Do Students Get Too Much Homework, Is It Worth The Hassle?
In 2014, the Department for Education published a big report that concluded that year 9 students who do 3 hours homework per weeknight were 10 times more likely to get five good GSCE’s than students who do no homework. Should there be a limit? Is three hours per night too much? Does stress play a factor in in-fact making it counter-productive?
In 2012, schools in England stopped getting formal advice on how much homework to set. Schools now have a lot more flexibility. When looking at international comparisons, we can see that there isn’t really a uniform approach to homework.
How Does Homework Work Internationally?
The Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) conducted studies which suggested students in China were given the most homework, and are also among the highest academic achievers. Italy also sets a lot of homework, but their students’ results, at least according to Pisa, don’t reflect the extra work put in.
Finland gives us a very interesting comparison to the UK. They put much less focus on homework and testing compared the the UK. They also have one of the most successful education systems in the world. Could that be a coincidence?
Pros & Cons Of Homework
Students, of course, see homework as an unpleasant requirement. It does, though, have many benefits. Homework teaches students studying skills that they’ll use long after they’ve left school. It also affords students that may be falling behind the chance to catch up on materials at home.
Alongside the positives, are of course some negatives. With the sheer amount of homework that students get given, it takes time away from hobbies and sports among other things. As important as it is for teachers to have a good work life balance, it’s just as important for students to have the same balance. It’s important that we don’t forget that.
How Much Is Too Much?
In the States, The National Education Association and the National Parent-Teacher Association recently agreed on an optimal timescale for homework that they call the ’10 minute rule’. This states that a student should spend 10 minutes per night per grade level. So Grade 1 students do 10 minutes homework per night, right up to Grade 12 students doing 120 minutes per night. Translated to our schooling system here in the UK, that works out at 10 minutes for year 2 students and so on.
The University of Phoenix surveyed 1,000 teachers and asked how much they were giving out. Their results showed:
- 36 minutes for students in kindergarten to grade 5
- 39 minutes for students in grade 6 to grade 8
- 210 minutes a night for students grade 9 to grade 12
Several reports have shown that more than two hours of homework per night can have massive effects on stress, physical health problems, general lack of balance, and feelings of alienation.
How much homework do you set your students? Do you believe more is better, or do you keep it short and sweet? We’d love to start a discussion on different methods, so please let us know in the comments!