Does Homework Help Learning?

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Iris Lee and Blake Clancy

It’s clear homework is not many students’ favorite thing to do, and not many teachers’ favorite thing to grade. So why do we still have homework implemented?

Many students wonder if homework actually helps them learn and improve their grades. This has been an ongoing discussion for a while. A study shows that homework for elementary school students does little to nothing to improve grades and learning. In fact, for elementary school-age children, there is no measurable academic advantage to homework.” Says greatschools.org.

Homework helping academic achievement also varies between grade levels. “In a previous meta-study conducted in 1989, Cooper’s team at Duke University found that grade level heavily influences how much homework helps with academic advancement (as measured by standardized and class test scores.) It appears middle- and high schoolers have much to gain academically by doing their homework. The average high school student doing homework outperformed 69% of the students in a class with no homework. Homework in middle school was half as effective. In elementary school, there is no measurable correlation between homework and achievement.” Continues greatschools.org.

However, that doesn’t mean homework isn’t effective at all in helping. It’s not the concept of homework that is wrong, it might just be the homework itself. Some teachers may give super effective homework that actually helps students. “Quality homework is engaging and relevant to kids’ lives,” says Wheelock’s Janine Bempechat. 

Not only that, doing homework may help with other aspects other than grades; such as: responsibility, writing and reading comprehension, and setting goals for oneself.

A little amount of homework may help elementary school students build study habits. … Homework can foster independent learning and responsible character traits. And it can give parents an opportunity to see what’s going on at school and let them express positive attitudes toward achievement.” Reports Duke Education.

It’s clear that sometimes homework can improve many parts of a kid, but too much homework will negatively affect kids as well.

Doing too much homework, especially into the night, can be worse for grades than not doing homework. While most studies vary in results on if homework helps or not, almost all experts agree that not enough sleep will result in lack of learning. “Regularly not getting enough sleep leads to chronic sleep deprivation. This can have dramatic effects on a teenager’s life, impacting their mental wellbeing, increasing their risk of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. It can also affect academic performance at school.” Says Better Health Channel.

In the end homework has both pros and cons, and it truly depends on the person doing the homework and how they efficiently learn. It can be avoided due to their mindset and how much time they have after school due to extra activities. There is truly not a definitive answer. In the end it’s the person’s decision whether or not homework is a good “learning habit” for them and if it really helps them better understand topics.