Homework, or a homework history 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.