Studies and data have shown that homework is often too much for students to deal with in their lives. Students are overly worked and predisposed to anxiety and stress due to the large amounts of homework that they have to each night.
Every student out there has experienced the struggle that is homework. In school today there is simply an excess of homework. Much research has come out in the past few years in response to the complaint that students are doing too much homework. It’s astonishing because homework has shown no to only a little positive correlation in how a student does in school. Research has shown that it’s the students and their attitude toward that school that helps them do well. Homework doesn’t help a student do well in class, homework just becomes “busywork” that students have to scramble to finish during their already packed schedules which causes stress and anxiety for students, and is therefore detrimental to students. .
The first indicator that homework is senseless? It’s simply unnecessary. An article by Concordia University Portland said “Gerald LeTendre, of Penn State’s Education Policy Studies department points out that the shotgun approach to homework, when students all receive the same photocopied assignment which is then checked as complete rather than discussed individually with the student, is ‘not very effective.’” He goes on to say that, “If there’s no feedback and no monitoring, the homework is probably not effective.” Students are already busy with their lives and they don’t need extra work, especially when it does not ultimately help. For example, having 50 practice problems versus 10 is not going to make a significant difference in a student’s ability to understand a concept. Many students already understand a concept when it is first taught to them in a classroom making the homework that much more ineffective. If teachers are going to assign homework it should be to take them more in-depth into a subject
The second indicator that homework is senseless? There is too much of it for a student to do nightly. The National Education Association (NEA) published an article citing the research of Harris Cooper. Said the article “The National PTA recommendations fall in line with general guidelines suggested by researcher Harris Cooper: 10-20 minutes per night in the first grade, and an additional 10 minutes per grade level thereafter (e.g., 20 minutes for second grade, 120 minutes for twelfth).” When it comes down to it this recommendation isn’t too bad, but many teachers don’t follow it, and with all the homework combined from multiple teacher’s nightly homework for high schoolers can often reach up to 4 hours nightly. Students already spend enough time in school (7 hours a day) that combined with 4 hours of homework a night it turns into 11 hours daily. For an entire week that turns into 55 hours which is far more than an adult’s average work week! That leaves not much time left in the day for anything else. Student athletes often complain about having to fit homework in around school and practice and it’s no wonder why! Students should be given freedom to spend time being kids: playing sports, spending time with friends and family and going out on weekends. They should not be shackled, without freedom because they are bogged down by homework.
Furthermore, the book The Case against Homework said “Many of the countries with the highest scoring students on achievement tests, such as Japan, Denmark, and the Czech Republic, have teachers who assign little homework. On the other hand, countries such as Greece, Thailand, and Iran, where students have some of the worst average scores, have teachers who assign high quantities of homework, according to David Baker and Gerald LeTendre, education professors and authors of National Differences, Global Similarities: World Culture and the Future of Schooling.” If countries that don’t give homework have the best test scores in the world, then where’s the argument for any country giving homework? There is none
The third reason that homework is senseless? It causes students to lose out on sleep. When a person has to fit in 11 hours of school then sports practice, work, or anything else there is simply not time in the day for all that. So what’s the first thing a person’s going to sacrifice? Sleep. That’s not okay because students need sleep. Sleep helps them learn and helps them remember the information they learned in school better. Sleep scientist Matt Walker did a study on sleep and how it affects memory. In a Ted Talk he shares the results “When you put those two groups head to head, what you find is a quite significant 40 percent deficit in the ability of the brain to make new memories without sleep. It would be the difference in a child acing an exam versus failing it miserably-40 percent. You couldn’t effectively commit new experiences to memory.” Based on these results, schools should give out less homework in order to improve the quality of learning that a student does.
What does a teacher think about homework? Erik Knoedler, teacher of Model United Nations and AP World History classes is of the mind that homework should be a relaxed policy. Said Knoedler “I think with block schedule homework should be less emphasized. I think that students spend a long time in school, like physically in school, sometimes I don’t necessarily see the necessity in having a student do an activity that takes 20 or 30 minutes outside of class. Sometimes you can assign the homework as a supplement to what’s going on in class and it’s the student choice whether to do it or not.” This is a fresh perspective on homework that is not often seen and it makes total sense. The point of all the research that has come out is that homework should just be assigned as busywork but that it should enhance a student’s learning. It should be up to a student to choose how much they want to get out of a topic. But opposite history teacher Knoedler is math teacher Pamela Canady. “There’s a lot of skills that go into math that really require a bit of repetition in order to really understand the concept. If you see someone do something for you to be able to do that yourself without any practice or training in between could be really difficult, if you just watch math and try and take a test on it, typically kids aren’t super successful that way just like you have to practice a new instrument or a sport I think math is definitely the same way, you have to practice it to be good at it.” This is a totally fair point. Math is a subject that requires practice, and often times even with 90 minute classes’ students don’t get enough. It takes doing about ten or fifteen math problems to really understand a concept, so math homework is needed. It should be limited though, like Ms. Canady’s is to a double sided 1 page worksheet that has about 15 problems.
The point of this article isn’t to bash homework and start petitions for schools to go homework free. Schools advocate that students should be kids and to take a mental health break every once in a while still being responsible, but the amount of homework that students get contradicts that message. Adults don’t take their work home to work on, they just leave it until the next day, so why can’t kids do the same? There’s too much pressure on students to perform well as school and have a full schedule of activities afterwards because parents think it’s “good for them later in life” and “will look good on a college application” and homework just adds to that pressure without actually having any benefits.