Does Homework Help?

Homework's affect on a student's academic performance

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Does Homework Help?

Photo Credit: NEA Today

Photo Credit: NEA Today

DragonImages - Fotolia

Photo Credit: NEA Today

DragonImages - Fotolia

DragonImages - Fotolia

Photo Credit: NEA Today

Nick Crafa, Freelancer

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 We all know that homework is a pain, a hassle, and an inconvenience. But is it beneficial? Most studies show it is.

In 2006, Harris Cooper, a Professor of Psychology at Duke University, conducted a meta-analysis that found a positive correlation between homework and a student’s performance in school. However, the study did indicate that the relationship was stronger for students in grades 7-12, than for students in elementary school. 

Homework is a critical part of the learning process, and it has been proven that it helps students perform better in school dozens of times. But during the analysis Cooper conducted, he found that too much homework is actually counter-productive for students. “Even for high school students, overloading them with homework is not associated with higher grades,” Cooper said. It is suggested that teachers follow the 10 minute rule, adding ten minutes of homework as a student progresses through each grade. For example, a fourth grader would have 40 minutes of homework, while a senior in high school would have about two hours of work. The study showed that once the amount of homework exceeded the two hour limit, there was no association with higher achievement.

So why does homework help older kids more? Cooper points out that younger students’ study habits are less-effective than those of older students and younger students have a hard time tuning out distractions in their learning environment. “Kids burn out,” Cooper said. “The bottom line really is all kids should be doing homework, but the amount and type should vary according to their developmental level and home circumstances. Homework for young students should be short, lead to success without much struggle, occasionally involve parents and, when possible, use out-of-school activities that kids enjoy, such as their sports teams or high-interest reading.” 

So although homework is annoying, time consuming, and may seem unhelpful, recent studies suggest that it will improve a students performance. Harris Cooper did point out that there are limitations to current research on homework. For instance, little research has been done to assess whether a student’s race, socioeconomic status, or academic ability level affects the impact homework has in his or her academic achievement. These factors could change the effect of homework for a student, and in the following years, more research will be conducted. But for now, do your homework- it will help!