Homework. The one word that can send students, both ambitious and apathetic alike, running for the hills. And who can blame them? The due dates, the thick packets, and long paragraphs can be daunting to students spread too thin between clubs, sports, hobbies, and their social lives.
But as unfortunate as it is, homework is an inevitable reality for students. What’s not so black and white, however, is the question of whether these unavoidable assignments are actually doing anybody any good. Is there as strong of a correlation between homework and academic success as people say? Would busy students be better off without it?
According to “Homework Debate” by Patrick Marshall, critics of current homework levels point their fingers at the call for a more rigorous federal curricula starting in the 1970s and 1980s. This was in response to the United States’ decreasing ability to keep up with the intellectual competition in the international community. However, that wave of educational reform resulted not in a generation of rigorous students prepared to compete in the international community, but students who were burned out even before they went to college. This conclusion was based off of results from a study that showed that “the longer students were in American schools, the worse they did” compared with students in other industrialized countries.
Harrison Cooper, a professor of Psychology at the University of Missouri, however recently analyzed results from 120 studies done on the effects of homework and concluded “that homework works, but it has different effects at different grade levels. The amount and type of homework should be a function of children’s developmental level and home circumstances.”
The interview results from Rogers students varied as well. Jenna Tapia, a senior who has half her schedule filled with AP classes finds homework to be something that is “very helpful” because it “provides review and shows you where you are at and where you need help.”
Holly Saliz, a junior currently not enrolled in any AP classes however, finds that the lighter load of homework from her classes “does not have any effect” on her grades. “Whether I do it or not doesn’t really matter in terms of learning, but I do it anyway because they are worth points in the grade book.”
One of our sophomore Rams, Ailsa Fettermann, said that the effects of homework on academic success are more of a hit or miss. “[For] some classes, homework helps, [for] some classes, it confuses me more.”
Wondering what the perspective of a teacher who assigns the homework is? According to Leo Keenan, who teaches regular and AP Chemistry, a minimal amount of homework should be assigned “only for the purpose of reviewing the material learned in class- not for learning the material at home.” Additionally, Keenan believes that, contrary to popular belief, “The rigor of AP classes is supposed to be in the class work, not the homework.”
What are the benefits of doing homework then? Rebekah Leonardy, who teaches AP Language and Senior English, believes that homework can be beneficial for two things: “Building good work ethic and helping manage the huge course load of some AP classes that just don’t fit into one class period.” But this is only if, of course, “the homework is related to the course material and not just busy work.“
Leonardy also says that although some classes are structured in a way that don’t require as much homework, like her Senior English class, she still will have them do things like reading a novel at home so that they can use the valuable class time to “do English things and not have it just be a reading class.”
The answer as to whether homework is as beneficial as some experts and teachers say is not a truth set in stone because of the many circumstantial, case-by-case factors surrounding the issue.