Does Homework Really Help Students Learn?

A conversation with a Wheelock researcher, a BU student, and a fourth-grade teacher

child doing homework

“Quality homework is engaging and relevant to kids’ lives,” says Wheelock’s Janine Bempechat. “It gives them autonomy and engages them in the community and with their families. In some subjects, like math, worksheets can be very helpful. It has to do with the value of practicing over and over.” Photo by iStock/Glenn Cook Photography

Do your homework.

If only it were that simple.

Educators have debated the merits of homework since the late 19th century. In recent years, amid concerns of some parents and teachers that children are being stressed out by too much homework, things have only gotten more fraught.

“Homework is complicated,” says developmental psychologist Janine Bempechat, a Wheelock College of Education & Human Development clinical professor. The author of the essay “ The Case for (Quality) Homework—Why It Improves Learning and How Parents Can Help ” in the winter 2019 issue of Education Next , Bempechat has studied how the debate about homework is influencing teacher preparation, parent and student beliefs about learning, and school policies.

She worries especially about socioeconomically disadvantaged students from low-performing schools who, according to research by Bempechat and others, get little or no homework.

BU Today  sat down with Bempechat and Erin Bruce (Wheelock’17,’18), a new fourth-grade teacher at a suburban Boston school, and future teacher freshman Emma Ardizzone (Wheelock) to talk about what quality homework looks like, how it can help children learn, and how schools can equip teachers to design it, evaluate it, and facilitate parents’ role in it.

BU Today: Parents and educators who are against homework in elementary school say there is no research definitively linking it to academic performance for kids in the early grades. You’ve said that they’re missing the point.

Bempechat : I think teachers assign homework in elementary school as a way to help kids develop skills they’ll need when they’re older—to begin to instill a sense of responsibility and to learn planning and organizational skills. That’s what I think is the greatest value of homework—in cultivating beliefs about learning and skills associated with academic success. If we greatly reduce or eliminate homework in elementary school, we deprive kids and parents of opportunities to instill these important learning habits and skills.

We do know that beginning in late middle school, and continuing through high school, there is a strong and positive correlation between homework completion and academic success.

That’s what I think is the greatest value of homework—in cultivating beliefs about learning and skills associated with academic success.

You talk about the importance of quality homework. What is that?

Quality homework is engaging and relevant to kids’ lives. It gives them autonomy and engages them in the community and with their families. In some subjects, like math, worksheets can be very helpful. It has to do with the value of practicing over and over.

Janine Bempechat

What are your concerns about homework and low-income children?

The argument that some people make—that homework “punishes the poor” because lower-income parents may not be as well-equipped as affluent parents to help their children with homework—is very troubling to me. There are no parents who don’t care about their children’s learning. Parents don’t actually have to help with homework completion in order for kids to do well. They can help in other ways—by helping children organize a study space, providing snacks, being there as a support, helping children work in groups with siblings or friends.

Isn’t the discussion about getting rid of homework happening mostly in affluent communities?

Yes, and the stories we hear of kids being stressed out from too much homework—four or five hours of homework a night—are real. That’s problematic for physical and mental health and overall well-being. But the research shows that higher-income students get a lot more homework than lower-income kids.

Teachers may not have as high expectations for lower-income children. Schools should bear responsibility for providing supports for kids to be able to get their homework done—after-school clubs, community support, peer group support. It does kids a disservice when our expectations are lower for them.

The conversation around homework is to some extent a social class and social justice issue. If we eliminate homework for all children because affluent children have too much, we’re really doing a disservice to low-income children. They need the challenge, and every student can rise to the challenge with enough supports in place.

What did you learn by studying how education schools are preparing future teachers to handle homework?

My colleague, Margarita Jimenez-Silva, at the University of California, Davis, School of Education, and I interviewed faculty members at education schools, as well as supervising teachers, to find out how students are being prepared. And it seemed that they weren’t. There didn’t seem to be any readings on the research, or conversations on what high-quality homework is and how to design it.

Erin, what kind of training did you get in handling homework?

Bruce : I had phenomenal professors at Wheelock, but homework just didn’t come up. I did lots of student teaching. I’ve been in classrooms where the teachers didn’t assign any homework, and I’ve been in rooms where they assigned hours of homework a night. But I never even considered homework as something that was my decision. I just thought it was something I’d pull out of a book and it’d be done.

I started giving homework on the first night of school this year. My first assignment was to go home and draw a picture of the room where you do your homework. I want to know if it’s at a table and if there are chairs around it and if mom’s cooking dinner while you’re doing homework.

The second night I asked them to talk to a grown-up about how are you going to be able to get your homework done during the week. The kids really enjoyed it. There’s a running joke that I’m teaching life skills.

Friday nights, I read all my kids’ responses to me on their homework from the week and it’s wonderful. They pour their hearts out. It’s like we’re having a conversation on my couch Friday night.

It matters to know that the teacher cares about you and that what you think matters to the teacher. Homework is a vehicle to connect home and school…for parents to know teachers are welcoming to them and their families.

Bempechat : I can’t imagine that most new teachers would have the intuition Erin had in designing homework the way she did.

Ardizzone : Conversations with kids about homework, feeling you’re being listened to—that’s such a big part of wanting to do homework….I grew up in Westchester County. It was a pretty demanding school district. My junior year English teacher—I loved her—she would give us feedback, have meetings with all of us. She’d say, “If you have any questions, if you have anything you want to talk about, you can talk to me, here are my office hours.” It felt like she actually cared.

Bempechat : It matters to know that the teacher cares about you and that what you think matters to the teacher. Homework is a vehicle to connect home and school…for parents to know teachers are welcoming to them and their families.

Ardizzone : But can’t it lead to parents being overbearing and too involved in their children’s lives as students?

Bempechat : There’s good help and there’s bad help. The bad help is what you’re describing—when parents hover inappropriately, when they micromanage, when they see their children confused and struggling and tell them what to do.

Good help is when parents recognize there’s a struggle going on and instead ask informative questions: “Where do you think you went wrong?” They give hints, or pointers, rather than saying, “You missed this,” or “You didn’t read that.”

Bruce : I hope something comes of this. I hope BU or Wheelock can think of some way to make this a more pressing issue. As a first-year teacher, it was not something I even thought about on the first day of school—until a kid raised his hand and said, “Do we have homework?” It would have been wonderful if I’d had a plan from day one.

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Senior Contributing Editor

Sara Rimer

Sara Rimer A journalist for more than three decades, Sara Rimer worked at the Miami Herald , Washington Post and, for 26 years, the New York Times , where she was the New England bureau chief, and a national reporter covering education, aging, immigration, and other social justice issues. Her stories on the death penalty’s inequities were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and cited in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision outlawing the execution of people with intellectual disabilities. Her journalism honors include Columbia University’s Meyer Berger award for in-depth human interest reporting. She holds a BA degree in American Studies from the University of Michigan. Profile

She can be reached at [email protected] .

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There are 81 comments on Does Homework Really Help Students Learn?

Insightful! The values about homework in elementary schools are well aligned with my intuition as a parent.

when i finish my work i do my homework and i sometimes forget what to do because i did not get enough sleep

same omg it does not help me it is stressful and if I have it in more than one class I hate it.

Same I think my parent wants to help me but, she doesn’t care if I get bad grades so I just try my best and my grades are great.

I think that last question about Good help from parents is not know to all parents, we do as our parents did or how we best think it can be done, so maybe coaching parents or giving them resources on how to help with homework would be very beneficial for the parent on how to help and for the teacher to have consistency and improve homework results, and of course for the child. I do see how homework helps reaffirm the knowledge obtained in the classroom, I also have the ability to see progress and it is a time I share with my kids

The answer to the headline question is a no-brainer – a more pressing problem is why there is a difference in how students from different cultures succeed. Perfect example is the student population at BU – why is there a majority population of Asian students and only about 3% black students at BU? In fact at some universities there are law suits by Asians to stop discrimination and quotas against admitting Asian students because the real truth is that as a group they are demonstrating better qualifications for admittance, while at the same time there are quotas and reduced requirements for black students to boost their portion of the student population because as a group they do more poorly in meeting admissions standards – and it is not about the Benjamins. The real problem is that in our PC society no one has the gazuntas to explore this issue as it may reveal that all people are not created equal after all. Or is it just environmental cultural differences??????

I get you have a concern about the issue but that is not even what the point of this article is about. If you have an issue please take this to the site we have and only post your opinion about the actual topic

This is not at all what the article is talking about.

This literally has nothing to do with the article brought up. You should really take your opinions somewhere else before you speak about something that doesn’t make sense.

we have the same name

so they have the same name what of it?

lol you tell her

totally agree

What does that have to do with homework, that is not what the article talks about AT ALL.

Yes, I think homework plays an important role in the development of student life. Through homework, students have to face challenges on a daily basis and they try to solve them quickly.I am an intense online tutor at 24x7homeworkhelp and I give homework to my students at that level in which they handle it easily.

More than two-thirds of students said they used alcohol and drugs, primarily marijuana, to cope with stress.

You know what’s funny? I got this assignment to write an argument for homework about homework and this article was really helpful and understandable, and I also agree with this article’s point of view.

I also got the same task as you! I was looking for some good resources and I found this! I really found this article useful and easy to understand, just like you! ^^

i think that homework is the best thing that a child can have on the school because it help them with their thinking and memory.

I am a child myself and i think homework is a terrific pass time because i can’t play video games during the week. It also helps me set goals.

Homework is not harmful ,but it will if there is too much

I feel like, from a minors point of view that we shouldn’t get homework. Not only is the homework stressful, but it takes us away from relaxing and being social. For example, me and my friends was supposed to hang at the mall last week but we had to postpone it since we all had some sort of work to do. Our minds shouldn’t be focused on finishing an assignment that in realty, doesn’t matter. I completely understand that we should have homework. I have to write a paper on the unimportance of homework so thanks.

homework isn’t that bad

Are you a student? if not then i don’t really think you know how much and how severe todays homework really is

i am a student and i do not enjoy homework because i practice my sport 4 out of the five days we have school for 4 hours and that’s not even counting the commute time or the fact i still have to shower and eat dinner when i get home. its draining!

i totally agree with you. these people are such boomers

why just why

they do make a really good point, i think that there should be a limit though. hours and hours of homework can be really stressful, and the extra work isn’t making a difference to our learning, but i do believe homework should be optional and extra credit. that would make it for students to not have the leaning stress of a assignment and if you have a low grade you you can catch up.

Studies show that homework improves student achievement in terms of improved grades, test results, and the likelihood to attend college. Research published in the High School Journal indicates that students who spent between 31 and 90 minutes each day on homework “scored about 40 points higher on the SAT-Mathematics subtest than their peers, who reported spending no time on homework each day, on average.” On both standardized tests and grades, students in classes that were assigned homework outperformed 69% of students who didn’t have homework. A majority of studies on homework’s impact – 64% in one meta-study and 72% in another – showed that take home assignments were effective at improving academic achievement. Research by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) concluded that increased homework led to better GPAs and higher probability of college attendance for high school boys. In fact, boys who attended college did more than three hours of additional homework per week in high school.

So how are your measuring student achievement? That’s the real question. The argument that doing homework is simply a tool for teaching responsibility isn’t enough for me. We can teach responsibility in a number of ways. Also the poor argument that parents don’t need to help with homework, and that students can do it on their own, is wishful thinking at best. It completely ignores neurodiverse students. Students in poverty aren’t magically going to find a space to do homework, a friend’s or siblings to help them do it, and snacks to eat. I feel like the author of this piece has never set foot in a classroom of students.

THIS. This article is pathetic coming from a university. So intellectually dishonest, refusing to address the havoc of capitalism and poverty plays on academic success in life. How can they in one sentence use poor kids in an argument and never once address that poor children have access to damn near 0 of the resources affluent kids have? Draw me a picture and let’s talk about feelings lmao what a joke is that gonna put food in their belly so they can have the calories to burn in order to use their brain to study? What about quiet their 7 other siblings that they share a single bedroom with for hours? Is it gonna force the single mom to magically be at home and at work at the same time to cook food while you study and be there to throw an encouraging word?

Also the “parents don’t need to be a parent and be able to guide their kid at all academically they just need to exist in the next room” is wild. Its one thing if a parent straight up is not equipped but to say kids can just figured it out is…. wow coming from an educator What’s next the teacher doesn’t need to teach cause the kid can just follow the packet and figure it out?

Well then get a tutor right? Oh wait you are poor only affluent kids can afford a tutor for their hours of homework a day were they on average have none of the worries a poor child does. Does this address that poor children are more likely to also suffer abuse and mental illness? Like mentioned what about kids that can’t learn or comprehend the forced standardized way? Just let em fail? These children regularly are not in “special education”(some of those are a joke in their own and full of neglect and abuse) programs cause most aren’t even acknowledged as having disabilities or disorders.

But yes all and all those pesky poor kids just aren’t being worked hard enough lol pretty sure poor children’s existence just in childhood is more work, stress, and responsibility alone than an affluent child’s entire life cycle. Love they never once talked about the quality of education in the classroom being so bad between the poor and affluent it can qualify as segregation, just basically blamed poor people for being lazy, good job capitalism for failing us once again!

why the hell?

you should feel bad for saying this, this article can be helpful for people who has to write a essay about it

This is more of a political rant than it is about homework

I know a teacher who has told his students their homework is to find something they are interested in, pursue it and then come share what they learn. The student responses are quite compelling. One girl taught herself German so she could talk to her grandfather. One boy did a research project on Nelson Mandela because the teacher had mentioned him in class. Another boy, a both on the autism spectrum, fixed his family’s computer. The list goes on. This is fourth grade. I think students are highly motivated to learn, when we step aside and encourage them.

The whole point of homework is to give the students a chance to use the material that they have been presented with in class. If they never have the opportunity to use that information, and discover that it is actually useful, it will be in one ear and out the other. As a science teacher, it is critical that the students are challenged to use the material they have been presented with, which gives them the opportunity to actually think about it rather than regurgitate “facts”. Well designed homework forces the student to think conceptually, as opposed to regurgitation, which is never a pretty sight

Wonderful discussion. and yes, homework helps in learning and building skills in students.

not true it just causes kids to stress

Homework can be both beneficial and unuseful, if you will. There are students who are gifted in all subjects in school and ones with disabilities. Why should the students who are gifted get the lucky break, whereas the people who have disabilities suffer? The people who were born with this “gift” go through school with ease whereas people with disabilities struggle with the work given to them. I speak from experience because I am one of those students: the ones with disabilities. Homework doesn’t benefit “us”, it only tears us down and put us in an abyss of confusion and stress and hopelessness because we can’t learn as fast as others. Or we can’t handle the amount of work given whereas the gifted students go through it with ease. It just brings us down and makes us feel lost; because no mater what, it feels like we are destined to fail. It feels like we weren’t “cut out” for success.

homework does help

here is the thing though, if a child is shoved in the face with a whole ton of homework that isn’t really even considered homework it is assignments, it’s not helpful. the teacher should make homework more of a fun learning experience rather than something that is dreaded

This article was wonderful, I am going to ask my teachers about extra, or at all giving homework.

I agree. Especially when you have homework before an exam. Which is distasteful as you’ll need that time to study. It doesn’t make any sense, nor does us doing homework really matters as It’s just facts thrown at us.

Homework is too severe and is just too much for students, schools need to decrease the amount of homework. When teachers assign homework they forget that the students have other classes that give them the same amount of homework each day. Students need to work on social skills and life skills.

I disagree.

Beyond achievement, proponents of homework argue that it can have many other beneficial effects. They claim it can help students develop good study habits so they are ready to grow as their cognitive capacities mature. It can help students recognize that learning can occur at home as well as at school. Homework can foster independent learning and responsible character traits. And it can give parents an opportunity to see what’s going on at school and let them express positive attitudes toward achievement.

Homework is helpful because homework helps us by teaching us how to learn a specific topic.

As a student myself, I can say that I have almost never gotten the full 9 hours of recommended sleep time, because of homework. (Now I’m writing an essay on it in the middle of the night D=)

I am a 10 year old kid doing a report about “Is homework good or bad” for homework before i was going to do homework is bad but the sources from this site changed my mind!

Homeowkr is god for stusenrs

I agree with hunter because homework can be so stressful especially with this whole covid thing no one has time for homework and every one just wants to get back to there normal lives it is especially stressful when you go on a 2 week vaca 3 weeks into the new school year and and then less then a week after you come back from the vaca you are out for over a month because of covid and you have no way to get the assignment done and turned in

As great as homework is said to be in the is article, I feel like the viewpoint of the students was left out. Every where I go on the internet researching about this topic it almost always has interviews from teachers, professors, and the like. However isn’t that a little biased? Of course teachers are going to be for homework, they’re not the ones that have to stay up past midnight completing the homework from not just one class, but all of them. I just feel like this site is one-sided and you should include what the students of today think of spending four hours every night completing 6-8 classes worth of work.

Are we talking about homework or practice? Those are two very different things and can result in different outcomes.

Homework is a graded assignment. I do not know of research showing the benefits of graded assignments going home.

Practice; however, can be extremely beneficial, especially if there is some sort of feedback (not a grade but feedback). That feedback can come from the teacher, another student or even an automated grading program.

As a former band director, I assigned daily practice. I never once thought it would be appropriate for me to require the students to turn in a recording of their practice for me to grade. Instead, I had in-class assignments/assessments that were graded and directly related to the practice assigned.

I would really like to read articles on “homework” that truly distinguish between the two.

oof i feel bad good luck!

thank you guys for the artical because I have to finish an assingment. yes i did cite it but just thanks

thx for the article guys.

Homework is good

I think homework is helpful AND harmful. Sometimes u can’t get sleep bc of homework but it helps u practice for school too so idk.

I agree with this Article. And does anyone know when this was published. I would like to know.

It was published FEb 19, 2019.

Studies have shown that homework improved student achievement in terms of improved grades, test results, and the likelihood to attend college.

i think homework can help kids but at the same time not help kids

This article is so out of touch with majority of homes it would be laughable if it wasn’t so incredibly sad.

There is no value to homework all it does is add stress to already stressed homes. Parents or adults magically having the time or energy to shepherd kids through homework is dome sort of 1950’s fantasy.

What lala land do these teachers live in?

Homework gives noting to the kid

Homework is Bad

homework is bad.

why do kids even have homework?

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Adolescent girl doing homework.

What’s the Right Amount of Homework?

Decades of research show that homework has some benefits, especially for students in middle and high school—but there are risks to assigning too much.

Many teachers and parents believe that homework helps students build study skills and review concepts learned in class. Others see homework as disruptive and unnecessary, leading to burnout and turning kids off to school. Decades of research show that the issue is more nuanced and complex than most people think: Homework is beneficial, but only to a degree. Students in high school gain the most, while younger kids benefit much less.

The National PTA and the National Education Association support the “ 10-minute homework guideline ”—a nightly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. But many teachers and parents are quick to point out that what matters is the quality of the homework assigned and how well it meets students’ needs, not the amount of time spent on it.

The guideline doesn’t account for students who may need to spend more—or less—time on assignments. In class, teachers can make adjustments to support struggling students, but at home, an assignment that takes one student 30 minutes to complete may take another twice as much time—often for reasons beyond their control. And homework can widen the achievement gap, putting students from low-income households and students with learning disabilities at a disadvantage.

However, the 10-minute guideline is useful in setting a limit: When kids spend too much time on homework, there are real consequences to consider.

Small Benefits for Elementary Students

As young children begin school, the focus should be on cultivating a love of learning, and assigning too much homework can undermine that goal. And young students often don’t have the study skills to benefit fully from homework, so it may be a poor use of time (Cooper, 1989 ; Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). A more effective activity may be nightly reading, especially if parents are involved. The benefits of reading are clear: If students aren’t proficient readers by the end of third grade, they’re less likely to succeed academically and graduate from high school (Fiester, 2013 ).

For second-grade teacher Jacqueline Fiorentino, the minor benefits of homework did not outweigh the potential drawback of turning young children against school at an early age, so she experimented with dropping mandatory homework. “Something surprising happened: They started doing more work at home,” Fiorentino writes . “This inspiring group of 8-year-olds used their newfound free time to explore subjects and topics of interest to them.” She encouraged her students to read at home and offered optional homework to extend classroom lessons and help them review material.

Moderate Benefits for Middle School Students

As students mature and develop the study skills necessary to delve deeply into a topic—and to retain what they learn—they also benefit more from homework. Nightly assignments can help prepare them for scholarly work, and research shows that homework can have moderate benefits for middle school students (Cooper et al., 2006 ). Recent research also shows that online math homework, which can be designed to adapt to students’ levels of understanding, can significantly boost test scores (Roschelle et al., 2016 ).

There are risks to assigning too much, however: A 2015 study found that when middle school students were assigned more than 90 to 100 minutes of daily homework, their math and science test scores began to decline (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez, & Muñiz, 2015 ). Crossing that upper limit can drain student motivation and focus. The researchers recommend that “homework should present a certain level of challenge or difficulty, without being so challenging that it discourages effort.” Teachers should avoid low-effort, repetitive assignments, and assign homework “with the aim of instilling work habits and promoting autonomous, self-directed learning.”

In other words, it’s the quality of homework that matters, not the quantity. Brian Sztabnik, a veteran middle and high school English teacher, suggests that teachers take a step back and ask themselves these five questions :

  • How long will it take to complete?
  • Have all learners been considered?
  • Will an assignment encourage future success?
  • Will an assignment place material in a context the classroom cannot?
  • Does an assignment offer support when a teacher is not there?

More Benefits for High School Students, but Risks as Well

By the time they reach high school, students should be well on their way to becoming independent learners, so homework does provide a boost to learning at this age, as long as it isn’t overwhelming (Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). When students spend too much time on homework—more than two hours each night—it takes up valuable time to rest and spend time with family and friends. A 2013 study found that high school students can experience serious mental and physical health problems, from higher stress levels to sleep deprivation, when assigned too much homework (Galloway, Conner, & Pope, 2013 ).

Homework in high school should always relate to the lesson and be doable without any assistance, and feedback should be clear and explicit.

Teachers should also keep in mind that not all students have equal opportunities to finish their homework at home, so incomplete homework may not be a true reflection of their learning—it may be more a result of issues they face outside of school. They may be hindered by issues such as lack of a quiet space at home, resources such as a computer or broadband connectivity, or parental support (OECD, 2014 ). In such cases, giving low homework scores may be unfair.

Since the quantities of time discussed here are totals, teachers in middle and high school should be aware of how much homework other teachers are assigning. It may seem reasonable to assign 30 minutes of daily homework, but across six subjects, that’s three hours—far above a reasonable amount even for a high school senior. Psychologist Maurice Elias sees this as a common mistake: Individual teachers create homework policies that in aggregate can overwhelm students. He suggests that teachers work together to develop a school-wide homework policy and make it a key topic of back-to-school night and the first parent-teacher conferences of the school year.

Parents Play a Key Role

Homework can be a powerful tool to help parents become more involved in their child’s learning (Walker et al., 2004 ). It can provide insights into a child’s strengths and interests, and can also encourage conversations about a child’s life at school. If a parent has positive attitudes toward homework, their children are more likely to share those same values, promoting academic success.

But it’s also possible for parents to be overbearing, putting too much emphasis on test scores or grades, which can be disruptive for children (Madjar, Shklar, & Moshe, 2015 ). Parents should avoid being overly intrusive or controlling—students report feeling less motivated to learn when they don’t have enough space and autonomy to do their homework (Orkin, May, & Wolf, 2017 ; Patall, Cooper, & Robinson, 2008 ; Silinskas & Kikas, 2017 ). So while homework can encourage parents to be more involved with their kids, it’s important to not make it a source of conflict.

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The role of homework

Homework seems to be an accepted part of teachers’ and students’ routines, but there is little mention of it in ELT literature.

how homework helps teachers

The role of homework is hardly mentioned in the majority of general ELT texts or training courses, suggesting that there is little question as to its value even if the resulting workload is time-consuming. However, there is clearly room for discussion of homework policies and practices particularly now that technology has made so many more resources available to learners outside the classroom.

Reasons for homework

  • Attitudes to homework
  • Effective homework
  • Types of homework
  • Homework is expected by students, teachers, parents and institutions.
  • Homework reinforces and helps learners to retain information taught in the classroom as well as increasing their general understanding of the language.
  • Homework develops study habits and independent learning. It also encourages learners to acquire resources such as dictionaries and grammar reference books. Research shows that homework also benefits factual knowledge, self-discipline, attitudes to learning and problem-solving skills.
  • Homework offers opportunities for extensive activities in the receptive skills which there may not be time for in the classroom. It may also be an integral part of ongoing learning such as project work and the use of a graded reader.
  • Homework provides continuity between lessons. It may be used to consolidate classwork, but also for preparation for the next lesson.
  • Homework may be used to shift repetitive, mechanical, time-consuming tasks out of the classroom.
  • Homework bridges the gap between school and home. Students, teachers and parents can monitor progress. The institution can involve parents in the learning process.
  • Homework can be a useful assessment tool, as part of continual or portfolio assessment.

Attitudes to homework Teachers tend to have mixed feelings about homework. While recognising the advantages, they observe negative attitudes and poor performance from students. Marking and giving useful feedback on homework can take up a large proportion of a teacher’s time, often after school hours.

  • Students themselves complain that the homework they are given is boring or pointless, referring to homework tasks that consist of studying for tests, doing workbook exercises, finishing incomplete classwork, memorising lists of vocabulary and writing compositions. Where this is actually the case, the negative effects of homework can be observed, typified by loss of interest and a view of homework as a form of punishment.
  • Other negative effects of poorly managed homework include lack of necessary leisure time and an increased differential between high and low achievers. These problems are often the cause of avoidance techniques such as completing homework tasks in class, collaborating and copying or simply not doing the required tasks. In turn, conflict may arise between learners, teachers, parents and the institution.

Effective homework In order for homework to be effective, certain principles should be observed.

  • Students should see the usefulness of homework. Teachers should explain the purpose both of homework in general and of individual tasks.
  • Tasks should be relevant, interesting and varied.
  • Good classroom practice also applies to homework. Tasks should be manageable but achievable.
  • Different tasks may be assigned to different ability groups. Individual learning styles should be taken into account.
  • Homework should be manageable in terms of time as well as level of difficulty. Teachers should remember that students are often given homework in other subjects and that there is a need for coordination to avoid overload. A homework diary, kept by the learner but checked by teachers and parents is a useful tool in this respect.
  • Homework is rarely co-ordinated within the curriculum as a whole, but should at least be incorporated into an overall scheme of work and be considered in lesson planning.
  • Homework tends to focus on a written product. There is no reason why this should be the case, other than that there is visible evidence that the task has been done.
  • Learner involvement and motivation may be increased by encouraging students to contribute ideas for homework and possibly design their own tasks. The teacher also needs to know how much time the students have, what facilities they have at home, and what their preferences are. A simple questionnaire will provide this data.
  • While homework should consolidate classwork, it should not replicate it. Home is the outside world and tasks which are nearer to real-life use of language are appropriate.
  • If homework is set, it must be assessed in some way, and feedback given. While marking by the teacher is sometimes necessary, peer and self-assessment can encourage learner independence as well as reducing the teacher’s workload. Motivating students to do homework is an ongoing process, and encouragement may be given by commenting and asking questions either verbally or in written form in order to demonstrate interest on the teacher’s part, particularly in the case of self-study and project work.

Types of homework There are a number of categories of useful and practicable homework tasks.

  • Workbook-based tasks Most published course materials include a workbook or practice book, mainly including consolidation exercises, short reading texts and an answer key. Most workbooks claim to be suitable for both class and self-study use, but are better used at home in order to achieve a separation of what is done in class and at home. Mechanical practice is thus shifted out of class hours, while this kind of exercise is particularly suited to peer- or self-checking and correction.
  • Preparation tasks Rarely do teachers ask learners to read through the next unit of a coursebook, though there are advantages in involving students in the lesson plan and having them know what is coming. More motivating, however, is asking students to find and bring materials such as photographs and pictures, magazine articles and realia which are relevant to the next topic, particularly where personalisation or relevance to the local context requires adaptation of course materials.
  • Extensive tasks Much can be gained from the use of graded readers, which now often have accompanying audio material, radio and TV broadcasts, podcasts and songs. Sometimes tasks need to be set as guidance, but learners also need to be encouraged to read, listen and watch for pleasure. What is important is that learners share their experiences in class. Extensive reading and listening may be accompanied by dictionary work and a thematic or personalised vocabulary notebook, whereby learners can collect language which they feel is useful.
  • Guided discovery tasks Whereas classroom teaching often involves eliciting language patterns and rules from learners, there is also the option of asking learners to notice language and make deductions for themselves at home. This leads to the sharing of knowledge and even peer teaching in the classroom.
  • Real-world tasks These involve seeing, hearing and putting language to use in realistic contexts. Reading magazines, watching TV, going to the cinema and listening to songs are obvious examples, offering the option of writing summaries and reviews as follow-up activities. Technology facilitates chat and friendship networks, while even in monolingual environments, walking down a shopping street noticing shop and brand names will reveal a lot of language. As with extensive tasks, it is important for learners to share their experiences, and perhaps to collect them in a formal or informal portfolio.
  • Project work It is a good idea to have a class or individual projects running over a period of time. Projects may be based on topics from a coursebook, the locality, interests and hobbies or selected individually. Project work needs to be guided in terms of where to find resources and monitored regularly, the outcome being a substantial piece of work at the end of a course or term of which the learner can claim ownership.

Conclusion Finally, a word about the Internet. The Web appears to offer a wealth of opportunity for self-study. Certainly reference resources make project work easier and more enjoyable, but cutting and pasting can also be seen as an easy option, requiring little originality or understanding. Conferring over homework tasks by email can be positive or negative, though chatting with an English-speaking friend is to be encouraged, as is searching for visual materials. Both teachers and learners are guilty of trawling the Net for practice exercises, some of which are untried, untested and dubious in terms of quality. Learners need guidance, and a starting point is to provide a short list of reliable sites such as the British Council's  LearnEnglish  and the BBC's Learning English  which provide a huge variety of exercises and activities as well as links to other reliable sources. Further reading Cooper, H. Synthesis of Research on Homework . Educational Leadership 47/3, 1989 North, S. and Pillay, H. Homework: re-examining the routin e. ELT Journal 56/2, April 2002 Painter, L. Homework . English Teaching Professional, Issue 10, 1999 Painter, L. Homework . OUP Resource Books for Teachers, 2003

First published in October 2007

Mr. Steve Darn I liked your…

Mr. Steve Darn I liked your method of the role of the homework . Well, I am one of those laggard people. Unfortunately, when it comes to homework, I definitely do it. Because, a student or pupil who understands new topics, of course, does his homework to know how much he understands the new topic. I also completely agree with all of Steve Darn's points above. However, sometimes teachers give a lot of riff-raff homework, just like homework is a human obligation. This is a plus. But in my opinion, first of all, it is necessary to divide the time properly, and then to do many tasks at home. Only then will you become an "excellent student" in the eyes of the teacher. Although we live in the age of technology, there are still some people who do not know how to send homework via email. Some foreign teachers ask to send tasks by email. Constant email updates require time and, in rare cases, a fee. My above points have been the cause of constant discussions.

  • Log in or register to post comments

exam and certificate

Setting homework, busy work or homework, setting homework.

I could not agree more!

Homeworks are an excellent way to revise and learn.

However, students are not likely to accept homeworks. That is why, as you claimed, the homeworks need to be useful, to have purpose.

I like your idea of ,, Real-world tasks,, since they definitely involve their background knowledge and such a type of homework is interesting and contemporary!

I totally agree. I am one of those teachers who give a lot of homework, and sometimes pupils don't like it. But homework help a lot. I mostly prefer project works, especially to upper levels.

I want to learn more about upper English specially law and business English all terms and words that we can use when we are making business.

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A daughter sits at a desk doing homework while her mom stands beside her helping

Credit: August de Richelieu

Does homework still have value? A Johns Hopkins education expert weighs in

Joyce epstein, co-director of the center on school, family, and community partnerships, discusses why homework is essential, how to maximize its benefit to learners, and what the 'no-homework' approach gets wrong.

By Vicky Hallett

The necessity of homework has been a subject of debate since at least as far back as the 1890s, according to Joyce L. Epstein , co-director of the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University. "It's always been the case that parents, kids—and sometimes teachers, too—wonder if this is just busy work," Epstein says.

But after decades of researching how to improve schools, the professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Education remains certain that homework is essential—as long as the teachers have done their homework, too. The National Network of Partnership Schools , which she founded in 1995 to advise schools and districts on ways to improve comprehensive programs of family engagement, has developed hundreds of improved homework ideas through its Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork program. For an English class, a student might interview a parent on popular hairstyles from their youth and write about the differences between then and now. Or for science class, a family could identify forms of matter over the dinner table, labeling foods as liquids or solids. These innovative and interactive assignments not only reinforce concepts from the classroom but also foster creativity, spark discussions, and boost student motivation.

"We're not trying to eliminate homework procedures, but expand and enrich them," says Epstein, who is packing this research into a forthcoming book on the purposes and designs of homework. In the meantime, the Hub couldn't wait to ask her some questions:

What kind of homework training do teachers typically get?

Future teachers and administrators really have little formal training on how to design homework before they assign it. This means that most just repeat what their teachers did, or they follow textbook suggestions at the end of units. For example, future teachers are well prepared to teach reading and literacy skills at each grade level, and they continue to learn to improve their teaching of reading in ongoing in-service education. By contrast, most receive little or no training on the purposes and designs of homework in reading or other subjects. It is really important for future teachers to receive systematic training to understand that they have the power, opportunity, and obligation to design homework with a purpose.

Why do students need more interactive homework?

If homework assignments are always the same—10 math problems, six sentences with spelling words—homework can get boring and some kids just stop doing their assignments, especially in the middle and high school years. When we've asked teachers what's the best homework you've ever had or designed, invariably we hear examples of talking with a parent or grandparent or peer to share ideas. To be clear, parents should never be asked to "teach" seventh grade science or any other subject. Rather, teachers set up the homework assignments so that the student is in charge. It's always the student's homework. But a good activity can engage parents in a fun, collaborative way. Our data show that with "good" assignments, more kids finish their work, more kids interact with a family partner, and more parents say, "I learned what's happening in the curriculum." It all works around what the youngsters are learning.

Is family engagement really that important?

At Hopkins, I am part of the Center for Social Organization of Schools , a research center that studies how to improve many aspects of education to help all students do their best in school. One thing my colleagues and I realized was that we needed to look deeply into family and community engagement. There were so few references to this topic when we started that we had to build the field of study. When children go to school, their families "attend" with them whether a teacher can "see" the parents or not. So, family engagement is ever-present in the life of a school.

My daughter's elementary school doesn't assign homework until third grade. What's your take on "no homework" policies?

There are some parents, writers, and commentators who have argued against homework, especially for very young children. They suggest that children should have time to play after school. This, of course is true, but many kindergarten kids are excited to have homework like their older siblings. If they give homework, most teachers of young children make assignments very short—often following an informal rule of 10 minutes per grade level. "No homework" does not guarantee that all students will spend their free time in productive and imaginative play.

Some researchers and critics have consistently misinterpreted research findings. They have argued that homework should be assigned only at the high school level where data point to a strong connection of doing assignments with higher student achievement . However, as we discussed, some students stop doing homework. This leads, statistically, to results showing that doing homework or spending more minutes on homework is linked to higher student achievement. If slow or struggling students are not doing their assignments, they contribute to—or cause—this "result."

Teachers need to design homework that even struggling students want to do because it is interesting. Just about all students at any age level react positively to good assignments and will tell you so.

Did COVID change how schools and parents view homework?

Within 24 hours of the day school doors closed in March 2020, just about every school and district in the country figured out that teachers had to talk to and work with students' parents. This was not the same as homeschooling—teachers were still working hard to provide daily lessons. But if a child was learning at home in the living room, parents were more aware of what they were doing in school. One of the silver linings of COVID was that teachers reported that they gained a better understanding of their students' families. We collected wonderfully creative examples of activities from members of the National Network of Partnership Schools. I'm thinking of one art activity where every child talked with a parent about something that made their family unique. Then they drew their finding on a snowflake and returned it to share in class. In math, students talked with a parent about something the family liked so much that they could represent it 100 times. Conversations about schoolwork at home was the point.

How did you create so many homework activities via the Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork program?

We had several projects with educators to help them design interactive assignments, not just "do the next three examples on page 38." Teachers worked in teams to create TIPS activities, and then we turned their work into a standard TIPS format in math, reading/language arts, and science for grades K-8. Any teacher can use or adapt our prototypes to match their curricula.

Overall, we know that if future teachers and practicing educators were prepared to design homework assignments to meet specific purposes—including but not limited to interactive activities—more students would benefit from the important experience of doing their homework. And more parents would, indeed, be partners in education.

Posted in Voices+Opinion

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By: Cathy Vatterott, Lee Jenkins, and Larry Sandomir

To assign homework or not to assign homework? To grade homework or not to grade homework? Educators, parents, students—they all have an opinion. So, what is the value of homework and should it be graded?

Giving Feedback

Cathy Vatterott

how homework helps teachers

When you ask teachers about the value of homework, they often say it teaches responsibility—to complete the task you’ve been given and return it on time. That may encourage obedience and responsibility for working, but the more important purpose is to encourage students to take responsibility for learning. When properly designed, homework encourages students to self-evaluate and reflect on their learning. “What do I know and how well do I know it? What am I confused about?”

For the teacher, whether homework is for practice, to check for understanding, or for application, homework is feedback about learning. Homework allows teachers to assess student understanding, diagnose problems, and prescribe remedies. Homework creates a private conversation between the student and the teacher. But students will only have that conversation if there is no shame or penalty for not understanding. “I didn’t do it—it was a stupid assignment” often means “I couldn’t do it—it made me feel stupid.” Struggling students would gladly take the zero. Then the question becomes: “Why grade homework?”

The most common reply is “If I don’t grade it, they won’t do it.” But teachers can wean students off their addiction to points. The other common reply is “Homework grades help poor test takers.” But a passing grade is no gift to a student who goes on to advanced classes without mastering prerequisite skills. A better solution is to rethink the test and create alternatives.

The current consensus is that homework is formative assessment that informs the summative assessments. Does it “count”? Yes, because it helps you pass the assessment. Should homework be graded? No. Should homework receive feedback? Absolutely!

Teachers who don’t grade homework still monitor completion of assignments and communicate with parents about missing work. They just don’t count it as part of the student’s grade.

Coaches don’t keep score during practice, but they do give lots of individualized feedback and they do require their athletes to practice.

Cathy Vatterott  is professor of education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  [email protected]   www.homeworklady.com

Removing Pressure

Lee Jenkins

how homework helps teachers

First, the premises:

  • Homework is a method; it is not a subject.
  • No method works on 100% of the students.
  • Homework is good for some students, but not all.
  • The issue is not whether you complete your homework, but whether you learn the content.
  • Homework refers to daily assignments, not to long-term projects.

Next, the problems:

  • Teachers say that most homework in secondary schools
  • Teachers often do not have adequate time to prepare lesson plans because they are grading homework.
  • Almost all classrooms have students who score an “A” on exams and are given a lower grade because they did not use the preferred method (homework) to learn the content.

Now the possibility:

  • Assign homework.
  • Do not collect it.
  • Give a 2–5 item homework quiz, selecting some of the problems verbatim from the homework. Roll dice to see which questions to use.
  • Grade the homework quiz.

Pressure removed. This simple possibility, which John MacDonald of Mayo High School in Rochester, Minnesota, shared with me, has greatly reduced the pressure for grading homework and the pressure for doing it in many classrooms across the United States. The homework quiz measures what is in the students’ heads and not what they copied or was completed by their parents. The quiz can be graded quickly, relieving the pressure on teachers for so much paperwork.

Almost all kindergarten students love school. After kindergarten, fewer and fewer students love school until we reach the low point of 39% in grade 9.

Our job as educators is not to motivate students; they come already motivated. Our job is to find out why two-thirds of the students don’t want to be there anymore and stop trying. Traditional homework practice is one of the major contributors of dislike or even disdain for school. How do we expect to have high standards and high success rates when two-thirds of the students have lost their kindergarten level of motivation?

Lee Jenkins,  education consultant, is author of Permission to Forget: And Nine Other Root Causes of America’s Frustration with Education  [email protected]   www.lbellj.com

Making Meaning

Larry Sandomir

how homework helps teachers

There are many reasonable arguments against homework: Students are in school long enough. They need time to explore different parts of their lives after school. They need to rest, relax, and socialize. They need time to just be ridiculous and do things kids do when they can control their own time, just for a little while. Homework is often an exercise in repetition and boredom.

All true. So why give it?

For me, the question is not whether to give homework, but rather what kind, why, and when. Homework matters if it deepens and expands a student’s understanding of and appreciation for a particular subject. It matters if it helps a student better balance his or her life in terms of time management and sense of proportion. It matters if it gives a student an understanding of how to set priorities. It matters if, despite the challenge of time, it means something to the person doing it.

In my progressive environment, homework helps give students ownership of the material and allows them to personalize it. It asks them to apply the concepts to other parts of their lives. They make the meaning rather than answer teacher-directed questions. The homework sometimes is generated spontaneously from what’s happening in a given class. The class sparks an idea that’s worth considering, and the students give it shape while the teacher provides the foundation.

If I want my students to love words and their power, what I ask them to do must engage and invest them. There must be a purpose they can see. They should want to discuss what they are doing with their parents because it makes them think, wonder, get excited, or even struggle.

There must be flexible due dates. The fastest work is not the best work and students are more motivated to do well if they believe the teacher is sensitive to their outside lives or that to do their best, they might need an extra few days. Then students don’t mind evaluation.

I try to create a learning process rather than unnecessary learning tension.

Larry Sandomir  is a middle school teacher at The Calhoun School in New York City.  [email protected]

Privacy Overview

A Teacher's Defense of Homework

If I didn't assign it, I'd never get through all the material I need to cover in a year. Plus, giving kids projects and deadlines is an essential way of preparing them for adulthood.

how homework helps teachers

I am a parent, and I struggle daily with making sure my daughter does her homework. I can certainly identify with the anxiety Karl Taro Greenfeld describes in his essay “ My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me .” Here, however, I’d like to speak as a teacher rather than a parent. I’d like to explain why, in my professional opinion, American kids need homework.

The Age of the Drone bug alt

I teach biology at the Charles School, a five-year early-college high school in Columbus, Ohio. I believe that my job is to prepare my students for college. In order to do that, I teach a wide variety of topics including cells, genetics, evolution, and ecology, using the National Science Standards . I teach each topic in depth so that the students understand and appreciate the information. I teach them about the scientific method, lab procedures, and scientific writing, all skills they will need in college. It’s a lot to fit into one short year, and my class requires a lot of effort from my students.

I require my students to read one chapter out of their textbook each week, and to complete a short take-home quiz on the material. It helps to supplement the notes I give in class, so that I can spend more class time on labs and other hands-on activities. I learned in college that hands-on work is the best way for students to learn, and that’s certainly true. However, it’s definitely not the most efficient way. So, if I’m going to offer interactive activities in class, I need students to put in some time and effort studying outside of class as well.

Other than the reading, most of the homework students bring home from my class is left over from the day’s activity. I often give time at the end of class so that students can begin on work when I’m there to help them. Our dean calls it “buying in”:  Students are much more likely to finish an assignment at home if I can convince them to start it in class. Unfortunately, many kids choose to socialize when I give them time to work on their own.  The students always say, “I’ll just do this for homework” and neglect to get much, if any, of the assignment done in class.  Then, they come home with a pile of homework, which many parents assume the teachers assigned at the end of class.

A few times a year, I require students to write a scientific paper. We spend a significant amount of time on these assignments at school, but effort outside of class is required as well. And I think that’s great. Schoolwork prepares students for work-related tasks, financial planning, and any project that ends with the feeling of a job well done. Long-term planning, projects, and deadlines are a key part of adulthood.

Nevertheless, some parents think their kids are getting too much work. One argument, which Greenfeld uses, is to compare American students with those in other countries. In his article, Greenfeld cites the fact that students in many overseas countries are scoring higher than American children, while being assigned less homework. He uses Japan as an example. In 2011, Japan was ranked fourth in science scores in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study . But according to a study cited in Greenfeld’s article, Japanese students are actually assigned less homework by their teachers. Why, then, do they achieve more? The answer comes when you look at the differences in our cultures and our views on education. Japanese teachers may not be assigning much homework, but it turns out that Japanese kids are doing plenty of homework anyway.   

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I spoke with Chris Spackman, who is the English as a Second Language coordinator at my school. Chris taught for 13 years in Japan, and served on the Board of Education in the city of Kanazawa. I asked him why Japanese kids are scoring so high on achievement tests despite having relatively little homework. “Because Japanese kids go to juku ,” he answered. He went on to explain that juku is a common after-school program that prepares Japanese kids for achievement testing. In Japan, senior high school is not required or guaranteed.  Instead, students compete for spots at prestigious high schools by scoring high on achievement tests.  “Some schools are for art, or college prep,” says Chris.  “You have to study hard in junior high to get into the high school that you want.”  In high school, Japanese kids continue to go to juku so that they can get into the college they want as well. So, Japanese kids do academic work outside of school, just not necessarily work assigned by their classroom teacher.

There is room for compromise on the homework debate. In their book Reforming Homework , Richard Walker and Mike Horsley state that while homework isn’t very beneficial for younger kids, it’s still beneficial for older students. I agree. I’ve learned, while preparing my students to start college early, that study skills become much more important than they were in primary school.  It’s also important for teachers to assign work that’s high in quality, instead of quantity.  The vast majority of teachers I know are careful to only assign work that’s important for student success.  Remember, teachers have to grade all of these assignments – we wouldn’t want to spend extra time grading papers that have no value.

In the comments on Greenfeld’s article, some readers assume that teachers don’t have our students’ best interests at heart. But usually, teachers who aren’t incredibly devoted to their students don’t last in the profession. The teachers who do stay are committed to giving the best education to their students. We wouldn’t be assigning that homework, giving that test, or reading that book if we didn’t truly believe it was worthwhile. All we ask is that you trust us, just a little.

This One Change From Teachers Can Make Homework More Equitable

how homework helps teachers

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Homework can deepen inequities for low-income students at school if teachers judge students’ effort by their families’ involvement.

That’s according to a new study in the journal Educational Researcher, which found teachers were more likely to attribute missed homework to irresponsibility or parent disinterest with low-income students and students of color than with wealthier or white students.

The study was part of a broader longitudinal study of more than 4,000 middle school students and their teachers. Researchers observed 80 students and their teachers and conducted in-depth interviews with both, as well as with the students’ families.

Across both elementary and middle schools, “teachers were interpreting homework through this meritocratic lens, seeing it as the product of motivation and competence and effort, and not as the product of the kinds of circumstances that students or their families might be facing at home,” said Jessica McCrory Calarco, an associate professor of sociology at Indiana University and the lead author of the study.

“When teachers use that cultural framework to interpret what’s going on in their classrooms, it can lead them to judge and punish students and treat students in potentially harmful ways,” Calarco said.

As one teacher in the study noted, “I’ve had a few students this year who have been reluctant to do homework. It’s been mainly the [lower-level students]. Probably math isn’t their favorite subject, so they wouldn’t want to do their math homework, even when it’s easy. And when it’s not easy, they especially don’t want to do it.”

The findings are “unfortunate but not surprising,” said Joyce Epstein, a homework researcher and the director of the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships, at Johns Hopkins University, who was not involved in Calarco’s study.

“Parents are in fact interested in their children’s work and success. What they’re not interested in is being told they’re supposed to know how to teach every subject at every grade level, just because somebody said it was a good idea,” Epstein said.

Teachers who took a meritocratic approach to homework were more likely to adopt punitive homework policies: giving extra credit on tests for students who turned in homework, or keeping students back from recess for not completing it, for example. Meritocratic teachers also were more likely to assign homework that students could not complete independently, either because it was too difficult or required input from parents.

One mother of a 5th grader in the study said she barely passed her GED high school equivalency exam, and often struggled to help her son with math. “I still can’t really figure out division. . . . [Jesse will] ask me a question, and I’ll go look at it, and it’s like algebra, in 5th grade,” the mother told researchers. “Sometimes you just feel stupid because he’s in 5th grade, and I’m like—I should be able to help my son with his homework in 5th grade.”

In an earlier related study using the same students, Calarco and her colleagues also found teachers felt significant pressure from affluent and white parents to excuse their children when they failed to complete homework. Existing homework policies tended to be applied in favor of students of parents who were highly involved in the school.

“It wasn’t a consistent application of rules,” Calarco said. “It was much more rooted in the status and the power of families ... not only in terms of who actually was able to provide more hands-on help at home, but also in the extent to which teachers felt that they had to grant exemptions to students from more privileged backgrounds.”

Designing better homework

Prior research suggests the majority of parent homework help ends up being counterproductive, including doing work for a student or providing confusing or inaccurate explanations for a concept.

“Homework is important, proven to be useful for children’s learning, but we can all do better in designing good homework as opposed to just more of it,” Epstein said.

She argued that teachers should be given more time to work with each other and parents to design homework policies and assignments.

“We should never ask parents to teach a school subject. They don’t want to do it, they can’t do it, they shouldn’t be asked to do it,” Epstein said. “What we’ve learned is that to increase the family connection with their child on homework, ... you design homework to help the student become the leader in this work.”

Among the recommendations:

  • Do not design homework that requires parents to teach or check content knowledge.
  • Ensure students can complete assignments at home without help.
  • Design separate, ungraded assignments to engage families (e.g. a family oral history project). “If we design homework so the youngster is showing, sharing, demonstrating what they’ve learned in class, the parent becomes an appreciator of how the youngster is growing their skills and abilities,” Epstein said.
  • Incorporate supplemental exercises or model lessons in separate communications with parents, such as school newsletters or literacy nights.

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Education Next

  • The Journal
  • Vol. 19, No. 1

The Case for (Quality) Homework

how homework helps teachers

Janine Bempechat

how homework helps teachers

Any parent who has battled with a child over homework night after night has to wonder: Do those math worksheets and book reports really make a difference to a student’s long-term success? Or is homework just a headache—another distraction from family time and downtime, already diminished by the likes of music and dance lessons, sports practices, and part-time jobs?

Allison, a mother of two middle-school girls from an affluent Boston suburb, describes a frenetic afterschool scenario: “My girls do gymnastics a few days a week, so homework happens for my 6th grader after gymnastics, at 6:30 p.m. She doesn’t get to bed until 9. My 8th grader does her homework immediately after school, up until gymnastics. She eats dinner at 9:15 and then goes to bed, unless there is more homework to do, in which case she’ll get to bed around 10.” The girls miss out on sleep, and weeknight family dinners are tough to swing.

Parental concerns about their children’s homework loads are nothing new. Debates over the merits of homework—tasks that teachers ask students to complete during non-instructional time—have ebbed and flowed since the late 19th century, and today its value is again being scrutinized and weighed against possible negative impacts on family life and children’s well-being.

Are American students overburdened with homework? In some middle-class and affluent communities, where pressure on students to achieve can be fierce, yes. But in families of limited means, it’s often another story. Many low-income parents value homework as an important connection to the school and the curriculum—even as their children report receiving little homework. Overall, high-school students relate that they spend less than one hour per day on homework, on average, and only 42 percent say they do it five days per week. In one recent survey by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a minimal 13 percent of 17-year-olds said they had devoted more than two hours to homework the previous evening (see Figure 1).

how homework helps teachers

Recent years have seen an increase in the amount of homework assigned to students in grades K–2, and critics point to research findings that, at the elementary-school level, homework does not appear to enhance children’s learning. Why, then, should we burden young children and their families with homework if there is no academic benefit to doing it? Indeed, perhaps it would be best, as some propose, to eliminate homework altogether, particularly in these early grades.

On the contrary, developmentally appropriate homework plays a critical role in the formation of positive learning beliefs and behaviors, including a belief in one’s academic ability, a deliberative and effortful approach to mastery, and higher expectations and aspirations for one’s future. It can prepare children to confront ever-more-complex tasks, develop resilience in the face of difficulty, and learn to embrace rather than shy away from challenge. In short, homework is a key vehicle through which we can help shape children into mature learners.

The Homework-Achievement Connection

A narrow focus on whether or not homework boosts grades and test scores in the short run thus ignores a broader purpose in education, the development of lifelong, confident learners. Still, the question looms: does homework enhance academic success? As the educational psychologist Lyn Corno wrote more than two decades ago, “homework is a complicated thing.” Most research on the homework-achievement connection is correlational, which precludes a definitive judgment on its academic benefits. Researchers rely on correlational research in this area of study given the difficulties of randomly assigning students to homework/no-homework conditions. While correlation does not imply causality, extensive research has established that at the middle- and high-school levels, homework completion is strongly and positively associated with high achievement. Very few studies have reported a negative correlation.

As noted above, findings on the homework-achievement connection at the elementary level are mixed. A small number of experimental studies have demonstrated that elementary-school students who receive homework achieve at higher levels than those who do not. These findings suggest a causal relationship, but they are limited in scope. Within the body of correlational research, some studies report a positive homework-achievement connection, some a negative relationship, and yet others show no relationship at all. Why the mixed findings? Researchers point to a number of possible factors, such as developmental issues related to how young children learn, different goals that teachers have for younger as compared to older students, and how researchers define homework.

Certainly, young children are still developing skills that enable them to focus on the material at hand and study efficiently. Teachers’ goals for their students are also quite different in elementary school as compared to secondary school. While teachers at both levels note the value of homework for reinforcing classroom content, those in the earlier grades are more likely to assign homework mainly to foster skills such as responsibility, perseverance, and the ability to manage distractions.

Most research examines homework generally. Might a focus on homework in a specific subject shed more light on the homework-achievement connection? A recent meta-analysis did just this by examining the relationship between math/science homework and achievement. Contrary to previous findings, researchers reported a stronger relationship between homework and achievement in the elementary grades than in middle school. As the study authors note, one explanation for this finding could be that in elementary school, teachers tend to assign more homework in math than in other subjects, while at the same time assigning shorter math tasks more frequently. In addition, the authors point out that parents tend to be more involved in younger children’s math homework and more skilled in elementary-level than middle-school math.

In sum, the relationship between homework and academic achievement in the elementary-school years is not yet established, but eliminating homework at this level would do children and their families a huge disservice: we know that children’s learning beliefs have a powerful impact on their academic outcomes, and that through homework, parents and teachers can have a profound influence on the development of positive beliefs.

How Much Is Appropriate?

Harris M. Cooper of Duke University, the leading researcher on homework, has examined decades of study on what we know about the relationship between homework and scholastic achievement. He has proposed the “10-minute rule,” suggesting that daily homework be limited to 10 minutes per grade level. Thus, a 1st grader would do 10 minutes each day and a 4th grader, 40 minutes. The National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association both endorse this guideline, but it is not clear whether the recommended allotments include time for reading, which most teachers want children to do daily.

For middle-school students, Cooper and colleagues report that 90 minutes per day of homework is optimal for enhancing academic achievement, and for high schoolers, the ideal range is 90 minutes to two and a half hours per day. Beyond this threshold, more homework does not contribute to learning. For students enrolled in demanding Advanced Placement or honors courses, however, homework is likely to require significantly more time, leading to concerns over students’ health and well-being.

Notwithstanding media reports of parents revolting against the practice of homework, the vast majority of parents say they are highly satisfied with their children’s homework loads. The National Household Education Surveys Program recently found that between 70 and 83 percent of parents believed that the amount of homework their children had was “about right,” a result that held true regardless of social class, race/ethnicity, community size, level of education, and whether English was spoken at home.

Learning Beliefs Are Consequential

As noted above, developmentally appropriate homework can help children cultivate positive beliefs about learning. Decades of research have established that these beliefs predict the types of tasks students choose to pursue, their persistence in the face of challenge, and their academic achievement. Broadly, learning beliefs fall under the banner of achievement motivation, which is a constellation of cognitive, behavioral, and affective factors, including: the way a person perceives his or her abilities, goal-setting skills, expectation of success, the value the individual places on learning, and self-regulating behavior such as time-management skills. Positive or adaptive beliefs about learning serve as emotional and psychological protective factors for children, especially when they encounter difficulties or failure.

Motivation researcher Carol Dweck of Stanford University posits that children with a “growth mindset”—those who believe that ability is malleable—approach learning very differently than those with a “fixed mindset”—kids who believe ability cannot change. Those with a growth mindset view effort as the key to mastery. They see mistakes as helpful, persist even in the face of failure, prefer challenging over easy tasks, and do better in school than their peers who have a fixed mindset. In contrast, children with a fixed mindset view effort and mistakes as implicit condemnations of their abilities. Such children succumb easily to learned helplessness in the face of difficulty, and they gravitate toward tasks they know they can handle rather than more challenging ones.

Of course, learning beliefs do not develop in a vacuum. Studies have demonstrated that parents and teachers play a significant role in the development of positive beliefs and behaviors, and that homework is a key tool they can use to foster motivation and academic achievement.

Parents’ Beliefs and Actions Matter

It is well established that parental involvement in their children’s education promotes achievement motivation and success in school. Parents are their children’s first teachers, and their achievement-related beliefs have a profound influence on children’s developing perceptions of their own abilities, as well as their views on the value of learning and education.

Parents affect their children’s learning through the messages they send about education, whether by expressing interest in school activities and experiences, attending school events, helping with homework when they can, or exposing children to intellectually enriching experiences. Most parents view such engagement as part and parcel of their role. They also believe that doing homework fosters responsibility and organizational skills, and that doing well on homework tasks contributes to learning, even if children experience frustration from time to time.

Many parents provide support by establishing homework routines, eliminating distractions, communicating expectations, helping children manage their time, providing reassuring messages, and encouraging kids to be aware of the conditions under which they do their best work. These supports help foster the development of self-regulation, which is critical to school success.

Self-regulation involves a number of skills, such as the ability to monitor one’s performance and adjust strategies as a result of feedback; to evaluate one’s interests and realistically perceive one’s aptitude; and to work on a task autonomously. It also means learning how to structure one’s environment so that it’s conducive to learning, by, for example, minimizing distractions. As children move into higher grades, these skills and strategies help them organize, plan, and learn independently. This is precisely where parents make a demonstrable difference in students’ attitudes and approaches to homework.

Especially in the early grades, homework gives parents the opportunity to cultivate beliefs and behaviors that foster efficient study skills and academic resilience. Indeed, across age groups, there is a strong and positive relationship between homework completion and a variety of self-regulatory processes. However, the quality of parental help matters. Sometimes, well-intentioned parents can unwittingly undermine the development of children’s positive learning beliefs and their achievement. Parents who maintain a positive outlook on homework and allow their children room to learn and struggle on their own, stepping in judiciously with informational feedback and hints, do their children a much better service than those who seek to control the learning process.

A recent study of 5th and 6th graders’ perceptions of their parents’ involvement with homework distinguished between supportive and intrusive help. The former included the belief that parents encouraged the children to try to find the right answer on their own before providing them with assistance, and when the child struggled, attempted to understand the source of the confusion. In contrast, the latter included the perception that parents provided unsolicited help, interfered when the children did their homework, and told them how to complete their assignments. Supportive help predicted higher achievement, while intrusive help was associated with lower achievement.

Parents’ attitudes and emotions during homework time can support the development of positive attitudes and approaches in their children, which in turn are predictive of higher achievement. Children are more likely to focus on self-improvement during homework time and do better in school when their parents are oriented toward mastery. In contrast, if parents focus on how well children are doing relative to peers, kids tend to adopt learning goals that allow them to avoid challenge.

how homework helps teachers

Homework and Social Class

Social class is another important element in the homework dynamic. What is the homework experience like for families with limited time and resources? And what of affluent families, where resources are plenty but the pressures to succeed are great?

Etta Kralovec and John Buell, authors of The End of Homework, maintain that homework “punishes the poor,” because lower-income parents may not be as well educated as their affluent counterparts and thus not as well equipped to help with homework. Poorer families also have fewer financial resources to devote to home computers, tutoring, and academic enrichment. The stresses of poverty—and work schedules—may impinge, and immigrant parents may face language barriers and an unfamiliarity with the school system and teachers’ expectations.

Yet research shows that low-income parents who are unable to assist with homework are far from passive in their children’s learning, and they do help foster scholastic performance. In fact, parental help with homework is not a necessary component for school success.

Brown University’s Jin Li queried low-income Chinese American 9th graders’ perceptions of their parents’ engagement with their education. Students said their immigrant parents rarely engaged in activities that are known to foster academic achievement, such as monitoring homework, checking it for accuracy, or attending school meetings or events. Instead, parents of higher achievers built three social networks to support their children’s learning. They designated “anchor” helpers both inside and outside the family who provided assistance; identified peer models for their children to emulate; and enlisted the assistance of extended kin to guide their children’s educational socialization. In a related vein, a recent analysis of survey data showed that Asian and Latino 5th graders, relative to native-born peers, were more likely to turn to siblings than parents for homework help.

Further, research demonstrates that low-income parents, recognizing that they lack the time to be in the classroom or participate in school governance, view homework as a critical connection to their children’s experiences in school. One study found that mothers enjoyed the routine and predictability of homework and used it as a way to demonstrate to children how to plan their time. Mothers organized homework as a family activity, with siblings doing homework together and older children reading to younger ones. In this way, homework was perceived as a collective practice wherein siblings could model effective habits and learn from one another.

In another recent study, researchers examined mathematics achievement in low-income 8th-grade Asian and Latino students. Help with homework was an advantage their mothers could not provide. They could, however, furnish structure (for example, by setting aside quiet time for homework completion), and it was this structure that most predicted high achievement. As the authors note, “It is . . . important to help [low-income] parents realize that they can still help their children get good grades in mathematics and succeed in school even if they do not know how to provide direct assistance with their child’s mathematics homework.”

The homework narrative at the other end of the socioeconomic continuum is altogether different. Media reports abound with examples of students, mostly in high school, carrying three or more hours of homework per night, a burden that can impair learning, motivation, and well-being. In affluent communities, students often experience intense pressure to cultivate a high-achieving profile that will be attractive to elite colleges. Heavy homework loads have been linked to unhealthy symptoms such as heightened stress, anxiety, physical complaints, and sleep disturbances. Like Allison’s 6th grader mentioned earlier, many students can only tackle their homework after they do extracurricular activities, which are also seen as essential for the college résumé. Not surprisingly, many students in these communities are not deeply engaged in learning; rather, they speak of “doing school,” as Stanford researcher Denise Pope has described, going through the motions necessary to excel, and undermining their physical and mental health in the process.

Fortunately, some national intervention initiatives, such as Challenge Success (co-founded by Pope), are heightening awareness of these problems. Interventions aimed at restoring balance in students’ lives (in part, by reducing homework demands) have resulted in students reporting an increased sense of well-being, decreased stress and anxiety, and perceptions of greater support from teachers, with no decrease in achievement outcomes.

What is good for this small segment of students, however, is not necessarily good for the majority. As Jessica Lahey wrote in Motherlode, a New York Times parenting blog, “homework is a red herring” in the national conversation on education. “Some otherwise privileged children may have too much, but the real issue lies in places where there is too little. . . . We shouldn’t forget that.”

My colleagues and I analyzed interviews conducted with lower-income 9th graders (African American, Mexican American, and European American) from two Northern California high schools that at the time were among the lowest-achieving schools in the state. We found that these students consistently described receiving minimal homework—perhaps one or two worksheets or textbook pages, the occasional project, and 30 minutes of reading per night. Math was the only class in which they reported having homework each night. These students noted few consequences for not completing their homework.

Indeed, greatly reducing or eliminating homework would likely increase, not diminish, the achievement gap. As Harris M. Cooper has commented, those choosing to opt their children out of homework are operating from a place of advantage. Children in higher-income families benefit from many privileges, including exposure to a larger range of language at home that may align with the language of school, access to learning and cultural experiences, and many other forms of enrichment, such as tutoring and academic summer camps, all of which may be cost-prohibitive for lower-income families. But for the 21 percent of the school-age population who live in poverty—nearly 11 million students ages 5–17—homework is one tool that can help narrow the achievement gap.

Community and School Support

Often, community organizations and afterschool programs can step up to provide structure and services that students’ need to succeed at homework. For example, Boys and Girls and 4-H clubs offer volunteer tutors as well as access to computer technology that students may not have at home. Many schools provide homework clubs or integrate homework into the afterschool program.

Home-school partnerships have succeeded in engaging parents with homework and significantly improving their children’s academic achievement. For example, Joyce Epstein of Johns Hopkins University has developed the TIPS model (Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork), which embraces homework as an integral part of family time. TIPS is a teacher-designed interactive program in which children and a parent or family member each have a specific role in the homework scenario. For example, children might show the parent how to do a mathematics task on fractions, explaining their reasoning along the way and reviewing their thinking aloud if they are unsure.

Evaluations show that elementary and middle-school students in classrooms that have adopted TIPS complete more of their homework than do students in other classrooms. Both students and parent participants show more positive beliefs about learning mathematics, and TIPS students show significant gains in writing skills and report-card science grades, as well as higher mathematics scores on standardized tests.

Another study found that asking teachers to send text messages to parents about their children’s missing homework resulted in increased parental monitoring of homework, consequences for missed assignments, and greater participation in parent-child conferences. Teachers reported fewer missed assignments and greater student effort in coursework, and math grades and GPA significantly improved.

Homework Quality Matters

Teachers favor homework for a number of reasons. They believe it fosters a sense of responsibility and promotes academic achievement. They note that homework provides valuable review and practice for students while giving teachers feedback on areas where students may need more support. Finally, teachers value homework as a way to keep parents connected to the school and their children’s educational experiences.

While students, to say the least, may not always relish the idea of doing homework, by high school most come to believe there is a positive relationship between doing homework and doing well in school. Both higher and lower achievers lament “busywork” that doesn’t promote learning. They crave high-quality, challenging assignments—and it is this kind of homework that has been associated with higher achievement.

What constitutes high-quality homework? Assignments that are developmentally appropriate and meaningful and that promote self-efficacy and self-regulation. Meaningful homework is authentic, allowing students to engage in solving problems with real-world relevance. More specifically, homework tasks should make efficient use of student time and have a clear purpose connected to what they are learning. An artistic rendition of a period in history that would take hours to complete can become instead a diary entry in the voice of an individual from that era. By allowing a measure of choice and autonomy in homework, teachers foster in their students a sense of ownership, which bolsters their investment in the work.

High-quality homework also fosters students’ perceptions of their own competence by 1) focusing them on tasks they can accomplish without help; 2) differentiating tasks so as to allow struggling students to experience success; 3) providing suggested time frames rather than a fixed period of time in which a task should be completed; 4) delivering clearly and carefully explained directions; and 5) carefully modeling methods for attacking lengthy or complex tasks. Students whose teachers have trained them to adopt strategies such as goal setting, self-monitoring, and planning develop a number of personal assets—improved time management, increased self-efficacy, greater effort and interest, a desire for mastery, and a decrease in helplessness.

how homework helps teachers

Excellence with Equity

Currently, the United States has the second-highest disparity between time spent on homework by students of low socioeconomic status and time spent by their more-affluent peers out of the 34 OECD-member nations participating in the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) (see Figure 2). Noting that PISA studies have consistently found that spending more time on math homework strongly correlates with higher academic achievement, the report’s authors suggest that the homework disparity may reflect lower teacher expectations for low-income students. If so, this is truly unfortunate. In and of itself, low socioeconomic status is not an impediment to academic achievement when appropriate parental, school, and community supports are deployed. As research makes clear, low-income parents support their children’s learning in varied ways, not all of which involve direct assistance with schoolwork. Teachers can orient students and parents toward beliefs that foster positive attitudes toward learning. Indeed, where homework is concerned, a commitment to excellence with equity is both worthwhile and attainable.

In affluent communities, parents, teachers, and school districts might consider reexamining the meaning of academic excellence and placing more emphasis on leading a balanced and well-rounded life. The homework debate in the United States has been dominated by concerns over the health and well-being of such advantaged students. As legitimate as these worries are, it’s important to avoid generalizing these children’s experiences to those with fewer family resources. Reducing or eliminating homework, though it may be desirable in some advantaged communities, would deprive poorer children of a crucial and empowering learning experience. It would also eradicate a fertile opportunity to help close the achievement gap.

Janine Bempechat is clinical professor of human development at the Boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human Development.

An unabridged version of this article is available here .

For more, please see “ The Top 20 Education Next Articles of 2023 .”

This article appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Education Next . Suggested citation format:

Bempechat, J. (2019). The Case for (Quality) Homework: Why it improves learning, and how parents can help . Education Next, 19 (1), 36-43.

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In the News: What’s the Right Amount of Homework? Many Students Get Too Little, Brief Argues

by Education Next

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In the News: Down With Homework, Say U.S. School Districts

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In the News: Does Homework Really Help Students Learn?

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Student Opinion

Should We Get Rid of Homework?

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

how homework helps teachers

By Jeremy Engle and Michael Gonchar

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

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

Should we get rid of homework?

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

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

Mr. Kang argues:

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

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there a way to make homework more effective?

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

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

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

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

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Why Is Homework Important & Its Benefits?

Are you searching for why is homework important? If yes, then have a close look at this blog post to explore why homework is important.

For parents, it is a hard nut to crack, engaging their children with homework. It seems like a nightmare for students to do their homework.

I am not denying that doing homework is boring for students because, at that time, they wanted to play, watch TV, and do other recreational activities instead of doing homework.

People often think homework is pretty stressful; I agree. But also, there’s a lot of significance. I think that people are far too overwhelmed with the phrase “homework,” but they may not understand why this word is the key to improving our understanding and leads to success.

Other than that, it assists the students, parents, and teachers.

So, to know more about homework and its perks, keep scrolling on this blog because here, we will illustrate why homework is important to students, parents, and teachers.

Why is homework important?

Table of Contents

This query is widely known because it is not exciting to do homework.  

Homework is indeed important in a student’s life. But the students should do it with creativity, enthusiasm, and dedication to take advantage.

Learn how to study, do homework, and study independently, as they will master how to use various sources, such as texts, book chapters, libraries, and websites. As students handle difficulties, they’ll learn how to cope skillfully.

Benefits Of Homework

Do you want to know, “why is doing homework important?” let’s know the first benefits of homework for students. 

homework benefits

  • The first benefit of homework is that it increases students’ knowledge.
  • It’s best for self-learning, encouraging time management skills, tracking academic performance, teaching students to be responsible, etc. 
  • The next homework importance is that it develops crucial study skills.
  • Moreover, the next benefit of homework is that it is best for independent or self-learning.
  • If you think, “does homework promote learning?” the answer is yes. Also, it is good for homework. 
  • Through homework, students know the importance or value of homework.
  • Also another importance of homework for students is that it boosts memory retention. 
  • Parents get to see the content taught in school, and students learn to take accountability for their role in the educational process.
  • Students learn to stay organized, act and plan.
  • Homework measures students’ learning for teachers.
  • Depends on students’ understanding of a subject matter.
  • Provides students another chance to review class material.

Why Homework Is Important For Students?

Do you know, “ why is homework important to students ”? Here are the following points that help you know why is it important to do homework for students.

Does Debate On Homework Good?

If you want to know, “does homework promote learning debate points,” just read the following points.

  • Homework lets students improve classroom learning. It helps students to invent adequate life skills and study habits. Because students generally have only 50% of the information teachers provide in class. So, to improve their learned skills, students must apply them to learn about the topic 100%.
  • If you think, “do you need homework to learn to debate,” it’s the answer is no. Because homework helps the students to control their overall workload and time management skills.
  • The homework debate is usual, even CBSE School homework also. The discussion revolves around the idea that homework leads to better skills and good study habits, while some think it hinders academic success. But what includes extreme homework and what makes it a vital component of our intellectual life relies on multiple elements.
  • Also, the homework debate does not promote learning or why is homework important debate; it even encourages students to do good research with perfect time management skills.

Why Is Homework Important Essay?

Yes, the importance of homework in students’ life in the current scenario is the best topic for the essay. Because after the Covid 19 pandemic, only a few students spend hours doing homework. 

According to students, homework is an immense burden to teachers and students, but still, it is essential. Some people doubt homework’s usefulness, but teachers and students agree homework is vital. 

Homework helps students to encourage time management skills, get better grades in school, improve focus on study, and promote crucial study skills in students, etc. 

Why Is Homework Important To Organisms?

Homework is planned to be a positive point of view in students that encourages children to learn. Teachers allot homework to support students’ study, use, and incorporate what has been discovered in class; develop student investigation of topics more positively than class time permits; and help students prepare for the next class session.

Homework teaches students about time management. Homework teaches students how to set importance. Homework helps teachers determine how well the lessons are being understood by their students. Also, it helps students to know why is homework important in their studies or Why is homework not important. Homework teaches students how to problem solve. 

Why Is Homework Important With Evidence?

In 2006, Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper did the most research on homework with meta-analysis. He found an optimistic correlation between homework and student achievement, describing how students (who did homework) performed better in school. The correlation was more robust for older students in 7th through 12th grade than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.

Cooper’s research concentrated on how homework affects educational achievement or Why Is Homework Important. It is possible with the help of test scores. His report stated that homework is also considered to enhance attitudes toward school, study habits, self-discipline, interest, and self-dependent problem-solving skills. 

On the other hand, research demonstrated that too much homework could cause emotional and physical instances, negatively fuel mindsets about learning, and determine relaxation time for children. 

Why Is Homework Important? The Topic Of Debate

In a debate, there are always two sides to the discussion. Take a look at the opinion of each side:

The Opponents

Few people believe that homework has negative aspects and argue that homework seems to have no educational benefits. It takes a long time away from extracurricular activities and makes learners hate learning.

They opine that the students should do other fun activities instead of doing homework so that they can learn with joy.

Moreover, people think playing is important for physical and mental growth, while homework resists their physical and mental development as it is boring.

The Supporters

In contrast, other people say completing assignments, projects, or schoolwork by students widens their knowledge of topics. It puts the learning responsibility and teaches essential management skills they can carry and analyze throughout their lives. 

The central argument for adding to the debate about homework is that things are not just black, and every point has two sides.

Homework helps increase intellectual ability, but teachers ensure that they do not put an extreme burden on students in the name of schoolwork or assignments.

Importance Of Homework In Learning Process To Student Success

Why is homework important for the academic success of students? Many people try to find out the answer to this question. Here we discuss some reasons why homework is essential for the student’s success:

why is homework important

Develops Time Management Skills

Children and young people find it difficult to manage time after school for various activities and don’t know how to prioritize their to-do lists.

Parents want these assignments for young children assigned by teachers to guide the children in developing this vital skill.

The primary objective for college students ultimately involves learning how to handle various tasks and to fit them into their schedules.

Also, plan which activity will take a shorter or longer time based on their strengths, weaknesses, or skill level, and interest.

Time management skills are important for students, especially children because they have to manage different tasks simultaneously in the future. 

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Encourage Students To Prepare For Successful Careers

With the help of homework, the students can realize their interests and what area they should pursue their advanced study to choose a worthwhile profession.

Homework stimulates the students to recognize their weaknesses and strengths, which is important for further education.

Helps Develop Accountability

Homework is the student’s responsibility, and finishing the task on time helps the student learn to be accountable. Getting things done to do coursework individually builds the ‘I’ve made it’ capacity spirit.

Accomplishments, achievement, and responsibility seem to be the most necessary executive skills in the work environment and need to be developed in the early years as the child progresses.

Build Confidence In Students

Some people, including educational administration, parents, etc., think, why is homework important? Does it contribute to developing some skills in students?

Undoubtedly, It helps develop various abilities among students, and confidence is one of them. Children often need to try their problems or tests and understand that failing is necessary for learning.

Students gain faith by working through math problems or writing papers, and developing innovative problem-solving skills.

Improves Self-Esteem

Both Self-esteem and coursework are connected very strongly. When the students assign homework, they feel they are part of it, and contribute positively.

This emotion helps make them work very hard to complete their homework on time. Completing homework builds their confidence and creates a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. 

Develops Thinking And Memory Of The Students

Homework is a tool to sharpen the memory of students. The student is given an individual period after productive classwork to test what the teacher taught earlier in class. It encourages concentration power and develops strong memory. 

A student may be able to think about new ideas that improve memory in a unique atmosphere. The student can apply the learning to real-life circumstances and experiences through homework. 

Encourage The Involvement Of Parents In Child Education

Parents and students always think, why is homework important? They think that it creates an extra burden on the child. The reason for it is that they don’t get involved in it with the child.

But the homework sometimes needs the help of the parents to do it. It forces parents to remain on the same page with their kids as they work through lessons and units. 

It also enables parents to reach the teacher if they find that their child is coping with one topic or subject. In the younger grades, in particular, schoolwork will help mom and dad be aware of their children’s weaknesses and strengths, providing for adequate opportunities for action if required.

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Develops A Sense Of Independence

Homework is a task for students after school, which they do at home. Once the students successfully complete the homework task, they can memorize the work performed in the classroom. 

Students feel informed when they finish their home tasks alone, which induces independence. Independent working fosters sincerity and dedication when the tasks get tough; an independent student can learn to get tough.

An Instrument For Creating Teams:

Homework requiring teamwork helps the students to develop a sense of collaboration. When a student can cooperate very well with team members to finish the tasks, it indicates that such a student can be a great team player within an organization in the future.

Work Ethics Develop From An Early Age

Children must realize the importance of hard work and shape the self-regulation and obligation to contribute to and see through their projects.” Homework can encourage students to form a hard-working ethic they will take to college and beyond.

Develops Interest

The student develops an interest in a particular subject with the help of homework. By doing so, they can choose the right career path. Students who follow the teacher’s instructions grow their interest in a particular field. They also develop mastery of that subject.

The above points explain the reasons why is homework important in detail. The assignments should be a productive experience that allows all students to understand well and enhance their final score.

Why Should You Have To Do The Homework?

Homework assignments are useful and important for preschool, high school, and college students. Homework helps improve the scores of students on school examinations.

It will have a positive long-term impact on the student’s future. Home assignments have enabled several learners to gain important skills for their future lives.

The study finds schoolwork increases thinking capabilities and helps students gain practical skills like goal-setting, problem-solving, perseverance, and organization. The reasons why it is essential to do your homework:

Homework Strengthens What You Learned

There are so many aspects that you learn each day. And this is not just happening at school-there are opportunities almost anywhere.

Can you recall a time when you once learned something, but you can’t quite remember the important information when you go and say it to someone else?

Did you guys know we remember only about 20–30 percent of what we’ve been informed? I think it’s even less than that sometimes. Reviewing what you’ve learned is pretty useful, especially if it is important.

It can improve your memory power by up to 50–70%. So it can be quite useful to do your classwork to ensure you’ve learned something well. It is the reason why is homework important to complete well in time.

Homework Helps In Knowing Who Is Your Competition

In class, many students come with their complete homework assignments and submit them to the teachers. The teacher evaluates every student’s worksheet and assigns grades according to the report.

By the result of your homework, you can know who your competition is in the class. He or she will give tough competition in the final examination also.

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Homework Enables You To Grow Excellent At What You Do

You must hear the famous phrase “practice makes a man perfect.” If you practice well, you can do the work even better. The same is in the case of school-related work.

Practice helps students learn the subject matter better as they complete their homework assignments. Homework is a way of independent learning. 

When students start doing homework, they search for the resources to complete it in the right way. The practice of doing homework as per schedule, you will find it to do correctly. It is a learning process. The more you practice the subject, the more you learn about it and find it easier.

Now from the above reasons, you know why is homework important to do well in time.

Some Tips For Doing Your Homework Well In Time

  • Don’t try to become a perfectionist. If you have plenty of coursework, it will stress you out because schoolwork requires time. If you’re trying to become a perfectionist, you could spend a lot of time doing your coursework, which is not good for you. Do it with simplicity and effectiveness.
  • Enjoy the process of doing your coursework. Don’t be frustrated or feel burdened. Calm down, breathe out, and don’t forget to get started. Starting well in time is half completion! 
  •  Set time limits for each project or homework. Stay to the deadline you fixed and handle your time; the more effective you do, the more time you gain to recharge your mind and perform anything else.
  •  Take short breaks and have snacks. Also, drink plenty of water.

Quick Links

  • How To Do English Homework Fast
  • Website For Homework Help For: Schools And Colleges

It is clear from the above discussion why is homework important. 

Homework makes a child’s overall development easier. It will prepare you for the upcoming after-school lesson and exams and help in life. Do not neglect homework assignments; improve valuable life skills by doing them.

The old saying “quality over quantity” contributes to any homework task, and there must be timely feedback to help students learn the required skill or concept. Students must understand the objective and know the importance of any task, whether at home or in college.

If you still cannot do coursework, you can take homework help from calltutors.com . Our experienced professionals guide you on any subject homework. So contact us anytime as per your requirements. We are always available for your help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is homework important for teachers.

If teachers assign homework to the students properly, they can determine the capacity of their students. They can analyze in which area their students are going smoothly and where they are facing difficulty.

How does homework help students?

Firstly, it helps them to score good grades in their academics. Apart from this, there are other benefits. It teaches the students how to solve problems, plan, organization, and decision-making.

Why Do Teachers Think Homework Is Important?

The main reason behind it is that it works as a bridge and can help teachers and parents learn more about how students like to know.

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Homework: Law Vocabulary

jury, barrister, sentence, sue, attorney...

Intermediate

Like most specialised topics, Law comes with a range of obscure vocabulary of its very own, some of which can be confusing, even to native speakers. And regardless of whether it’s a subject of interest to you or not, one must admit that some of these tricky terms can be pretty handy to know. This useful homework sheet helps students practise Law Vocabulary through three different types of exercises.

After downloading your PDF: print it immediately or save and print later. Answers are provided for teachers on the second page.

Make your own worksheets with the free EnglishClub Worksheet Maker !

IMAGES

  1. Homework strategies from teachers

    how homework helps teachers

  2. The Value of Parents Helping with Homework

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  3. Woman As a Teacher Helps with Homework Stock Photo

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  4. Thoughtful teacher and schoolgirl doing homework · Free Stock Photo

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  5. Homework Help: Tips From Teachers

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  6. Homework Help: Tips From Teachers

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COMMENTS

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

    Indeed, some primary-level teachers may assign homework for such benefits, which include learning the importance of responsibility, managing time, developing study habits, and staying with a task until it is completed (Cooper, Robinson and Patall 2006; Corno and Xu 2004; Johnson and Pontius 1989; Warton 2001).

  2. PDF Increasing the Effectiveness of Homework for All Learners in the ...

    Teachers should be provided with the tools and knowledge necessary to create efective homework. Rather than ask whether or not homework improves learning, a better question is "How can homework be improved to be doable and efective?"

  3. Does Homework Really Help Students Learn?

    Bempechat: I think teachers assign homework in elementary school as a way to help kids develop skills they'll need when they're older—to begin to instill a sense of responsibility and to learn planning and organizational skills.

  4. What's the Right Amount of Homework?

    Many teachers and parents believe that homework helps students build study skills and review concepts learned in class. Others see homework as disruptive and unnecessary, leading to burnout and turning kids off to school.

  5. PDF Does Homework Really Improve Achievement? Kevin C. Costley, Ph.D ...

    Homework can help students develop effective study habits. Homework can show students that learning can occur at home as well as ... teachers highly resent homework policies that state that homework must be assigned on a regular basis as undermining their curricular goals and personal teaching style of individual school districts and teachers ...

  6. The role of homework

    Teachers Managing resources Articles The role of homework Homework seems to be an accepted part of teachers' and students' routines, but there is little mention of it in ELT literature. Author Steve Darn, Freelance Trainer, Izmir, Turkey

  7. Why is Homework Important?

    Homework acts as a bridge and can help teachers and parents learn more about how students like to learn, providing a deeper understanding of how to approach their learning and development. Many parents also want their child to receive homework so they can understand what they're learning at school. 4. Comfortable Work Environment

  8. Does Homework Work?

    The district, which includes three elementary schools and a middle school, worked with teachers and convened panels of parents in order to come up with a homework policy that would allow...

  9. Does homework still have value? A Johns Hopkins education expert weighs

    Joyce L. Epstein. Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Education. But after decades of researching how to improve schools, the professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Education remains certain that homework is essential—as long as the teachers have done their homework, too. The National Network of Partnership Schools, which she founded in 1995 ...

  10. Homework

    Absolutely! Teachers who don't grade homework still monitor completion of assignments and communicate with parents about missing work. They just don't count it as part of the student's grade. Coaches don't keep score during practice, but they do give lots of individualized feedback and they do require their athletes to practice.

  11. PDF Practice and Homework Effective Teaching Strategies

    Practice and homework are effective instructional strategies to help students retain content. All classrooms contain students with diverse learning styles. To guarantee mastery and retention of new learning for all students, teachers should use several variations of practice and homework.

  12. A Teacher's Defense of Homework

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  13. Homework Pros and Cons

    Homework helps to reinforce classroom learning, while developing good study habits and life skills. ... Harris Cooper, "Yes, Teachers Should Give Homework - The Benefits Are Many," newsobserver.com, Sep. 2, 2016: 13. Tammi A. Minke, "Types of Homework and Their Effect on Student Achievement," repository.stcloudstate.edu, 2017: 14.

  14. PDF 10 Benefits of Homework

    Homework helps teachers determine how well the lessons are being understood by their students. Homework teaches students how to problem solve. Homework gives student another opportunity to review class material. Homework gives parents a chance to see what is being learned in school.

  15. This One Change From Teachers Can Make Homework More Equitable

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  16. The Case for (Quality) Homework

    Debates over the merits of homework—tasks that teachers ask students to complete during non-instructional time—have ebbed and flowed since the late 19th century, and today its value is again being scrutinized and weighed against possible negative impacts on family life and children's well-being. ... Help with homework was an advantage ...

  17. The Pros and Cons of Homework

    Pro 1: Homework Helps to Improve Student Achievement Homework teaches students various beneficial skills that they will carry with them throughout their academic and professional life, from time management and organization to self-motivation and autonomous learning.

  18. Homework Help: Everything You Need to Know

    Develop Useful Habits: Regular homework practice helps students develop discipline, time management skills, and a strong work ethic essential for academic success and beyond. Avoid Negative Consequences: Neglecting homework can result in negative consequences such as low grades, missed opportunities, and disciplinary actions.

  19. Should We Get Rid of Homework?

    The authors believe this meritocratic narrative is a myth and that homework — math homework in particular — further entrenches the myth in the minds of teachers and their students.

  20. Homework challenges and strategies

    Learn about trouble with planning. The challenge: Studying effectively Many kids need to be taught how to study effectively. But some may need concrete strategies. One thing to try is creating a checklist of all the steps that go into studying. Have your child mark off each one. Lists can help kids monitor their work.

  21. 15 Amazing Benefits of Homework: An Essential Guide

    Summary: The importance of homework for students 3 Helpful tips to do your homework effectively 15 benefits of homework Homework is an important component of the learning and growing process. It is a common practice for students to develop their skills and learn new information.

  22. Why Is Homework Important & Its Benefits?

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    This useful homework sheet helps students practise Law Vocabulary through three different types of exercises. After downloading your PDF: print it immediately or save and print later. Answers are provided for teachers on the second page. Make your own worksheets with the free EnglishClub Worksheet Maker! Printable downloadable PDF homework on ...