Many schools are in the process of eliminating homework, with the reason being that it doesn’t add much to academic excellence. This makes us ask: should teachers give different kinds of homework?
A tutor from Texas delighted her students by concluding that she wouldn’t give them any more homework in 2016. She explained that research shows homework has no impact on a student’s performance. In 2017, a Florida school district superintendent eliminated elementary students’ homework by replacing them with 20 minutes of nightly reading. She claims research was the reason for making such a decision. Several other elementary schools are quietly adopting similar policies. Critics on this matter argue that homework has other benefits that are not entirely academic. They include forming good study habits and allowing parents to monitor their kid’s progress in school. These arguments have merit, but what is the reason that makes homework not boost academic excellence? Research by educators seems not to make any sense. For example, if a child needs to master playing the piano, they require hours of practice at home after learning (it is just apparent, especially to adults). Psychologists identify several strategies to help children learn.
Retrieval practice means trying to remember information already gained. Retrieval practice does not happen immediately after acquiring knowledge, but as soon as you start forgetting it a little. Often, homework given at the end of the day entails the content covered that day in class. It means that a student will engage in retrieval practice and similar strategies that are more powerful than just reviewing or rereading material when doing homework. Few educators are aware of the fact that homework generally doesn’t boost a student’s performance much. Many teachers have little training on how to assign homework and why. Teacher preparation programs and education schools do not cover this aspect when training teachers. It means that it is possible assignments teachers give are not much sufficient. One big challenge is that there is no standard measure of how useful homework has been to a student. According to research, homework has a positive effect on students in middle schools and high schools. For a significant part, different studies have not focused on whether these assignments matter basing on the kind of homework given or the various effects in different demographic student groups.
An example is a study that was specific to Math assignments, which found that assignments boost achievement, especially in elementary school, as opposed to middle school. The study illuminates that parent’s help has insignificant effects on a student’s performance. It can also lead to negative results. Parents with good education backgrounds provide better support, an argument states, and on the other side, affluent parents provide quiet and conducive space for their kids to work in. Students with less-educated parents need more boost from an effective homework scheme. It is less likely for these students to acquire sophisticated academic vocabulary and knowledge from home.
Another argument states that students feel so much stress and overburden from homework. It may be true in schools that serve affluent populations, as students underperforming schools do not get much homework. Creating a good homework habit boosts a student’s ability to study and research on their own. It does not go without noting that kids in underperforming schools are often victims of an educational handicap when they enroll for higher learning.
Educating teachers on the kind of assignments to give will help to harness the potential power that homework has to offer. Kids as well should start learning as soon as possible substantive things about the world.