Should Students Have Homework?


People have been arguing over this subject for a couple of decades, but a unified opinion has not been formed yet. Some claim that students have too much homework, and the number of assignments must be reduced. Some disagree, saying that students do much less of what they are supposed to do. Today, we are going to talk about the necessity of homework and its impact on young children and high-school students.

Do students need to have homework? How exactly homework affects a student’s life and academic performance?

How Much Homework Do Students Do These Days?

“Too much.” That is going to be an answer given by probably every student from every school. However, we can agree that these feelings can be judgmental and have nothing to do with the true situation.

The thing is that there are practically no regulations as to how much homework there should be. It all depends on each particular school and how they build up the studying process. The table below provided by the BBC shows us an average amount of homework given to students in some of the countries.

As we can see, Chinese and Italian students are probably the busiest ones in the world. The Finnish students are the ones with the smallest amount of homework. It is worth noting that the Finnish education system is considered to be one of the best and most effective in the world.

How much homework should there be? A homework standard is defined by the “10 minutes rule”. This rule says that the first graders should do 10 minutes of homework per day, and with each year, another 10 minutes should be added. Hence, the high-school students shall wind up with about 2 hours of homework per day, although not every school is following this rule.

What Do the Studies Say?

A research conducted by the Indiana University School of Education faculty members states that there is little correlation between time spent on homework and course grades. They also found that homework time affects the performance of standardized tests positively. The researchers believe that this is caused by the format of assignments teachers give to students. Such a format can be quite similar to the format of tests given in class. Some of the students who spend more time on homework can simply be more prepared for standardized tests, but that does not mean that their knowledge of the discipline is good as well.

A professor Harris Cooper conducted a meta-analysis of homework studies. The results have shown that there is a correlation between time spent on homework and academic performance of students. However, he emphasized that this does not necessarily prove the dependence of student’s academic performance on how much homework they do. These results could also mean that these students are more disciplined and more involved in the process of studying, hence the good grades. Additional studies should be conducted to find out whether this correlation proves something.

Does Homework Adequately Prepare Students for Real Life?

That is a question many people ask. How many times have you or someone you know complained, “Why was I forced to study math/literature/history? I don’t need it in real life!” Not everything you learn in school can indeed be of any use in adult life. However, it is quite important for your intelligence to know the difference between Charles Dickens and Mark Twain, or to memorize the crucial events in our history.

Nevertheless, the homework should be meaningful, so that the student understands why he does that assignment. There is no point in giving students a bunch of essay assignments; they may as well get to write them, and they learn nothing. Let there be a smaller amount of homework, but it will be more useful and meaningful for the studying process.

In addition, too much homework may prevent your child from developing emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence includes an ability to understand the emotions of other people, as well as to communicate with them and to make them understand you. And that is as important as the knowledge of math or biology. If an A-student has no idea how to communicate with people and work with them, then his/her chances of getting a good job offer may decline in the future.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Homework

The reason why we cannot provide a definite answer to the question of the necessity of homework is that it has both its advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages of homework:

  • Develops study skills;
  • The student can learn about time-management;
  • Develops discipline;
  • It provides an opportunity to consolidate the material given in the classroom.

The disadvantages of homework:

  • Does not leave free time for play and hobbies;
  • Gives unnecessary stress and pressure;
  • Is not always practical and useful;
  • It does not guarantee a student actually learned something.

In conclusion, we can say that the subject of homework and its necessity is quite complicated. The debates seem to be never-ending, and there is no definite answer. It all depends on the school and its teachers. In some places, people understand that students need free time to do the things they like or simply to goof around. On the other hand, some people think that the amount of homework should be larger.

It is highly essential to listen to your child and not to let constant stress caused by homework ruin his/her attitude towards studying.