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Purpose, Public Attitudes toward Homework, The Positive and Negative Effects of Homework, Extensiveness of Homework

Homework is defined as tasks assigned to students by school teachers that are intended to be carried out during nonschool hours. This definition excludes in-school guided study (although homework is often worked on during school), home-study courses, and extracurricular activities such as sports teams and clubs.

The most common purpose of homework is to have students practice material already presented in class so as to reinforce learning and facilitate mastery of specific skills. Preparation assignments introduce the material that will be presented in future lessons. These assignments aim to help students obtain the maximum benefit when the new material is covered in class. Extension homework involves the transfer of previously learned skills to new situations. For example, students might learn in class about factors that led to the French Revolution and then be asked as homework to apply them to the American Revolution. Finally, integration homework requires the student to apply separately learned skills to produce a single product, such as book reports, science projects, or creative writing.

Homework also can serve purposes that do not relate directly to instruction. Homework can be used to (1) establish communication between parents and children; (2) fulfill directives from school administrators; (3) punish students; and (4) inform parents about what is going on in school. Most homework assignments have elements of several different purposes.

Public Attitudes toward Homework

Homework has been a part of student's lives since the beginning of formal schooling in the United States. However, the practice has been alternately accepted and rejected by educators and parents.

When the twentieth century began, the mind was viewed as a muscle that could be strengthened through mental exercise. Since this exercise could be done at home, homework was viewed favorably. During the 1940s, the emphasis in education shifted from drill to problem solving. Homework fell out of favor because it was closely associated with the repetition of material. The launch of the satellite Sputnik by the Soviet Union in the mid-1950s reversed this thinking. The American public worried that education lacked rigor and left children unprepared for complex technologies. Homework, it was believed, could accelerate knowledge acquisition.

The late 1960s witnessed yet another reversal. Educators and parents became concerned that homework was crowding out social experience, outdoor recreation, and creative activities. In the 1980s, homework once again leapt back into favor when A Nation at Risk (1983), the report by the National Commission on Excellence in Education, cited homework as a defense against the rising tide of mediocrity in American education. The push for more homework continued into the 1990s, fueled by increasingly rigorous state-mandated academic standards. As the century ended, a backlash against homework set in, led by parents concerned about too much stress on their children.

The Positive and Negative Effects of Homework

The most direct positive effect of homework is that it can improve retention and understanding. More indirectly, homework can improve students' study skills and attitudes toward school, and teach students that learning can take place anywhere, not just in school buildings. The nonacademic benefits of homework include fostering independence and responsibility. Finally, homework can involve parents in the school process, enhancing their appreciation of education, and allowing them to express positive attitudes toward the value of school success.

Conversely, educators and parents worry that students will grow bored if they are required to spend too much time on academic material. Homework can deny access to leisure time and community activities that also teach important life skills. Parent involvement in homework can turn into parent interference. For example, parents can confuse children if the instructional techniques they use differ from those used by teachers. Homework can actually lead to the acquisition of undesirable character traits if it promotes cheating, either through the copying of assignments or help with homework that goes beyond tutoring. Finally, homework could accentuate existing social inequities. Children from disadvantaged homes may have more difficulty completing assignments than their middle-class counterparts.

Extensiveness of Homework

In contrast to the shifts in public attitudes, surveys suggest that the amount of time students spend on homework has been relatively stable. Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress suggests that in both 1984 and 1994, about one-third of nine-year-olds and one-quarter of thirteen-and seventeen-year-olds reported being assigned no homework at all, with an additional 5 percent to 10 percent admitting they did not do homework that was assigned. About one-half of nine-year-olds, one-third of thirteen-year-olds, and one-quarter of seventeen-year-olds said they did less than an hour of homework each night. In 1994 about 12 percent of nine-year-olds, 28 percent of thirteen-year-olds, and 26 percent of seventeen-year-olds said they did one to two hours of homework each night. These percentages were all within one point of the 1984 survey results.

A national survey of parents conducted by the polling agency Public Agenda, in October, 2000, revealed that 64 percent of parents felt their child was getting "about the right amount" of homework, 25 percent felt their child was getting "too little" homework, and only 10 percent felt "too much homework" was being assigned.

International comparisons often suggest that U.S. students spend less time on homework than students in other industrialized nations. However, direct comparisons across countries are difficult to interpret because of different definitions of homework and differences in the length of the school day and year.

Appropriate Amounts of Homework

Experts agree that the amount and type of homework should depend on the developmental level of the student. The National PTA and the National Education Association suggest that homework for children in grades K–2 is most effective when it does not exceed ten to twenty minutes each day. In grades three through six, children can benefit from thirty to sixty minutes daily. Junior high and high school students can benefit from more time on homework and the amount might vary from night to night. These recommendations are consistent with the conclusions reached by studies into the effectiveness of homework.

Research on Homework's Overall Effectiveness

Three types of studies have been used to examine the relationship between homework and academic achievement. One type compares students who receive homework with students who receive none. Generally, these studies reveal homework to be a positive influence on achievement. However, they also reveal a relationship between homework and achievement for high school students that is about twice as strong as for junior high students. The relationship at the elementary school level is only one-quarter that of the high school level.

Another type of study compares homework to in-class supervised study. Overall, the positive relationship is about half as strong as in the first type of study. These studies again reveal a strong grade-level effect. When homework and in-class study were compared in elementary schools, in-class study proved superior.

The third type of study correlates the amount of homework students say they complete with their achievement test scores. Again, these surveys show the relationship is influenced by the grade level of students. For students in primary grades, the correlation between time spent on homework and achievement is near zero. For students in middle and junior high school, the correlation suggests a positive but weak relationship. For high school students, the correlation suggests a moderate relationship between achievement and time spend on homework.

Research on Effective Homework Assignments

The subject matter shows no consistent relationship to the value of homework. It appears that shorter and more frequent assignments may be more effective than longer but fewer assignments. Assignments that involve review and preparation are more effective than homework that focuses only on material covered in class on the day of the assignments. It can be beneficial to involve parents in homework when young children are experiencing problems in school. Older students and students doing well in school have more to gain from homework when it promotes independent learning.

Homework can be an effective instructional device. However, the relationship between homework and achievement is influenced greatly by the students' developmental level. Expectations for home work's effects, especially in the short term and in earlier grades, must be modest. Further, homework can have both positive and negative effects. Educators and parents should not be concerned with which list of homework effects is correct. Rather, homework policies and practices should give individual schools and teachers flexibility to take into account the unique needs and circumstances of their students so as to maximize positive effects and minimize negative ones.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

C AMPBELL , J AY R. ; R EESE , C LYDE M. ; O'S ULLIVAN, C HRISTINE; and D OSSEY , J OHN A. 1996. NAEP 1994 Trends in Academic Progress. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

C OOPER , H ARRIS. 2001. The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents, 2nd edition. Newbury Park, CA: Corwin Press.

C OOPER , H ARRIS, and V ALENTINE , J. C., eds. 2001. "Homework: A Special Issue." Educational Psychologist 36 (3).

INTERNET RESOURCES

H ENDERSON , M. 1996. "Helping Your Student Get the Most Out of Homework." Chicago: National PTA and the National Education Association. < www.pta.org/Programs/edulibr/homework. htm >.

P UBLIC A GENDA. 2000. "Survey Finds Little Sign of Backlash Against Academic Standards or Standardized Tests." < www.publicagenda.org/aboutpa/aboutpa3ee.htm >

H ARRIS C OOPER

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Is Homework Necessary? Education Inequity and Its Impact on Students

positive and negative effects of homework

The Problem with Homework: It Highlights Inequalities

How much homework is too much homework, when does homework actually help, negative effects of homework for students, how teachers can help.

Schools are getting rid of homework from Essex, Mass., to Los Angeles, Calif. Although the no-homework trend may sound alarming, especially to parents dreaming of their child’s acceptance to Harvard, Stanford or Yale, there is mounting evidence that eliminating homework in grade school may actually have great benefits , especially with regard to educational equity.

In fact, while the push to eliminate homework may come as a surprise to many adults, the debate is not new . Parents and educators have been talking about this subject for the last century, so that the educational pendulum continues to swing back and forth between the need for homework and the need to eliminate homework.

One of the most pressing talking points around homework is how it disproportionately affects students from less affluent families. The American Psychological Association (APA) explained:

“Kids from wealthier homes are more likely to have resources such as computers, internet connections, dedicated areas to do schoolwork and parents who tend to be more educated and more available to help them with tricky assignments. Kids from disadvantaged homes are more likely to work at afterschool jobs, or to be home without supervision in the evenings while their parents work multiple jobs.”

[RELATED] How to Advance Your Career: A Guide for Educators >> 

While students growing up in more affluent areas are likely playing sports, participating in other recreational activities after school, or receiving additional tutoring, children in disadvantaged areas are more likely headed to work after school, taking care of siblings while their parents work or dealing with an unstable home life. Adding homework into the mix is one more thing to deal with — and if the student is struggling, the task of completing homework can be too much to consider at the end of an already long school day.

While all students may groan at the mention of homework, it may be more than just a nuisance for poor and disadvantaged children, instead becoming another burden to carry and contend with.

Beyond the logistical issues, homework can negatively impact physical health and stress — and once again this may be a more significant problem among economically disadvantaged youth who typically already have a higher stress level than peers from more financially stable families .

Yet, today, it is not just the disadvantaged who suffer from the stressors that homework inflicts. A 2014 CNN article, “Is Homework Making Your Child Sick?” , covered the issue of extreme pressure placed on children of the affluent. The article looked at the results of a study surveying more than 4,300 students from 10 high-performing public and private high schools in upper-middle-class California communities.

“Their findings were troubling: Research showed that excessive homework is associated with high stress levels, physical health problems and lack of balance in children’s lives; 56% of the students in the study cited homework as a primary stressor in their lives,” according to the CNN story. “That children growing up in poverty are at-risk for a number of ailments is both intuitive and well-supported by research. More difficult to believe is the growing consensus that children on the other end of the spectrum, children raised in affluence, may also be at risk.”

When it comes to health and stress it is clear that excessive homework, for children at both ends of the spectrum, can be damaging. Which begs the question, how much homework is too much?

The National Education Association and the National Parent Teacher Association recommend that students spend 10 minutes per grade level per night on homework . That means that first graders should spend 10 minutes on homework, second graders 20 minutes and so on. But a study published by The American Journal of Family Therapy found that students are getting much more than that.

While 10 minutes per day doesn’t sound like much, that quickly adds up to an hour per night by sixth grade. The National Center for Education Statistics found that high school students get an average of 6.8 hours of homework per week, a figure that is much too high according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It is also to be noted that this figure does not take into consideration the needs of underprivileged student populations.

In a study conducted by the OECD it was found that “after around four hours of homework per week, the additional time invested in homework has a negligible impact on performance .” That means that by asking our children to put in an hour or more per day of dedicated homework time, we are not only not helping them, but — according to the aforementioned studies — we are hurting them, both physically and emotionally.

What’s more is that homework is, as the name implies, to be completed at home, after a full day of learning that is typically six to seven hours long with breaks and lunch included. However, a study by the APA on how people develop expertise found that elite musicians, scientists and athletes do their most productive work for about only four hours per day. Similarly, companies like Tower Paddle Boards are experimenting with a five-hour workday, under the assumption that people are not able to be truly productive for much longer than that. CEO Stephan Aarstol told CNBC that he believes most Americans only get about two to three hours of work done in an eight-hour day.

In the scope of world history, homework is a fairly new construct in the U.S. Students of all ages have been receiving work to complete at home for centuries, but it was educational reformer Horace Mann who first brought the concept to America from Prussia. 

Since then, homework’s popularity has ebbed and flowed in the court of public opinion. In the 1930s, it was considered child labor (as, ironically, it compromised children’s ability to do chores at home). Then, in the 1950s, implementing mandatory homework was hailed as a way to ensure America’s youth were always one step ahead of Soviet children during the Cold War. Homework was formally mandated as a tool for boosting educational quality in 1986 by the U.S. Department of Education, and has remained in common practice ever since.  

School work assigned and completed outside of school hours is not without its benefits. Numerous studies have shown that regular homework has a hand in improving student performance and connecting students to their learning. When reviewing these studies, take them with a grain of salt; there are strong arguments for both sides, and only you will know which solution is best for your students or school. 

Homework improves student achievement.

  • Source: The High School Journal, “ When is Homework Worth the Time?: Evaluating the Association between Homework and Achievement in High School Science and Math ,” 2012. 
  • Source: IZA.org, “ Does High School Homework Increase Academic Achievement? ,” 2014. **Note: Study sample comprised only high school boys. 

Homework helps reinforce classroom learning.

  • Source: “ Debunk This: People Remember 10 Percent of What They Read ,” 2015.

Homework helps students develop good study habits and life skills.

  • Sources: The Repository @ St. Cloud State, “ Types of Homework and Their Effect on Student Achievement ,” 2017; Journal of Advanced Academics, “ Developing Self-Regulation Skills: The Important Role of Homework ,” 2011.
  • Source: Journal of Advanced Academics, “ Developing Self-Regulation Skills: The Important Role of Homework ,” 2011.

Homework allows parents to be involved with their children’s learning.

  • Parents can see what their children are learning and working on in school every day. 
  • Parents can participate in their children’s learning by guiding them through homework assignments and reinforcing positive study and research habits.
  • Homework observation and participation can help parents understand their children’s academic strengths and weaknesses, and even identify possible learning difficulties.
  • Source: Phys.org, “ Sociologist Upends Notions about Parental Help with Homework ,” 2018.

While some amount of homework may help students connect to their learning and enhance their in-class performance, too much homework can have damaging effects. 

Students with too much homework have elevated stress levels. 

  • Source: USA Today, “ Is It Time to Get Rid of Homework? Mental Health Experts Weigh In ,” 2021.
  • Source: Stanford University, “ Stanford Research Shows Pitfalls of Homework ,” 2014.

Students with too much homework may be tempted to cheat. 

  • Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education, “ High-Tech Cheating Abounds, and Professors Bear Some Blame ,” 2010.
  • Source: The American Journal of Family Therapy, “ Homework and Family Stress: With Consideration of Parents’ Self Confidence, Educational Level, and Cultural Background ,” 2015.

Homework highlights digital inequity. 

  • Sources: NEAToday.org, “ The Homework Gap: The ‘Cruelest Part of the Digital Divide’ ,” 2016; CNET.com, “ The Digital Divide Has Left Millions of School Kids Behind ,” 2021.
  • Source: Investopedia, “ Digital Divide ,” 2022; International Journal of Education and Social Science, “ Getting the Homework Done: Social Class and Parents’ Relationship to Homework ,” 2015.
  • Source: World Economic Forum, “ COVID-19 exposed the digital divide. Here’s how we can close it ,” 2021.

Homework does not help younger students.

  • Source: Review of Educational Research, “ Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Researcher, 1987-2003 ,” 2006.

To help students find the right balance and succeed, teachers and educators must start the homework conversation, both internally at their school and with parents. But in order to successfully advocate on behalf of students, teachers must be well educated on the subject, fully understanding the research and the outcomes that can be achieved by eliminating or reducing the homework burden. There is a plethora of research and writing on the subject for those interested in self-study.

For teachers looking for a more in-depth approach or for educators with a keen interest in educational equity, formal education may be the best route. If this latter option sounds appealing, there are now many reputable schools offering online master of education degree programs to help educators balance the demands of work and family life while furthering their education in the quest to help others.

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Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework

A Stanford researcher found that students in high-achieving communities who spend too much time on homework experience more stress, physical health problems, a lack of balance and even alienation from society. More than two hours of homework a night may be counterproductive, according to the study.

Denise Pope

Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative effects on student well-being and behavioral engagement. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

A Stanford researcher found that too much homework can negatively affect kids, especially their lives away from school, where family, friends and activities matter.

“Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good,” wrote Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education .

The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students’ views on homework.

Median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college, either two-year or four-year.

Students in these schools average about 3.1 hours of homework each night.

“The findings address how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students’ advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement and well-being,” Pope wrote.

Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.

Their study found that too much homework is associated with:

• Greater stress: 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data. Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.

• Reductions in health: In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems. The researchers asked students whether they experienced health issues such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems.

• Less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits: Both the survey data and student responses indicate that spending too much time on homework meant that students were “not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills,” according to the researchers. Students were more likely to drop activities, not see friends or family, and not pursue hobbies they enjoy.

A balancing act

The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.

Also, there was no relationship between the time spent on homework and how much the student enjoyed it. The research quoted students as saying they often do homework they see as “pointless” or “mindless” in order to keep their grades up.

“This kind of busy work, by its very nature, discourages learning and instead promotes doing homework simply to get points,” Pope said.

She said the research calls into question the value of assigning large amounts of homework in high-performing schools. Homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice, she said.

“Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development,” wrote Pope.

High-performing paradox

In places where students attend high-performing schools, too much homework can reduce their time to foster skills in the area of personal responsibility, the researchers concluded. “Young people are spending more time alone,” they wrote, “which means less time for family and fewer opportunities to engage in their communities.”

Student perspectives

The researchers say that while their open-ended or “self-reporting” methodology to gauge student concerns about homework may have limitations – some might regard it as an opportunity for “typical adolescent complaining” – it was important to learn firsthand what the students believe.

The paper was co-authored by Mollie Galloway from Lewis and Clark College and Jerusha Conner from Villanova University.

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Homework can have both positive and negative effects on student learning. To overcome the negative effects and facilitate the positive ones, it is important for teachers to understand the underlying mechanisms of homework and how it relates to learning so that they can use the most effective methods of instruction and guidance. To provide a useful guide, this paper reviewed previous research studies and considered the roles of homework and effective instructional strategies from three psychological perspectives: behavioral, information-processing, and social constructivism. From a behavioral perspective, homework can be viewed as increasing opportunities for the repeated practice of knowledge and skills, whereas the information processing perspective places greater importance on the capacity of homework to promote deeper understanding and metacognition. Viewed from a social constructivist perspective, homework can promote the establishment of connections in the learning that occurs in school, at home, and in the wider community. Studies have shown that each of these roles of homework can contribute to the facilitation of meaningful learning and the support of students toward becoming self-initiated learners. However, there are some crucial challenges that remain in applying this knowledge to the actual school setting. This paper’s conclusion discusses possible directions for much-needed future research and suggests potential solutions.

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positive and negative effects of homework

Positive vs Negative Effects of Homework

positive and negative effects of homework

Growing up, students are used to having homework most nights out of the week. As they get older, the workload seems to pile up, and sometimes it can seem unbearable. Many would say that homework is either not needed, or a waste of time, but this isn’t always true. There are many positive effects of homework along with the negative.

Although we may feel that homework isn’t helping us understand certain material, it is shown in class, on tests and quizzes, that the students who review material and do their homework are more likely to do better than the students that don’t do any school work outside of school hours. Harris Cooper, a professor at Duke University said, “ Across five studies, the average student who did homework had a higher unit test score than the students not doing homework.” This proves that every little thing from reading over material or study guides will increase your test rates.

Despite the fact that homework increases scores, there are definitely some negative impacts of homework for many students. Many people, no matter the grade, say that homework causes them some amount of stress or anxiety. This is because “too much homework can result in lack of sleep, headaches, exhaustion, and weight loss. Excessive homework can also result in poor eating habits, with families choosing fast food as a faster alternative,” according to Oxford Learning. These effects can be more or less extreme depending on the student.

Mental health is becoming something that people are taking a lot more seriously nowadays. Healthline said that a study at Sanford proved that unreasonable amounts of homework in teens was being linked to physical disruptions like lowers immune system defenses and self-harm statistics but also mental troubles like depression and apprehensiveness/nervousness. Some examples of things that teens do to help with this are talking through their stresses, having breathing techniques, or having certain foods or beverages to help relieve stress. For example, drinking hot tea or eating some mints are shown to take some of the stress off your shoulders.

Every year, high schoolers seem to have a semester or quarter that looks to be more extreme than the others. Here are some tips to help homework become a little less of a burden. 

  • Having a tutor to help you with subjects that don’t come as easy to you.
  • Set up a time every day where you have a good amount of time to do work on any assignments that may be due soon.
  • Limit after school activities that aren’t your top priority that takes away an excessive amount of time for studying.
  • Don’t procrastinate! The more you push it off, the longer you wait to do it, which can make homework more stressful by the time you get around to doing it.
  • Your environment is crucial to your attention span. If possible, locate yourself in a place with minimal distractions. Natural light can also help with focusing.

Homework is something that kids and teens all across the world have to do. It’s something that probably won’t change for a very long time, but learning how to control the stress that comes with it can help many people in their day to day lives.

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i don’t think that homework is any part neccasary, too much stress

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Homework to an extent can be necessary. But when teachers are requiring you to do 1-2 hours of homework a night, with 5 teachers, and already spending 8 hours at school, how are you supposed to do 13-18 hours of school A DAY. That is way too much, and puts a lot on a person.

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Facts About Positive Effects of Homework

Kimberly turtenwald, 20 jul 2018.

When parents help with homework, children often do better.

Each day, especially in the higher grades, students are assigned homework to complete and return to school for the teacher to grade. The impact of homework on student achievement has been widely studied. Some students complain that homework is just a hassle and has no benefits, while others diligently do their homework in hopes of improving or maintaining grades. Even though homework can have some negative effects, it also has a positive impact on students. The effect of homework on students academic achievement depends on a few variables.

Explore this article

  • Better Schoolwork Retention
  • Impact by Grade Level
  • Reasonable Responsibility Gets Results
  • Parental Involvement Is Key
  • Positive Effects of Homework

1 Better Schoolwork Retention

One of the main purposes of assigning homework is to help students retain what they have learned in school. While some students find the time to complete their homework during the school day, many others end up taking it home at night. Some students find the homework repetitive to what they did at school; however, repetition is a key tool in learning material. Homework is meant to cover what the students learned in the class that day to help them retain it. The effect of homework on students academic achievement varies by student and their studying habits.

2 Impact by Grade Level

The impact of homework on student achievement can be measured at different times of the student's academic career. The older a student is, the greater the positive impact homework has in most circumstances. For instance, when a child is in high school, the benefits of homework is at its peak for effectiveness. However, when that student was in middle school, homework was only half as effective, and at the elementary level, it had only one-quarter of the effectiveness, if any. In addition, the amount of homework that is appropriate changes, ranging from 10 to 20 minutes for young children up to a couple of hours for high school students.

3 Reasonable Responsibility Gets Results

In addition to complementing and reinforcing the material the students learn in school, the benefit of homework is that it offers an opportunity to develop responsibility. While the students are at school, the teacher is there to ensure they are doing their work. However, in the home, the parents are also there, but they have things to do as well and are less likely to hover while children do their homework. This gives the students the responsibility of ensuring their work is done. If the student chooses not to do her homework, she is the one who suffers the consequences.

4 Parental Involvement Is Key

The effect of homework on students' academic achievement isn't always just a matter of the student. Homework also helps give parents an appreciation of the education their children receive while encouraging parental involvement. Some parents step in to either help with homework or check it over when the child is done, but not every parent does this. Those parents who do help with homework or at least ensure that it is completed, are more likely to become involved in other areas of the school day. For those parents who are not typically involved, homework gives them an opportunity to know what is going on in school and to spend time with their child.

5 Positive Effects of Homework

Because homework in the lower grades has very little impact on the academic success of the student, some may wonder why it is necessary. However, as the students move on to the higher grade levels, the need to study to get good grades increases. Therefore, it is important to establish good study habits at an early age. Working on homework after school has proven to help students get into the habit of studying and helps each student develop a study pattern that works for him or her.

  • 1 University of Minnesota: Homework Research and Policy: A Review of the Literature; Harris Cooper
  • 2 StateUniversity.com: Homework -- Purpose, Public Attitudes Toward Homework, the Positive and Negative Effects of Homework, Extensiveness of Homework
  • 3 University of Maine: Homework: A Literature Review; Julie Hancock

About the Author

Kimberly Turtenwald began writing professionally in 2000. She has written content for various websites, including Lights 2 You, Online Consultation, Corpus Personal Injury and more. Turtenwald studied editing and publishing at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

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positive and negative effects of homework

How to Reduce Homework Stress

If homework is a source of frustration and stress in your home, it doesn’t have to be that way! Read on to learn effective strategies to reduce your child’s homework stress.

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Author Katie Wickliff

positive and negative effects of homework

Published March 2024

positive and negative effects of homework

 If homework is a source of frustration and stress in your home, it doesn’t have to be that way! Read on to learn effective strategies to reduce your child’s homework stress.

  • Key takeaways
  • Homework stress can be a significant problem for children and their families
  • An appropriate amount of quality homework can be beneficial for students
  • Parents can help reduce homework stress in several key ways

Table of contents

  • Homework stress effects
  • How to reduce homework stress

As a parent who has felt the frustration of watching my child be reduced to tears because of her homework each night, I’ve often wondered: do these math worksheets and reading trackers really make a difference to a child’s academic success? Or does homework cause stress without having a positive impact on learning? 

If your child experiences a significant amount of homework stress, you may feel at a loss to help. However, there are several things you can do at home to minimize the negative effects of this stress on your child–and you! We’ve put together a list of research-based practices that can help your child better handle their homework load.

The Effects of Homework Stress on Students

Does homework cause stress? Short answer: Yes. It’s been well documented that too much homework can cause stress and anxiety for students–and their parents. However, do the benefits of homework outweigh the costs? Is homework “worth” the frustration and exhaustion that our children experience? 

Findings on the benefits of homework at the elementary school level are mixed, with studies showing that homework appears to have more positive effects under certain conditions for certain groups of students.

After examining decades of studies on the relationship between homework and academic achievement, leading homework researcher Harris M. Cooper has proposed the “10-minute rule,” suggesting that homework be limited to 10 minutes per grade level. For example, children in 3rd grade should do no more than 30 minutes of homework daily, while a 1st grader should do no more than 10 minutes of homework. The National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association both endorse this guideline as a general rule of thumb. 

Because of these research findings, Doodle believes that an appropriate amount of quality homework can help students feel more positive about learning and can provide parents with a critical connection to their child’s school experience . But to keep learning positive, we need to reduce the amount of stress both students and parents feel about homework.

1. Routine, Routine, Routine

Creating an after-school routine and sticking to it helps children feel organized, but with sports, tutoring, or music lessons, many children have varying weekday schedules. As a former classroom teacher and private tutor, I suggest that families post a weekly schedule somewhere visible and communicate that schedule with their child. 

At our house, we have a dry-erase calendar posted on the wall. Every Sunday evening, I write both of my children’s schedules for the following week–including homework time. We go through the calendar together, and they reference it often throughout the week. I can tell both my son and daughter feel better when they know when they’ll get their homework done.

2. Create a Homework Space

Ideally, your child should have a dedicated homework space. It doesn’t matter if that space is a desk, a dining room table, or a kitchen countertop. What does matter is that the homework area is tidy, because an unorganized homework area is very distracting.

3. Start Homework Early

Encourage your child to start their homework as early as possible. Help them review their assignments, make a plan for what needs to be completed, and then dive in. Naturally, children are more tired later in the evening which can lead to more stress.

4. Encourage Breaks

If you can see your child becoming frustrated or overwhelmed by their homework, encourage them to take a breather and come back to it later. As a teacher and tutor, I called this a “brain break” and believe these breaks are essential. Taking a short break will give your child a chance to step away from a frustrating problem or assignment.

5. It’s Okay to Ask for Help

Sometimes, homework can become just too stressful and overwhelming. In that case, it really is okay to stop. Children can learn to advocate for themselves by making a list of questions for their teacher and asking for help the next day. Depending on their age, you might need to help role-play how to approach their teacher with their frustrations. 

Additionally, parents should never feel afraid to contact their child’s teacher to talk about homework issues. When I was teaching elementary school, I always wanted parents to feel comfortable reaching out about any issues, including homework stress.

6. Get Plenty of Rest

Sleep is critical to a child’s overall wellbeing , which includes their academic performance. Tired kids can’t concentrate as well, which can lead to feeling more overwhelmed about homework assignments. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, kids aged 6-12 should get at least 9 hours of sleep each night.

7. Consider a Homework Group

Organizing a homework group a few times a week is another way for your child to view homework more positively. Working as a group encourages collaboration, while discussions can solidify concepts learned in class.

8. Encourage Positivity

No matter what your school experience was like, it’s important to model a growth mindset for your child. A growth mindset is the belief that your abilities can develop and improve over time. So if your child says something like “ I can’t do this! ” first acknowledge their frustration. Then, encourage them to say, “ I may not understand this yet, but I will figure it out. ” Speaking positively about tough experiences takes practice, but it will go a long way in reducing homework stress for your child.

9. Develop Skills With Fun Games

Feeling stressed about homework is no fun. Completing worksheets and memorizing facts is necessary, but playing games is a great way to inject some excitement into learning. Doodle’s interactive math app is filled with interactive exercises, engaging math games, and unique rewards that help kids develop their skills while having fun.

Lower Math Anxiety with DoodleMath

Does your child struggle with math anxiety? DoodleMath is an award-winning math app f illed with fun, interactive math questions aligned to state standards. Doodle creates a unique work program tailored to each child’s skill level to boost confidence and reduce math anxiety. Try it free  today!

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FAQs About Homework Stress

positive and negative effects of homework

Many studies have shown that homework and stress often go hand-in-hand, often because many children feel pressure to perform perfectly or they have trouble managing their emotions–they get overwhelmed or flooded easily.

You can help your child reduce homework stress in several ways, including by establishing a routine, creating a homework space, encouraging breaks, and making homework fun with online games or math apps.

positive and negative effects of homework

Lesson credits

Katie Wickliff headshot

Katie Wickliff

Katie holds a master’s degree in Education from the University of Colorado and a bachelor’s degree in both Journalism and English from The University of Iowa. She has over 15 years of education experience as a K-12 classroom teacher and Orton-Gillingham certified tutor. Most importantly, Katie is the mother of two elementary students, ages 8 and 11. She is passionate about math education and firmly believes that the right tools and support will help every student reach their full potential.

positive and negative effects of homework

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positive and negative effects of homework

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Educators Say Social Media Hurts Their Colleagues’ Social Skills. Their Own? Not as Much

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Educators have a pretty bleak outlook on how social media is affecting their students’ social-emotional skills and overall well-being. And that bleak outlook carries over to their adult colleagues as well, at least in part.

But are their perceptions of social media’s harmful effects off-base?

A recent survey by the EdWeek Research Center asked educators how they thought social media affected their students, their colleagues, and themselves. And there’s some evidence from the survey that educators are judging others more harshly for their social media use than they’re judging themselves.

But before we get to that and why it matters, let’s first look at how teachers, principals, and district leaders think social media impacts high school students’ social-emotional skills—such as their ability to interact with peers and think for themselves.

As the following charts show, roughly 9 out of 10 educators say that social media has had a negative impact on how students communicate and how they treat others. And a whopping 97 percent of educators say that social media contributes to groupthink among their students.

The responses come from a nationally representative sample of 595 educators, who participated in a survey administered from Dec. 21, 2023 through Jan. 2, 2024.

Treating others with respect, learning how to communicate, and developing an identity or sense of self are all part of social-emotional learning.

High school students in a separate EdWeek Research Center survey paint a very different picture of the effects social media has on them. They are more likely to see benefits , such as opportunities to develop hobbies, learn about career paths, find mentors, and learn about other cultures.

Part of the discrepancy between students’ and educators’ perceptions about how social media is affecting the former might be because teenagers aren’t fully aware of how much social media is impacting them. As Common Sense Media’s Merve Lapus said in a recent story for Education Week , today’s middle and high school students have grown up with social media. They don’t know what it feels like not to have it, while many educators do remember a—many would argue simpler and better—time before social media.

But maybe part of what’s at play here is the human tendency to see others’ faults more clearly than our own.

Consider the following chart: when the EdWeek Research Center asked educators how social media impacted their own social-emotional and communication skills and their colleagues’ skills, survey respondents were more likely to say social media had a neutral or positive effect on their own behavior and a negative effect on their peers’. This begs the question, are educators (and let’s face it, probably all adults, but EdWeek didn’t survey non-educators) just more likely to see the negative impacts of social media on their peers and students than on themselves?

Why does this matter?

First, these data prompt the question of whether adults are being truly clear-eyed about the extent to which social media is damaging to kids. This is not to say that social media doesn’t harm kids—there are studies suggesting that it does. One common criticism of social media is that addictive design features, for example, may keep kids on their devices to the detriment of their sleep and mental health. But it serves no one to make the problem out to be worse than it is or ignore the full picture, such as the benefits teens say they derive from using social media.

Second, experts say an important part of teaching adolescents how to use social media productively and respectfully is to model that behavior, and adults aren’t always good at doing that. If an educator is oblivious to the ways social media is affecting their own social-emotional and communication skills, then they are probably going to struggle with modeling healthy social media habits.

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Data analysis for this article was provided by the EdWeek Research Center. Learn more about the center’s work.

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COMMENTS

  1. Is homework a necessary evil?

    On the positive side, students who spent more time on homework in that study did report being more behaviorally engaged in school — for instance, giving more effort and paying more attention in class, Galloway says. ... Nonacademic effects of homework in privileged, high-performing high schools. The Journal of Experimental Education, 81(4 ...

  2. The Pros and Cons of Homework

    Homework also helps students develop key skills that they'll use throughout their lives: Accountability. Autonomy. Discipline. Time management. Self-direction. Critical thinking. Independent problem-solving. The skills learned in homework can then be applied to other subjects and practical situations in students' daily lives.

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

    One of the positive effects of homework is that it forces decision making and compromises to be made. 4. Homework Opens A Bridge Of Communication ... Endless surveys have found that homework creates a negative attitude towards school, and homework has not been found to be linked to a higher level of academic success.

  4. Key Lessons: What Research Says About the Value of Homework

    Some studies show positive effects of homework under certain conditions and for certain students, some show no effects, and some suggest negative effects (Kohn 2006; Trautwein and Koller 2003). Homework appears to have more positive effects for certain groups of students. Older students benefit more from homework than younger students.

  5. 20 Pros and Cons of Homework

    3. It teaches time management skills. Homework goes beyond completing a task. It forces children (and parents, to some extent) to develop time management skills. Schedules must be organized to ensure that all tasks can be completed during the day. This creates independent thinking and develops problem-solving skills.

  6. Homework Pros and Cons

    In the early 1900s, progressive education theorists, championed by the magazine Ladies' Home Journal, decried homework's negative impact on children's physical and mental health, leading California to ban homework for students under 15 from 1901 until 1917. In the 1930s, homework was portrayed as child labor, which was newly illegal, but ...

  7. Homework

    The Positive and Negative Effects of Homework. The most direct positive effect of homework is that it can improve retention and understanding. More indirectly, homework can improve students' study skills and attitudes toward school, and teach students that learning can take place anywhere, not just in school buildings. The nonacademic benefits ...

  8. (PDF) Investigating the Effects of Homework on Student Learning and

    This ar ticle investigates the effects of homework on student learning and academic. performance, drawing from recent resea rch and studies. The research suggests that homew ork, when ...

  9. PDF Elements of Effective Homework

    Positive and negative effects of time spent on homework More time on homework did not necessarily equate to higher academic achievement. 4. 5 fewer minutes each night than their peers. For high ... In this section, we showed positive, negative, and mixed results from studies that focused specifically on how much time students spend on homework ...

  10. Is Homework Necessary? Education Inequity and Its Impact on Students

    Negative Effects of Homework for Students. While some amount of homework may help students connect to their learning and enhance their in-class performance, too much homework can have damaging effects. Students with too much homework have elevated stress levels. Students regularly report that homework is their primary source of stress.

  11. Types of Homework and Their Effect on Student Achievement

    Variations of homework can be classified according. to its amount, skill area, purpose, degree of individualization and choice of the student, completion deadline, and social context (Cooper et al., 2006). Purpose of the homework task: Pre-learning: This type of homework is designed to encourage students to think.

  12. Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework

    Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative effects on student well-being and behavioral engagement. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

  13. The Role of Homework in Student Learning: A Review from a Psychological

    Abstract. Homework can have both positive and negative effects on student learning. To overcome the negative effects and facilitate the positive ones, it is important for teachers to understand the underlying mechanisms of homework and how it relates to learning so that they can use the most effective methods of instruction and guidance.

  14. Homework: A Literature Review

    Cooper defines homework as "tasks that are assigned to students by school teachers that are intended to be carried out during non-school hours" (Cooper, 1989, p. 7). Through his research, he has concretely identified the many positive and negative effects homework has on both students and their families (see Table 1).

  15. Does Homework Have a Greater Negative or Positive Effect on ...

    If assigned correctly, homework has a greater positive effect for students in both their academic and nonacademic pursuits.

  16. The Impact of Homework on Families of Elementary Students and Parents

    Much of the research on traditional homework completion does not show a positive relationship to academic achievement for this age group, yet the practice ... (Farkas, 1999). Cooper's 1989 meta-analysis found that homework had no significant effect on elementary school achievement. Most commonly, homework is intended to

  17. Positive vs Negative Effects of Homework

    Many people, no matter the grade, say that homework causes them some amount of stress or anxiety. This is because "too much homework can result in lack of sleep, headaches, exhaustion, and weight loss. Excessive homework can also result in poor eating habits, with families choosing fast food as a faster alternative," according to Oxford ...

  18. IMPACT OF HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT ON STUDENTS' LEARNING

    Cooper (1989) reports that some of the negative effects of homework are that students do . ... attitudes towards homework and does not yield positive results in learning. Warton (2001) states

  19. Facts About Positive Effects of Homework

    The benefits of homework, at what age a child should begin poring over papers for school and how much homework a child should be completing at any given level of their education has been widely debated. It's a matter of a few variables that make homework most effective for students of all ages.

  20. How to Reduce Homework Stress

    Or does homework cause stress without having a positive impact on learning? If your child experiences a significant amount of homework stress, you may feel at a loss to help. However, there are several things you can do at home to minimize the negative effects of this stress on your child-and you!

  21. Effects of homework motivation and worry anxiety on homework

    Homework self-efficacy had positive and negative effects on homework effort and worry, respectively. Homework worry mediated the relation of homework value to effort and to achievement; the ...

  22. Positive and Negative Effects of Homework on Students

    The flipped classroom has been tested in many school systems across the country. Overall the flipped classroom approach has a positive outcome. "Before the flip +50% of freshman failed English and 44% of freshman failed math, but after the flip 19% of freshman failed English and 13% of freshman failed math".

  23. Educators Say Social Media Hurts Their Colleagues' Social Skills. Their

    As the following charts show, roughly 9 out of 10 educators say that social media has had a negative impact on how students communicate and how they treat others.