27

There is a post circulating social media reportedly from a second grade teacher in North Texas stating that she will not assign homework for the upcoming school year to her students:

The claim

After much research this summer, I am trying something new. Homework will only consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this year.

Research had been unable to prove that homework improves student performance, Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eating dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early. Source

I am not questioning the claim of the family activities influencing student success, nor asking a question of "is family activities more beneficial than homework". Just the claim homework does not improve student performance. For people unfamiliar with the US education system, second grade students tend to be around seven to eight years old, in the event this claim's scope needs to be limited to certain age groups.

  • 5
    I mean, I had homework as a second grader, but it never was more than like 15-20 minutes a night and was pretty basic stuff (for the grade), with an occasional "ask your parent for..." type question. Homework doesn't always mean five paragraph essays or packets of math problems. – Jimmy M. Aug 23 '16 at 21:15
  • 1
    Practicing helps with the transfer from short-term to long-term memory. Homework is, effectively, practicing what you have learned. In a school where enough practicing is done during school hours, the additional effect of homework might be negligible. But some schools do not have the students practice that much during school hours, relying on the homework to have the intended effect. @SiXandSeven8ths: You have second-graders with 8-hour school days? – DevSolar Aug 25 '16 at 9:31
  • @ JimmyM A duplicate of this question was recently asked with some additional details in the question - what are your thoughts on copying some of that material in to your question, to fully incorporate everything from it? (If you like the idea, you can actually go ahead and do so). – WBT Aug 27 '16 at 15:39
  • 3
    @WBT just do it, all posts are community owned :-) – Sklivvz Aug 28 '16 at 17:16
13

I've found a published journal titled "Educational Leadership" that thoroughly explores with supportive data of the arguments for and against homework, available here: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar07/vol64/num06/The-Case-For-and-Against-Homework.aspx

Based on the above reference, academic improvement with assigned homework has technically been proven. It also shows age does impact the margin of improvement. My assessment of the data is that the older the child, the greater the margin of improvement. The data contained in the above reference also states that "... research has produced no clear-cut consensus on the benefits of homework at the early elementary grade levels". Note that the youngest students data is cited for is for grades 4-6, at a meager performance gain of 6%.

Additionally, I also found this article written by Harris Cooper, with relevant subject matter expertise. Harris Cooper is, according to the Editor's Note:

"Harris Cooper is professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke, where he also directs the university's Program in Education, and is author of "The Battle over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents" (Corwin Press)

The article available here: https://today.duke.edu/2006/09/homework_oped.html

Cooper expands on how age plays a part in academic improvement with age when he writes:

The homework question is best answered by comparing students who are assigned homework with students assigned no homework but who are similar in other ways. The results of such studies suggest that homework can improve students' scores on the class tests that come at the end of a topic. Students assigned homework in 2nd grade did better on math, 3rd and 4th graders did better on English skills and vocabulary, 5th graders on social studies, 9th through 12th graders on American history, and 12th graders on Shakespeare.

Based on the above references, the teacher's statement: "Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance" is technically inaccurate. It would be more accurate to state "research shows homework assigned to early elementary students has negligible academic improvement".

More context is honestly needed, such as what subject(s) matter the teacher is responsible for. ( I had two teachers in 2nd grade, subjects were split between them.) As Cooper found research showing measurable improvement in mathematics among second grade students, the teacher's decision to not assign homework is only supported by research as long as she doesn't teach math.

  • I think the important thing is doing the exercises. Whether they're done at home or during free time at school would seem to be irrelevant. But too often "no homework" seems to equate to "no work at all". (Anecdotally, I don't recall ever having much HOME work, as I was usually able to finish it all in school, while my more popular classmates were socializing.) – jamesqf Dec 3 '16 at 5:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .