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Homework, or a homework assignment, is a set of tasks assigned to students by their teachers to be completed outside the class. The effect of homework is debated. Generally speaking, homework does not improve academic performance among children and may improve academic skills among older students, especially lower-achieving students. Homework also creates stress for students and their parents and reduces the amount of time that students could spend outdoors, exercising, playing, working, sleeping, or in other activities. Homework research dates back to the early 1900s. However, no consensus exists on the general effectiveness on homework.
Results of homework studies vary based on multiple factors, such as the age group of those studied and the measure of academic performance. Among teenagers, students who spend somewhat more time on homework generally have higher grades, and somewhat higher test scores than students who spend less time on homework. Younger students who spend more time on homework generally have slightly worse, or the same academic performance, as those who spend less time on homework. Homework does not improve academic achievements for grade school students. Low-achieving students receive more benefit from doing homework than high-achieving students.
However, schoolteachers commonly assign less homework to the students who need it most, and more homework to the students who are performing well. Proponents claim that assigning homework to young children helps them learn good study habits. Essentially, they advocate for doing potentially unnecessary homework from approximately age five to ten as a way of practicing for doing necessary homework from age 10 to 15. No research has ever been conducted to determine whether this claim has any merit. The amount of homework given does not necessarily affect students’ attitudes towards homework and various other aspects of school. For all three of the correlations, higher values represent a higher correlation between time spent on homework and poor conduct.
In a single study, parents and teachers of middle school students believed that homework improved students’ study skills and personal responsibility skills. Homework has been identified in numerous studies and articles as a dominant or significant source of stress and anxiety for students. Studies on the relation between homework and health are few compared to studies on academic performance. 1,983 students in Hong Kong, and found that homework led not only to added stress and anxiety, but also physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomachaches. Students in the survey who were ridiculed or punished by parents and peers had a higher incidence of depression symptoms, with 2. Stress was especially evident among high school students.
Students that reported stress from homework were more likely to be deprived of sleep. Homework can cause tension and conflict in the home as well as at school, and can reduce students’ family and leisure time. 4,317 high school students from ten high-performing schools, and found that students reported spending more than 3 hours on homework daily. The students slept an average of 6 hours 48 minutes, lower than the recommendations prescribed by various health agencies. A study done at the University of Michigan in 2007 concluded that the amount of homework given is increasing. In a sample taken of students between the ages of 6 and 9 years, it was shown that students spend more than 2 hours a week on homework, as opposed to 44 minutes in 1981.
Some educators argue that homework is beneficial to students, as it enhances learning, develops the skills taught in class, and lets educators verify that students comprehend their lessons. Proponents also argue that homework makes it more likely that students will develop and maintain proper study habits that they can use throughout their educational career. Historically, homework was frowned upon in American culture. With few students interested in higher education, and due to the necessity to complete daily chores, homework was discouraged not only by parents, but also by school districts. British students get more homework than many other countries in Europe.