Homework has been quite a contentious topic that has sparked heated debates throughout the centuries. Ranging from type and amount of out-of-class work, proponents and opponents of homework are constantly on each other’s neck looking to discredit one another.
Even with the set standards and criteria for tutors to assign students homework, we are still not certain if homework is beneficial. To get answers, we critically examine the various advantages and disadvantages of homework to help you make an informed judgment.
So, is homework beneficial?
Pro 1: Homework improves student achievement
Research studies show that students who work on take-home assignments for at least 30 minutes every day score about 40 points more in SAT math tests than those who did not do any homework. Furthermore, according to a study done by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) an increase in homework boosts college attendance and GPA scores among high school boys.
Pro 2: Homework develops better study habits and real life skills
The old proverb “practice makes perfect” still stands valid even with homework. Given that students only retain at most 50% of everything taught in class, homework provides the perfect avenue for them to apply every concept learned. This way a student develops a set of other skills such as accountability that will be beneficial in their own lives.
Pro 3: Homework allows parents to be involved with their child’s learning.
Let’s face it, our lives are becoming busier and busier each passing day. Parents today spend less time with their children as they are busy with work. However, take-home assignments are a great option for bridging this gap. Homework ensures that parents are involved and offers the opportunity for them to assess their children’s weaknesses and strengths while keeping track of their academic progress.
Con 1: Too much homework can be harmful.
Just like other muscles in the human body, the brain too is prone to exhaustion. Just like adults, children also need a time-out for chilling out. One survey poll done in California found out that huge amounts of homework take a toll on students’ health. Also, this huge amount of out-of-class assignments leads to cheating. In the poll, 43% of parents admitted to doing homework themselves and students confessed that they engaged in different malpractices to complete their assignments.
Con 2: Homework disadvantages for low-income students.
Homework fosters independence and self-initiative and it requires several resources to complete. Whether you are working on dioramas or simple class essay reports, you will need plenty of resources ranging from textbooks to computers to finish it. The internet is becoming a popular source of information today. Sadly, 41% of students from low-income families in the U.S. cannot access these resources. This marginalized group is disadvantaged and is more likely to get lower grades.
Con 3: There is a lack of evidence that homework helps younger children.
Homework is not beneficial to all children especially those below 12 years of age. One survey recorded no significant difference in the academic performance of children who did 30 minutes of homework every night and those who did no homework. Those who did up to 45 minutes of take-home assignments performed the worst. For this reason, experts suggest replacing homework with other effective options such as reading for pleasure. But only for this cohort.