example:

  • Subjective: Even though the letter grade is universally recognized and accepted, grades still have subjectivity involved. While this is less true in math and science where answers are black and white, the subjectivity of grading is most apparent in subjects like English. To exemplify, if a teacher creates a rubric to score a writing assignment with letter grades, there could be bias involved. Furthermore, although the letter grade is standardized, the grading practices are not. This means that what one teacher would score as an A, another could consider a B, depending on how strict their grading principles are.
  • Limited: The grading system may not accurately reflect what a student is learning. There’s no explanation for what got a student to the grade they achieved. Some may be learning more than others, but not able to apply their knowledge well to the task at hand.
  • Time-consuming: Many teachers have to spend an immense amount of time to set up a grading rubric and scale that translates understanding into a comparable letter grade. This also leans towards a testing culture rather than a learning culture. Many students will ask the question, “Will this be on the test?” when learning a new concept, rather than spending their energy to absorb the material.

What Makes Grades Matter?

In the United States and many other cultures, grades have been made to matter for a variety of reasons. In many instances, students consider grades to be a reflection of their intelligence. Parents and admission committees look to grades to judge if a student is performing at their expected level.

  • Tied to self-worth: The majority (80%) of college freshmen reported that their self-worth was tied to their academic performance and competence. This can become an issue if a student receives a bad grade and then takes it personally and can’t handle the stress.
  • Parental opinion: Many parents regard grades highly and may punish their children if grades aren’t as they’d expect. This could strain a relationship between a parent and child. Or, if it’s properly managed, it may boost a child’s motivation to do well.
  • High stakes: There are often high stakes related to grades that make them matter. For example, colleges consider a student’s GPA , along with other factors like standardized test results, when admitting a new class of freshmen.

Photo by  Max Fischer  from  Pexels

How to make learning the focus and other alternatives.

While it is useful to be able to judge a student’s performance with grades, the primary regard for education should be learning. By shifting the focus from grades to learning and a growth mindset, many students actually will absorb and retain more knowledge.

Some ways to incorporate these methods into the classroom include:

  • Setting up fun class activities like collaborative projects or games
  • Promoting intrinsic motivation, which means that a student wants to learn for themselves and learning’s sake, rather than to receive an external motivator like receiving an A
  • Providing consistent and useful feedback to students as they submit work
  • Allowing students to perform self-assessments to share how they think they are doing and to express areas in which they may need extra help

Grading: From A-F and Everything Between

The effects of the grading system on students has positive and negative attributes. While it’s useful to have grades to understand how a student is performing, it could cause detrimental side effects like lowering their own self-worth.

With education, the primary focus should always be to expand one’s knowledge and understanding so they can apply what they learn in real-world situations. It’s clear this is doable with or without grades, but the system is so inherently linked with grades that it’s hard to imagine education without the A-F ranking.

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Debate on Homework Should be Abolished [In Favour and Against]

Homework, a task students complete outside of school hours, sparks a widespread debate. Many argue it should be abolished. Today, with evolving educational methods, the relevance of homework is a hot topic. Its impact on students’ well-being and learning experience is under scrutiny.

Arguments in Favour Of Homework Should be Abolished

Argument 1: positive effects of abolishing homework on student mental health.

Homework can sometimes feel like a never-ending cycle of stress and pressure for students. Imagine a world where students could focus on learning in the classroom without the looming burden of homework hanging over their heads. Abolishing homework could have a profoundly positive impact on student mental health.

One primary reason why abolishing homework would benefit students’ mental health is the reduction of stress and anxiety. Students often feel overwhelmed by the amount of homework they have to complete, leading to high levels of stress that can affect their overall well-being. By removing this extra pressure, students would have more time to relax, unwind, and engage in activities that bring them joy.

Moreover, abolishing homework can improve students’ sleep quality. Many students stay up late trying to finish assignments, sacrificing valuable hours of sleep in the process. Sleep is essential for mental health, and getting enough rest allows students to focus better in school and feel more refreshed and energized.

Additionally, abolishing homework can help students maintain a healthier work-life balance. Students deserve time to pursue their interests, spend time with family and friends, and engage in extracurricular activities. Without the burden of homework, students would have more opportunities to explore their passions and develop a well-rounded lifestyle.

Furthermore, abolishing homework can enhance students’ confidence and self-esteem. When students are constantly struggling to complete assignments, it can take a toll on their belief in their abilities. By eliminating homework, students can feel more confident in their academic skills and approach learning with a positive attitude.

In conclusion, abolishing homework could be a significant step towards promoting better mental health among students. By reducing stress, improving sleep quality, fostering a healthier work-life balance, and boosting confidence, students can thrive academically and emotionally in a homework-free environment.

Argument 2: Fostering Family Bonding and Social Skills Through the Abolition of Homework

When homework is abolished, families have more opportunities to bond and connect with each other. Instead of being engrossed in individual tasks, students and their families can engage in shared activities like cooking together, playing games, or simply talking about their day. These moments of togetherness can strengthen family relationships and create lasting memories that may not have been possible if homework were taking up all the time.

Furthermore, abolishing homework can also help students develop important social skills. Without the burden of homework, students have more time to interact with their siblings, parents, and even neighbors. These interactions allow them to practice communication, empathy, and teamwork in a real-world setting. Through conversations and activities with family members, students can learn how to express themselves effectively, resolve conflicts peacefully, and understand different perspectives.

In addition, by abolishing homework, schools can encourage students to participate in community activities and events. Students can join clubs, sports teams, or volunteer organizations, fostering a sense of belonging and social responsibility. These extracurricular activities not only provide opportunities for students to make new friends but also help them develop leadership skills, teamwork, and resilience.

In conclusion, abolishing homework can have a positive impact on fostering family bonding and social skills among students. By prioritizing quality time with family members and engaging in social activities outside of school, students can develop stronger relationships, communication skills, and a sense of community. Ultimately, by promoting these aspects, schools can contribute to the holistic development of students and prepare them for success in both their personal and professional lives.

Arguments Against Of Homework Should be Abolished

Argument 1: detrimental impact on academic performance and learning retention.

Homework can be a source of stress and anxiety for many students. It takes away precious time that could be spent on other activities like hobbies, sports, or spending time with family and friends. This burden of homework can lead to students feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, affecting their overall well-being and mental health.

Furthermore, the pressure to complete homework assignments can sometimes result in students rushing through their work just to meet deadlines. This rush to finish tasks can compromise the quality of their learning and understanding of the material. Instead of deeply engaging with the subject matter, students may simply focus on completing the assignment quickly, leading to surface-level learning that is quickly forgotten.

Research has shown that excessive homework can actually have a negative impact on academic performance. When students are overloaded with homework, they may struggle to retain the information they are trying to learn. This can result in lower test scores and a lack of true mastery of the material. Without sufficient time to review and consolidate what they have learned in class, students may find themselves falling behind academically.

Moreover, the stress and pressure associated with homework can create a barrier to effective learning. Students may feel demotivated and disengaged from their studies when faced with an overwhelming amount of homework to complete. This can hinder their ability to develop a genuine interest in the subjects they are studying and can lead to a lack of enthusiasm for learning.

In conclusion, the detrimental impact of homework on academic performance and learning retention is a significant concern that should not be overlooked. By abolishing homework, we can create a more balanced and holistic approach to education that prioritizes student well-being and genuine understanding of the material.

Argument 2: Loss of Individual Accountability and Work Ethic

Homework can sometimes lead to a loss of individual accountability and work ethic among students. When homework is assigned, some students may rely on others to complete it for them, instead of taking responsibility for their own learning. This can create a habit of dependency, where students do not develop the skills needed to work independently and take ownership of their education.

Additionally, when students are given homework tasks that they do not understand, it can be demotivating and lead to a lack of effort in completing the assignments. This lack of motivation can hinder the development of a strong work ethic, as students may not see the value in putting in the effort to complete tasks that they perceive as irrelevant or too challenging.

Moreover, the pressure to complete homework assignments on time can sometimes cause students to prioritize speed over quality. This can result in rushed and incomplete work, which does not foster a sense of pride in one’s accomplishments or encourage students to strive for excellence in their academic pursuits.

Furthermore, when students are burdened with excessive amounts of homework, it can take away from valuable time that could be spent engaging in other activities that promote personal growth and development. Without the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities, hobbies, or simply relax and recharge, students may struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

In conclusion, the practice of assigning homework can inadvertently contribute to a loss of individual accountability and work ethic among students. By abolishing homework, we can create a learning environment that encourages students to take ownership of their education, develop a strong work ethic, and prioritize meaningful learning experiences over rote tasks.

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18 Advantages and Disadvantages of Homework Should Be Banned

Homework has been a part of the schooling experience for multiple generations. There are some lessons that are perfect for the classroom environment, but there are also some things that children can learn better at home. As a general rule, the maximum amount of time that a student should spend each day on lessons outside of school is 10 minutes per each grade level.

That means a first grader should spend about 10 minutes each night on homework. If you are a senior in high school, then the maximum limit would be two hours. For some students, that might still be too much extra time doing work. There are some calls to limit the amount of time spent on extra limits to 30 minutes per day at all of the older K-12 grades – and some are saying that homework should be banned outright.

Can teachers get all of the lessons taught in an appropriate way during the 1-2 hours per subject that they might get each day? Do parents have an opportunity to review what their children learn at school if none of the work ever gets brought back home?

There are several advantages and disadvantages of why homework should be banned from the current school structure.

List of the Advantages of Why Homework Should Be Banned

1. Homework creates a longer day for students than what parents work. There are times when parents need to bring work home with them after a long day of productivity, but this time is usually part of a compensation package. Students do not receive the same luxury. After spending 6-8 hours at school, there might be two more hours of homework to complete before getting through all of the assignments that are due. That means some kids are putting in a longer working day than their parents. This disadvantage means there are fewer moments for going outside, spending time with friends, or pursuing a hobby.

2. There is no guarantee of an improved academic outcome. Research studies provide conflicting results when looking at the impact of homework on a student’s life. Younger students may benefit from a complete ban so that they can separate their home and classroom experiences. Even older students who perform projects outside of the school benefit from time restrictions on this responsibility. Design flaws exist on both sides of the clinical work that looks at this topic, so there is no definitive scientific conclusion that points to a specific result. It may be better to err on the side of caution.

3. Homework restrictions reduce issues with classroom burnout for students. Homework stress is a significant problem in the modern classroom for K-12 students. Even kids in grade school are finding it a challenge to maintain their performance because of the pressure that daily assignments cause. About 1 in 4 teachers in North America say that there are direct adverse impacts that happen because of the amount of learning required of students today. It can also cause older students to drop out of school because they can’t stay caught up on the work that they need to do.

When students have a chance to have time to pursue interests outside of the classroom, then it can create healthier learning opportunities in the future for them.

4. Banning homework would give families more time to spend together. One in three American households with children say that the homework assignments that teachers give are the primary source of stress in their home. When kids must complete their work by a specific deadline, then there is less time for families to do activities together. Instead of scheduling their time around their free hours, they must balance homework requirements in their plans. There are even fewer moments for parents to be involved in the learning process because of the specific instructions that students must follow to stay in compliance with the assignment.

5. Student health is adversely impacted by too many homework assignments. Kids of any age struggle academically when they do not have opportunities to finish their homework by a specific deadline. It is not unusual for school administrators and some teachers to judge children based on their ability to turn work in on time. If a child has a robust work ethic and still cannot complete the work, the negative approach that they might encounter in the classroom could cause them to abandon their learning goals.

This issue can even lead to the development of mental health problems. It can reduce a child’s self-esteem, prevent them from learning essential learning skills, and disrupt their ability to learn new skills in other areas of life outside of the classroom. Even the risk of self-harm and suicide increase because of excessive homework. That’s why banning it could be a healthy choice for some people.

6. Banning homework would help students get more sleep. Teens need up to 10 hours of sleep each night to maximize their productivity. Students in grade school can need up to 12 hours nightly as well. When homework assignments are necessary and time consuming, then this issue can eat into the amount of rest that kids get each night. Every assignment given to a K-12 student increases their risks of losing at least one hour of sleep per night. This issue can eventually lead to sleep deficits that can create chronic learning issues. It may even lead to problems with emotional control, obesity, and attention problems. Banning homework would remove the issue entirely.

7. It would encourage dynamic learning opportunities. There are some homework projects that students find to be engaging, such as a science fair project or another hands-on assignment. Many of the tasks that students must complete for their teachers involves repetition instead. You might see grade school students coming home with math sheets with 100 or more problems for them to solve. Reading assignments are common at all grades. Instead of learning the “why” behind the information they learn, the goal with homework is usually closer to memorization that it is to self-discovery. That’s why it can be challenging to retain the data that homework provides.

8. Banning homework would provide more time for peer socialization. Students who are only spending time in school before going home to do homework for the rest of the evening are at a higher risk of experiencing isolation and loneliness. When these sentiments are present in the life of a child, then they are more likely to experience physical and mental health concerns that lead to shyness and avoidance.

These students lack essential connections with other people because of their need to complete homework. The adverse impact on the well being of a child is the equivalent of smoking more than a pack of cigarettes each day. If kids are spending time all of their time on homework, then they are not connecting with their family and friends.

9. Some students do not have a home environment that’s conducive to homework. Although some kids can do their homework in a tranquil room without distress, that is not the case for most children. Numerous events happen at home that can shift a child’s attention away from the homework that their teacher wants them to complete. It isn’t just the TV, video games, and the Internet which are problematic either. Family problems, chores, an after-school job, and team sports can make it problematic to get the assignments finished on time.

Banning homework equalizes the playing field because teachers can control the classroom environment. They do not have control over when, where, or how their students complete assignments away from school.

10. It would eliminate the assignment of irrelevant work. Homework can be a useful tool when teachers use it in targeted ways. There are times when these assignments are handed out for the sake of giving out busy work. If the content of the work is irrelevant to the lessons in the classroom, then it should not be handed out. It is unreasonable to expect that a student can generate excellent grades on work that is barely covered in the classroom.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports that given students just four hours of take-home assignments per week has a detrimental impact on individual productivity. The average U.S. high school already pushes that limit by offering 3.5 hours of extra assignments per week.

List of the Disadvantages of Why Homework Should Be Banned

1. Teachers can see if students understand the materials being taught. Homework allows a teacher to determine if a student has a grasp on the materials being taught in the classroom. Tests and school-based activities can provide this information as well, but not in the same way. If the data sticks outside of the educational setting, then this is an excellent indication that the process was effective for that individual. If there are gaps in knowledge that occur in the homework, then the learning process can become individualized to ensure the best possible results for each child.

2. Homework can reduce the stress and anxiety of test-taking. Students often study for tests at home to ensure that they can pass with an acceptable grade. Walking into a classroom only prepared with the notes and memories of previous lessons can create high levels of fear that could impact that child’s final result. Banning homework could place more pressure on kids to succeed than what they currently experience today. This disadvantage would also create more labels in the classroom based on the performance of each child in unfair ways. Some students excel in a lecture-based environment, but others do better at home where there are fewer distractions.

3. Assignments can be an effective way to discover learning disabilities. Kids do an excellent job of hiding their struggles in the classroom from adults. They use their disguises as a coping mechanism to help them blend in when they feel different. That behavior can make it a challenge to identify students who many benefit from a different learning approach in specific subjects. By assigning homework to each child periodically, there are more opportunities to identify the issues that can hold some people back. Then the teachers can work with the families to develop alternative learning plans that can make the educational process better for each student because individual assignments eliminate the ability to hide.

4. Parents are more involved in the learning process because of homework. Parents need to know what their children are learning in school. Even if they ask their kids about what they are learning, the answers tend to be given in generalities. Without specific examples from the classroom, it is challenging to stay involved in a student’s educational process.

By sending homework from the school, it allows the entire family to encounter the assignments that their kids are doing when they are in school during the day. Then there is more adult involvement with the learning process, reinforcing the core ideas that were discovered by their kids each day.

5. Homework provides opportunities for students to use deeper research. The average classroom in the United States provides less than 60 minutes of instruction for each subject daily. Generalist teachers in grade school might skip certain subjects on some days as well. When there are homework assignments going home, then it creates more chances to use the tools at home to learn more about what is happening at school. Taking a deeper look at specific subjects or lessons through independent study can lead to new thoughts or ideas that may not occur in the classroom environment. This process can eventually lead to a better understanding of the material.

6. The homework process requires time management and persistence to be successful. Students must learn core life skills as part of the educational process. Time management skills are one of the most useful tools that can be in a child’s life toolbox. When you know how to complete work by a deadline consistently, then this skill can translate to an eventual career. Homework can also teach students how to solve complex problems, understand current events, or tap into what they are passionate about in life. By learning from an early age that there are jobs that we sometimes need to do even if we don’t want to them, the persistence lessons can translate into real successes later in life.

7. Assignments make students accountable for their role in the educational process. Teachers cannot force a student to learn anything. There must be a desire present in the child to know more for information retention to occur. An education can dramatically improve the life of a child in multiple ways. It can lead to more income opportunities, a greater understanding of the world, and how to establish a healthy routine. By offering homework to students, teachers are encouraging today’s kids how to be accountable for their role in their own education. It creates opportunities to demonstrate responsibility by proving that the work can be done on time and to a specific quality.

8. It creates opportunities to practice time management. There can be problems with homework for some students when they are heavily involved in extra-curricular activities. If you give a child two hours of homework after school and they have two hours of commitments to manage at the same time, then there are some significant challenges to their time management to solve. Time really is a finite commodity. If we are unable to manage it in wise ways, then our productivity levels are going to be limited in multiple ways. Creating a calendar with every responsibility and commitment helps kids and their families figure out ways to manage everything while pushing the learning process forward.

Verdict of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Banning Homework

Some students thrive on the homework they receive from their teachers each day. There are also some kids that struggle to complete even basic assignments on time because of their home environment. How can we find a balance between the two extremes so that every child can receive the best possible chance to succeed?

One solution is to ban homework entirely. Although taking this action would require teachers and parents to be proactive in their communication, it could help to equalize the educational opportunities in the classroom.

Until more research occurs in this area, the advantages and disadvantages of banning homework are subjective. If you feel that your child would benefit from a reduced workload, then speak with the teacher to see if this is an option. For teens and older students, there is always the option to pursue a different form of education, such as a vocational school or an apprenticeship, if the traditional classroom doesn’t seem to be working.

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No More Homework: 12 Reasons We Should Get Rid of It Completely

Last Updated: May 4, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Finn Kobler . Finn Kobler graduated from USC in 2022 with a BFA in Writing for Screen/Television. He is a two-time California State Champion and record holder in Original Prose/Poetry, a 2018 finalist for the Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate, and he's written micro-budget films that have been screened in over 150 theaters nationwide. Growing up, Finn spent every summer helping his family's nonprofit arts program, Showdown Stage Company, empower people through accessible media. He hopes to continue that mission with his writing at wikiHow. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 131,143 times. Learn more...

The amount of homework students are given has increased dramatically in the 21st century, which has sparked countless debates over homework’s overall value. While some have been adamant that homework is an essential part of a good education, it’s been proven that too much homework negatively affects students’ mood, classroom performance, and overall well-being. In addition, a heavy homework load can stress families and teachers. Here are 12 reasons why homework should be banned (or at least heavily reduced).

School is already a full-time job.

Students already spend approximately seven hours a day at school.

  • For years, teachers have followed the “10-minute rule” giving students roughly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. However, recent studies have shown students are completing 3+ hours of homework a night well before their senior years even begin. [2] X Trustworthy Source American Psychological Association Leading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologists Go to source

Homework negatively affects students’ health.

Homework takes a toll physically.

Homework interferes with student’s opportunities to socialize.

Childhood and adolescence are extraordinary times for making friends.

Homework hinders students’ chances to learn new things.

Students need time to self-actualize.

Homework lowers students’ enthusiasm for school.

Homework makes the school feel like a chore.

Homework can lower academic performance.

Homework is unnecessary and counterproductive for high-performing students.

Homework cuts into family time.

Too much homework can cause family structures to collapse.

Homework is stressful for teachers.

Homework can also lead to burnout for teachers.

Homework is often irrelevant and punitive.

Students who don’t understand the lesson get no value from homework.

  • There are even studies that have shown homework in primary school has no correlation with classroom performance whatsoever. [9] X Research source

Homework encourages cheating.

Mandatory homework makes cheating feel like students’ only option.

Homework is inequitable.

Homework highlights the achievement gap between rich and poor students.

Other countries have banned homework with great results.

Countries like Finland have minimal homework and perform well academically.

  • There are even some U.S. schools that have adopted this approach with success. [13] X Research source

Community Q&A

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  • ↑ https://www.edutopia.org/no-proven-benefits
  • ↑ https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/03/homework
  • ↑ https://healthier.stanfordchildrens.org/en/health-hazards-homework/
  • ↑ https://teensneedsleep.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/galloway-nonacademic-effects-of-homework-in-privileged-high-performing-high-schools.pdf
  • ↑ https://time.com/4466390/homework-debate-research/
  • ↑ https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220485.2022.2075506?role=tab&scroll=top&needAccess=true&journalCode=vece20
  • ↑ https://kappanonline.org/teacher-stress-balancing-demands-resources-mccarthy/
  • ↑ https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-life-homework-pros-cons-20180807-story.html
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6294446/
  • ↑ https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/06/homework-inequality-parents-schedules-grades/485174/
  • ↑ https://www.bbc.com/news/education-37716005
  • ↑ https://www.wsj.com/articles/no-homework-its-the-new-thing-in-u-s-schools-11544610600

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COMMENTS

  1. 15 Should Homework Be Banned Pros and Cons

    Banning homework would help to reduce these risks as well. 6. It increases the amount of socialization time that students receive. People who are only spending time in school and then going home to do more work are at a higher risk of experiencing loneliness and isolation.

  2. Homework Pros and Cons

    Homework does not help younger students, and may not help high school students. We've known for a while that homework does not help elementary students. A 2006 study found that "homework had no association with achievement gains" when measured by standardized tests results or grades. [ 7]

  3. Should We Get Rid of Homework?

    A defense of rote practice through homework might seem revanchist at this moment, but if we truly believe that schools should teach children lessons that fall outside the meritocracy, I can't ...

  4. Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in

    For older students, Kang says, homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night. "Most students, especially at these high achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's ...

  5. Are You Down With or Done With Homework?

    Many earlier laws limiting homework were abolished, and the longterm trend toward less homework came to an end. The debate re-emerged a decade later when parents of the late '60s and '70s argued that children should be free to play and explore — similar anti-homework wellness arguments echoed nearly a century earlier.

  6. Is homework a necessary evil?

    Beyond that point, kids don't absorb much useful information, Cooper says. In fact, too much homework can do more harm than good. Researchers have cited drawbacks, including boredom and burnout toward academic material, less time for family and extracurricular activities, lack of sleep and increased stress.

  7. The Pros & Cons of Homework Bans

    Pros of Homework Bans. 1. Homework May Not Improve Academic Outcomes. Unfortunately, as highly debated as homework is, there has been little conclusive or scientific research indicating its ...

  8. Should kids have homework? Pros and cons of assignments

    Homework is very unfair because economically disadvantaged students can't study at home with the same conditions and support as the wealthier children. Too many school assignments can excessively reduce the time for playing, doing sports or simply interacting socially with friends and family. Homework can also interfere with kids' household ...

  9. Why Homework Should Be Banned From Schools

    American high school students, in fact, do more homework each week than their peers in the average country in the OECD, a 2014 report found. It's time for an uprising. Already, small rebellions ...

  10. Should homework be banned? The big debate

    Read more about the pros and cons and join the debate. Homework is a polarising topic among students, teachers and parents. The research shows that the impact varies based on lots of different factors. ... Should homework be banned? The big debate Homework is a polarising topic. It can cause students to feel stressed or anxious. It adds extra ...

  11. Should Homework Be Abolished?

    A sixth grader should be doing no more than an hour of homework a day, and a senior in high school should have no more than two hours a day of homework. However, such is rarely the case ...

  12. The Pros and Cons: Should Students Have Homework?

    It allows everyone to get to know each other better, and parents can see where their children are struggling. In the same sense, parents can also see where their children are excelling. Homework in turn can allow for a better, more targeted educational plan for the student. 5. Homework Allows For More Learning Time.

  13. 25 Reasons Homework Should Be Banned (Busywork Arguments)

    Excessive workload. The issue of excessive workload is a common complaint among students. Spending several hours on homework after a full school day can be mentally and physically draining. This workload can lead to burnout, decreased motivation, and negative attitudes toward school and learning.

  14. Should homework be banned?

    Should homework be banned? - BBC Science Focus Magazine

  15. Should Homework Be Banned?

    Yes. Generally, the link between homework and achievement scores is stronger for math compared to subjects like English and history. For middle school students especially, math homework can strengthen school performance. There is not a lot of research into the quality of homework. Most experts agree that homework should be reinforcing what kids ...

  16. Core Advantages And Disadvantages Of Banning Homework

    Overall, many still argue whether homework should be abolished from the school systems or not. Pros for banning homework. Constrains students' free time; Having to sit down and do homework for an extra 2 hours on the initial 8 school hours make students have longer workdays and limit their time for developing other skills.

  17. The pros and cons of handwriting, marks and homework

    Against: Handwriting is a cultural asset that should not be abolished lightly, argue opponents. Handwriting is an expression of our personality. Forming the letters is good training for fine motor skills. Furthermore, the actions involved in writing by hand help pupils understand the sense of and better remember the content.

  18. Effects Of Grading System On Students: Pros And Cons

    Cons of Grades. Although grades clearly serve a purpose, there are some negative consequences of their existence. For example: Subjective: Even though the letter grade is universally recognized and accepted, grades still have subjectivity involved. While this is less true in math and science where answers are black and white, the subjectivity ...

  19. Debate on Homework Should be Abolished [In Favour and Against]

    Arguments in Favour Of Homework Should be Abolished Argument 1: Positive Effects of Abolishing Homework on Student Mental Health. Homework can sometimes feel like a never-ending cycle of stress and pressure for students. Imagine a world where students could focus on learning in the classroom without the looming burden of homework hanging over ...

  20. 18 Advantages and Disadvantages of Homework Should Be Banned

    The average U.S. high school already pushes that limit by offering 3.5 hours of extra assignments per week. List of the Disadvantages of Why Homework Should Be Banned 1. Teachers can see if students understand the materials being taught. Homework allows a teacher to determine if a student has a grasp on the materials being taught in the classroom.

  21. 12 Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned

    Homework negatively affects students' health. Download Article. Homework takes a toll physically. Recent studies have demonstrated that too much homework can disrupt a student's sleep cycle, and cause stress headaches, stomach problems, and depression. [3] 3.

  22. Standardized Testing Pros and Cons

    History of Standardized Testing. Standardized tests have been a part of American education since the mid-1800s. Their use skyrocketed after 2002's No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) mandated annual testing in all 50 states. However, failures in the education system have been blamed on rising poverty levels, teacher quality, tenure policies, and, increasingly, on the pervasive use of ...

  23. Debate on Homework Should be Abolished

    Debate on Homework Should be Abolished: Homework takes up a major part of a child's life. The 21st century has been a period where students are troubled with homework given on various days for various subjects. Children go through days and evenings on book reports, numerical statements, writing papers, and making science posters or projects.