The Value of Homework

The+Value+of+Homework

Half asleep and half doing your 10 page essay you were assigned to finish, you begin to wonder why your literacy teacher assigned it. Not that it’s a bad assignment; you just want to understand the rationale behind it, which leads us to the main question: To what extent is homework necessary?

Every teacher has a different view on homework.

We asked Mrs. Kavanaugh, a literacy and social studies teacher, about the subject. “There is a certain amount of information that I need for my students to understand,” she said. If they do not finish it within the class period, she does want those students to find time themself doing homework.

We next asked Chris Holmes, an exploratorium teacher, his perspective about homework. “I think homework can be incredibly valuable and educational, and also potentially tedious and demotivating,” he stated. “I think there is a time and a place for it because practice can enhance learning.”

The issue is just as debatable among researchers as it is among school teachers. A 2021 study recently concluded that “homework has a small effect on increasing academic achievement.” The study, “Homework and Academic Achievement: A Meta-Analysis Examining Impact,” from the University of Dayton, claims that there is little supporting evidence that homework increases learning, however, the report doesn’t go so far as to say homework is bad. This is where the issue gets sticky.

Some homework is obviously good. Good for learning. Good for life. Other homework… yeah, not so much. 

We asked two science teachers, Mrs. Kee and Mrs. Scatizzi about the topic.

“I think there are two pros to homework, one I think that it gives students a chance to connect to their content outside of a school setting,” said Mrs. Scatizzi. “Another pro of homework is that I think you can truly evaluate as a teacher if the student is retaining information without direct teacher support.”

“I personally do not like giving a lot of homework because I know that students have a lot of things that are going on after school and so I want to make sure that they have time to be with their family and to do sports and music and different events like that,” Mrs. Kee is telling us. “I do think that homework has a small place though, I think that studying and making sure that you understand information is an important piece of that. So, for me personally, when I give homework I try to only do it if you didn’t finish something in class, then it becomes homework because some students need more time to do things than other students…” She also said that studying is a great part of homework and being in middle school.

Of course, we needed to ask a Wydown student. After all, this is quite a controversial topic.

We talked to Tyson Higgins, a sixth grade student who also participates in The Y. He says that the problem with homework is that “it takes time off of your free time and makes you think that you have to study more at home. I don’t study for tests. That might be bad. But I still get an A.”

According to thoughtco.com, “homework is good because it can boost your grades, help you learn the material, and prepare you for tests. It’s not always beneficial, however. Sometimes homework hurts more than it helps.” they say. “It takes time away from families, friends, jobs, and other ways to spend your time.” They also mention that “Homework that is pointless busywork can lead to a negative impression of a subject (not to mention a teacher).” 

A study from the Better Sleep Council says that 74% of teens are stressed out from homework, causing more stress than even bullying, parent expectations, and self-esteem. 67% of teenagers get five to six hours a night, several hours less than what is recommended.

“The most direct positive effect of homework is that it can improve retention and understanding. More indirectly, homework can improve students’ study skills and attitudes toward school, and teach students that learning can take place anywhere, not just in school buildings,” said education.stateuniversity.com

From a student’s perspective, homework can be bad. Teachers say that homework will help a student’s understanding of a topic though it can be tedious. 

Cittana.org says that “It [homework] encourages the discipline of practice…It gets parents involved with a child’s life…It teaches time management skills…Homework creates a communication network…It allows for a comfortable place to study.”

So did you finish that 10-page essay or did you just read this article to exclaim why you don’t need to do it?