It is a frequent question: how much homework is the right amount for students? While many teachers may still debate on this controversial educational issue, a new study is pointing to the idea that schools should not be giving the general teen — around 13 years of age — over an hour per night. EducationNews.org reported this Tuesday, March 31, 2015, that this average statistic is provided from a team of researchers hailing from the University of Oviedo.
In a society that is placing an increasing emphasis on the role and efficacy of student learning, finding the proper place for homework can be a difficult one. Numerous studies are continuing to be released on an almost weekly basis — just last month a team of survey analysts argued that too much praise for young children can be harmful to their growth and development — and this latest installment focuses on homework.
Over 7,725 secondary school students in Spain were included in this 2015 survey. According to researchers, the students were asked a variety of questions, including how long — how many hours per day, specifically — they spend on homework, how many days per week they were assigned it, and the amount of effort put into their endeavors. Following the survey, the team administered an educational “quiz” to these students that involved a series of 48 on level science and math questions.
The results of this homework study were certainly interesting, but not altogether surprising. Researchers confirmed that those students who were assigned — and completed — their homework on a regular basis did noticeably better on the quiz than those who failed to consistently do their take-home tasks. Furthermore, those who completed their homework independently actually showed greater overall scores than those who received varying forms of assistance from their parents.
Yet the research also suggested that approximately one hour of homework — and not significantly more — might yield the greatest benefits among student learners. With many schools in the US and beyond often giving teens and high school level students more than 60 minutes, this foreign study might give pause for teachers and administrators alike. Although students who spent well over an hour on their homework did slightly outperform others, the difference was small. Researchers thus inference that spending 90 minutes or more on homework does not dramatically increase learning than those who spend one hour to 70 minutes per night instead.
According to the press release, the research study was controlled for general outside factors, including levels of ability, socioeconomic status, and male/female test takers. Prior knowledge was also an apparent contributing factor. Experts in the study stated that they were more likely to be able to predict who would achieve higher scores on the quiz based on previous letter grades than simply considering those who completed their homework regularly.
“That small gain requires two hours more homework per week, which is a large time investment for such small gains,” noted the team of authors in their findings. “For that reason, assigning more than 70 minutes homework per day does not seem very efficient, as the expectation of improved results is very low.”
Some educators actually find homework to be more of a detriment than a benefit to student learning, however. One New York school principal, Jane Hsu, shared in a letter than homework comes with a number of controversial issues that nonetheless need to be considered. What is your take on the amount of homework teachers in schools should give their students? Is one hour a good average?
“The negative effects of homework have been well established,” Principal Jane Hsu wrote in a recent note to parents, adds DNAInfo News. “They include: children’s frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities and family time and, sadly for many, loss of interest in learning,” she concluded.