, or homework assignment
, refers to tasks assigned to student
A student is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution. In some nations, the English term is reserved for those who attend university, while a schoolchild under the age of eighteen is called a pupil in English...
s by their teacher
A teacher or schoolteacher is a person who provides education for pupils and students . The role of teacher is often formal and ongoing, carried out at a school or other place of formal education. In many countries, a person who wishes to become a teacher must first obtain specified professional...
s to be completed outside of class
A class in education has a variety of related meanings.It can be the group of students which attends a specific course or lesson at a university, school or other educational institution, see Form ....
. Common homework assignments may include a quantity or period of reading to be performed, writing
Writing is the representation of language in a textual medium through the use of a set of signs or symbols . It is distinguished from illustration, such as cave drawing and painting, and non-symbolic preservation of language via non-textual media, such as magnetic tape audio.Writing most likely...
Typing is the process of inputting text into a device, such as a typewriter, cell phone, computer, or a calculator, by pressing keys on a keyboard. It can be distinguished from other means of input, such as the use of pointing devices like the computer mouse, and text input via speech...
to be completed, problems to be solved, a school project to be built (such as a diorama
The word diorama can either refer to a nineteenth century mobile theatre device, or, in modern usage, a three-dimensional full-size or miniature model, sometimes enclosed in a glass showcase for a museum...
or display), or other skills to be practiced.
Main objectives and reasons for homework
The basic objectives of assigning homework to students are the same as schooling in general: To increase the knowledge and improve the abilities and skills of the students. However, opponents of homework cite homework as rote
Rote learning is a learning technique which focuses on memorization. The major practice involved in rote learning is learning by repetition by which students commit information to memory in a highly structured way. The idea is that one will be able to quickly recall the meaning of the material the...
, or grind work, designed to take up children's time, without offering tangible benefit. Homework may be designed to reinforce what students have already learned, prepare them for upcoming (or complex or difficult) lessons, extend what they know by having them apply it to new situations, or to integrate their abilities by applying many different skills to a single task. Homework also provides an opportunity for parents to participate in their children's education.
Amount of homework required
A review by researchers at Duke University of more than 60 research studies on homework between 1987 and 2003 showed that, within limits, there is a positive interaction between the amount of homework which is done and student achievement
Grades are standardized measurements of varying levels of comprehension within a subject area. Grades can be assigned in letters , as a range , as a number out of a possible total , as descriptors , in percentages, or, as is common in some post-secondary...
. The research synthesis also indicated that too much homework could be counterproductive. The research supports the '10-minute rule',the widely accepted practice of assigning 10 minutes of homework per day per grade-level. For example, under this system, 1st graders would receive 10 minutes of homework per night, while 5th graders would get 50 minutes' worth, 9th graders 90 minutes of homework, etc.
Harris Cooper , a professor of psychology and chairman of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke, said the research synthesis that he led showed the positive correlation was much stronger for secondary students --- those in grades seven through 12 --- than those in elementary school.
Many schools exceed these recommendations or do not considered assigned reading in the time limit worthwile.
In the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
, recommendations on homework quantities were outlined by the then Department for Education
The Department for Children, Schools and Families was a department of the UK government, between 2007 and 2010, responsible for issues affecting people in England up to the age of 19, including child protection and education...
in 1998. These ranged from 10 minutes daily reading for 5-year-olds, to up to 2.5 hours per day for the pupils in Year 11 aged 15 or 16.
Internet homework resources
There are many homework-related resources available on the World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet...
. There are web-sites dedicated to communicating about homework, for teachers to post assignments on-line for students, and to keep parents informed. Many schools host their own homework posting services on their websites. There are non-profit organizations on-line that help students with their homework for free. There are also tutorials on most school subjects, especially math, which students can use if they don't understand their homework assignments.
Many libraries provide on-line resources which present subjects specifically for students who are looking for something to write about. And there are archives of ready-made homework assignments, including handouts, which teachers can use to provide homework to their students. Many other websites are used for research
Research can be defined as the scientific search for knowledge, or as any systematic investigation, to establish novel facts, solve new or existing problems, prove new ideas, or develop new theories, usually using a scientific method...
, especially search engines, such as Google
Google Inc. is an American multinational public corporation invested in Internet search, cloud computing, and advertising technologies. Google hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, and generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program...
, and encyclopedias.
Apart from above given resources there are hundreds of websites who are providing homework help at nominal rates. Such websites claim to help students understand concepts.
Some parents choose to monitor their students' usage of the internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...
, as some of the sites may be found deceptive or inappropriate by academic institutions. Also, Internet resources offer students a wealth of opportunity for plagiarism
Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work, but the notion remains problematic with nebulous...
With an enhanced emphasis on homework, parents and students are turning to customized solutions. Private institutions, such as Sylvan Learning Centers and Kaplan
Kapłań is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Klukowo, within Wysokie Mazowieckie County, Podlaskie Voivodeship, in north-eastern Poland.-References:...
, help students through individually-tailored
Personalization involves using technology to accommodate the differences between individuals. Once confined mainly to the Web, it is increasingly becoming a factor in education, health care Personalization involves using technology to accommodate the differences between individuals. Once confined...
assignments. Other parents find help through their community where tutoring, study groups
Learning is acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines. Progress over time tends to follow learning curves.Human learning...
and other resources may be made available.
Many libraries provide tutors for helping students with their homework, both in-person and on-line. See Homework help service.
If it is necessary to hire a tutor to assist with a child's homework, parents should also speak to the child's teacher about the amount and the appropriateness of the homework load.
Parental homework strategies
According to some studies, parental involvement in homework is beneficial for students. However, there is also a general consensus that too much parental involvement can prevent the positive effects of homework. According to the study, the benefit of homework is lost when the parent completes all or most of the assignment for the student.
Setting a regular time to do homework and designating a specific place for doing homework helps keep the student well-focused on his or her studies. A flat surface, good lighting, school supplies (pens, pencils, paper, scissors, glue, eraser, ruler, etc.) and a dictionary are often essential.
Teachers need to know what their students understand and can do independently, therefore they often advise parents not to do the children's homework assignments for them, nor correct their children's homework assignments and have them copy the corrections. Grades, and the teachers' other feedback, need to apply to the student's performance, not to the parents' performance, nor to student-parent co-performance.
On the other hand it is also fairly common for teachers to give assignments far beyond what students can do independently and for teachers to expect parents to go over homework and have the student make corrections before it is turned in. Practices vary.
Independent learning is encouraged and improved by providing guidance (such as explaining how to look up information or find a word in a dictionary) rather than merely providing the answers to the child's homework-related questions.
Having one's child read out loud allows the parent to provide corrections and help the student learn how to read better.
When parents do "homework" of their own at the same time as their children, it sets a good example and helps to foster a good attitude toward learning.
One key role for parents is to negotiate with teachers and schools should the homework burden be unmanageble or age-inappropriate for the students. This negotiation may take the form of speaking with the teacher individually, speaking to other school officials, or coordinating with other parents or with the PTA or school board to get the homework load for the entire class or school reduced.
Teaching and homework effectiveness
Student learning improves when homework serves a clear purpose and is matched to both the skills of each individual student and to the current topics being taught in class. Feedback improves the effectiveness of homework, especially when given in a timely manner (within 24 hours). Effective feedback improves student learning by correcting misunderstanding, validating process, and highlighting errors in thinking. Embedded comments provide much better feedback than a mere grade at the top of the paper. Homework must be concentrated to be effective: mastering takes days or weeks of practice. Fifty-percent mastery may be achieved after 4 practice sessions, but it takes 28 practice sessions to achieve approximately the eighty-percent mastery level.
Another way teachers can be more effective is by alerting parents to their students' homework, giving parents a chance to become familiar with the material and their child's progress. This also encourages parents to become involved in the homework process. Messages tend to get lost in transit or even altered when using "pupil post" (passing verbal messages or written notes back and forth using the student as courier), and therefore direct communication is much more effective and prevents frustration all around. Methods available for directly reporting homework assignments (to both students and their parents) include the phone, email, and centralized web-pages.
There is research supporting the idea that homework is of little educational value, and that for young children (i.e., 14 and under) it may have a negative effect on learning.
In the United States
Historically, homework was frowned upon in American
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
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. In 1901, the California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...
legislature passed an act that effectively abolished homework for those who attended kindergarten
through the eighth grade. But, in the 1950s, with increasing pressure on the United States to stay ahead in the Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...
, homework made a resurgence, and children were encouraged to keep up with their Russia
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....
n counterparts. By the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the consensus in American education was overwhelmingly in favor of issuing homework to students of all grade levels.
In a study done at the University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...
in 2007, research concluded that the amount of homework given is increasing over time. In a sample taken of students between the ages of 6 and 9, it was shown that students spend more than two hours a week on homework, as opposed to 44 minutes in 1981.
Harris Cooper, nations top homework scholar, concluded after a comprehensive review that homework does not improve academic achievements for grade school students. Cooper analyzed dozens of students and found that kids who are assigned homework in middle and high school actually score "somewhat" better on standardized tests, but that kids who do 60 to 90 minutes of homework in middle school and more than 2 hours in high school actually score worse.
- Busy work
Busy work is a term for work or assignments that are time consuming, but not useful. It is typically used to refer to schoolwork which is time consuming for students but not educationally valuable, but can also refer to procedures or paperwork in a bureaucracy which is unnecessary...
- Book report
Coursework is the name for work carried out by students at university or middle/high school that contributes towards their overall grade, but which is assessed separately from their final exams. Coursework can, for example, take the form of experimental work, or may involve research in the...
An essay is a piece of writing which is often written from an author's personal point of view. Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. The definition...
- Home schooling
- Homework help service
- Practice (learning method)
Practice is the act of rehearsing a behavior over and over, or engaging in an activity again and again, for the purpose of improving or mastering it, as in the phrase "practice makes perfect". Sports teams practice to prepare for actual games. Playing a musical instrument well takes a lot of...
A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory. In these systems, students progress through a series of schools...
Schoolwork is work assigned by a teacher, school, or other educational institution. The term generally refers to both work completed at home , as well as work completed during class . Typically, schoolwork is done in class, during the time period allotted by the instructor...
- Study guide
Study guides can be broad based to facilitate learning in a number of areas, or be resources that foster comprehension of literature, research topics, history, and other subjects....
- Study skills
Study skills or study strategies are approaches applied to learning. They are generally critical to success in school, are considered essential for acquiring good grades, and are useful for learning throughout one's life....
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...
- Duke Study: Homework Helps Students Succeed in School, As Long as There Isn't Too Much
- The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It by Sarah Bennett & Nancy Kalish (2006) Discusses in detail assessments of studies on homework and the authors' own research and assessment of the homework situation in the United States. Has specific recommendations and sample letters to be used in negotiating a reduced homework load for your child.
- Closing the Book on Homework: Enhancing Public Education and Freeing Family Time by John Buell (2004)
- The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents by Harris Cooper (2007)
- The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing by Alfie Kohn
Alfie Kohn is an American author and lecturer who has explored a number of topics in education, parenting, and human behavior...
- The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning by Etta Kralovec and John Buell (2000)