Too much homework? Students, teachers, scholars weigh in on its impact

TRISTYN GENTRY, Staff writer

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Is homework overwhelming? Maybe teachers don’t understand today’s students, or maybe they just want the best for them. The views vary and have changed in recent years.

Duke University professor Harris Cooper thinks homework should follow the “10-minute rule” suggesting the optimum amount of homework that teachers ought to assign.

“In other words, a fourth-grader would be assigned 40 minutes of homework a night, while a high school senior would be assigned about two hours,” he said. “For upper high school students, after about two hours’ worth, more homework was not associated with higher achievement …. overloading them with homework is not associated with higher grades.”

According to the National Education Association, the amount of homework has increased over the past 20 years. This increase is associated with neutral (and sometimes negative) effects on student achievement. Their researchers analyzed data from a variety of sources and concluded that the majority of U.S. students spend less than an hour a day on homework, regardless of grade level, and this has held true for most of the past 50 years.

Senior Joselyn Llamas getting her homework done for tomorrow.

Senior Joselyn Llamas getting her homework done for tomorrow.

“When parents sit down to help their children with homework they barely know how to do it themselves,” said the NEA report.

Assistant Principal Tim Allen understands that some students may struggle with work that they do not understand, especially when they’re busy with many other classes. Allen believes homework is necessary, but his question is, “How much is enough?”

“The purpose of homework is to practice what students have previously learned and process it,” he said.

Sophomore Abraham Rosas thinks his classes are pretty easy and homework isn’t really a struggle.

“I think teachers give us what they know we can handle,” he said.

Junior Advanced Placement student Hannah Polk thinks students are given too much homework considering all the classes they have.

“We are given quite a lot of homework,” she said. “

I have homework from five or six of my classes some nights, then to make matters worse we have tests on the same days. Teachers should schedule days for each subject to have on certain days.”

Sophomore Kristopher Welch believes the amount of homework given depends on the teachers and their classes.

“In some classes teachers overload us with homework, but in others it is a fair amount,” he said. “Some of the homework we get is helpful and the rest is for our teachers to be able to put in daily grades.”

Math teacher Timothy McMahon thinks teachers are getting students ready for college, but it puts a lot of stress on students.

“I don’t really know much much homework other teachers give out, but if they’re giving the same amount as me then that’s a problem,” he said. “Maybe we do give too much, because in college they only have at most five classes with the amount of homework we give out.”

KHS librarian Patti Newton thinks homework should only be given when it’s necessary. Newton sees many students enter the library and no one seems to complain about having “too much” homework.

“I don’t think homework should be given just to keep students busy,” she said.

While many may think students shouldn’t have as much homework as they are given others believe homework gets students prepared for college and their life out on their own.

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Too much homework? Students, teachers, scholars weigh in on its impact