Assigned Homework

I’m well aware that the consequences of giving too much homework can be severe.

A 2014 Stanford study published in the found that giving too much homework can have extremely damaging effects on children. The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California neighborhoods.

Everyday in school is an opportunity for action research. In fact, within these parameters they’re even more rigorous. For several reasons: 1) It prepares students for the higher grades.

Most of my career has been spent in the middle school teaching 7th and 8th grade.

I give about an hours worth of homework every week – 15 minutes per day for four days.

If you add in cumulative assignments like book reports, that number may go up slightly but not beyond the recommended maximums.If we removed the homework, these kids might still get good grades. There has been surprisingly little research that goes this deep. Even the investigations that found a correlation did so in tight parameters – only in secondary grades and usually just for math.Some wealthy districts have even reduced the amount of homework without seeing a subsequent drop in learning.Both the National Education Association (NEA) and the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA) suggest educators assign no more than a standard of “10 minutes of homework per grade level” per night.In other words, a first grader should have no more than 10 minutes of homework on a given evening, a second grader no more than 20 minutes, etc.Researchers found that first and second graders received 28 and 29 minutes of homework per night – almost double the recommended maximums.Even more shocking, Kindergarteners – who according to the guideline should receive no homework at all – actually were assigned an average of 25 minutes per night.And limited evidence that homework may increase academic outcomes in the higher grades in math. I’ve had more than 15 years to test what works with my students.Frankly, if that was all I had to go on, I would never assign another piece of homework ever again. I don’t have to rely solely on psychological and sociological studies. Nearly every decision I make is based on empiricism, hypothesis and testing the results. I’m not saying my results would necessarily be reproducible everywhere, but they’re at least as scientific as the body of research we have on homework.They also used open-ended answers to gauge the students’ views on homework.They concluded that too much homework was associated with greater stress, reductions in health, and less quality time with friends and family. We have anecdotal evidence that excessive homework is harmful.


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