Statistics Against Homework

For example, referring to Harris Cooper, the lead author of the two leading meta-analyses on homework, Kohn noted, A careful reading of Cooper's own studies . Kohn concluded that research fails to demonstrate homework's effectiveness as an instructional tool and recommended changing the “default state” from an expectation that homework will be assigned to an expectation that homework will not be assigned.

According to Kohn, teachers should only assign homework when they can justify that the assignments are “beneficial” (2006a, p.

By 1940, growing concern that homework interfered with other home activities sparked a reaction against it. The homework myth: Why our kids get too much of a bad thing.

This trend was reversed in the late 1950s when the Soviets' launch of Sputnik led to concern that U. education lacked rigor; schools viewed more rigorous homework as a partial solution to the problem.

The 1989 meta-analysis reviewed research dating as far back as the 1930s; the 2006 study reviewed research from 1987 to 2003.

Commenting on studies that attempted to examine the causal relationship between homework and student achievement by comparing experimental (homework) and control (no homework) groups, Cooper, Robinson, and Patall (2006) noted, With only rare exceptions, the relationship between the amount of homework students do and their achievement outcomes was found to be positive and statistically significant.

Cooper and colleagues' (2006) comparison of homework with no homework indicates that the average student in a class in which appropriate homework was assigned would score 23 percentile points higher on tests of the knowledge addressed in that class than the average student in a class in which homework was not assigned. students spend much less time studying academic content than students in other countries do. The study found that “students abroad are required to work on demanding subject matter at least twice as long” as are U. students (National Education Commission on Time and Learning, 1994, p. To drop the use of homework, then, a school or district would be obliged to identify a practice that produces a similar effect within the confines of the school day without taking away or diminishing the benefits of other academic activities—no easy accomplishment.

Perhaps the most important advantage of homework is that it can enhance achievement by extending learning beyond the school day. A better approach is to ensure that teachers use homework effectively.

Many of those who conduct research on homework explicitly or implicitly recommend this practice. Synthesis of educational productivity research [Special issue].

However, his misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the research sends the inaccurate message that research does not support homework. International Journal of Educational Research, 11(2), 145–252.


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