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Everyone struggles with homework sometimes, but if getting your homework done has become a chronic issue for you, then you may need a little extra help. That’s why we’ve written this article all about how to do homework. Once you’re finished reading it, you’ll know how to do homework (and have tons of new ways to motivate yourself to do homework)! 

We’ve broken this article down into a few major sections. You’ll find: 

  • A diagnostic test to help you figure out why you’re struggling with homework
  • A discussion of the four major homework problems students face, along with expert tips for addressing them 
  • A bonus section with tips for how to do homework fast

By the end of this article, you’ll be prepared to tackle whatever homework assignments your teachers throw at you . 

So let’s get started! 

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How to Do Homework: Figure Out Your Struggles 

Sometimes it feels like everything is standing between you and getting your homework done. But the truth is, most people only have one or two major roadblocks that are keeping them from getting their homework done well and on time. 

The best way to figure out how to get motivated to do homework starts with pinpointing the issues that are affecting your ability to get your assignments done. That’s why we’ve developed a short quiz to help you identify the areas where you’re struggling. 

Take the quiz below and record your answers on your phone or on a scrap piece of paper. Keep in mind there are no wrong answers! 

1. You’ve just been assigned an essay in your English class that’s due at the end of the week. What’s the first thing you do?

A. Keep it in mind, even though you won’t start it until the day before it’s due  B. Open up your planner. You’ve got to figure out when you’ll write your paper since you have band practice, a speech tournament, and your little sister’s dance recital this week, too.  C. Groan out loud. Another essay? You could barely get yourself to write the last one!  D. Start thinking about your essay topic, which makes you think about your art project that’s due the same day, which reminds you that your favorite artist might have just posted to Instagram...so you better check your feed right now. 

2. Your mom asked you to pick up your room before she gets home from work. You’ve just gotten home from school. You decide you’ll tackle your chores: 

A. Five minutes before your mom walks through the front door. As long as it gets done, who cares when you start?  B. As soon as you get home from your shift at the local grocery store.  C. After you give yourself a 15-minute pep talk about how you need to get to work.  D. You won’t get it done. Between texts from your friends, trying to watch your favorite Netflix show, and playing with your dog, you just lost track of time! 

3. You’ve signed up to wash dogs at the Humane Society to help earn money for your senior class trip. You: 

A. Show up ten minutes late. You put off leaving your house until the last minute, then got stuck in unexpected traffic on the way to the shelter.  B. Have to call and cancel at the last minute. You forgot you’d already agreed to babysit your cousin and bake cupcakes for tomorrow’s bake sale.  C. Actually arrive fifteen minutes early with extra brushes and bandanas you picked up at the store. You’re passionate about animals, so you’re excited to help out! D. Show up on time, but only get three dogs washed. You couldn’t help it: you just kept getting distracted by how cute they were!

4. You have an hour of downtime, so you decide you’re going to watch an episode of The Great British Baking Show. You: 

A. Scroll through your social media feeds for twenty minutes before hitting play, which means you’re not able to finish the whole episode. Ugh! You really wanted to see who was sent home!  B. Watch fifteen minutes until you remember you’re supposed to pick up your sister from band practice before heading to your part-time job. No GBBO for you!  C. You finish one episode, then decide to watch another even though you’ve got SAT studying to do. It’s just more fun to watch people make scones.  D. Start the episode, but only catch bits and pieces of it because you’re reading Twitter, cleaning out your backpack, and eating a snack at the same time.

5. Your teacher asks you to stay after class because you’ve missed turning in two homework assignments in a row. When she asks you what’s wrong, you say: 

A. You planned to do your assignments during lunch, but you ran out of time. You decided it would be better to turn in nothing at all than submit unfinished work.  B. You really wanted to get the assignments done, but between your extracurriculars, family commitments, and your part-time job, your homework fell through the cracks.  C. You have a hard time psyching yourself to tackle the assignments. You just can’t seem to find the motivation to work on them once you get home.  D. You tried to do them, but you had a hard time focusing. By the time you realized you hadn’t gotten anything done, it was already time to turn them in. 

Like we said earlier, there are no right or wrong answers to this quiz (though your results will be better if you answered as honestly as possible). Here’s how your answers break down: 

  • If your answers were mostly As, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is procrastination. 
  • If your answers were mostly Bs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is time management. 
  • If your answers were mostly Cs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is motivation. 
  • If your answers were mostly Ds, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is getting distracted. 

Now that you’ve identified why you’re having a hard time getting your homework done, we can help you figure out how to fix it! Scroll down to find your core problem area to learn more about how you can start to address it. 

And one more thing: you’re really struggling with homework, it’s a good idea to read through every section below. You may find some additional tips that will help make homework less intimidating. 

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How to Do Homework When You’re a Procrastinator  

Merriam Webster defines “procrastinate” as “to put off intentionally and habitually.” In other words, procrastination is when you choose to do something at the last minute on a regular basis. If you’ve ever found yourself pulling an all-nighter, trying to finish an assignment between periods, or sprinting to turn in a paper minutes before a deadline, you’ve experienced the effects of procrastination. 

If you’re a chronic procrastinator, you’re in good company. In fact, one study found that 70% to 95% of undergraduate students procrastinate when it comes to doing their homework. Unfortunately, procrastination can negatively impact your grades. Researchers have found that procrastination can lower your grade on an assignment by as much as five points ...which might not sound serious until you realize that can mean the difference between a B- and a C+. 

Procrastination can also negatively affect your health by increasing your stress levels , which can lead to other health conditions like insomnia, a weakened immune system, and even heart conditions. Getting a handle on procrastination can not only improve your grades, it can make you feel better, too! 

The big thing to understand about procrastination is that it’s not the result of laziness. Laziness is defined as being “disinclined to activity or exertion.” In other words, being lazy is all about doing nothing. But a s this Psychology Today article explains , procrastinators don’t put things off because they don’t want to work. Instead, procrastinators tend to postpone tasks they don’t want to do in favor of tasks that they perceive as either more important or more fun. Put another way, procrastinators want to do things...as long as it’s not their homework! 

3 Tips f or Conquering Procrastination 

Because putting off doing homework is a common problem, there are lots of good tactics for addressing procrastination. Keep reading for our three expert tips that will get your homework habits back on track in no time. 

#1: Create a Reward System

Like we mentioned earlier, procrastination happens when you prioritize other activities over getting your homework done. Many times, this happens because homework...well, just isn’t enjoyable. But you can add some fun back into the process by rewarding yourself for getting your work done. 

Here’s what we mean: let’s say you decide that every time you get your homework done before the day it’s due, you’ll give yourself a point. For every five points you earn, you’ll treat yourself to your favorite dessert: a chocolate cupcake! Now you have an extra (delicious!) incentive to motivate you to leave procrastination in the dust. 

If you’re not into cupcakes, don’t worry. Your reward can be anything that motivates you . Maybe it’s hanging out with your best friend or an extra ten minutes of video game time. As long as you’re choosing something that makes homework worth doing, you’ll be successful. 

#2: Have a Homework Accountability Partner 

If you’re having trouble getting yourself to start your homework ahead of time, it may be a good idea to call in reinforcements . Find a friend or classmate you can trust and explain to them that you’re trying to change your homework habits. Ask them if they’d be willing to text you to make sure you’re doing your homework and check in with you once a week to see if you’re meeting your anti-procrastination goals. 

Sharing your goals can make them feel more real, and an accountability partner can help hold you responsible for your decisions. For example, let’s say you’re tempted to put off your science lab write-up until the morning before it’s due. But you know that your accountability partner is going to text you about it tomorrow...and you don’t want to fess up that you haven’t started your assignment. A homework accountability partner can give you the extra support and incentive you need to keep your homework habits on track. 

#3: Create Your Own Due Dates 

If you’re a life-long procrastinator, you might find that changing the habit is harder than you expected. In that case, you might try using procrastination to your advantage! If you just can’t seem to stop doing your work at the last minute, try setting your own due dates for assignments that range from a day to a week before the assignment is actually due. 

Here’s what we mean. Let’s say you have a math worksheet that’s been assigned on Tuesday and is due on Friday. In your planner, you can write down the due date as Thursday instead. You may still put off your homework assignment until the last minute...but in this case, the “last minute” is a day before the assignment’s real due date . This little hack can trick your procrastination-addicted brain into planning ahead! 

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If you feel like Kevin Hart in this meme, then our tips for doing homework when you're busy are for you. 

How to Do Homework When You’re too Busy

If you’re aiming to go to a top-tier college , you’re going to have a full plate. Because college admissions is getting more competitive, it’s important that you’re maintaining your grades , studying hard for your standardized tests , and participating in extracurriculars so your application stands out. A packed schedule can get even more hectic once you add family obligations or a part-time job to the mix. 

If you feel like you’re being pulled in a million directions at once, you’re not alone. Recent research has found that stress—and more severe stress-related conditions like anxiety and depression— are a major problem for high school students . In fact, one study from the American Psychological Association found that during the school year, students’ stress levels are higher than those of the adults around them. 

For students, homework is a major contributor to their overall stress levels . Many high schoolers have multiple hours of homework every night , and figuring out how to fit it into an already-packed schedule can seem impossible. 

3 Tips for Fitting Homework Into Your Busy Schedule

While it might feel like you have literally no time left in your schedule, there are still ways to make sure you’re able to get your homework done and meet your other commitments. Here are our expert homework tips for even the busiest of students. 

#1: Make a Prioritized To-Do List 

You probably already have a to-do list to keep yourself on track. The next step is to prioritize the items on your to-do list so you can see what items need your attention right away. 

Here’s how it works: at the beginning of each day, sit down and make a list of all the items you need to get done before you go to bed. This includes your homework, but it should also take into account any practices, chores, events, or job shifts you may have. Once you get everything listed out, it’s time to prioritize them using the labels A, B, and C. Here’s what those labels mean:

  • A Tasks : tasks that have to get done—like showing up at work or turning in an assignment—get an A. 
  • B Tasks : these are tasks that you would like to get done by the end of the day but aren’t as time sensitive. For example, studying for a test you have next week could be a B-level task. It’s still important, but it doesn’t have to be done right away. 
  • C Tasks: these are tasks that aren’t very important and/or have no real consequences if you don’t get them done immediately. For instance, if you’re hoping to clean out your closet but it’s not an assigned chore from your parents, you could label that to-do item with a C. 

Prioritizing your to-do list helps you visualize which items need your immediate attention, and which items you can leave for later. A prioritized to-do list ensures that you’re spending your time efficiently and effectively, which helps you make room in your schedule for homework. So even though you might really want to start making decorations for Homecoming (a B task), you’ll know that finishing your reading log (an A task) is more important. 

#2: Use a Planner With Time Labels 

Your planner is probably packed with notes, events, and assignments already. (And if you’re not using a planner, it’s time to start!) But planners can do more for you than just remind you when an assignment is due. If you’re using a planner with time labels, it can help you visualize how you need to spend your day.

A planner with time labels breaks your day down into chunks, and you assign tasks to each chunk of time. For example, you can make a note of your class schedule with assignments, block out time to study, and make sure you know when you need to be at practice. Once you know which tasks take priority, you can add them to any empty spaces in your day. 

Planning out how you spend your time not only helps you use it wisely, it can help you feel less overwhelmed, too . We’re big fans of planners that include a task list ( like this one ) or have room for notes ( like this one ). 

#3: Set Reminders on Your Phone 

If you need a little extra nudge to make sure you’re getting your homework done on time, it’s a good idea to set some reminders on your phone. You don’t need a fancy app, either. You can use your alarm app to have it go off at specific times throughout the day to remind you to do your homework. This works especially well if you have a set homework time scheduled. So if you’ve decided you’re doing homework at 6:00 pm, you can set an alarm to remind you to bust out your books and get to work. 

If you use your phone as your planner, you may have the option to add alerts, emails, or notifications to scheduled events . Many calendar apps, including the one that comes with your phone, have built-in reminders that you can customize to meet your needs. So if you block off time to do your homework from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, you can set a reminder that will pop up on your phone when it’s time to get started. 

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This dog isn't judging your lack of motivation...but your teacher might. Keep reading for tips to help you motivate yourself to do your homework.

How to Do Homework When You’re Unmotivated 

At first glance, it may seem like procrastination and being unmotivated are the same thing. After all, both of these issues usually result in you putting off your homework until the very last minute. 

But there’s one key difference: many procrastinators are working, they’re just prioritizing work differently. They know they’re going to start their homework...they’re just going to do it later. 

Conversely, people who are unmotivated to do homework just can’t find the willpower to tackle their assignments. Procrastinators know they’ll at least attempt the homework at the last minute, whereas people who are unmotivated struggle with convincing themselves to do it at a ll. For procrastinators, the stress comes from the inevitable time crunch. For unmotivated people, the stress comes from trying to convince themselves to do something they don’t want to do in the first place. 

Here are some common reasons students are unmotivated in doing homework : 

  • Assignments are too easy, too hard, or seemingly pointless 
  • Students aren’t interested in (or passionate about) the subject matter
  • Students are intimidated by the work and/or feels like they don’t understand the assignment 
  • Homework isn’t fun, and students would rather spend their time on things that they enjoy 

To sum it up: people who lack motivation to do their homework are more likely to not do it at all, or to spend more time worrying about doing their homework than...well, actually doing it.

3 Tips for How to Get Motivated to Do Homework

The key to getting homework done when you’re unmotivated is to figure out what does motivate you, then apply those things to homework. It sounds tricky...but it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it! Here are our three expert tips for motivating yourself to do your homework. 

#1: Use Incremental Incentives

When you’re not motivated, it’s important to give yourself small rewards to stay focused on finishing the task at hand. The trick is to keep the incentives small and to reward yourself often. For example, maybe you’re reading a good book in your free time. For every ten minutes you spend on your homework, you get to read five pages of your book. Like we mentioned earlier, make sure you’re choosing a reward that works for you! 

So why does this technique work? Using small rewards more often allows you to experience small wins for getting your work done. Every time you make it to one of your tiny reward points, you get to celebrate your success, which gives your brain a boost of dopamine . Dopamine helps you stay motivated and also creates a feeling of satisfaction when you complete your homework !  

#2: Form a Homework Group 

If you’re having trouble motivating yourself, it’s okay to turn to others for support. Creating a homework group can help with this. Bring together a group of your friends or classmates, and pick one time a week where you meet and work on homework together. You don’t have to be in the same class, or even taking the same subjects— the goal is to encourage one another to start (and finish!) your assignments. 

Another added benefit of a homework group is that you can help one another if you’re struggling to understand the material covered in your classes. This is especially helpful if your lack of motivation comes from being intimidated by your assignments. Asking your friends for help may feel less scary than talking to your teacher...and once you get a handle on the material, your homework may become less frightening, too. 

#3: Change Up Your Environment 

If you find that you’re totally unmotivated, it may help if you find a new place to do your homework. For example, if you’ve been struggling to get your homework done at home, try spending an extra hour in the library after school instead. The change of scenery can limit your distractions and give you the energy you need to get your work done. 

If you’re stuck doing homework at home, you can still use this tip. For instance, maybe you’ve always done your homework sitting on your bed. Try relocating somewhere else, like your kitchen table, for a few weeks. You may find that setting up a new “homework spot” in your house gives you a motivational lift and helps you get your work done. 

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Social media can be a huge problem when it comes to doing homework. We have advice for helping you unplug and regain focus.

How to Do Homework When You’re Easily Distracted

We live in an always-on world, and there are tons of things clamoring for our attention. From friends and family to pop culture and social media, it seems like there’s always something (or someone!) distracting us from the things we need to do.

The 24/7 world we live in has affected our ability to focus on tasks for prolonged periods of time. Research has shown that over the past decade, an average person’s attention span has gone from 12 seconds to eight seconds . And when we do lose focus, i t takes people a long time to get back on task . One study found that it can take as long as 23 minutes to get back to work once we’ve been distracte d. No wonder it can take hours to get your homework done! 

3 Tips to Improve Your Focus

If you have a hard time focusing when you’re doing your homework, it’s a good idea to try and eliminate as many distractions as possible. Here are three expert tips for blocking out the noise so you can focus on getting your homework done. 

#1: Create a Distraction-Free Environment

Pick a place where you’ll do your homework every day, and make it as distraction-free as possible. Try to find a location where there won’t be tons of noise, and limit your access to screens while you’re doing your homework. Put together a focus-oriented playlist (or choose one on your favorite streaming service), and put your headphones on while you work. 

You may find that other people, like your friends and family, are your biggest distraction. If that’s the case, try setting up some homework boundaries. Let them know when you’ll be working on homework every day, and ask them if they’ll help you keep a quiet environment. They’ll be happy to lend a hand! 

#2: Limit Your Access to Technology 

We know, we know...this tip isn’t fun, but it does work. For homework that doesn’t require a computer, like handouts or worksheets, it’s best to put all your technology away . Turn off your television, put your phone and laptop in your backpack, and silence notifications on any wearable tech you may be sporting. If you listen to music while you work, that’s fine...but make sure you have a playlist set up so you’re not shuffling through songs once you get started on your homework. 

If your homework requires your laptop or tablet, it can be harder to limit your access to distractions. But it’s not impossible! T here are apps you can download that will block certain websites while you’re working so that you’re not tempted to scroll through Twitter or check your Facebook feed. Silence notifications and text messages on your computer, and don’t open your email account unless you absolutely have to. And if you don’t need access to the internet to complete your assignments, turn off your WiFi. Cutting out the online chatter is a great way to make sure you’re getting your homework done. 

#3: Set a Timer (the Pomodoro Technique)

Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro technique ? It’s a productivity hack that uses a timer to help you focus!

Here’s how it works: first, set a timer for 25 minutes. This is going to be your work time. During this 25 minutes, all you can do is work on whatever homework assignment you have in front of you. No email, no text messaging, no phone calls—just homework. When that timer goes off, y ou get to take a 5 minute break. Every time you go through one of these cycles, it’s called a “pomodoro.” For every four pomodoros you complete, you can take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. 

The pomodoro technique works through a combination of boundary setting and rewards. First, it gives you a finite amount of time to focus, so you know that you only have to work really hard for 25 minutes. Once you’ve done that, you’re rewarded with a short break where you can do whatever you want. Additionally, tracking how many pomodoros you complete can help you see how long you’re really working on your homework. (Once you start using our focus tips, you may find it doesn’t take as long as you thought!) 

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Two Bonus Tips for How to Do Homework Fast 

Even if you’re doing everything right, there will be times when you just need to get your homework done as fast as possible. (Why do teachers always have projects due in the same week? The world may never know.) 

The problem with speeding through homework is that it’s easy to make mistakes. While turning in an assignment is always better than not submitting anything at all, you want to make sure that you’re not compromising quality for speed. Simply put, the goal is to get your homework done quickly and still make a good grade on the assignment! 

Here are our two bonus tips for getting a decent grade on your homework assignments , even when you’re in a time crunch. 

#1: Do the Easy Parts First 

This is especially true if you’re working on a handout with multiple questions. Before you start working on the assignment, read through all the questions and problems. As you do, make a mark beside the questions you think are “easy” to answer . 

Once you’ve finished going through the whole assignment, you can answer these questions first. Getting the easy questions out of the way as quickly as possible lets you spend more time on the trickier portions of your homework, which will maximize your assignment grade. 

(Quick note: this is also a good strategy to use on timed assignments and tests, like the SAT and the ACT !) 

#2: Pay Attention in Class 

Homework gets a lot easier when you’re actively learning the material. Teachers aren’t giving you homework because they’re mean or trying to ruin your weekend... it’s because they want you to really understand the course material. Homework is designed to reinforce what you’re already learning in class so you’ll be ready to tackle harder concepts later. 

When you pay attention in class, ask questions, and take good notes, you’re absorbing the information you’ll need to succeed on your homework assignments. (You’re stuck in class anyway, so you might as well make the most of it!) Not only will paying attention in class make your homework less confusing, it will also help it go much faster, too. 

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What’s Next? 

If you’re looking to improve your productivity beyond homework, a good place to begin is with time management. After all, we only have so much time in a day...so it’s important to get the most out of it! To get you started, check out this list of the 12 best time management techniques that you can start using today.

You may have read this article because homework struggles have been affecting your GPA. Now that you’re on the path to homework success, it’s time to start being proactive about raising your grades. This article teaches you everything you need to know about raising your GPA so you can

Now you know how to get motivated to do homework...but what about your study habits? Studying is just as critical to getting good grades, and ultimately getting into a good college . We can teach you how to study bette r in high school. (We’ve also got tons of resources to help you study for your ACT and SAT exams , too!) 

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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Spend less time on homework

How many times have you found yourself still staring at your textbook around midnight (or later!) even when you started your homework hours earlier? Those lost hours could be explained by Parkinson’s Law, which states, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” In other words, if you give yourself all night to memorize those geometry formulas for your quiz tomorrow, you’ll inevitably find that a 30 minute task has somehow filled your entire evening.

We know that you have more homework than ever. But even with lots and lots to do, a few tweaks to your study routine could help you spend less time getting more accomplished. Here are 8 steps to make Parkinson’s Law work to your advantage:

1. Make a list

This should be a list of everything that has to be done that evening. And we mean, everything—from re-reading notes from this morning’s history class to quizzing yourself on Spanish vocabulary.

2. Estimate the time needed for each item on your list

You can be a little ruthless here. However long you think a task will take, try shaving off 5 or 10 minutes. But, be realistic. You won’t magically become a speed reader.

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3. Gather all your gear

Collect EVERYTHING you will need for the homework you are working on (like your laptop for writing assignments and pencils for problem sets). Getting up for supplies takes you off course and makes it that much harder to get back to your homework.

The constant blings and beeps from your devices can make it impossible to focus on what you are working on. Switch off or silence your phones and tablets, or leave them in another room until it’s time to take a tech break.

Read More: How to Calculate Your GPA

5. Time yourself

Noting how much time something actually takes will help you estimate better and plan your next study session.

6. Stay on task

If you’re fact checking online, it can be so easy to surf on over to a completely unrelated site. A better strategy is to note what information you need to find online, and do it all at once at the end of the study session.

7. Take plenty of breaks

Most of us need a break between subjects or to break up long stretches of studying. Active breaks are a great way to keep your energy up. Tech breaks can be an awesome way to combat the fear of missing out that might strike while you are buried in your work, but they also tend to stretch much longer than originally intended. Stick to a break schedule of 10 minutes or so.

8. Reward yourself! 

Finish early? If you had allocated 30 minutes for reading a biology chapter and it only took 20, you can apply those extra 10 minutes to a short break—or just move on to your next task. If you stay on track, you might breeze through your work quickly enough to catch up on some Netflix.

Our best piece of advice? Keep at it. The more you use this system, the easier it will become. You’ll be surprised by how much time you can shave off homework just by focusing and committing to a distraction-free study plan.

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6 ways to establish a productive homework routine

homework assignment methods

Assistant Professor of College Learning Strategies and Instruction, Syracuse University

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homework assignment methods

Homework. Whether you’re a fifth-grader or a freshman in college, the mere thought of homework can be overwhelming. And actually doing homework can be quite difficult. But homework doesn’t have to be something a student dreads.

As a former high school English teacher and researcher who specializes in what it takes to make it through college – and a co-author of a forthcoming revised edition of a book about academic success – I’ve studied homework since 2010. Here are six ways I believe homework can be made more manageable and valuable, whether you’re in elementary school, high school or graduate school.

1. Set priorities

Establish a list of priorities based on the class syllabus or assignment list. This can be helpful for tackling difficult tasks, creating motivation and activating your sense of control and independence when it comes to learning. The priority list helps maintain goals and gives you a sense satisfaction to cross things off the list as they are completed.

2. Tackle difficult tasks first

Start with your most difficult assignments first in order to make the most of your energy level and to focus at the beginning of a work session. You can attend to the easier or less time-consuming assignments at the end of a work session.

3. Break tasks down to smaller steps

You may not know how to start a major task, which could trigger procrastination or feelings of defeat. To guard against this, break major tasks into three or four smaller steps. Within one homework session, you can feel a greater sense of accomplishment by completing each small step toward the larger whole. In some cases, you might be able to spread these tasks over the course of a week.

4. Create evidence of learning

You will get more out of the time you spend reading, reviewing notes or otherwise “studying” if you create something in the process. For example, creating flash cards, a graphic organizer, chart, or notes with bullet points can help you become an active learner rather than a passive one. Organize the tools you create with the homework assignment by date and topic so that you can review those items to prepare for quizzes, tests or projects.

5. Build a network of support

If certain homework problems could not be solved and you’re stuck in a rut, figure out what’s confusing you and write or record your thoughts. Jot questions down and be as specific as possible in order to seek out additional support from teachers or tutors. The more you can identify sources of confusion, the more you can proactively reach out to your support network – teachers, tutors and others – in order to get additional help.

6. Revisit goals and set new ones

At the start of each homework session, establish goals for completion of your tasks or assignments. Revisit the goals at the end of the session and acknowledge a sense of completion. This goal-setting process builds confidence over time and helps you realize their potential even when faced with difficulties. A productive homework routine will help you realize that learning is an ongoing journey. The journey may be difficult but getting organized will make it as stress-free as possible.

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5 Keys to Successful Homework Assignments During Remote Learning

While students and their families are coping with so much, teachers should be mindful to assign only homework that’s truly meaningful. 

Middle school girl at home works on homework.

How can homework be reimagined during remote or hybrid learning? Are students already spending too much time on their screen—why assign more screen time? What is the purpose of the assignment?

As a middle school instructional coach, I often work with teachers who are unsure of how much to give and what to give. They’re also inevitably worried about finding the time to grade it. As a parent, I know how stressful it can be to balance your own work while also helping your own children with homework.

Since remote learning began in March, some schools have banned homework or modified homework policies, but if you’re a teacher who’s allowed to assign homework or an administrator who sets homework policy, the following suggestions may help.

5 Keys to Making Homework More Meaningful

1. Off-screen reading:  Books, books, books. Whether your students are reading books they chose or assigned novels, quiet reading time (or time listening to audiobooks) is a welcome assignment in most homes—I say this as a mom myself. Students can be held accountable for their reading through Harkness discussions in class or on Zoom, journal entries (written or in Flipgrid-style video), or old-fashioned sticky-note annotations in the book itself.

2. Less is more: Unfortunately, math teachers have the reputation of assigning something like “problems 1 through 45” (OK, maybe I’m exaggerating). Do students need to repeat the same skill over and over? Consider how much time you have in class the next day to actually review several problems. Instead, can you choose four or five rich multistep problems that provide practice and application of the skills? Or, alternatively, offer student choice: “Choose five out of these 10 problems.”

In a humanities or science class, can students answer one extended compare-and-contrast question rather than the chapter review in the textbook?

3. Personalized homework: Many students (and adults alike) love to talk about themselves. If students can make the assignment personal to them, they might feel more motivated to complete it. An example might be to compare the protagonist of the assigned reading with themselves in a Venn diagram. In a language class, they can describe a fictitious superhero using descriptive vocabulary in the language they’re studying. Or assign students to make a Flipgrid-style dance or song describing the scientific method (this example was inspired by TikTok).

4. Family involvement: Use this option carefully, especially now when many parents and guardians are stretched thin. Before making family assignments, be sure to get a feel for your students’ family situations to avoid putting anyone at a disadvantage. Give families a heads-up and plenty of time for such assignments.

If you feel it’s appropriate to proceed, ask students to take a video of themselves teaching a new concept to a family member. To practice operations with fractions, students can bring in a favorite family recipe with the measurements adjusted for fewer servings or multiple servings. Assign a riddle or math puzzle for students to discuss with the family, and ask them to write down the various answers they hear.

Whatever you assign, keep it light, low-stakes, and infrequent.

5. Flipped homework: In my experience, students get tired of watching instructional videos, but a few short, well-planned videos can be useful to assign the night before to spark discussion the next day in class. Follow the video with a short Google Form to ask the student to reflect and/or ask initial questions about what they watched. Use flipped learning sparingly to keep it novel and unique.

What about the grading? With shared docs, older students can easily share their work with their peers for review. Take some time to educate students on how to constructively comment on each other’s work. If a student’s assignment is missing, their partner will let them know, which takes some of the burden off of the teacher. This method should not be used for graded summative assessments and should be monitored by the teacher. Peer review can also serve as a differentiation strategy by grouping students by readiness and ability when applicable.

If your school’s homework policies allow, be creative with your assignments. As you create your assignments, consider the following:

  • What will a student learn or gain from this work?
  • Is it worth their time?
  • Is it creating more home stress?

If we reimagine homework, students might actually cheer instead of groan when it’s assigned. OK, that’s wishful thinking, but they should definitely get more out of their assignments. 

Smart Classroom Management

A Simple, Effective Homework Plan For Teachers: Part 1

So for the next two weeks I’m going to outline a homework plan–four strategies this week, four the next–aimed at making homework a simple yet effective process.

Let’s get started.

Homework Strategies 1-4

The key to homework success is to eliminate all the obstacles—and excuses—that get in the way of students getting it done.

Add leverage and some delicately placed peer pressure to the mix, and not getting homework back from every student will be a rare occurrence.

Here is how to do it.

1. Assign what students already know.

Most teachers struggle with homework because they misunderstand the narrow purpose of homework, which is to practice what has already been learned. Meaning, you should only assign homework your students fully understand and are able to do by themselves.

Therefore, the skills needed to complete the evening’s homework must be thoroughly taught during the school day. If your students can’t prove to you that they’re able to do the work without assistance, then you shouldn’t assign it.

It isn’t fair to your students—or their parents—to have to sit at the dinner table trying to figure out what you should have taught them during the day.

2. Don’t involve parents.

Homework is an agreement between you and your students. Parents shouldn’t be involved. If parents want to sit with their child while he or she does the homework, great. But it shouldn’t be an expectation or a requirement of them. Otherwise, you hand students a ready-made excuse for not doing it.

You should tell parents at back-to-school night, “I got it covered. If ever your child doesn’t understand the homework, it’s on me. Just send me a note and I’ll take care of it.”

Holding yourself accountable is not only a reminder that your lessons need to be spot on, but parents will love you for it and be more likely to make sure homework gets done every night. And for negligent parents? It’s best for their children in particular to make homework a teacher/student-only agreement.

3. Review and then ask one important question.

Set aside a few minutes before the end of the school day to review the assigned homework. Have your students pull out the work, allow them to ask final clarifying questions, and have them check to make sure they have the materials they need.

And then ask one important question: “Is there anyone, for any reason, who will not be able to turn in their homework in the morning? I want to know now rather than find out about it in the morning.”

There are two reasons for this question.

First, the more leverage you have with students, and the more they admire and respect you , the more they’ll hate disappointing you. This alone can be a powerful incentive for students to complete homework.

Second, it’s important to eliminate every excuse so that the only answer students can give for not doing it is that they just didn’t care. This sets up the confrontation strategy you’ll be using the next morning.

4. Confront students on the spot.

One of your key routines should be entering the classroom in the morning.

As part of this routine, ask your students to place their homework in the top left-hand (or right-hand) corner of their desk before beginning a daily independent assignment—reading, bellwork , whatever it may be.

During the next five to ten minutes, walk around the room and check homework–don’t collect it. Have a copy of the answers (if applicable) with you and glance at every assignment.

You don’t have to check every answer or read every portion of the assignment. Just enough to know that it was completed as expected. If it’s math, I like to pick out three or four problems that represent the main thrust of the lesson from the day before.

It should take just seconds to check most students.

Remember, homework is the practice of something they already know how to do. Therefore, you shouldn’t find more than a small percentage of wrong answers–if any. If you see more than this, then you know your lesson was less than effective, and you’ll have to reteach

If you find an assignment that is incomplete or not completed at all, confront that student on the spot .

Call them on it.

The day before, you presented a first-class lesson and gave your students every opportunity to buzz through their homework confidently that evening. You did your part, but they didn’t do theirs. It’s an affront to the excellence you strive for as a class, and you deserve an explanation.

It doesn’t matter what he or she says in response to your pointed questions, and there is no reason to humiliate or give the student the third degree. What is important is that you make your students accountable to you, to themselves, and to their classmates.

A gentle explanation of why they don’t have their homework is a strong motivator for even the most jaded students to get their homework completed.

The personal leverage you carry–that critical trusting rapport you have with your students–combined with the always lurking peer pressure is a powerful force. Not using it is like teaching with your hands tied behind your back.

Homework Strategies 5-8

Next week we’ll cover the final four homework strategies . They’re critical to getting homework back every day in a way that is painless for you and meaningful for your students.

I hope you’ll tune in.

If you haven’t done so already, please join us. It’s free! Click here and begin receiving classroom management articles like this one in your email box every week.

What to read next:

  • A Powerful Way To Relieve Stress: Part One
  • The Best Time To Review Your Classroom Management Plan
  • Why Your New Classroom Management Plan Isn't Working
  • A Simple Exercise Program For Teachers
  • How To Make A Warning Most Effective

20 thoughts on “A Simple, Effective Homework Plan For Teachers: Part 1”

Good stuff, Michael. A lot of teachers I train and coach are surprised (and skeptical) at first when I make the same point you make about NOT involving parents. But it’s right on based on my experience as a teacher, instructional coach, and administrator the past 17 years. More important, it’s validated by Martin Haberman’s 40 years of research on what separates “star” teachers from “quitter/failure” teachers ( http://www.habermanfoundation.org/Book.aspx?sm=c1 )

I love the articles about “homework”. in the past I feel that it is difficuty for collecting homework. I will try your plan next year.

I think you’ll be happy with it, Sendy!

How do you confront students who do not have their homework completed?

You state in your book to let consequences do their job and to never confront students, only tell them the rule broken and consequence.

I want to make sure I do not go against that rule, but also hold students accountable for not completing their work. What should I say to them?

They are two different things. Homework is not part of your classroom management plan.

Hi Michael,

I’m a first-year middle school teacher at a private school with very small class sizes (eight to fourteen students per class). While I love this homework policy, I feel discouraged about confronting middle schoolers publicly regarding incomplete homework. My motive would never be to humiliate my students, yet I can name a few who would go home thinking their lives were over if I did confront them in front of their peers. Do you have any ideas of how to best go about incomplete homework confrontation with middle school students?

The idea isn’t in any way to humiliate students, but to hold them accountable for doing their homework. Parts one and two represent my best recommendation.:)

I believe that Homework is a vital part of students learning.

I’m still a student–in a classroom management class. So I have no experience with this, but I’m having to plan a procedure for my class. What about teacher sitting at desk and calling student one at a time to bring folder while everyone is doing bellwork or whatever their procedure is? That way 1) it would be a long walk for the ones who didn’t do the work :), and 2) it would be more private. What are your thoughts on that? Thanks. 🙂

I’m not sure I understand your question. Would you mind emailing me with more detail? I’m happy to help.

I think what you talked about is great. How do you feel about flipping a lesson? My school is pretty big on it, though I haven’t done it yet. Basically, for homework, the teacher assigns a video or some other kind of media of brand new instruction. Students teach themselves and take a mini quiz at the end to show they understand the new topic. Then the next day in the classroom, the teacher reinforces the lesson and the class period is spent practicing with the teacher present for clarification. I haven’t tried it yet because as a first year teacher I haven’t had enough time to make or find instructional videos and quizzes, and because I’m afraid half of my students will not do their homework and the next day in class I will have to waste the time of the students who did their homework and just reteach what the video taught.

Anyway, this year, I’m trying the “Oops, I forgot my homework” form for students to fill out every time they forget their homework. It keeps them accountable and helps me keep better track of who is missing what. Once they complete it, I cut off the bottom portion of the form and staple it to their assignment. I keep the top copy for my records and for parent/teacher conferences.

Here is an instant digital download of the form. It’s editable in case you need different fields.

Thanks again for your blog. I love the balance you strike between rapport and respect.

Your site is a godsend for a newbie teacher! Thank you for your clear, step-by-step, approach!

I G+ your articles to my PLN all the time.

You’re welcome, TeachNich! And thank you for sharing the articles.

Hi Michael, I’m going into my first year and some people have told me to try and get parents involved as much as I can – even home visits and things like that. But my gut says that negligent parents cannot be influenced by me. Still, do you see any value in having parents initial their student’s planner every night so they stay up to date on homework assignments? I could also write them notes.

Personally, no. I’ll write about this in the future, but when you hold parents accountable for what are student responsibilities, you lighten their load and miss an opportunity to improve independence.

I am teaching at a school where students constantly don’t take work home. I rarely give homework in math but when I do it is usually something small and I still have to chase at least 7 kids down to get their homework. My way of holding them accountable is to record a homework completion grade as part of their overall grade. Is this wrong to do? Do you believe homework should never be graded for a grade and just be for practice?

No, I think marking a completion grade is a good idea.

I’ve been teaching since 2014 and we need to take special care when assigning homework. If the homework assignment is too hard, is perceived as busy work, or takes too long to complete, students might tune out and resist doing it. Never send home any assignment that students cannot do. Homework should be an extension of what students have learned in class. To ensure that homework is clear and appropriate, consider the following tips for assigning homework:

Assign homework in small units. Explain the assignment clearly. Establish a routine at the beginning of the year for how homework will be assigned. Remind students of due dates periodically. And Make sure students and parents have information regarding the policy on missed and late assignments, extra credit, and available adaptations. Establish a set routine at the beginning of the year.

Thanks Nancie L Beckett

Dear Michael,

I love your approach! Do you have any ideas for homework collection for lower grades? K-3 are not so ready for independent work first thing in the morning, so I do not necessarily have time to check then; but it is vitally important to me to teach the integrity of completing work on time.

Also, I used to want parents involved in homework but my thinking has really changed, and your comments confirm it!

Hi Meredith,

I’ll be sure and write about this topic in an upcoming article (or work it into an article). 🙂

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Students' Achievement and Homework Assignment Strategies

Rubén fernández-alonso.

1 Department of Education Sciences, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain

2 Department of Education, Principality of Asturias Government, Oviedo, Spain

Marcos Álvarez-Díaz

Javier suárez-Álvarez.

3 Department of Psychology, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain

José Muñiz

The optimum time students should spend on homework has been widely researched although the results are far from unanimous. The main objective of this research is to analyze how homework assignment strategies in schools affect students' academic performance and the differences in students' time spent on homework. Participants were a representative sample of Spanish adolescents ( N = 26,543) with a mean age of 14.4 (±0.75), 49.7% girls. A test battery was used to measure academic performance in four subjects: Spanish, Mathematics, Science, and Citizenship. A questionnaire allowed the measurement of the indicators used for the description of homework and control variables. Two three-level hierarchical-linear models (student, school, autonomous community) were produced for each subject being evaluated. The relationship between academic results and homework time is negative at the individual level but positive at school level. An increase in the amount of homework a school assigns is associated with an increase in the differences in student time spent on homework. An optimum amount of homework is proposed which schools should assign to maximize gains in achievement for students overall.

The role of homework in academic achievement is an age-old debate (Walberg et al., 1985 ) that has swung between times when it was thought to be a tool for improving a country's competitiveness and times when it was almost outlawed. So Cooper ( 2001 ) talks about the battle over homework and the debates and rows continue (Walberg et al., 1985 , 1986 ; Barber, 1986 ). It is considered a complicated subject (Corno, 1996 ), mysterious (Trautwein and Köller, 2003 ), a chameleon (Trautwein et al., 2009b ), or Janus-faced (Flunger et al., 2015 ). One must agree with Cooper et al. ( 2006 ) that homework is a practice full of contradictions, where positive and negative effects coincide. As such, depending on our preferences, it is possible to find data which support the argument that homework benefits all students (Cooper, 1989 ), or that it does not matter and should be abolished (Barber, 1986 ). Equally, one might argue a compensatory effect as it favors students with more difficulties (Epstein and Van Voorhis, 2001 ), or on the contrary, that it is a source of inequality as it specifically benefits those better placed on the social ladder (Rømming, 2011 ). Furthermore, this issue has jumped over the school wall and entered the home, contributing to the polemic by becoming a common topic about which it is possible to have an opinion without being well informed, something that Goldstein ( 1960 ) warned of decades ago after reviewing almost 300 pieces of writing on the topic in Education Index and finding that only 6% were empirical studies.

The relationship between homework time and educational outcomes has traditionally been the most researched aspect (Cooper, 1989 ; Cooper et al., 2006 ; Fan et al., 2017 ), although conclusions have evolved over time. The first experimental studies (Paschal et al., 1984 ) worked from the hypothesis that time spent on homework was a reflection of an individual student's commitment and diligence and as such the relationship between time spent on homework and achievement should be positive. This was roughly the idea at the end of the twentieth century, when more positive effects had been found than negative (Cooper, 1989 ), although it was also known that the relationship was not strictly linear (Cooper and Valentine, 2001 ), and that its strength depended on the student's age- stronger in post-compulsory secondary education than in compulsory education and almost zero in primary education (Cooper et al., 2012 ). With the turn of the century, hierarchical-linear models ran counter to this idea by showing that homework was a multilevel situation and the effect of homework on outcomes depended on classroom factors (e.g., frequency or amount of assigned homework) more than on an individual's attitude (Trautwein and Köller, 2003 ). Research with a multilevel approach indicated that individual variations in time spent had little effect on academic results (Farrow et al., 1999 ; De Jong et al., 2000 ; Dettmers et al., 2010 ; Murillo and Martínez-Garrido, 2013 ; Fernández-Alonso et al., 2014 ; Núñez et al., 2014 ; Servicio de Evaluación Educativa del Principado de Asturias, 2016 ) and that when statistically significant results were found, the effect was negative (Trautwein, 2007 ; Trautwein et al., 2009b ; Lubbers et al., 2010 ; Chang et al., 2014 ). The reasons for this null or negative relationship lie in the fact that those variables which are positively associated with homework time are antagonistic when predicting academic performance. For example, some students may not need to spend much time on homework because they learn quickly and have good cognitive skills and previous knowledge (Trautwein, 2007 ; Dettmers et al., 2010 ), or maybe because they are not very persistent in their work and do not finish homework tasks (Flunger et al., 2015 ). Similarly, students may spend more time on homework because they have difficulties learning and concentrating, low expectations and motivation or because they need more direct help (Trautwein et al., 2006 ), or maybe because they put in a lot of effort and take a lot of care with their work (Flunger et al., 2015 ). Something similar happens with sociological variables such as gender: Girls spend more time on homework (Gershenson and Holt, 2015 ) but, compared to boys, in standardized tests they have better results in reading and worse results in Science and Mathematics (OECD, 2013a ).

On the other hand, thanks to multilevel studies, systematic effects on performance have been found when homework time is considered at the class or school level. De Jong et al. ( 2000 ) found that the number of assigned homework tasks in a year was positively and significantly related to results in mathematics. Equally, the volume or amount of homework (mean homework time for the group) and the frequency of homework assignment have positive effects on achievement. The data suggests that when frequency and volume are considered together, the former has more impact on results than the latter (Trautwein et al., 2002 ; Trautwein, 2007 ). In fact, it has been estimated that in classrooms where homework is always assigned there are gains in mathematics and science of 20% of a standard deviation over those classrooms which sometimes assign homework (Fernández-Alonso et al., 2015 ). Significant results have also been found in research which considered only homework volume at the classroom or school level. Dettmers et al. ( 2009 ) concluded that the school-level effect of homework is positive in the majority of participating countries in PISA 2003, and the OECD ( 2013b ), with data from PISA 2012, confirms that schools in which students have more weekly homework demonstrate better results once certain school and student-background variables are discounted. To put it briefly, homework has a multilevel nature (Trautwein and Köller, 2003 ) in which the variables have different significance and effects according to the level of analysis, in this case a positive effect at class level, and a negative or null effect in most cases at the level of the individual. Furthermore, the fact that the clearest effects are seen at the classroom and school level highlights the role of homework policy in schools and teaching, over and above the time individual students spend on homework.

From this complex context, this current study aims to explore the relationships between the strategies schools use to assign homework and the consequences that has on students' academic performance and on the students' own homework strategies. There are two specific objectives, firstly, to systematically analyze the differential effect of time spent on homework on educational performance, both at school and individual level. We hypothesize a positive effect for homework time at school level, and a negative effect at the individual level. Secondly, the influence of homework quantity assigned by schools on the distribution of time spent by students on homework will be investigated. This will test the previously unexplored hypothesis that an increase in the amount of homework assigned by each school will create an increase in differences, both in time spent on homework by the students, and in academic results. Confirming this hypothesis would mean that an excessive amount of homework assigned by schools would penalize those students who for various reasons (pace of work, gaps in learning, difficulties concentrating, overexertion) need to spend more time completing their homework than their peers. In order to resolve this apparent paradox we will calculate the optimum volume of homework that schools should assign in order to benefit the largest number of students without contributing to an increase in differences, that is, without harming educational equity.

Participants

The population was defined as those students in year 8 of compulsory education in the academic year 2009/10 in Spain. In order to provide a representative sample, a stratified random sampling was carried out from the 19 autonomous regions in Spain. The sample was selected from each stratum according to a two-stage cluster design (OECD, 2009 , 2011 , 2014a ; Ministerio de Educación, 2011 ). In the first stage, the primary units of the sample were the schools, which were selected with a probability proportional to the number of students in the 8th grade. The more 8th grade students in a given school, the higher the likelihood of the school being selected. In the second stage, 35 students were selected from each school through simple, systematic sampling. A detailed, step-by-step description of the sampling procedure may be found in OECD ( 2011 ). The subsequent sample numbered 29,153 students from 933 schools. Some students were excluded due to lack of information (absences on the test day), or for having special educational needs. The baseline sample was finally made up of 26,543 students. The mean student age was 14.4 with a standard deviation of 0.75, rank of age from 13 to 16. Some 66.2% attended a state school; 49.7% were girls; 87.8% were Spanish nationals; 73.5% were in the school year appropriate to their age, the remaining 26.5% were at least 1 year behind in terms of their age.

Test application, marking, and data recording were contracted out via public tendering, and were carried out by qualified personnel unconnected to the schools. The evaluation, was performed on two consecutive days, each day having two 50 min sessions separated by a break. At the end of the second day the students completed a context questionnaire which included questions related to homework. The evaluation was carried out in compliance with current ethical standards in Spain. Families of the students selected to participate in the evaluation were informed about the study by the school administrations, and were able to choose whether those students would participate in the study or not.

Instruments

Tests of academic performance.

The performance test battery consisted of 342 items evaluating four subjects: Spanish (106 items), mathematics (73 items), science (78), and citizenship (85). The items, completed on paper, were in various formats and were subject to binary scoring, except 21 items which were coded on a polytomous scale, between 0 and 2 points (Ministerio de Educación, 2011 ). As a single student is not capable of answering the complete item pool in the time given, the items were distributed across various booklets following a matrix design (Fernández-Alonso and Muñiz, 2011 ). The mean Cronbach α for the booklets ranged from 0.72 (mathematics) to 0.89 (Spanish). Student scores were calculated adjusting the bank of items to Rasch's IRT model using the ConQuest 2.0 program (Wu et al., 2007 ) and were expressed in a scale with mean and standard deviation of 500 and 100 points respectively. The student's scores were divided into five categories, estimated using the plausible values method. In large scale assessments this method is better at recovering the true population parameters (e.g., mean, standard deviation) than estimates of scores using methods of maximum likelihood or expected a-posteriori estimations (Mislevy et al., 1992 ; OECD, 2009 ; von Davier et al., 2009 ).

Homework variables

A questionnaire was made up of a mix of items which allowed the calculation of the indicators used for the description of homework variables. Daily minutes spent on homework was calculated from a multiple choice question with the following options: (a) Generally I don't have homework; (b) 1 h or less; (c) Between 1 and 2 h; (d) Between 2 and 3 h; (e) More than 3 h. The options were recoded as follows: (a) = 0 min.; (b) = 45 min.; (c) = 90 min.; (d) = 150 min.; (e) = 210 min. According to Trautwein and Köller ( 2003 ) the average homework time of the students in a school could be regarded as a good proxy for the amount of homework assigned by the teacher. So the mean of this variable for each school was used as an estimator of Amount or volume of homework assigned .

Control variables

Four variables were included to describe sociological factors about the students, three were binary: Gender (1 = female ); Nationality (1 = Spanish; 0 = other ); School type (1 = state school; 0 = private ). The fourth variable was Socioeconomic and cultural index (SECI), which is constructed with information about family qualifications and professions, along with the availability of various material and cultural resources at home. It is expressed in standardized points, N(0,1) . Three variables were used to gather educational history: Appropriate School Year (1 = being in the school year appropriate to their age ; 0 = repeated a school year) . The other two adjustment variables were Academic Expectations and Motivation which were included for two reasons: they are both closely connected to academic achievement (Suárez-Álvarez et al., 2014 ). Their position as adjustment factors is justified because, in an ex-post facto descriptive design such as this, both expectations and motivation may be thought of as background variables that the student brings with them on the day of the test. Academic expectations for finishing education was measured with a multiple-choice item where the score corresponds to the years spent in education in order to reach that level of qualification: compulsory secondary education (10 points); further secondary education (12 points); non-university higher education (14 points); University qualification (16 points). Motivation was constructed from the answers to six four-point Likert items, where 1 means strongly disagree with the sentence and 4 means strongly agree. Students scoring highly in this variable are agreeing with statements such as “at school I learn useful and interesting things.” A Confirmatory Factor Analysis was performed using a Maximum Likelihood robust estimation method (MLMV) and the items fit an essentially unidimensional scale: CFI = 0.954; TLI = 0.915; SRMR = 0.037; RMSEA = 0.087 (90% CI = 0.084–0.091).

As this was an official evaluation, the tests used were created by experts in the various fields, contracted by the Spanish Ministry of Education in collaboration with the regional education authorities.

Data analyses

Firstly the descriptive statistics and Pearson correlations between the variables were calculated. Then, using the HLM 6.03 program (Raudenbush et al., 2004 ), two three-level hierarchical-linear models (student, school, autonomous community) were produced for each subject being evaluated: a null model (without predictor variables) and a random intercept model in which adjustment variables and homework variables were introduced at the same time. Given that HLM does not return standardized coefficients, all of the variables were standardized around the general mean, which allows the interpretation of the results as classical standardized regression analysis coefficients. Levels 2 and 3 variables were constructed from means of standardized level 1 variables and were not re-standardized. Level 1 variables were introduced without centering except for four cases: study time, motivation, expectation, and socioeconomic and cultural level which were centered on the school mean to control composition effects (Xu and Wu, 2013 ) and estimate the effect of differences in homework time among the students within the same school. The range of missing variable cases was very small, between 1 and 3%. Recovery was carried out using the procedure described in Fernández-Alonso et al. ( 2012 ).

The results are presented in two ways: the tables show standardized coefficients while in the figures the data are presented in a real scale, taking advantage of the fact that a scale with a 100 point standard deviation allows the expression of the effect of the variables and the differences between groups as percentage increases in standardized points.

Table ​ Table1 1 shows the descriptive statistics and the matrix of correlations between the study variables. As can be seen in the table, the relationship between the variables turned out to be in the expected direction, with the closest correlations between the different academic performance scores and socioeconomic level, appropriate school year, and student expectations. The nationality variable gave the highest asymmetry and kurtosis, which was to be expected as the majority of the sample are Spanish.

Descriptive statistics and Pearson correlation matrix between the variables .

Table ​ Table2 2 shows the distribution of variance in the null model. In the four subjects taken together, 85% of the variance was found at the student level, 10% was variance between schools, and 5% variance between regions. Although the 10% of variance between schools could seem modest, underlying that there were large differences. For example, in Spanish the 95% plausible value range for the school means ranged between 577 and 439 points, practically 1.5 standard deviations, which shows that schools have a significant impact on student results.

Distribution of the variance in the null model .

Table ​ Table3 3 gives the standardized coefficients of the independent variables of the four multilevel models, as well as the percentage of variance explained by each level.

Multilevel models for prediction of achievement in four subjects .

β, Standardized weight; SE, Standard Error; SECI, Socioeconomic and cultural index; AC, Autonomous Communities .

The results indicated that the adjustment variables behaved satisfactorily, with enough control to analyze the net effects of the homework variables. This was backed up by two results, firstly, the two variables with highest standardized coefficients were those related to educational history: academic expectations at the time of the test, and being in the school year corresponding to age. Motivation demonstrated a smaller effect but one which was significant in all cases. Secondly, the adjustment variables explained the majority of the variance in the results. The percentages of total explained variance in Table ​ Table2 2 were calculated with all variables. However, if the strategy had been to introduce the adjustment variables first and then add in the homework variables, the explanatory gain in the second model would have been about 2% in each subject.

The amount of homework turned out to be positively and significantly associated with the results in the four subjects. In a 100 point scale of standard deviation, controlling for other variables, it was estimated that for each 10 min added to the daily volume of homework, schools would achieve between 4.1 and 4.8 points more in each subject, with the exception of mathematics where the increase would be around 2.5 points. In other words, an increase of between 15 and 29 points in the school mean is predicted for each additional hour of homework volume of the school as a whole. This school level gain, however, would only occur if the students spent exactly the same time on homework as their school mean. As the regression coefficient of student homework time is negative and the variable is centered on the level of the school, the model predicts deterioration in results for those students who spend more time than their class mean on homework, and an improvement for those who finish their homework more quickly than the mean of their classmates.

Furthermore, the results demonstrated a positive association between the amount of homework assigned in a school and the differences in time needed by the students to complete their homework. Figure ​ Figure1 1 shows the relationship between volume of homework (expressed as mean daily minutes of homework by school) and the differences in time spent by students (expressed as the standard deviation from the mean school daily minutes). The correlation between the variables was 0.69 and the regression gradient indicates that schools which assigned 60 min of homework per day had a standard deviation in time spent by students on homework of approximately 25 min, whereas in those schools assigning 120 min of homework, the standard deviation was twice as long, and was over 50 min. So schools which assigned more homework also tended to demonstrate greater differences in the time students need to spend on that homework.

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Relationship between school homework volume and differences in time needed by students to complete homework .

Figure ​ Figure2 2 shows the effect on results in mathematics of the combination of homework time, homework amount, and the variance of homework time associated with the amount of homework assigned in two types of schools: in type 1 schools the amount of homework assigned is 1 h, and in type 2 schools the amount of homework 2 h. The result in mathematics was used as a dependent variable because, as previously noted, it was the subject where the effect was smallest and as such is the most conservative prediction. With other subjects the results might be even clearer.

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Prediction of results for quick and slow students according to school homework size .

Looking at the first standard deviation of student homework time shown in the first graph, it was estimated that in type 1 schools, which assign 1 h of daily homework, a quick student (one who finishes their homework before 85% of their classmates) would spend a little over half an hour (35 min), whereas the slower student, who spends more time than 85% of classmates, would need almost an hour and a half of work each day (85 min). In type 2 schools, where the homework amount is 2 h a day, the differences increase from just over an hour (65 min for a quick student) to almost 3 h (175 min for a slow student). Figure ​ Figure2 2 shows how the differences in performance would vary within a school between the more and lesser able students according to amount of homework assigned. In type 1 schools, with 1 h of homework per day, the difference in achievement between quick and slow students would be around 5% of a standard deviation, while in schools assigning 2 h per day the difference would be 12%. On the other hand, the slow student in a type 2 school would score 6 points more than the quick student in a type 1 school. However, to achieve this, the slow student in a type 2 school would need to spend five times as much time on homework in a week (20.4 weekly hours rather than 4.1). It seems like a lot of work for such a small gain.

Discussion and conclusions

The data in this study reaffirm the multilevel nature of homework (Trautwein and Köller, 2003 ) and support this study's first hypothesis: the amount of homework (mean daily minutes the student spends on homework) is positively associated with academic results, whereas the time students spent on homework considered individually is negatively associated with academic results. These findings are in line with previous research, which indicate that school-level variables, such as amount of homework assigned, have more explanatory power than individual variables such as time spent (De Jong et al., 2000 ; Dettmers et al., 2010 ; Scheerens et al., 2013 ; Fernández-Alonso et al., 2015 ). In this case it was found that for each additional hour of homework assigned by a school, a gain of 25% of a standard deviation is expected in all subjects except mathematics, where the gain is around 15%. On the basis of this evidence, common sense would dictate the conclusion that frequent and abundant homework assignment may be one way to improve school efficiency.

However, as noted previously, the relationship between homework and achievement is paradoxical- appearances are deceptive and first conclusions are not always confirmed. Analysis demonstrates another two complementary pieces of data which, read together, raise questions about the previous conclusion. In the first place, time spent on homework at the individual level was found to have a negative effect on achievement, which confirms the findings of other multilevel-approach research (Trautwein, 2007 ; Trautwein et al., 2009b ; Chang et al., 2014 ; Fernández-Alonso et al., 2016 ). Furthermore, it was found that an increase in assigned homework volume is associated with an increase in the differences in time students need to complete it. Taken together, the conclusion is that, schools with more homework tend to exhibit more variation in student achievement. These results seem to confirm our second hypothesis, as a positive covariation was found between the amount of homework in a school (the mean homework time by school) and the increase in differences within the school, both in student homework time and in the academic results themselves. The data seem to be in line with those who argue that homework is a source of inequity because it affects those less academically-advantaged students and students with greater limitations in their home environments (Kohn, 2006 ; Rømming, 2011 ; OECD, 2013b ).

This new data has clear implications for educational action and school homework policies, especially in compulsory education. If quality compulsory education is that which offers the best results for the largest number (Barber and Mourshed, 2007 ; Mourshed et al., 2010 ), then assigning an excessive volume of homework at those school levels could accentuate differences, affecting students who are slower, have more gaps in their knowledge, or are less privileged, and can make them feel overwhelmed by the amount of homework assigned to them (Martinez, 2011 ; OECD, 2014b ; Suárez et al., 2016 ). The data show that in a school with 60 min of assigned homework, a quick student will need just 4 h a week to finish their homework, whereas a slow student will spend 10 h a week, 2.5 times longer, with the additional aggravation of scoring one twentieth of a standard deviation below their quicker classmates. And in a school assigning 120 min of homework per day, a quick student will need 7.5 h per week whereas a slow student will have to triple this time (20 h per week) to achieve a result one eighth worse, that is, more time for a relatively worse result.

It might be argued that the differences are not very large, as between 1 and 2 h of assigned homework, the level of inequality increases 7% on a standardized scale. But this percentage increase has been estimated after statistically, or artificially, accounting for sociological and psychological student factors and other variables at school and region level. The adjustment variables influence both achievement and time spent on homework, so it is likely that in a real classroom situation the differences estimated here might be even larger. This is especially important in comprehensive education systems, like the Spanish (Eurydice, 2015 ), in which the classroom groups are extremely heterogeneous, with a variety of students in the same class in terms of ability, interest, and motivation, in which the aforementioned variables may operate more strongly.

The results of this research must be interpreted bearing in mind a number of limitations. The most significant limitation in the research design is the lack of a measure of previous achievement, whether an ad hoc test (Murillo and Martínez-Garrido, 2013 ) or school grades (Núñez et al., 2014 ), which would allow adjustment of the data. In an attempt to alleviate this, our research has placed special emphasis on the construction of variables which would work to exclude academic history from the model. The use of the repetition of school year variable was unavoidable because Spain has one of the highest levels of repetition in the European Union (Eurydice, 2011 ) and repeating students achieve worse academic results (Ministerio de Educación, 2011 ). Similarly, the expectation and motivation variables were included in the group of adjustment factors assuming that in this research they could be considered background variables. In this way, once the background factors are discounted, the homework variables explain 2% of the total variance, which is similar to estimations from other multilevel studies (De Jong et al., 2000 ; Trautwein, 2007 ; Dettmers et al., 2009 ; Fernández-Alonso et al., 2016 ). On the other hand, the statistical models used to analyze the data are correlational, and as such, one can only speak of an association between variables and not of directionality or causality in the analysis. As Trautwein and Lüdtke ( 2009 ) noted, the word “effect” must be understood as “predictive effect.” In other words, it is possible to say that the amount of homework is connected to performance; however, it is not possible to say in which direction the association runs. Another aspect to be borne in mind is that the homework time measures are generic -not segregated by subject- when it its understood that time spent and homework behavior are not consistent across all subjects (Trautwein et al., 2006 ; Trautwein and Lüdtke, 2007 ). Nonetheless, when the dependent variable is academic results it has been found that the relationship between homework time and achievement is relatively stable across all subjects (Lubbers et al., 2010 ; Chang et al., 2014 ) which leads us to believe that the results given here would have changed very little even if the homework-related variables had been separated by subject.

Future lines of research should be aimed toward the creation of comprehensive models which incorporate a holistic vision of homework. It must be recognized that not all of the time spent on homework by a student is time well spent (Valle et al., 2015 ). In addition, research has demonstrated the importance of other variables related to student behavior such as rate of completion, the homework environment, organization, and task management, autonomy, parenting styles, effort, and the use of study techniques (Zimmerman and Kitsantas, 2005 ; Xu, 2008 , 2013 ; Kitsantas and Zimmerman, 2009 ; Kitsantas et al., 2011 ; Ramdass and Zimmerman, 2011 ; Bembenutty and White, 2013 ; Xu and Wu, 2013 ; Xu et al., 2014 ; Rosário et al., 2015a ; Osorio and González-Cámara, 2016 ; Valle et al., 2016 ), as well as the role of expectation, value given to the task, and personality traits (Lubbers et al., 2010 ; Goetz et al., 2012 ; Pedrosa et al., 2016 ). Along the same lines, research has also indicated other important variables related to teacher homework policies, such as reasons for assignment, control and feedback, assignment characteristics, and the adaptation of tasks to the students' level of learning (Trautwein et al., 2009a ; Dettmers et al., 2010 ; Patall et al., 2010 ; Buijs and Admiraal, 2013 ; Murillo and Martínez-Garrido, 2013 ; Rosário et al., 2015b ). All of these should be considered in a comprehensive model of homework.

In short, the data seem to indicate that in year 8 of compulsory education, 60–70 min of homework a day is a recommendation that, slightly more optimistically than Cooper's ( 2001 ) “10 min rule,” gives a reasonable gain for the whole school, without exaggerating differences or harming students with greater learning difficulties or who work more slowly, and is in line with other available evidence (Fernández-Alonso et al., 2015 ). These results have significant implications when it comes to setting educational policy in schools, sending a clear message to head teachers, teachers and those responsible for education. The results of this research show that assigning large volumes of homework increases inequality between students in pursuit of minimal gains in achievement for those who least need it. Therefore, in terms of school efficiency, and with the aim of improving equity in schools it is recommended that educational policies be established which optimize all students' achievement.

Ethics statement

This study was carried out in accordance with the recommendations of the University of Oviedo with written informed consent from all subjects. All subjects gave written informed consent in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. The protocol was approved by the University of Oviedo.

Author contributions

RF and JM have designed the research; RF and JS have analyzed the data; MA and JM have interpreted the data; RF, MA, and JS have drafted the paper; JM has revised it critically; all authors have provided final approval of the version to be published and have ensured the accuracy and integrity of the work.

This research was funded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad del Gobierno de España. References: PSI2014-56114-P, BES2012-053488. We would like to express our utmost gratitude to the Ministerio de Educación Cultura y Deporte del Gobierno de España and to the Consejería de Educación y Cultura del Gobierno del Principado de Asturias, without whose collaboration this research would not have been possible.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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Collecting Homework in the Classroom

Tips and Ideas for Collecting Homework

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The purpose of homework is to help reinforce what was taught in class or to have students gather extra information beyond what was demonstrated in class.

Homework is one part of daily classroom management that can cause many teachers problems. Homework must be assigned, collected, reviewed and assessed. That amount of work means homework must be designed to serve an academic purpose, otherwise, the results may be a great waste of student and instructor time.

Here are a few tips and ideas that can help you create an effective method for collecting homework every day.

Physical Homework

New teachers find out very quickly that day-to-day instruction is made much more effective when there are organized daily housekeeping routines. In developing these routines, if there is homework to collect, the best time to collect it for use in instruction is at the beginning of the period.

Methods you can use to accomplish this include:

  • Station yourself at the door as students walk into your room. Students are required to hand you their homework. This greatly reduces the time it takes to complete this task because it is mostly finished before the bell even rings.
  • Have a designated homework box. Explain to students how they are to turn in their homework each day. To keep track, you might remove the homework box after the bell rings and class begins. Anyone who does not get it in the box will have their homework be marked late. Many teachers find it a good idea to give students a three to a five-minute window after the bell rings to avoid possible confrontations and to keep things fair.

Digital Homework

If the technology is available, in school and at home, teachers may prefer to give a digital homework assignment. They may use a course platform like Google Classroom, Moodle, Schoology, or Edmodo.

Students may be asked to complete homework individually or collaboratively. In this cases, the homework will be time-stamped or a digital student is associated with the work. You may use that time stamp to show the homework has been completed on time.

Digital homework may include programs that provide immediate feedback, which will make assessing much easier. On some of these platforms, there may be an opportunity for a student to repeat an assignment. Digital platforms allow teachers to keep an assignment inventory or student portfolios to note student academic growth.

You may choose to use a “flipped classroom” model. In this model, the instruction is assigned as the homework in advance of class, while the hands-on practice takes place in the classroom. The central idea with this kind of digital homework is similar. In a flipped classroom, the homework serving as the teaching tool. There may be videos or interactive lessons to provide the instruction that happens in class. A flipped learning model allows students to work through problems, suggest solutions, and engage in collaborative learning.

Homework tips

  • When it comes to daily housekeeping chores like collecting homework and taking roll, creating a daily routine is the most effective tool. If students know the system and you follow it every day, then it will take up less of your valuable teaching time and give students less time to misbehave while you are otherwise occupied.
  • Come up with a quick system to mark an assignment as late. You might have a brightly colored highlighter which you use to make a mark on the top of the paper. You could also mark it with the number of points that you will be taking off the paper. Whatever your method, you will want to make it something you can do quickly and efficiently. See How to Deal with Late Work and Makeup Work
  • Return homework within 24 hours for optimum effect.
  • The flipped homework in class as part of instruction. The homework is not assessed, but the students are.

Ultimately, it is not the assigning or collecting of homework that is important. What is important is understanding the purpose of homework, and that purpose can help you determine the kind of homework, be it physical or digital, that works best for your students.

  • How to Deal With Late Work and Makeup Work
  • Teacher Housekeeping Tasks
  • Methods for Presenting Subject Matter
  • Classroom Procedures
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  • Homework Guidelines for Elementary and Middle School Teachers
  • Classroom Rules for High School Students
  • Organize Your Homework With Color Coded Supplies
  • 8 Things Teachers Can Do to Help Students Succeed
  • Appropriate Consequences for Student Misbehavior
  • Tips for Teaching Multiple Preps
  • Write IEP Goals for Healthy Student Work Habits
  • 4 Tips for Completing Your Homework On Time
  • Building an Effective Classroom
  • Topics for a Lesson Plan Template
  • 10 Ways to Keep Your Class Interesting

Designing and Assessing Homework

The goal of Proficiency-Based Learning Simplified is to ensure that students acquire the most essential knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in school, higher education, the modern workplace, and adult life. Therefore, systems of assessment and verifying proficiency should prioritize enduring knowledge and skills—i.e., graduation standards and related performance indicators.

In a proficiency-based system, homework—i.e., assignments completed largely outside of the classroom and without direct support and supervision from teachers—should be instructionally purposeful and connected to clearly defined learning standards. The Great Schools Partnership recommends that teachers consider the following general guidelines when assigning homework in a proficiency-based l earning environment:

  • All homework assignments should be relevant, educationally purposeful, and driven by clearly defined learning objectives for a unit or lesson.
  • Students should be given an equal and equitable opportunity to complete all homework assignments. Given that some home situations may complicate a student’s ability to complete an outside-of-class assignment—such as households that have no computers or internet connection—schools and teachers need to ensure that every student has access to all necessary materials, technologies, and resources regardless of their socioeconomic status, language ability, disability, or home situation.
  • The failure to complete or turn-in homework on time should not affect a student’s academic score unless the work being done outside of class is part of a larger summative assessment.
  • The failure to complete or turn-in homework on time may be reflected in a student’s habits-of-work grade.
  • Students should be given additional opportunities to improve, complete, and resubmit homework as an additional demonstration opportunity when reasonable and appropriate. If the assignment is part of a larger summative assessment, the improved scores should be counted, not earlier scores or a combination of scores.
  • Teachers should provide feedback in a timely fashion so that students know how well they performed before they take the next assessment.
  • The purpose of all homework assignments should be clearly articulated to and understood by students; specifically, students should know what learning objectives and performance indicators the assignment addresses, and what criteria will be used if the homework assignment is going to be assessed.
  • Students should know in advance if a homework assignment is going to be assessed, and whether the assignment will be a formative assessment or a graded part of a larger summative assessment.
  • To the extent possible, homework should be differentiated for students, which includes, when appropriate, student-designed learning tasks and projects that allow them to demonstrate proficiency in ways that engage their personal interests, ambitions, and learning needs.

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6 ways to establish a productive homework routine

by: Janine L. Nieroda-Madden | Updated: December 9, 2019

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6 ways to establish a productive homework routine

Homework. Whether you’re a fifth grader or a freshman in college, the mere thought of homework can be overwhelming. And actually doing homework can be quite difficult. But homework doesn’t have to be something your child dreads.

As a former high school English teacher and researcher who specializes in what it takes to make it through college — and a co-author of a forthcoming revised edition of a book about academic success — I’ve studied homework since 2010. Here are six ways I believe homework can be made more manageable and valuable, whether your child is in elementary school, middle school, high school, or graduate school.

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15 Innovative School Homework Ideas to Make Learning Fun

15 Innovative School Homework Ideas to Make Learning Fun

Aashita Pillai

Aashita is a writer here at Suraasa and has formerly worked as a Teacher Mentor for a couple of years. She wields words like weapons to help readers get clear and concise information.

Introduction

General tips to keep students hooked to school homework, 15 innovative school homework ideas to engage your students, theme a: arts and crafts, theme b: physical and outside activities, theme c: digital activities, theme d: games, theme e: entrepreneurship.

“Hi teachers! I am your old friend, School Homework. Over time as education changed, so have I— thanks to the endless innovations that happened to me.  Let me take you through my life and the various innovations that made me your best friend- I was born in the 1920s to help students reinforce what they learned in class. Until the 1980s, I was basically just pen-and-paper-based assignments.  The Internet was born in 1983. From there onwards, I made my stride into the ‘digital era’.

Evolution of school homework

Until the beginning of 2020, I was slowly being integrated within online platforms and technology to help students learn better. Then at the onset of 2020, the world plunged into the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools shifted to a ‘remote learning’ mode of education. During this pandemic, you and I became very crucial in ensuring the continuity of our students’ learning. You all embraced creative approaches to keep the students engaged. You leveraged interactive games, virtual simulations, & more to make me engaging. Gone are the days when you, my dear teachers, would limit your homework to worksheets, textbook questions, literature reviews, and reports. Today as we stand here in 2023, there is no limit to innovative and exciting homework formats! Well, that’s from me. See you in the classrooms!”

Unlimited possibilities when school homework and innovation combine

So teachers, we heard from homework about how it has evolved over time. As it said, many innovative ways have come up to reinforce our students' learning. So, are you ready to make your students fall in love with these new school homework ideas? Let’s begin with understanding some general tips to keep your students engaged with their school homework.

1. Make it Relevant and Meaningful 

Connect the school homework to their lives, interests, or current events to make it more meaningful and relatable. For example, if it’s Christmas time, you can ask your students to explore the themes of charity, storytelling, etc.

2. Give Them a Choice

Allow students to have some choice and autonomy in their assignments. Ask them to select the format (e.g. written format in the online medium, oral format in the offline medium) in which they want to submit their homework. When they feel a sense of ownership, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged. This is how you become a 21st-century teacher who uses differentiated learning. 

3. Celebrate Their Achievements

When children get appreciated for their achievements or good behaviour, it boosts their self-confidence. It encourages them to repeat those actions. This creates a positive learning environment. They are more likely to deliver results when appreciated for their actions. Hence, you can celebrate their achievements via small rewards, recognition or a display of their work in class.

Let's move to the next part of this blog, where we will share innovative school homework ideas that will turn mundane homework into engaging learning sessions!  After assigning any of these innovative homework ideas, you might never hear students’ innovative excuses to avoid homework! To give you a quick run-through, these ideas have been grouped under some common themes. Under each theme, you will learn how to use 3 ideas listed alongside relevant examples to comprehend it completely. Come along as we give the ratty old homework a MAKEOVER!

By infusing the joy of arts and crafts into school homework, you can tap into the innate curiosity and imagination of your students. And you never know, you might end up being the person that shaped the next Da Vinci! So, let’s get right into it:

1. Create Your Storybook

Storybooks as creative holiday homework for nursery class

We all have heard stories. We have loved them and adored them. So why not give our students a chance to write one?  After the students submit their storybooks, you can review their stories and give personalised feedback. Such feedback addresses each student’s individual needs, strengths, and areas for improvement. This fosters a student-centric learning environment.  Let's look at a few examples to understand this school homework approach more closely:

2. Make Your Own Board Game

Holiday homework to make your own board game

Do you remember the joy of gathering around a table, rolling a dice, and playing Snakes & Ladders? As kids and even as adults, many of us love spending our time playing board games.  Now, picture becoming the teacher that integrates school homework with a board game! Students can design board games and incorporate artistic elements into their theme, board layout, cards, etc. They can become architects of fun and learning!

Let's look at a few examples to understand this school homework approach more closely:

3. Construct a Birdhouse

Summer vacation holiday homework to create a birdhouse

Now, let’s tap into the sweet nostalgia of DIY(Do it Yourself) Projects. It could be something as simple as bedsheet forts or something a little more complex like a birdhouse 🙂 Won’t it be wonderful to watch your students feel a sense of accomplishment when they build their own handmade creations?  Let’s focus on the idea of constructing a birdhouse. By assigning students this homework, you’ll additionally be encouraging kinesthetic learning . 

Let's look at a few examples to understand this school homework approach more closely: 

Students love spending their time outdoors. Assigning school homework that requires them to be outside is a big plus! It will also help them apply what’s taught in class in real-life situations and promote active learning.

4. Participate in a Scavenger Hunt

homework assignment methods

Everyone loves a good old mystery! Give your students the chance to be modern-day ‘Sherlock Holmes’ as they set out on scavenger hunts.  Let's look at a few examples to understand this school homework approach more closely:

5. Maintain a Physical Activity Journal

homework assignment methods

In this digital age, where mobile and laptop screens often dominate, the majority of the students lead sedentary lifestyles. School homework which encourages physical activity, can be a game-changer! And what better than maintaining a physical activity journal that helps with it? Additionally, it will also promote the healthy habit of having an active lifestyle among students.  Getting students to journal can seem tough, but with the right motivation & incentives, it can be done. Additionally, this can also be a fun summer holiday homework, where students can keep track of their activities all summer! Encourage them to document their daily exercise triumphs. Push them to go beyond their own records! Ask them to explore science concepts- BMI, heart and pulse rates, diet, and nutrition! Once you do this, exercise will not just be about breaking a sweat anymore. It will also be something that incorporates learning! Let's look at a few examples to understand this school homework approach more closely:

6. Conduct a Survey at a Local Supermarket

homework assignment methods

This outdoor activity is an extremely fun option for school homework. Most kids love running through the different aisles in a supermarket. Introducing a concept like surveys here gives them a chance to do some ‘real-life’ work and also provides much-needed relief to their parents!  Let's look at a few examples to understand this school homework approach more closely: 

In the age of tech-savvy students, we often find parents complaining about the excess screen time with their kids. But what if you could harness the untapped potential in technology? Today's kids are already immersed in the digital world, so why not tap into their enthusiasm and merge it with learning?  Let’s look at some innovative methods of assigning digital activities for school homework:

7. Record a Virtual Job Application

Homework for classes 9 to 12 related to career opportunities

This can be a fun homework assignment for students of all grades. One thing that we often forget as teachers is that school is not just about the present; it's also about the future. But often, we don’t discuss the future. This results in students being almost lost when it comes to their future career opportunities.  This is exactly where this school homework activity helps. Assigning school homework related to professions is a great chance for students to explore their career options. This, in turn, will help them be better prepared for life after school.  Let's look at a few examples to understand this school homework approach more closely:

8. Participate in Online Collaborative Projects

Online collaboration projects as holiday homework

Online projects are a catalyst for active learning and student engagement. They can be a tool for you to create a dynamic learning environment that goes beyond traditional classroom boundaries. Additionally, these activities enhance digital literacy and empower students to leverage technology for learning. Working on online collaborative projects will also help students learn how to function together as a team. This is something that also prepares them for life beyond school, where it’s crucial to learn to work together.

9. Virtual Cultural Exchange

Using cultural exchange as holiday homework

Cultural exchange events open doors to new horizons, offering students a unique chance to explore diverse cultures. By immersing them in new traditions, you develop acceptance, and empathy in your students. You give them a chance to have a broad and more inclusive perspective of the world. Let's look at a few examples to understand this school homework approach more closely:

Game-based school homework is one of the best ways to engage your students. Integrating learning within games creates a powerful synergy where education and entertainment merge seamlessly.  It’s time to tap into your students’ natural love for games and leverage it!

10. Use Minecraft as a Learning Tool

Summer vacation holiday homework using games

Ah, Minecraft! A name that brings back memories of endless adventures in pixelated landscapes. It’s a game that is a nostalgic reminder of our childhood.  But did you know that Minecraft can be more than just a game? It can be a powerful learning tool to level up the educational experience of your students.  💡Learn how to leverage Minecraft to make your classrooms more engaging! Let's look at a few examples to understand this school homework approach more closely:

11. Encourage Role-Playing Games

Using roleplay as creative holiday homework idea

Lights, camera, action! Role-playing games(RPGs) let students step into the shoes of a character and bring lessons to life. Even though RPGs are not typically classified as games, their unique blend of learning and fun makes them ideal for educational purposes.  You can assign students to act out roleplays based on a historical event, scientific concept or work of literature. They can develop characters, write dialogues, and present this to the class. Let's look at a few examples to understand this school homework approach more closely:

12. Online Challenges

Online coding as holiday homework design idea

You can introduce online challenges like coding of varying difficulties for different grade levels. Platforms like Scratch or Code.org can be helpful for this purpose. Coding challenges offer hands-on experience to students. It allows them to practice coding concepts and algorithms in a practical and engaging manner.  Let's look at a few examples to understand this school homework approach more closely:

In today's competitive world, students who embrace innovative thinking and an entrepreneurial mindset stand out. As a teacher, you can nurture these qualities in your students via thought-provoking school homework. Such assignments can ignite students' passion for problem-solving, creative thinking, and strategic planning. Let’s look at some of the ideas below.

13. Pitch Your Business Idea

Holiday homework idea of practising a business pitch

Have you watched shows like Shark Tank or Billion Dollar Buyer? Have you been completely captivated by the business pitches on these shows? Now, imagine doing the same for your students— unleashing their entrepreneurial spirit. It’s time to bring the hustle of the business world into your classrooms! Encourage students to develop a business idea and create a persuasive pitch. They should research their target market, competitors, and unique selling points. In fact, students can present their pitch using multimedia tools, such as slides or videos, highlighting the problem they're solving and the value their business brings. Let's look at a few examples to understand this school homework approach more closely:

14. Design a Mobile App

School homework idea to design mobile apps

Smartphones have become an integral part of our lives. Think about the countless hours that you spend on your smartphone, exploring different apps that make your life easier. This is a practice growing like fire amongst kids as well and is cause for serious concern! What if they spend time on their phone and learn at the same time? This homework assignment encourages students to apply their creativity and technical skills to develop a concept for a mobile application. Additionally, you can also assign this as a holiday homework assignment and let students go wild with learning during summer! Let's look at a few examples to understand this school homework approach more closely:

*Technologies like designing mobile applications can be too complex for the primary school. Hence, we focus on this idea only for middle and high school students.

15. Set up a Stall at the School Fair

School homework idea of setting up a stall at fair

This homework acts as an Introduction to Business 101 class for students of all grade levels. Students get to decide what stall to put up, then work on the logistics and finally manage the stall and finances on D-Day. This will teach students real-world skills and give them a feeling of ownership. Let's look at a few examples to understand this school homework approach more closely: 

Grade-Specific Tips to follow while Preparing School Homework ‍

1. primary school students ‍.

  • Keep it Interactive and Hands-on Younger children thrive on tactile and interactive experiences. Incorporate more of arts and crafts, storytelling, etc., to make homework enjoyable for them.
  • Use Visuals Vibrant colours will capture their attention and make tasks visually appealing.
  • Keep it Short Primary school students have limited attention spans. Give them small tasks that they can accomplish in a limited timeframe. ‍

2. Middle School students ‍

  • Offer More Choices Middle schoolers are often teenagers already on the precipice of changes beyond their control. They will appreciate having some control over their learning. Allow them to choose topics or formats that align with their interests.
  • Incorporate Technology Middle school students are often technologically savvy. Utilise online resources, interactive platforms, and digital tools to make homework more engaging and relevant to their interests.
  • Encourage Independent Research Foster their curiosity by assigning research-based projects. Encourage them to explore various sources and present their findings in creative ways. ‍

3. High School Students ‍

  • Encourage Critical Thinking and Analysis High schoolers are capable of higher-order thinking skills. Assign tasks that require critical thinking, problem-solving and analytical thinking.
  • Encourage Self-expression Offer creative assignments that allow them to express their thoughts, opinions and ideas. Remember that they are young adults finding their voice in a loud world. Encourage them to write essays, create multimedia presentations, or engage in spirited debates.
  • Push for Practical Application Assign tasks that connect to real-world situations, allowing them to see the relevance and importance of their learning. ‍

How to Improve Your Homework and Other Teaching Strategies?

Do you want to learn about more strategies to improve school homework? What if you could upskill and improve all your teaching strategies- classroom management, assessment, and lesson planning, among many others? Book a call with a mentor to get dedicated teacher counselling on upskilling and improving your teaching strategies.

In a world where school homework is generally met with students’ whining, you can use these approaches to turn it into a gateway for innovation! By infusing ideas such as game-based learning, digital activities, and arts and crafts, you can help students engage with school homework meaningfully. This will foster a lifelong love for learning among your students, ultimately helping them succeed in and beyond the classroom. Want a short compilation of all the amazing school homework ideas? Click the button below

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Unlocking Progress: Powerful Homework Assignments for Counseling Success

The power of therapeutic homework assignments.

Homework assignments play a significant role in  counseling and therapy , offering clients an opportunity to extend their progress beyond the therapy session. These assignments provide a structured and focused approach to reinforce therapeutic concepts and facilitate personal growth. In this section, we will explore the  importance  of therapeutic homework assignments and the  benefits  they bring to the counseling process.

Introduction to Therapeutic Homework Assignments

Therapeutic homework assignments refer to tasks or exercises that clients undertake between counseling sessions to enhance the effectiveness of therapy. These assignments are carefully designed to target specific therapeutic goals and address individual needs. By engaging in these tasks, clients actively participate in their own healing process, gaining a sense of empowerment and self-efficacy.

Therapeutic homework assignments can take various forms, including written exercises, reflection activities, behavioral experiments, and more. The assignments are tailored to each client’s unique circumstances, ensuring relevance and applicability to their specific challenges and goals. Moreover, they can be facilitated using various digital tools and platforms, providing a seamless experience for both client and therapist.

Benefits of Using Homework Assignments in Counseling

The use of homework assignments in counseling offers several benefits that contribute to the overall success of therapeutic interventions. Here are some key advantages:

  • Continuity and Consistency:  Homework assignments create a bridge between counseling sessions, maintaining continuity in the therapeutic process. They allow clients to practice and reinforce therapeutic skills and strategies regularly, integrating them into their daily lives.
  • Deepened Insight and Awareness:  Engaging in homework assignments encourages clients to reflect on their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors outside of the therapy session. This heightened self-awareness promotes a deeper understanding of patterns, triggers, and underlying issues.
  • Enhanced Skill Development:  Homework assignments provide clients with the opportunity to practice new coping mechanisms, communication skills, and behavioral changes in real-life situations. This active practice helps to consolidate learning and develop new habits.
  • Empowerment and Ownership:  By actively participating in their own therapeutic journey, clients develop a sense of ownership and empowerment. Homework assignments allow clients to take charge of their progress, fostering a sense of control and self-efficacy.
  • Efficiency and Time Optimization:  Homework assignments optimize the use of therapy time by focusing sessions on processing and discussing the assignments rather than spending valuable session time on skill-building activities.

To effectively implement and maximize the benefits of therapeutic homework assignments, it is essential to tailor the assignments to the individual needs and goals of each client. This includes considering factors such as learning styles, preferences, and age groups. Furthermore, setting clear objectives, providing comprehensive instructions, and encouraging accountability and follow-up are key elements in ensuring the successful implementation of homework assignments.

In the following sections, we will explore different types of therapeutic homework assignments, how to tailor them to clients, and strategies for implementing and evaluating their impact. By utilizing these strategies, therapists can unlock the full potential of therapeutic homework assignments in supporting their clients’ progress and fostering lasting change.

Types of Therapeutic Homework Assignments

Therapeutic homework assignments are a powerful tool utilized in counseling to enhance the therapeutic process and promote client growth and progress. Let’s explore some common types of therapeutic homework assignments that can be effective in supporting the counseling journey.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Assignments

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) assignments are widely used in counseling. CBT focuses on identifying and challenging unhelpful thoughts and beliefs, and replacing them with more positive and constructive ones. Homework assignments in CBT often involve activities like thought records, where clients monitor their thoughts and emotions, and work towards reframing negative thinking patterns. These assignments help clients develop new coping strategies and promote self-awareness. For more information on CBT assignments, check out our article on  therapeutic assignments .

Mindfulness and Meditation Exercises

Mindfulness and meditation exercises are valuable tools for promoting relaxation, self-awareness, and emotional regulation. Homework assignments in this category may include guided meditation recordings, breathing exercises, or daily mindfulness practices. These assignments encourage clients to cultivate present-moment awareness, reduce stress, and develop a deeper connection to their thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Mindfulness and meditation exercises can be particularly beneficial for clients experiencing anxiety or stress-related issues.

Journaling and Writing Prompts

Journaling and writing prompts provide clients with a means to express their thoughts, emotions, and reflections in a structured way. These assignments can help clients gain insight, process their experiences, and foster self-reflection. Writing prompts may involve exploring gratitude, identifying strengths, or journaling about specific events or challenges. By engaging in regular journaling, clients can gain a deeper understanding of their emotions and thought patterns. For additional resources on therapeutic writing, visit our article on  therapy homework journal .

Art Therapy and Creative Expression

Art therapy and creative expression assignments utilize artistic mediums to encourage self-expression , exploration, and emotional healing. These assignments can involve activities like drawing, painting, or collage-making. Engaging in creative processes allows clients to tap into their subconscious and express thoughts and feelings that may be difficult to verbalize. Art therapy assignments can be particularly beneficial for clients who struggle with verbal communication or prefer non-traditional forms of expression. For more ideas on incorporating art therapy into counseling, explore our article on  therapeutic homework activities .

By incorporating these types of therapeutic homework assignments, counselors can enhance the effectiveness of their counseling sessions and promote client progress and self-discovery. It’s important to remember that each client is unique, and tailoring homework assignments to their specific needs and goals is crucial. Additionally, providing clear instructions and guidelines, as well as encouraging accountability and follow-up, can further enhance the impact of these assignments.

Tailoring Homework Assignments to Clients

To maximize the effectiveness of therapeutic homework assignments, it’s crucial to tailor them to the unique needs and preferences of each client. This personalized approach ensures that the assignments are meaningful, engaging, and aligned with the client’s therapeutic goals. Here are three key considerations when tailoring homework assignments:

Assessing Client Needs and Goals

Before assigning any homework, it’s essential to conduct a thorough assessment of the client’s needs and goals. This assessment helps to identify areas of focus and determine the most appropriate interventions. By understanding the specific challenges and desired outcomes, you can design homework assignments that directly address the client’s concerns. This personalized approach enhances the relevance and effectiveness of the assigned tasks.

Considering Learning Styles and Preferences

Each client has their own unique learning style and preferences. Some individuals may prefer visual learning, while others may be more inclined towards auditory or kinesthetic learning. By taking into account these learning styles, you can select homework assignments that resonate with the client’s preferred mode of learning. For example, visual learners may benefit from assignments that involve visualizations or drawing, while auditory learners may find audio recordings or guided meditations more effective. Adapting the assignments to match the client’s learning style enhances their engagement and comprehension.

Adapting Assignments for Different Age Groups

Clients of different age groups may require varying approaches to their homework assignments. Children and adolescents, for instance, may benefit from assignments that incorporate play, creativity, or gamification elements. On the other hand, adults may prefer assignments that involve self-reflection, goal-setting, or written exercises. It’s important to consider the developmental stage, cognitive abilities, and interests of the client when designing the assignments. Adapting the assignments to suit different age groups ensures that they are age-appropriate and promote meaningful therapeutic progress.

By considering the client’s needs, goals, learning styles, and age group, you can tailor homework assignments that are relevant, engaging, and effective. This personalized approach fosters a strong therapeutic alliance and empowers clients to actively participate in their own healing journey. Remember to regularly assess the impact of the assignments, gather client feedback, and make necessary adjustments to ensure continued progress.

Implementing Effective Homework Assignments

To maximize the benefits of  homework assignments  in counseling, it is crucial to implement them effectively. This involves setting clear and achievable objectives, providing clear instructions and guidelines, and encouraging accountability and follow-up.

Setting Clear and Achievable Objectives

When assigning homework, it is important to set clear objectives that align with the client’s therapeutic goals. Clearly define what the client is expected to accomplish through the assignment. Objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This clarity helps clients understand the purpose of the assignment and stay focused on their progress. It also allows both the therapist and client to track the effectiveness of the assignment in addressing the client’s concerns.

Providing Clear Instructions and Guidelines

Clear instructions and guidelines are essential for ensuring that clients understand how to complete their homework assignments effectively. Provide step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow. Use simple language and avoid jargon or technical terms that may confuse or overwhelm clients. Consider providing examples or visual aids to enhance comprehension. Additionally, specify any resources or materials that may be required to complete the assignment. This clarity helps clients feel confident in their ability to complete the assignment and facilitates their engagement in the therapeutic process.

Encouraging Accountability and Follow-Up

Accountability plays a vital role in the success of homework assignments. Encourage clients to take responsibility for their progress by setting expectations for completion and follow-up. Establish a system for clients to report their progress, such as regular check-ins or journal entries. This allows therapists to provide feedback, offer guidance, and address any questions or concerns that may arise. By fostering a sense of accountability, clients are more likely to engage with their homework assignments and actively participate in their therapeutic journey.

Effective implementation of homework assignments involves a collaborative approach between the therapist and the client. By setting clear objectives, providing clear instructions and guidelines, and encouraging accountability, therapists can enhance the therapeutic value of homework assignments and support clients in achieving their counseling goals. For additional resources and ideas, explore our article on  therapeutic homework ideas .

Evaluating the Impact of Homework Assignments

To ensure the effectiveness of  homework assignments  in counseling, it is crucial to evaluate their impact on clients’ progress and well-being. This evaluation process involves gathering client feedback and reflections, adjusting and modifying assignments as needed, and tracking progress and success.

Gathering Client Feedback and Reflections

Regularly seeking feedback from clients is an essential part of evaluating the impact of homework assignments. This feedback can be obtained through verbal discussions during counseling sessions or by providing clients with written evaluation forms. By asking clients about their experiences with the assignments, their level of engagement, and any challenges they may have faced, counselors can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of the tasks.

Encouraging clients to reflect on the benefits they have derived from completing the assignments is equally important. This reflection can help clients develop self-awareness and cultivate a deeper understanding of their progress and growth throughout the counseling process. By incorporating open-ended questions or journaling prompts into the homework assignments, clients can express their thoughts and insights on their therapeutic journey.

Adjusting and Modifying Assignments as Needed

Based on the feedback received from clients, counselors may need to adjust or modify the homework assignments to better meet their specific needs. This could involve tailoring the assignments to align with clients’ goals, preferences, or learning styles. For instance, if clients express a preference for visual learning, counselors can incorporate more visual elements into the assignments, such as  therapeutic homework worksheets  or  therapeutic homework activities .

Additionally, if clients find certain assignments too challenging or not engaging enough, counselors can adapt the tasks or provide alternative options. This flexibility allows counselors to ensure that the assignments remain relevant and effective in supporting clients’ progress and therapeutic outcomes.

Tracking Progress and Success

Tracking clients’ progress and success is a vital component of evaluating the impact of homework assignments. Counselors can use various methods to monitor clients’ development, such as tracking completion rates, assessing changes in symptoms or behaviors, or comparing pre- and post-assignment outcomes.

A  therapy homework tracker  can be a valuable tool in this regard, providing a visual representation of clients’ progress over time. This can help both clients and counselors recognize patterns, identify areas of improvement, and celebrate achievements. By using a  homework management system  or  therapy homework app , counselors can easily organize and analyze data, ensuring that the evaluation process remains efficient and effective.

By continuously evaluating the impact of homework assignments through client feedback, adjustments, and progress tracking, counselors can optimize the effectiveness of their therapeutic interventions. This evaluation process not only enhances clients’ overall experience but also enables counselors to tailor their approach and ensure that the assignments align with clients’ unique needs and goals.

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ORIGINAL RESEARCH article

Students' achievement and homework assignment strategies.

\r\nRubn Fernndez-Alonso,

  • 1 Department of Education Sciences, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain
  • 2 Department of Education, Principality of Asturias Government, Oviedo, Spain
  • 3 Department of Psychology, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain

The optimum time students should spend on homework has been widely researched although the results are far from unanimous. The main objective of this research is to analyze how homework assignment strategies in schools affect students' academic performance and the differences in students' time spent on homework. Participants were a representative sample of Spanish adolescents ( N = 26,543) with a mean age of 14.4 (±0.75), 49.7% girls. A test battery was used to measure academic performance in four subjects: Spanish, Mathematics, Science, and Citizenship. A questionnaire allowed the measurement of the indicators used for the description of homework and control variables. Two three-level hierarchical-linear models (student, school, autonomous community) were produced for each subject being evaluated. The relationship between academic results and homework time is negative at the individual level but positive at school level. An increase in the amount of homework a school assigns is associated with an increase in the differences in student time spent on homework. An optimum amount of homework is proposed which schools should assign to maximize gains in achievement for students overall.

The role of homework in academic achievement is an age-old debate ( Walberg et al., 1985 ) that has swung between times when it was thought to be a tool for improving a country's competitiveness and times when it was almost outlawed. So Cooper (2001) talks about the battle over homework and the debates and rows continue ( Walberg et al., 1985 , 1986 ; Barber, 1986 ). It is considered a complicated subject ( Corno, 1996 ), mysterious ( Trautwein and Köller, 2003 ), a chameleon ( Trautwein et al., 2009b ), or Janus-faced ( Flunger et al., 2015 ). One must agree with Cooper et al. (2006) that homework is a practice full of contradictions, where positive and negative effects coincide. As such, depending on our preferences, it is possible to find data which support the argument that homework benefits all students ( Cooper, 1989 ), or that it does not matter and should be abolished ( Barber, 1986 ). Equally, one might argue a compensatory effect as it favors students with more difficulties ( Epstein and Van Voorhis, 2001 ), or on the contrary, that it is a source of inequality as it specifically benefits those better placed on the social ladder ( Rømming, 2011 ). Furthermore, this issue has jumped over the school wall and entered the home, contributing to the polemic by becoming a common topic about which it is possible to have an opinion without being well informed, something that Goldstein (1960) warned of decades ago after reviewing almost 300 pieces of writing on the topic in Education Index and finding that only 6% were empirical studies.

The relationship between homework time and educational outcomes has traditionally been the most researched aspect ( Cooper, 1989 ; Cooper et al., 2006 ; Fan et al., 2017 ), although conclusions have evolved over time. The first experimental studies ( Paschal et al., 1984 ) worked from the hypothesis that time spent on homework was a reflection of an individual student's commitment and diligence and as such the relationship between time spent on homework and achievement should be positive. This was roughly the idea at the end of the twentieth century, when more positive effects had been found than negative ( Cooper, 1989 ), although it was also known that the relationship was not strictly linear ( Cooper and Valentine, 2001 ), and that its strength depended on the student's age- stronger in post-compulsory secondary education than in compulsory education and almost zero in primary education ( Cooper et al., 2012 ). With the turn of the century, hierarchical-linear models ran counter to this idea by showing that homework was a multilevel situation and the effect of homework on outcomes depended on classroom factors (e.g., frequency or amount of assigned homework) more than on an individual's attitude ( Trautwein and Köller, 2003 ). Research with a multilevel approach indicated that individual variations in time spent had little effect on academic results ( Farrow et al., 1999 ; De Jong et al., 2000 ; Dettmers et al., 2010 ; Murillo and Martínez-Garrido, 2013 ; Fernández-Alonso et al., 2014 ; Núñez et al., 2014 ; Servicio de Evaluación Educativa del Principado de Asturias, 2016 ) and that when statistically significant results were found, the effect was negative ( Trautwein, 2007 ; Trautwein et al., 2009b ; Lubbers et al., 2010 ; Chang et al., 2014 ). The reasons for this null or negative relationship lie in the fact that those variables which are positively associated with homework time are antagonistic when predicting academic performance. For example, some students may not need to spend much time on homework because they learn quickly and have good cognitive skills and previous knowledge ( Trautwein, 2007 ; Dettmers et al., 2010 ), or maybe because they are not very persistent in their work and do not finish homework tasks ( Flunger et al., 2015 ). Similarly, students may spend more time on homework because they have difficulties learning and concentrating, low expectations and motivation or because they need more direct help ( Trautwein et al., 2006 ), or maybe because they put in a lot of effort and take a lot of care with their work ( Flunger et al., 2015 ). Something similar happens with sociological variables such as gender: Girls spend more time on homework ( Gershenson and Holt, 2015 ) but, compared to boys, in standardized tests they have better results in reading and worse results in Science and Mathematics ( OECD, 2013a ).

On the other hand, thanks to multilevel studies, systematic effects on performance have been found when homework time is considered at the class or school level. De Jong et al. (2000) found that the number of assigned homework tasks in a year was positively and significantly related to results in mathematics. Equally, the volume or amount of homework (mean homework time for the group) and the frequency of homework assignment have positive effects on achievement. The data suggests that when frequency and volume are considered together, the former has more impact on results than the latter ( Trautwein et al., 2002 ; Trautwein, 2007 ). In fact, it has been estimated that in classrooms where homework is always assigned there are gains in mathematics and science of 20% of a standard deviation over those classrooms which sometimes assign homework ( Fernández-Alonso et al., 2015 ). Significant results have also been found in research which considered only homework volume at the classroom or school level. Dettmers et al. (2009) concluded that the school-level effect of homework is positive in the majority of participating countries in PISA 2003, and the OECD (2013b) , with data from PISA 2012, confirms that schools in which students have more weekly homework demonstrate better results once certain school and student-background variables are discounted. To put it briefly, homework has a multilevel nature ( Trautwein and Köller, 2003 ) in which the variables have different significance and effects according to the level of analysis, in this case a positive effect at class level, and a negative or null effect in most cases at the level of the individual. Furthermore, the fact that the clearest effects are seen at the classroom and school level highlights the role of homework policy in schools and teaching, over and above the time individual students spend on homework.

From this complex context, this current study aims to explore the relationships between the strategies schools use to assign homework and the consequences that has on students' academic performance and on the students' own homework strategies. There are two specific objectives, firstly, to systematically analyze the differential effect of time spent on homework on educational performance, both at school and individual level. We hypothesize a positive effect for homework time at school level, and a negative effect at the individual level. Secondly, the influence of homework quantity assigned by schools on the distribution of time spent by students on homework will be investigated. This will test the previously unexplored hypothesis that an increase in the amount of homework assigned by each school will create an increase in differences, both in time spent on homework by the students, and in academic results. Confirming this hypothesis would mean that an excessive amount of homework assigned by schools would penalize those students who for various reasons (pace of work, gaps in learning, difficulties concentrating, overexertion) need to spend more time completing their homework than their peers. In order to resolve this apparent paradox we will calculate the optimum volume of homework that schools should assign in order to benefit the largest number of students without contributing to an increase in differences, that is, without harming educational equity.

Participants

The population was defined as those students in year 8 of compulsory education in the academic year 2009/10 in Spain. In order to provide a representative sample, a stratified random sampling was carried out from the 19 autonomous regions in Spain. The sample was selected from each stratum according to a two-stage cluster design ( OECD, 2009 , 2011 , 2014a ; Ministerio de Educación, 2011 ). In the first stage, the primary units of the sample were the schools, which were selected with a probability proportional to the number of students in the 8th grade. The more 8th grade students in a given school, the higher the likelihood of the school being selected. In the second stage, 35 students were selected from each school through simple, systematic sampling. A detailed, step-by-step description of the sampling procedure may be found in OECD (2011) . The subsequent sample numbered 29,153 students from 933 schools. Some students were excluded due to lack of information (absences on the test day), or for having special educational needs. The baseline sample was finally made up of 26,543 students. The mean student age was 14.4 with a standard deviation of 0.75, rank of age from 13 to 16. Some 66.2% attended a state school; 49.7% were girls; 87.8% were Spanish nationals; 73.5% were in the school year appropriate to their age, the remaining 26.5% were at least 1 year behind in terms of their age.

Test application, marking, and data recording were contracted out via public tendering, and were carried out by qualified personnel unconnected to the schools. The evaluation, was performed on two consecutive days, each day having two 50 min sessions separated by a break. At the end of the second day the students completed a context questionnaire which included questions related to homework. The evaluation was carried out in compliance with current ethical standards in Spain. Families of the students selected to participate in the evaluation were informed about the study by the school administrations, and were able to choose whether those students would participate in the study or not.

Instruments

Tests of academic performance.

The performance test battery consisted of 342 items evaluating four subjects: Spanish (106 items), mathematics (73 items), science (78), and citizenship (85). The items, completed on paper, were in various formats and were subject to binary scoring, except 21 items which were coded on a polytomous scale, between 0 and 2 points ( Ministerio de Educación, 2011 ). As a single student is not capable of answering the complete item pool in the time given, the items were distributed across various booklets following a matrix design ( Fernández-Alonso and Muñiz, 2011 ). The mean Cronbach α for the booklets ranged from 0.72 (mathematics) to 0.89 (Spanish). Student scores were calculated adjusting the bank of items to Rasch's IRT model using the ConQuest 2.0 program ( Wu et al., 2007 ) and were expressed in a scale with mean and standard deviation of 500 and 100 points respectively. The student's scores were divided into five categories, estimated using the plausible values method. In large scale assessments this method is better at recovering the true population parameters (e.g., mean, standard deviation) than estimates of scores using methods of maximum likelihood or expected a-posteriori estimations ( Mislevy et al., 1992 ; OECD, 2009 ; von Davier et al., 2009 ).

Homework Variables

A questionnaire was made up of a mix of items which allowed the calculation of the indicators used for the description of homework variables. Daily minutes spent on homework was calculated from a multiple choice question with the following options: (a) Generally I don't have homework; (b) 1 h or less; (c) Between 1 and 2 h; (d) Between 2 and 3 h; (e) More than 3 h. The options were recoded as follows: (a) = 0 min.; (b) = 45 min.; (c) = 90 min.; (d) = 150 min.; (e) = 210 min. According to Trautwein and Köller (2003) the average homework time of the students in a school could be regarded as a good proxy for the amount of homework assigned by the teacher. So the mean of this variable for each school was used as an estimator of Amount or volume of homework assigned .

Control Variables

Four variables were included to describe sociological factors about the students, three were binary: Gender (1 = female ); Nationality (1 = Spanish; 0 = other ); School type (1 = state school; 0 = private ). The fourth variable was Socioeconomic and cultural index (SECI), which is constructed with information about family qualifications and professions, along with the availability of various material and cultural resources at home. It is expressed in standardized points, N(0,1) . Three variables were used to gather educational history: Appropriate School Year (1 = being in the school year appropriate to their age ; 0 = repeated a school year) . The other two adjustment variables were Academic Expectations and Motivation which were included for two reasons: they are both closely connected to academic achievement ( Suárez-Álvarez et al., 2014 ). Their position as adjustment factors is justified because, in an ex-post facto descriptive design such as this, both expectations and motivation may be thought of as background variables that the student brings with them on the day of the test. Academic expectations for finishing education was measured with a multiple-choice item where the score corresponds to the years spent in education in order to reach that level of qualification: compulsory secondary education (10 points); further secondary education (12 points); non-university higher education (14 points); University qualification (16 points). Motivation was constructed from the answers to six four-point Likert items, where 1 means strongly disagree with the sentence and 4 means strongly agree. Students scoring highly in this variable are agreeing with statements such as “at school I learn useful and interesting things.” A Confirmatory Factor Analysis was performed using a Maximum Likelihood robust estimation method (MLMV) and the items fit an essentially unidimensional scale: CFI = 0.954; TLI = 0.915; SRMR = 0.037; RMSEA = 0.087 (90% CI = 0.084–0.091).

As this was an official evaluation, the tests used were created by experts in the various fields, contracted by the Spanish Ministry of Education in collaboration with the regional education authorities.

Data Analyses

Firstly the descriptive statistics and Pearson correlations between the variables were calculated. Then, using the HLM 6.03 program ( Raudenbush et al., 2004 ), two three-level hierarchical-linear models (student, school, autonomous community) were produced for each subject being evaluated: a null model (without predictor variables) and a random intercept model in which adjustment variables and homework variables were introduced at the same time. Given that HLM does not return standardized coefficients, all of the variables were standardized around the general mean, which allows the interpretation of the results as classical standardized regression analysis coefficients. Levels 2 and 3 variables were constructed from means of standardized level 1 variables and were not re-standardized. Level 1 variables were introduced without centering except for four cases: study time, motivation, expectation, and socioeconomic and cultural level which were centered on the school mean to control composition effects ( Xu and Wu, 2013 ) and estimate the effect of differences in homework time among the students within the same school. The range of missing variable cases was very small, between 1 and 3%. Recovery was carried out using the procedure described in Fernández-Alonso et al. (2012) .

The results are presented in two ways: the tables show standardized coefficients while in the figures the data are presented in a real scale, taking advantage of the fact that a scale with a 100 point standard deviation allows the expression of the effect of the variables and the differences between groups as percentage increases in standardized points.

Table 1 shows the descriptive statistics and the matrix of correlations between the study variables. As can be seen in the table, the relationship between the variables turned out to be in the expected direction, with the closest correlations between the different academic performance scores and socioeconomic level, appropriate school year, and student expectations. The nationality variable gave the highest asymmetry and kurtosis, which was to be expected as the majority of the sample are Spanish.

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Table 1. Descriptive statistics and Pearson correlation matrix between the variables .

Table 2 shows the distribution of variance in the null model. In the four subjects taken together, 85% of the variance was found at the student level, 10% was variance between schools, and 5% variance between regions. Although the 10% of variance between schools could seem modest, underlying that there were large differences. For example, in Spanish the 95% plausible value range for the school means ranged between 577 and 439 points, practically 1.5 standard deviations, which shows that schools have a significant impact on student results.

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Table 2. Distribution of the variance in the null model .

Table 3 gives the standardized coefficients of the independent variables of the four multilevel models, as well as the percentage of variance explained by each level.

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Table 3. Multilevel models for prediction of achievement in four subjects .

The results indicated that the adjustment variables behaved satisfactorily, with enough control to analyze the net effects of the homework variables. This was backed up by two results, firstly, the two variables with highest standardized coefficients were those related to educational history: academic expectations at the time of the test, and being in the school year corresponding to age. Motivation demonstrated a smaller effect but one which was significant in all cases. Secondly, the adjustment variables explained the majority of the variance in the results. The percentages of total explained variance in Table 2 were calculated with all variables. However, if the strategy had been to introduce the adjustment variables first and then add in the homework variables, the explanatory gain in the second model would have been about 2% in each subject.

The amount of homework turned out to be positively and significantly associated with the results in the four subjects. In a 100 point scale of standard deviation, controlling for other variables, it was estimated that for each 10 min added to the daily volume of homework, schools would achieve between 4.1 and 4.8 points more in each subject, with the exception of mathematics where the increase would be around 2.5 points. In other words, an increase of between 15 and 29 points in the school mean is predicted for each additional hour of homework volume of the school as a whole. This school level gain, however, would only occur if the students spent exactly the same time on homework as their school mean. As the regression coefficient of student homework time is negative and the variable is centered on the level of the school, the model predicts deterioration in results for those students who spend more time than their class mean on homework, and an improvement for those who finish their homework more quickly than the mean of their classmates.

Furthermore, the results demonstrated a positive association between the amount of homework assigned in a school and the differences in time needed by the students to complete their homework. Figure 1 shows the relationship between volume of homework (expressed as mean daily minutes of homework by school) and the differences in time spent by students (expressed as the standard deviation from the mean school daily minutes). The correlation between the variables was 0.69 and the regression gradient indicates that schools which assigned 60 min of homework per day had a standard deviation in time spent by students on homework of approximately 25 min, whereas in those schools assigning 120 min of homework, the standard deviation was twice as long, and was over 50 min. So schools which assigned more homework also tended to demonstrate greater differences in the time students need to spend on that homework.

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Figure 1. Relationship between school homework volume and differences in time needed by students to complete homework .

Figure 2 shows the effect on results in mathematics of the combination of homework time, homework amount, and the variance of homework time associated with the amount of homework assigned in two types of schools: in type 1 schools the amount of homework assigned is 1 h, and in type 2 schools the amount of homework 2 h. The result in mathematics was used as a dependent variable because, as previously noted, it was the subject where the effect was smallest and as such is the most conservative prediction. With other subjects the results might be even clearer.

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Figure 2. Prediction of results for quick and slow students according to school homework size .

Looking at the first standard deviation of student homework time shown in the first graph, it was estimated that in type 1 schools, which assign 1 h of daily homework, a quick student (one who finishes their homework before 85% of their classmates) would spend a little over half an hour (35 min), whereas the slower student, who spends more time than 85% of classmates, would need almost an hour and a half of work each day (85 min). In type 2 schools, where the homework amount is 2 h a day, the differences increase from just over an hour (65 min for a quick student) to almost 3 h (175 min for a slow student). Figure 2 shows how the differences in performance would vary within a school between the more and lesser able students according to amount of homework assigned. In type 1 schools, with 1 h of homework per day, the difference in achievement between quick and slow students would be around 5% of a standard deviation, while in schools assigning 2 h per day the difference would be 12%. On the other hand, the slow student in a type 2 school would score 6 points more than the quick student in a type 1 school. However, to achieve this, the slow student in a type 2 school would need to spend five times as much time on homework in a week (20.4 weekly hours rather than 4.1). It seems like a lot of work for such a small gain.

Discussion and Conclusions

The data in this study reaffirm the multilevel nature of homework ( Trautwein and Köller, 2003 ) and support this study's first hypothesis: the amount of homework (mean daily minutes the student spends on homework) is positively associated with academic results, whereas the time students spent on homework considered individually is negatively associated with academic results. These findings are in line with previous research, which indicate that school-level variables, such as amount of homework assigned, have more explanatory power than individual variables such as time spent ( De Jong et al., 2000 ; Dettmers et al., 2010 ; Scheerens et al., 2013 ; Fernández-Alonso et al., 2015 ). In this case it was found that for each additional hour of homework assigned by a school, a gain of 25% of a standard deviation is expected in all subjects except mathematics, where the gain is around 15%. On the basis of this evidence, common sense would dictate the conclusion that frequent and abundant homework assignment may be one way to improve school efficiency.

However, as noted previously, the relationship between homework and achievement is paradoxical- appearances are deceptive and first conclusions are not always confirmed. Analysis demonstrates another two complementary pieces of data which, read together, raise questions about the previous conclusion. In the first place, time spent on homework at the individual level was found to have a negative effect on achievement, which confirms the findings of other multilevel-approach research ( Trautwein, 2007 ; Trautwein et al., 2009b ; Chang et al., 2014 ; Fernández-Alonso et al., 2016 ). Furthermore, it was found that an increase in assigned homework volume is associated with an increase in the differences in time students need to complete it. Taken together, the conclusion is that, schools with more homework tend to exhibit more variation in student achievement. These results seem to confirm our second hypothesis, as a positive covariation was found between the amount of homework in a school (the mean homework time by school) and the increase in differences within the school, both in student homework time and in the academic results themselves. The data seem to be in line with those who argue that homework is a source of inequity because it affects those less academically-advantaged students and students with greater limitations in their home environments ( Kohn, 2006 ; Rømming, 2011 ; OECD, 2013b ).

This new data has clear implications for educational action and school homework policies, especially in compulsory education. If quality compulsory education is that which offers the best results for the largest number ( Barber and Mourshed, 2007 ; Mourshed et al., 2010 ), then assigning an excessive volume of homework at those school levels could accentuate differences, affecting students who are slower, have more gaps in their knowledge, or are less privileged, and can make them feel overwhelmed by the amount of homework assigned to them ( Martinez, 2011 ; OECD, 2014b ; Suárez et al., 2016 ). The data show that in a school with 60 min of assigned homework, a quick student will need just 4 h a week to finish their homework, whereas a slow student will spend 10 h a week, 2.5 times longer, with the additional aggravation of scoring one twentieth of a standard deviation below their quicker classmates. And in a school assigning 120 min of homework per day, a quick student will need 7.5 h per week whereas a slow student will have to triple this time (20 h per week) to achieve a result one eighth worse, that is, more time for a relatively worse result.

It might be argued that the differences are not very large, as between 1 and 2 h of assigned homework, the level of inequality increases 7% on a standardized scale. But this percentage increase has been estimated after statistically, or artificially, accounting for sociological and psychological student factors and other variables at school and region level. The adjustment variables influence both achievement and time spent on homework, so it is likely that in a real classroom situation the differences estimated here might be even larger. This is especially important in comprehensive education systems, like the Spanish ( Eurydice, 2015 ), in which the classroom groups are extremely heterogeneous, with a variety of students in the same class in terms of ability, interest, and motivation, in which the aforementioned variables may operate more strongly.

The results of this research must be interpreted bearing in mind a number of limitations. The most significant limitation in the research design is the lack of a measure of previous achievement, whether an ad hoc test ( Murillo and Martínez-Garrido, 2013 ) or school grades ( Núñez et al., 2014 ), which would allow adjustment of the data. In an attempt to alleviate this, our research has placed special emphasis on the construction of variables which would work to exclude academic history from the model. The use of the repetition of school year variable was unavoidable because Spain has one of the highest levels of repetition in the European Union ( Eurydice, 2011 ) and repeating students achieve worse academic results ( Ministerio de Educación, 2011 ). Similarly, the expectation and motivation variables were included in the group of adjustment factors assuming that in this research they could be considered background variables. In this way, once the background factors are discounted, the homework variables explain 2% of the total variance, which is similar to estimations from other multilevel studies ( De Jong et al., 2000 ; Trautwein, 2007 ; Dettmers et al., 2009 ; Fernández-Alonso et al., 2016 ). On the other hand, the statistical models used to analyze the data are correlational, and as such, one can only speak of an association between variables and not of directionality or causality in the analysis. As Trautwein and Lüdtke (2009) noted, the word “effect” must be understood as “predictive effect.” In other words, it is possible to say that the amount of homework is connected to performance; however, it is not possible to say in which direction the association runs. Another aspect to be borne in mind is that the homework time measures are generic -not segregated by subject- when it its understood that time spent and homework behavior are not consistent across all subjects ( Trautwein et al., 2006 ; Trautwein and Lüdtke, 2007 ). Nonetheless, when the dependent variable is academic results it has been found that the relationship between homework time and achievement is relatively stable across all subjects ( Lubbers et al., 2010 ; Chang et al., 2014 ) which leads us to believe that the results given here would have changed very little even if the homework-related variables had been separated by subject.

Future lines of research should be aimed toward the creation of comprehensive models which incorporate a holistic vision of homework. It must be recognized that not all of the time spent on homework by a student is time well spent ( Valle et al., 2015 ). In addition, research has demonstrated the importance of other variables related to student behavior such as rate of completion, the homework environment, organization, and task management, autonomy, parenting styles, effort, and the use of study techniques ( Zimmerman and Kitsantas, 2005 ; Xu, 2008 , 2013 ; Kitsantas and Zimmerman, 2009 ; Kitsantas et al., 2011 ; Ramdass and Zimmerman, 2011 ; Bembenutty and White, 2013 ; Xu and Wu, 2013 ; Xu et al., 2014 ; Rosário et al., 2015a ; Osorio and González-Cámara, 2016 ; Valle et al., 2016 ), as well as the role of expectation, value given to the task, and personality traits ( Lubbers et al., 2010 ; Goetz et al., 2012 ; Pedrosa et al., 2016 ). Along the same lines, research has also indicated other important variables related to teacher homework policies, such as reasons for assignment, control and feedback, assignment characteristics, and the adaptation of tasks to the students' level of learning ( Trautwein et al., 2009a ; Dettmers et al., 2010 ; Patall et al., 2010 ; Buijs and Admiraal, 2013 ; Murillo and Martínez-Garrido, 2013 ; Rosário et al., 2015b ). All of these should be considered in a comprehensive model of homework.

In short, the data seem to indicate that in year 8 of compulsory education, 60–70 min of homework a day is a recommendation that, slightly more optimistically than Cooper's (2001) “10 min rule,” gives a reasonable gain for the whole school, without exaggerating differences or harming students with greater learning difficulties or who work more slowly, and is in line with other available evidence ( Fernández-Alonso et al., 2015 ). These results have significant implications when it comes to setting educational policy in schools, sending a clear message to head teachers, teachers and those responsible for education. The results of this research show that assigning large volumes of homework increases inequality between students in pursuit of minimal gains in achievement for those who least need it. Therefore, in terms of school efficiency, and with the aim of improving equity in schools it is recommended that educational policies be established which optimize all students' achievement.

Ethics Statement

This study was carried out in accordance with the recommendations of the University of Oviedo with written informed consent from all subjects. All subjects gave written informed consent in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. The protocol was approved by the University of Oviedo.

Author Contributions

RF and JM have designed the research; RF and JS have analyzed the data; MA and JM have interpreted the data; RF, MA, and JS have drafted the paper; JM has revised it critically; all authors have provided final approval of the version to be published and have ensured the accuracy and integrity of the work.

This research was funded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad del Gobierno de España. References: PSI2014-56114-P, BES2012-053488. We would like to express our utmost gratitude to the Ministerio de Educación Cultura y Deporte del Gobierno de España and to the Consejería de Educación y Cultura del Gobierno del Principado de Asturias, without whose collaboration this research would not have been possible.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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Keywords: homework time, equity, compulsory secondary education, hierarchical modeling, adolescents

Citation: Fernández-Alonso R, Álvarez-Díaz M, Suárez-Álvarez J and Muñiz J (2017) Students' Achievement and Homework Assignment Strategies. Front. Psychol . 8:286. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00286

Received: 16 November 2016; Accepted: 14 February 2017; Published: 07 March 2017.

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Copyright © 2017 Fernández-Alonso, Álvarez-Díaz, Suárez-Álvarez and Muñiz. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Javier Suárez-Álvarez, [email protected]

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Home » Education » What is the Difference Between Homework and Assignment

What is the Difference Between Homework and Assignment

The main difference between homework and assignment is that homework is a task or a work assigned to a student generally by a teacher to be completed outside the classroom setting, most probably at home, while an assignment is a task assigned to a student to be completed within the course of a particular study.

Assignments and homework vary from one another due to a wide range of distinctive elements such as the objective or the purpose of the task, main functions, and the benefits received.

Key Areas Covered

1.  What is Homework     – Definition, Features 2.  What is Assignment      – Definition, Features 3.  Similarities Between Homework and Assignment      – Outline of Common Characteristics 4.  Difference Between Homework and Assignment     – Comparison of Key Differences

Difference Between Homework and Assignment - Comparison Summary

What is Homework

Homework refers to the tasks assigned to the students by the schoolteachers.  They expect students to carry out the task during non-school hours. Teachers often give homework to complete at home in order to make their students practice the learning material already taught. Their aim is to reinforce learning and facilitate the mastery of specific competencies and skills .

Sometimes, a student might get preparation assignments as homework. The purpose of such homework is to introduce the student to the study material that the teacher will present in future lessons. Furthermore, it would help students to obtain the maximum benefit once the new material is being taught in class.

What is Homework

On the other hand, homework sometimes facilitates the transfer of previously acquired skills to new situations. For example, the students might learn in class about factors that led to World war I. Then, as homework, the teacher would ask the students to find out the factors that led to World war II. Here, the teacher gives an integration homework, which requires the student to apply separately learned skills to create a single product, such as science projects, newspaper reports, or creative writing.

In addition, homework can be used to build up proper communication between parents and children, as a constructive method of punishment and also to make the parents aware of what is happening in school.

What is Assignment

If you are a student, you might think that it is not your responsibility to learn by yourself; rather, it is the job of the teacher to teach you. But, a teacher cannot teach every little thing in a particular unit or subject to the students.

Such a spoon-feeding method of imparting knowledge can negatively influence the learning capabilities and the academic career of a student. Especially in academic establishments such as colleges or universities, teachers expect the students do some research to grasp the untaught concepts and to explore the subject on their own instead of teaching everything to the students using a lecture method.

Homework vs Assignment

The actual purpose of giving assignments is to enhance the learning skills of the students.  This enables the students to occupy their brains more and more. Academic assignments improve the creativity of the students as they naturally acquire and learn a lot when they read or practice a subject or art on their own.  Therefore, the main reason for giving assignments is to provide the student with a platform to practice and explore knowledge about a subject on their own.

Similarities Between Homework and Assignment

  • Both aim at enhancing the learning skills of the students.
  • Teachers or professors assign them to the students.
  • It is possible to grade both homework and assignments.

Difference Between Homework and Assignment

Homework is a work or a task assigned to a student by a teacher to be completed during a non-school hour, whereas an assignment is a task assigned to a student in the course of study. In contrast to homework, an assignment usually provides the student with a clue about the objectives of the assigned task.

The main purpose of an assignment is to help a student understand the studying process well. In contrast,  homework basically helps the student to improve his/her skills.

Main Function

An assignment can be used to figure out what should be taught, while homework is basically used to identify the challenges encountered by students on a particular topic. 

Some advantages of assignments include supporting students to revise a particular topic and boosting the students’ confidence, whereas homework becomes helpful in understanding a specific topic and when preparing for an exam.

In brief, the main difference between homework and assignment is that homework is assigned to be completed outside the classroom while assignments are assigned to be completed within the course of a particular study. Nonetheless, no matter how beneficial they can be, for most students, homework and assignments are a massive source of unhappiness and irritation.

1. Levy, Sandra. “ Why Homework Is Bad: Stress and Consequences .” Healthline , Healthline Media.

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About the Author: Anuradha

Anuradha has a BA degree in English, French, and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Master's degree in Teaching English Literature in a Second Language Context. Her areas of interests include Arts and Literature, Language and Education, Nature and Animals, Cultures and Civilizations, Food, and Fashion.

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