7 Research-Based Reasons Why Students Should Not Have Homework: Academic Insights, Opposing Perspectives & Alternatives

The push against homework is not just about the hours spent on completing assignments; it’s about rethinking the role of education in fostering the well-rounded development of young individuals. Critics argue that homework, particularly in excessive amounts, can lead to negative outcomes such as stress, burnout, and a diminished love for learning. Moreover, it often disproportionately affects students from disadvantaged backgrounds, exacerbating educational inequities. The debate also highlights the importance of allowing children to have enough free time for play, exploration, and family interaction, which are crucial for their social and emotional development.

Checking 13yo’s math homework & I have just one question. I can catch mistakes & help her correct. But what do kids do when their parent isn’t an Algebra teacher? Answer: They get frustrated. Quit. Get a bad grade. Think they aren’t good at math. How is homework fair??? — Jay Wamsted (@JayWamsted) March 24, 2022

Once you’ve finished this article, you’ll know:

Insights from Teachers and Education Industry Experts: Diverse Perspectives on Homework

Here are the insights and opinions from various experts in the educational field on this topic:

“I teach 1st grade. I had parents ask for homework. I explained that I don’t give homework. Home time is family time. Time to play, cook, explore and spend time together. I do send books home, but there is no requirement or checklist for reading them. Read them, enjoy them, and return them when your child is ready for more. I explained that as a parent myself, I know they are busy—and what a waste of energy it is to sit and force their kids to do work at home—when they could use that time to form relationships and build a loving home. Something kids need more than a few math problems a week.” — Colleen S. , 1st grade teacher
“The lasting educational value of homework at that age is not proven. A kid says the times tables [at school] because he studied the times tables last night. But over a long period of time, a kid who is drilled on the times tables at school, rather than as homework, will also memorize their times tables. We are worried about young children and their social emotional learning. And that has to do with physical activity, it has to do with playing with peers, it has to do with family time. All of those are very important and can be removed by too much homework.” — David Bloomfield , education professor at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York graduate center
“Homework in primary school has an effect of around zero. In high school it’s larger. (…) Which is why we need to get it right. Not why we need to get rid of it. It’s one of those lower hanging fruit that we should be looking in our primary schools to say, ‘Is it really making a difference?’” — John Hattie , professor
”Many kids are working as many hours as their overscheduled parents and it is taking a toll – psychologically and in many other ways too. We see kids getting up hours before school starts just to get their homework done from the night before… While homework may give kids one more responsibility, it ignores the fact that kids do not need to grow up and become adults at ages 10 or 12. With schools cutting recess time or eliminating playgrounds, kids absorb every single stress there is, only on an even higher level. Their brains and bodies need time to be curious, have fun, be creative and just be a kid.” — Pat Wayman, teacher and CEO of HowtoLearn.com

7 Reasons Why Students Should Not Have Homework

1. elevated stress and health consequences.

This data paints a concerning picture. Students, already navigating a world filled with various stressors, find themselves further burdened by homework demands. The direct correlation between excessive homework and health issues indicates a need for reevaluation. The goal should be to ensure that homework if assigned, adds value to students’ learning experiences without compromising their health and well-being.

2. Inequitable Impact and Socioeconomic Disparities

3. negative impact on family dynamics.

The issue is not confined to specific demographics but is a widespread concern. Samantha Hulsman, a teacher featured in Education Week Teacher , shared her personal experience with the toll that homework can take on family time. She observed that a seemingly simple 30-minute assignment could escalate into a three-hour ordeal, causing stress and strife between parents and children. Hulsman’s insights challenge the traditional mindset about homework, highlighting a shift towards the need for skills such as collaboration and problem-solving over rote memorization of facts.

4. Consumption of Free Time

Authors Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish , in their book “The Case Against Homework,” offer an insightful window into the lives of families grappling with the demands of excessive homework. They share stories from numerous interviews conducted in the mid-2000s, highlighting the universal struggle faced by families across different demographics. A poignant account from a parent in Menlo Park, California, describes nightly sessions extending until 11 p.m., filled with stress and frustration, leading to a soured attitude towards school in both the child and the parent. This narrative is not isolated, as about one-third of the families interviewed expressed feeling crushed by the overwhelming workload.

5. Challenges for Students with Learning Disabilities

6. critique of underlying assumptions about learning, 7. issues with homework enforcement, reliability, and temptation to cheat, addressing opposing views on homework practices, 1. improvement of academic performance, 2. reinforcement of learning, 3. development of time management skills, 4. preparation for future academic challenges, 5. parental involvement in education, exploring alternatives to homework and finding a middle ground, alternatives to traditional homework, ideas for minimizing homework, useful resources, leave a comment cancel reply.

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The Pros and Cons of Homework

why is homework bad quora

Updated: June 19, 2024

Published: January 23, 2020

The-Pros-and-Cons-Should-Students-Have-Homework

Homework is a word that most students dread hearing. After hours upon hours of sitting in class , the last thing we want is more schoolwork over our precious weekends. While it’s known to be a staple of traditional schooling, homework has also become a rather divise topic. Some feel as though homework is a necessary part of school, while others believe that the time could be better invested. Should students have homework? Have a closer look into the arguments on both sides to decide for yourself.

A college student completely swamped with homework.

Photo by  energepic.com  from  Pexels

Why should students have homework.

Homework has been a long-standing part of the education system. It helps reinforce what students learn in the classroom, encourages good study habits, and promotes a deeper understanding of subjects. Studies have shown that homework can improve students’ grades and skills. Here are some reasons why homework is important:

1. Homework Encourages Practice

Many people believe that one of the positive effects of homework is that it encourages the discipline of practice. While it may be time consuming and boring compared to other activities, repetition is needed to get better at skills. Homework helps make concepts more clear, and gives students more opportunities when starting their career .

2. Homework Gets Parents Involved

Homework can be something that gets parents involved in their children’s lives if the environment is a healthy one. A parent helping their child with homework makes them take part in their academic success, and allows for the parent to keep up with what the child is doing in school. It can also be a chance to connect together.

3. Homework Teaches Time Management

Homework is much more than just completing the assigned tasks. Homework can develop time management skills , forcing students to plan their time and make sure that all of their homework assignments are done on time. By learning to manage their time, students also practice their problem-solving skills and independent thinking. One of the positive effects of homework is that it forces decision making and compromises to be made.

4. Homework Opens A Bridge Of Communication

Homework creates a connection between the student, the teacher, the school, and the parents. It allows everyone to get to know each other better, and parents can see where their children are struggling. In the same sense, parents can also see where their children are excelling. Homework in turn can allow for a better, more targeted educational plan for the student.

5. Homework Allows For More Learning Time

Homework allows for more time to complete the learning process. School hours are not always enough time for students to really understand core concepts, and homework can counter the effects of time shortages, benefiting students in the long run, even if they can’t see it in the moment.

6. Homework Reduces Screen Time

Many students in North America spend far too many hours watching TV. If they weren’t in school, these numbers would likely increase even more. Although homework is usually undesired, it encourages better study habits and discourages spending time in front of the TV. Homework can be seen as another extracurricular activity, and many families already invest a lot of time and money in different clubs and lessons to fill up their children’s extra time. Just like extracurricular activities, homework can be fit into one’s schedule.

A female student who doesn’t want to do homework.

The Other Side: Why Homework Is Bad

While homework has its benefits, there are also many arguments against it. Some believe that homework can cause increased stress, limit time for extracurricular activities, and reduce family time. Studies and expert opinions highlight the drawbacks of too much homework, showing how it can negatively affect students’ well-being and academic experience. Here are some reasons why homework might be bad:

1. Homework Encourages A Sedentary Lifestyle

Should students have homework? Well, that depends on where you stand. There are arguments both for the advantages and the disadvantages of homework.

While classroom time is important, playground time is just as important. If children are given too much homework, they won’t have enough playtime, which can impact their social development and learning. Studies have found that those who get more play get better grades in school , as it can help them pay closer attention in the classroom.

Children are already sitting long hours in the classroom, and homework assignments only add to these hours. Sedentary lifestyles can be dangerous and can cause health problems such as obesity. Homework takes away from time that could be spent investing in physical activity.

2. Homework Isn’t Healthy In Every Home

While many people that think homes are a beneficial environment for children to learn, not all homes provide a healthy environment, and there may be very little investment from parents. Some parents do not provide any kind of support or homework help, and even if they would like to, due to personal barriers, they sometimes cannot. Homework can create friction between children and their parents, which is one of the reasons why homework is bad.

3. Homework Adds To An Already Full-Time Job

School is already a full-time job for students, as they generally spend over 6 hours each day in class. Students also often have extracurricular activities such as sports, music, or art that are just as important as their traditional courses. Adding on extra hours to all of these demands is a lot for children to manage, and prevents students from having extra time to themselves for a variety of creative endeavors. Homework prevents self discovery and having the time to learn new skills outside of the school system. This is one of the main disadvantages of homework.

4. Homework Has Not Been Proven To Provide Results

Endless surveys have found that homework creates a negative attitude towards school, and homework has not been found to be linked to a higher level of academic success.

The positive effects of homework have not been backed up enough. While homework may help some students improve in specific subjects, if they have outside help there is no real proof that homework makes for improvements.

It can be a challenge to really enforce the completion of homework, and students can still get decent grades without doing their homework. Extra school time does not necessarily mean better grades — quality must always come before quantity.

Accurate practice when it comes to homework simply isn’t reliable. Homework could even cause opposite effects if misunderstood, especially since the reliance is placed on the student and their parents — one of the major reasons as to why homework is bad. Many students would rather cheat in class to avoid doing their homework at home, and children often just copy off of each other or from what they read on the internet.

5. Homework Assignments Are Overdone

The general agreement is that students should not be given more than 10 minutes a day per grade level. What this means is that a first grader should be given a maximum of 10 minutes of homework, while a second grader receives 20 minutes, etc. Many students are given a lot more homework than the recommended amount, however.

On average, college students spend as much as 3 hours per night on homework . By giving too much homework, it can increase stress levels and lead to burn out. This in turn provides an opposite effect when it comes to academic success.

The pros and cons of homework are both valid, and it seems as though the question of ‘‘should students have homework?’ is not a simple, straightforward one. Parents and teachers often are found to be clashing heads, while the student is left in the middle without much say.

It’s important to understand all the advantages and disadvantages of homework, taking both perspectives into conversation to find a common ground. At the end of the day, everyone’s goal is the success of the student.

FAQ Section

What are the benefits of assigning homework to students.

Homework reinforces what students learn in the classroom, helps develop good study habits, and promotes a deeper understanding of subjects. It also encourages practice, improves time management skills, and encourages parents to participate in their children’s education.

How much homework is too much for students?

Generally, it is recommended that students receive no more than 10 minutes of homework per grade level per day. For example, a first grader should have no more than 10 minutes of homework, while a fifth grader should have no more than 50 minutes.

What are the potential drawbacks of excessive homework assignments?

Excessive homework can lead to increased stress, a sedentary lifestyle, lack of free time for extracurricular activities, and diminished family time. It can also create a negative attitude towards school and learning.

How does homework impact students’ stress levels and well-being?

Too much homework can significantly increase stress levels and negatively affect students’ well-being. It can lead to anxiety, burnout, and reduced time for physical activity and relaxation.

Does homework promote independent thinking and problem-solving skills?

Yes, homework can promote independent thinking and problem-solving skills by encouraging students to tackle assignments on their own, manage their time effectively, and find solutions to problems without immediate assistance from teachers.

Are there any long-term effects of excessive homework on students?

Excessive homework over long periods can lead to chronic stress, burnout, and a negative attitude towards education. It can also hinder the development of social skills and reduce opportunities for self-discovery and creative pursuits.

How can technology enhance or supplement traditional homework practices?

Technology can provide interactive and engaging ways to complete homework, such as educational apps, online resources, and virtual collaboration tools. It can also offer personalized learning experiences and immediate feedback.

Are there any innovative approaches to homework that schools are adopting?

Some schools are adopting innovative approaches like flipped classrooms, where students watch lectures at home and do hands-on classroom activities. Project-based learning and personalized assignments tailored to individual student needs are also becoming more popular.

How do educators balance the workload with diverse student needs?

Educators can balance the workload by differentiating assignments, considering the individual needs and abilities of students, and providing flexible deadlines. Communication with students and parents helps to ensure that homework is manageable and effective for everyone.

In this article

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Denise Pope

Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative effects on student well-being and behavioral engagement. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

A Stanford researcher found that too much homework can negatively affect kids, especially their lives away from school, where family, friends and activities matter.

“Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good,” wrote Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education .

The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students’ views on homework.

Median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college, either two-year or four-year.

Students in these schools average about 3.1 hours of homework each night.

“The findings address how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students’ advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement and well-being,” Pope wrote.

Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.

Their study found that too much homework is associated with:

* Greater stress: 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data. Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.

* Reductions in health: In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems. The researchers asked students whether they experienced health issues such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems.

* Less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits: Both the survey data and student responses indicate that spending too much time on homework meant that students were “not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills,” according to the researchers. Students were more likely to drop activities, not see friends or family, and not pursue hobbies they enjoy.

A balancing act

The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.

Also, there was no relationship between the time spent on homework and how much the student enjoyed it. The research quoted students as saying they often do homework they see as “pointless” or “mindless” in order to keep their grades up.

“This kind of busy work, by its very nature, discourages learning and instead promotes doing homework simply to get points,” Pope said.

She said the research calls into question the value of assigning large amounts of homework in high-performing schools. Homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice, she said.

“Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development,” wrote Pope.

High-performing paradox

In places where students attend high-performing schools, too much homework can reduce their time to foster skills in the area of personal responsibility, the researchers concluded. “Young people are spending more time alone,” they wrote, “which means less time for family and fewer opportunities to engage in their communities.”

Student perspectives

The researchers say that while their open-ended or “self-reporting” methodology to gauge student concerns about homework may have limitations – some might regard it as an opportunity for “typical adolescent complaining” – it was important to learn firsthand what the students believe.

The paper was co-authored by Mollie Galloway from Lewis and Clark College and Jerusha Conner from Villanova University.

Media Contacts

Denise Pope, Stanford Graduate School of Education: (650) 725-7412, [email protected] Clifton B. Parker, Stanford News Service: (650) 725-0224, [email protected]

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Is Homework Bad? Here Is What Research Says

By Med Kharbach, PhD | Last Update: April 30, 2024

is homework bad

Homework is a controversial topic and the object of differing opinions among teachers, parents, and educators . While some highly value it considering it key in scholarly achievement and academic performance, others view it as a nuisance to students’ independence and a cause for unwarranted emotional and physical stress for kids. 

The controversy surrounding homework does not only revolve around its value, but also around questions such as: How much homework is enough homework? How much time should be allotted to homework? How frequent should homework be assigned? Does help from others (e.g., parents or other students) undermine the value of homework? Should homework be banned? Should kids be assigned homework? and many more.

However, as the research cited in this article demonstrates, homework, controversial as it is, has some benefits for students although these benefits differ according to various factors including students age, skill and grade level, students socio-economic status, purpose behind homework, duration of the homework, among other considerations. In this article, I cover some of the key issues related to homework and provide research resources to help teachers and parents learn more about homework.

What Does Homework Mean? 

According to Cooper (1989), homework is defined as “tasks assigned to students by school teachers that are meant to be carried out during non-school hours”. Cooper’s definition is similar to the one found in Cambridge Dictionary which defines homework as “work that teachers give their students to do at home” or as “studying that students do at home to prepare for school”.

There is way more to homework than what these general definitions outline. Homework assignments are not equal and there are various variables that can affect the value and effectiveness of homework.

Some of these variables, according to Blazer (2009) , include difficulty level of assigned tasks, skill and subject areas covered, completion timeframe (short or long term), degree of autonomy and individualization, social context (done independently or with the help of others), obligatory or voluntary, whether it will be submitted for grading or not, among other variables.

Is Homework Bad?

Going through the scholarly literature and regardless of the disagreement and controversies the topic of homework raises, there is a growing consensus that homework has some benefits , especially for students in middle and high school ( National Education Association ).

One of the most comprehensive research studies on homework is a meta-analysis done by professor Harris Cooper and his colleagues (2006) and published in the journal Review of Educational Research .

In this study, Cooper et al analyzed a large pool of research studies on homework conducted in the United States between between 1987 and 2003. Their findings indicate the existence of ‘a positive influence of homework on achievement’.

The influence is mainly noticed in students in grades 7-12 and less in students grades K-6. However, even though kids benefit less from homework, Cooper et al. confirm the importance of some form of homework for students of all ages.

What Is The Purpose of Homework? 

There are several reasons for assigning homework. Some of these reasons according to Blazer include:

– Review and reinforce materials learned in class – Check students understanding and assess their skills and knowledge – Enhance students study skills – Provide students with learning opportunities where they can use their newly acquired skills to explore new insights. – Enable students to hone in their search skills and apply them to find resources on an assigned topic – Help students develop social emotional learning skills – Enable students to develop functional study habits and life skills. These include time management and organization skills, problem solving skills, self-discipline, accountability, self-confidence, communication skills, critical thinking skills, inquisitiveness, among others.

Drawbacks of Homework  

Critics of homework argue that it has less value and can result in negative consequences. In her literature review, Blazer (2009) summarized some of these drawbacks in the following points:

– Homework can cause emotional and physical fatigue – Homework takes away from kids’ leisure time and interferes with their natural development. – Homework can drive students to develop negative attitudes towards school and learning. – Assigned homework prevents students from engaging in self-directed and independent learning. – Homework can interfere with students’ engagement in social activities including sports and community involvement. – Excessive homework can create tension and stress and lead to friction between parents and kids. – Homework may encourage a culture of cheating – Homework “can widen social inequalities. Compared to their higher income peers, students from lower income homes are more likely to work after school and less likely to have an environment conducive to studying”.

is homework bad

How Much Homework Should Students Have? 

According to Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez and Muñiz ( 2015 ), spending 60 minutes per day doing homework is considered a reasonably effective time. However, the study also added that the amount of help and effort needed to do homework is key in this equation because “when it comes to homework”, as the authors concluded, “how is more important than how much”. 

This conclusion is congruent with several other studies (e.g., Farrow et al. (1999), that emphasize the idea that when doing homework, quality is more important than quantity. When the variables of time and effort are taken into account, the question of how much homework should students have becomes statistically irrelevant.

Catty Vatterott, author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices that Support Diverse Needs , also advocates for quality over quantity when assigning homework tasks.She argues that instead of banning homework altogether, we can embrace a more open approach to homework; one that deemphasizes grading and differentiates tasks.

Along similar lines, studies have also confirmed the correlation between autonomy and positive performance. Autonomous students, that is those who can do homework on their own, are more likely to perform better academically (Fernández-Alonso, 2015; Dettmers et al.,2010, 2011; Trautwein & Lüdtke, 2007, (Xu, 2010a). Findings from these studies indicate that “students who need frequent or constant help with homework have worse academic results.” (Fernández-Alonso, 2015)

Besides the 60 minutes per day recommendation for older students, there is also the 10 minutes rule which, according to Harris Cooper , works by multiplying a kid’s grade by 10 to determine how much time they need for homework per day.

According to the 10 minute rule, first graders require 10 minutes per day of homework, second graders 20 minutes, and for each subsequent year you add another 10 minutes so that at the last year of high school, grade 12 students will have 2 hours of daily homework. As Cooper argues, “when you assign more than these levels, the law of diminishing returns or even negative effects – stress especially – begin to appear”.

The debate over homework is far from being settled and probably will never reach definitive conclusions. With that being said, l personally view homework as a heuristic for learning. It scaffolds classroom learning and helps students reinforce learned skills. For elementary students, homework should not be tied to any academic grades or achievement expectation.

In fact, kids’ homework assignments, if any, should align with the overall interests of kids in that it should support and include elements of play, fun, and exploration. Needless to mention that, once outside school, kids are to be given ample time to play, explore, and learn by doing.

As Cooper stated “A good way to think about homework is the way you think about medications or dietary supplements. If you take too little, they’ll have no effect. If you take too much, they can kill you. If you take the right amount, you’ll get better.”

Research on Homework 

The topic of homework has been the subject of several academic research studies. The following is a sample of some of these research studies:

  • Blazer, C. (2009). Literature review: Homework. Miami, FL: Miami Dade County Public Schools.
  • Cooper, H. (1989). Synthesis of research on homework. Educational Leadership, 47, 85–91.
  • Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987–2003. Review of Educational Research, 76, 1– 62.
  • Dettmers, S., Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, M., Kunter, M., & Baumert, J. (2010). Homework works if homework quality is high: Using multilevel modeling to predict the development of achievement in mathematics. Journal of Educational Psychology,
  • Dettmers, S., Trautwein, U., & Lüdtke, O. (2009). The relationship between homework time and achievement is not universal: Evidence from multilevel analyses in 40 countries. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 20, 375– 405.
  • Epstein, J. L., & van Voorhis, F. L. (2001). More than minutes: Teachers’ roles in designing homework. Educational Psychologist, 36, 181–193
  • Farrow, S., Tymms, P., & Henderson, B. (1999). Homework and attainment in primary schools. British Educational Research Journal, 25, 323–341
  • Goldstein, A. (1960). Does homework help? A review of research. The Elementary School Journal, 60, 212–224.
  • Trautwein, U., & Köller, O. (2003). The relationship between homework and achievement: Still much of a mystery. Educational Psychology Review, 15, 115–145
  • Warton, P. M. (2001). The forgotten voices in homework: Views of students. Educational Psychologist, 36, 155–165.
  • Xu, J. (2013). Why do students have difficulties completing homework? The need for homework management. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 1, 98 –105.
  • Zimmerman, B. J., & Kitsantas, A. (2005). Homework practices and academic achievement: The mediating role of self-efficacy and perceived responsibility beliefs. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 30, 397– 417.
  • Kralovec, E., & Buell, J. (2001). End Homework Now. Educational Leadership, 58(7), 39-42.
  • Krashen, S. (2005). The Hard Work Hypothesis: Is Doing Your Homework Enough to Overcome the Effects of Poverty? Multicultural Education, 12(4), 16-19.
  • Lenard, W. (1997). The Homework Scam. Teacher Magazine, 9(1), 60-61.
  • Marzano, R.J., & Pickering, D.J. (2007). The Case For and Against Homework. Educational Leadership, 64(6), 74-79.
  • Skinner, D. (2004). The Homework Wars. Public Interest, 154, Winter, 49-60.
  • Corno, L. (1996). Homework is a Complicated Thing. Educational Researcher, 25(8), 27-30.
  • Forster, K. (2000). Homework: A Bridge Too Far? Issues in Educational Research, 10(1), 21-37.
  • Hoover-Dempsey, K.V., Battiato, A.C., Walker, J.M., Reed, R.P., DeLong, J.M., & Jones, K.P. (2001). Parent Involvement in Homework. Educational Psychologist, 36(3), 195-209.

Books on Homework 

Here are some interesting books that profoundly explore the concept of homework:

1. The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing , by Kohn (2006)

  • 2. Rethinking Homework: Best Practices that Support Diverse Needs , by Catty Vatterot
  • 3. The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning , by Kralovec, E., & Buell, J. (2000)
  • 4. The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Children and What Parents Can Do About It , by Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish

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Meet Med Kharbach, PhD

Dr. Med Kharbach is an influential voice in the global educational technology landscape, with an extensive background in educational studies and a decade-long experience as a K-12 teacher. Holding a Ph.D. from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Canada, he brings a unique perspective to the educational world by integrating his profound academic knowledge with his hands-on teaching experience. Dr. Kharbach's academic pursuits encompass curriculum studies, discourse analysis, language learning/teaching, language and identity, emerging literacies, educational technology, and research methodologies. His work has been presented at numerous national and international conferences and published in various esteemed academic journals.

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Homework – Top 3 Pros and Cons

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Pro/Con Arguments | Discussion Questions | Take Action | Sources | More Debates

why is homework bad quora

From dioramas to book reports, from algebraic word problems to research projects, whether students should be given homework, as well as the type and amount of homework, has been debated for over a century. [ 1 ]

While we are unsure who invented homework, we do know that the word “homework” dates back to ancient Rome. Pliny the Younger asked his followers to practice their speeches at home. Memorization exercises as homework continued through the Middle Ages and Enlightenment by monks and other scholars. [ 45 ]

In the 19th century, German students of the Volksschulen or “People’s Schools” were given assignments to complete outside of the school day. This concept of homework quickly spread across Europe and was brought to the United States by Horace Mann , who encountered the idea in Prussia. [ 45 ]

In the early 1900s, progressive education theorists, championed by the magazine Ladies’ Home Journal , decried homework’s negative impact on children’s physical and mental health, leading California to ban homework for students under 15 from 1901 until 1917. In the 1930s, homework was portrayed as child labor, which was newly illegal, but the prevailing argument was that kids needed time to do household chores. [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 45 ] [ 46 ]

Public opinion swayed again in favor of homework in the 1950s due to concerns about keeping up with the Soviet Union’s technological advances during the Cold War . And, in 1986, the US government included homework as an educational quality boosting tool. [ 3 ] [ 45 ]

A 2014 study found kindergarteners to fifth graders averaged 2.9 hours of homework per week, sixth to eighth graders 3.2 hours per teacher, and ninth to twelfth graders 3.5 hours per teacher. A 2014-2019 study found that teens spent about an hour a day on homework. [ 4 ] [ 44 ]

Beginning in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic complicated the very idea of homework as students were schooling remotely and many were doing all school work from home. Washington Post journalist Valerie Strauss asked, “Does homework work when kids are learning all day at home?” While students were mostly back in school buildings in fall 2021, the question remains of how effective homework is as an educational tool. [ 47 ]

Is Homework Beneficial?

Pro 1 Homework improves student achievement. Studies have shown that homework improved student achievement in terms of improved grades, test results, and the likelihood to attend college. Research published in the High School Journal indicated that students who spent between 31 and 90 minutes each day on homework “scored about 40 points higher on the SAT-Mathematics subtest than their peers, who reported spending no time on homework each day, on average.” [ 6 ] Students in classes that were assigned homework outperformed 69% of students who didn’t have homework on both standardized tests and grades. A majority of studies on homework’s impact – 64% in one meta-study and 72% in another – showed that take-home assignments were effective at improving academic achievement. [ 7 ] [ 8 ] Research by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) concluded that increased homework led to better GPAs and higher probability of college attendance for high school boys. In fact, boys who attended college did more than three hours of additional homework per week in high school. [ 10 ] Read More
Pro 2 Homework helps to reinforce classroom learning, while developing good study habits and life skills. Students typically retain only 50% of the information teachers provide in class, and they need to apply that information in order to truly learn it. Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer, co-founders of Teachers Who Tutor NYC, explained, “at-home assignments help students learn the material taught in class. Students require independent practice to internalize new concepts… [And] these assignments can provide valuable data for teachers about how well students understand the curriculum.” [ 11 ] [ 49 ] Elementary school students who were taught “strategies to organize and complete homework,” such as prioritizing homework activities, collecting study materials, note-taking, and following directions, showed increased grades and more positive comments on report cards. [ 17 ] Research by the City University of New York noted that “students who engage in self-regulatory processes while completing homework,” such as goal-setting, time management, and remaining focused, “are generally more motivated and are higher achievers than those who do not use these processes.” [ 18 ] Homework also helps students develop key skills that they’ll use throughout their lives: accountability, autonomy, discipline, time management, self-direction, critical thinking, and independent problem-solving. Freireich and Platzer noted that “homework helps students acquire the skills needed to plan, organize, and complete their work.” [ 12 ] [ 13 ] [ 14 ] [ 15 ] [ 49 ] Read More
Pro 3 Homework allows parents to be involved with children’s learning. Thanks to take-home assignments, parents are able to track what their children are learning at school as well as their academic strengths and weaknesses. [ 12 ] Data from a nationwide sample of elementary school students show that parental involvement in homework can improve class performance, especially among economically disadvantaged African-American and Hispanic students. [ 20 ] Research from Johns Hopkins University found that an interactive homework process known as TIPS (Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork) improves student achievement: “Students in the TIPS group earned significantly higher report card grades after 18 weeks (1 TIPS assignment per week) than did non-TIPS students.” [ 21 ] Homework can also help clue parents in to the existence of any learning disabilities their children may have, allowing them to get help and adjust learning strategies as needed. Duke University Professor Harris Cooper noted, “Two parents once told me they refused to believe their child had a learning disability until homework revealed it to them.” [ 12 ] Read More
Con 1 Too much homework can be harmful. A poll of California high school students found that 59% thought they had too much homework. 82% of respondents said that they were “often or always stressed by schoolwork.” High-achieving high school students said too much homework leads to sleep deprivation and other health problems such as headaches, exhaustion, weight loss, and stomach problems. [ 24 ] [ 28 ] [ 29 ] Alfie Kohn, an education and parenting expert, said, “Kids should have a chance to just be kids… it’s absurd to insist that children must be engaged in constructive activities right up until their heads hit the pillow.” [ 27 ] Emmy Kang, a mental health counselor, explained, “More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies.” [ 48 ] Excessive homework can also lead to cheating: 90% of middle school students and 67% of high school students admit to copying someone else’s homework, and 43% of college students engaged in “unauthorized collaboration” on out-of-class assignments. Even parents take shortcuts on homework: 43% of those surveyed admitted to having completed a child’s assignment for them. [ 30 ] [ 31 ] [ 32 ] Read More
Con 2 Homework exacerbates the digital divide or homework gap. Kiara Taylor, financial expert, defined the digital divide as “the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology and those that don’t. Though the term now encompasses the technical and financial ability to utilize available technology—along with access (or a lack of access) to the Internet—the gap it refers to is constantly shifting with the development of technology.” For students, this is often called the homework gap. [ 50 ] [ 51 ] 30% (about 15 to 16 million) public school students either did not have an adequate internet connection or an appropriate device, or both, for distance learning. Completing homework for these students is more complicated (having to find a safe place with an internet connection, or borrowing a laptop, for example) or impossible. [ 51 ] A Hispanic Heritage Foundation study found that 96.5% of students across the country needed to use the internet for homework, and nearly half reported they were sometimes unable to complete their homework due to lack of access to the internet or a computer, which often resulted in lower grades. [ 37 ] [ 38 ] One study concluded that homework increases social inequality because it “potentially serves as a mechanism to further advantage those students who already experience some privilege in the school system while further disadvantaging those who may already be in a marginalized position.” [ 39 ] Read More
Con 3 Homework does not help younger students, and may not help high school students. We’ve known for a while that homework does not help elementary students. A 2006 study found that “homework had no association with achievement gains” when measured by standardized tests results or grades. [ 7 ] Fourth grade students who did no homework got roughly the same score on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) math exam as those who did 30 minutes of homework a night. Students who did 45 minutes or more of homework a night actually did worse. [ 41 ] Temple University professor Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek said that homework is not the most effective tool for young learners to apply new information: “They’re learning way more important skills when they’re not doing their homework.” [ 42 ] In fact, homework may not be helpful at the high school level either. Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth, stated, “I interviewed high school teachers who completely stopped giving homework and there was no downside, it was all upside.” He explains, “just because the same kids who get more homework do a little better on tests, doesn’t mean the homework made that happen.” [ 52 ] Read More

Discussion Questions

1. Is homework beneficial? Consider the study data, your personal experience, and other types of information. Explain your answer(s).

2. If homework were banned, what other educational strategies would help students learn classroom material? Explain your answer(s).

3. How has homework been helpful to you personally? How has homework been unhelpful to you personally? Make carefully considered lists for both sides.

Take Action

1. Examine an argument in favor of quality homework assignments from Janine Bempechat.

2. Explore Oxford Learning’s infographic on the effects of homework on students.

3. Consider Joseph Lathan’s argument that homework promotes inequality .

4. Consider how you felt about the issue before reading this article. After reading the pros and cons on this topic, has your thinking changed? If so, how? List two to three ways. If your thoughts have not changed, list two to three ways your better understanding of the “other side of the issue” now helps you better argue your position.

5. Push for the position and policies you support by writing US national senators and representatives .

1.Tom Loveless, “Homework in America: Part II of the 2014 Brown Center Report of American Education,” brookings.edu, Mar. 18, 2014
2.Edward Bok, “A National Crime at the Feet of American Parents,”  , Jan. 1900
3.Tim Walker, “The Great Homework Debate: What’s Getting Lost in the Hype,” neatoday.org, Sep. 23, 2015
4.University of Phoenix College of Education, “Homework Anxiety: Survey Reveals How Much Homework K-12 Students Are Assigned and Why Teachers Deem It Beneficial,” phoenix.edu, Feb. 24, 2014
5.Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), “PISA in Focus No. 46: Does Homework Perpetuate Inequities in Education?,” oecd.org, Dec. 2014
6.Adam V. Maltese, Robert H. Tai, and Xitao Fan, “When is Homework Worth the Time?: Evaluating the Association between Homework and Achievement in High School Science and Math,”  , 2012
7.Harris Cooper, Jorgianne Civey Robinson, and Erika A. Patall, “Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Researcher, 1987-2003,”  , 2006
8.Gökhan Bas, Cihad Sentürk, and Fatih Mehmet Cigerci, “Homework and Academic Achievement: A Meta-Analytic Review of Research,”  , 2017
9.Huiyong Fan, Jianzhong Xu, Zhihui Cai, Jinbo He, and Xitao Fan, “Homework and Students’ Achievement in Math and Science: A 30-Year Meta-Analysis, 1986-2015,”  , 2017
10.Charlene Marie Kalenkoski and Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia, “Does High School Homework Increase Academic Achievement?,” iza.og, Apr. 2014
11.Ron Kurtus, “Purpose of Homework,” school-for-champions.com, July 8, 2012
12.Harris Cooper, “Yes, Teachers Should Give Homework – The Benefits Are Many,” newsobserver.com, Sep. 2, 2016
13.Tammi A. Minke, “Types of Homework and Their Effect on Student Achievement,” repository.stcloudstate.edu, 2017
14.LakkshyaEducation.com, “How Does Homework Help Students: Suggestions From Experts,” LakkshyaEducation.com (accessed Aug. 29, 2018)
15.University of Montreal, “Do Kids Benefit from Homework?,” teaching.monster.com (accessed Aug. 30, 2018)
16.Glenda Faye Pryor-Johnson, “Why Homework Is Actually Good for Kids,” memphisparent.com, Feb. 1, 2012
17.Joan M. Shepard, “Developing Responsibility for Completing and Handing in Daily Homework Assignments for Students in Grades Three, Four, and Five,” eric.ed.gov, 1999
18.Darshanand Ramdass and Barry J. Zimmerman, “Developing Self-Regulation Skills: The Important Role of Homework,”  , 2011
19.US Department of Education, “Let’s Do Homework!,” ed.gov (accessed Aug. 29, 2018)
20.Loretta Waldman, “Sociologist Upends Notions about Parental Help with Homework,” phys.org, Apr. 12, 2014
21.Frances L. Van Voorhis, “Reflecting on the Homework Ritual: Assignments and Designs,”  , June 2010
22.Roel J. F. J. Aries and Sofie J. Cabus, “Parental Homework Involvement Improves Test Scores? A Review of the Literature,”  , June 2015
23.Jamie Ballard, “40% of People Say Elementary School Students Have Too Much Homework,” yougov.com, July 31, 2018
24.Stanford University, “Stanford Survey of Adolescent School Experiences Report: Mira Costa High School, Winter 2017,” stanford.edu, 2017
25.Cathy Vatterott, “Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs,” ascd.org, 2009
26.End the Race, “Homework: You Can Make a Difference,” racetonowhere.com (accessed Aug. 24, 2018)
27.Elissa Strauss, “Opinion: Your Kid Is Right, Homework Is Pointless. Here’s What You Should Do Instead.,” cnn.com, Jan. 28, 2020
28.Jeanne Fratello, “Survey: Homework Is Biggest Source of Stress for Mira Costa Students,” digmb.com, Dec. 15, 2017
29.Clifton B. Parker, “Stanford Research Shows Pitfalls of Homework,” stanford.edu, Mar. 10, 2014
30.AdCouncil, “Cheating Is a Personal Foul: Academic Cheating Background,” glass-castle.com (accessed Aug. 16, 2018)
31.Jeffrey R. Young, “High-Tech Cheating Abounds, and Professors Bear Some Blame,” chronicle.com, Mar. 28, 2010
32.Robin McClure, “Do You Do Your Child’s Homework?,” verywellfamily.com, Mar. 14, 2018
33.Robert M. Pressman, David B. Sugarman, Melissa L. Nemon, Jennifer, Desjarlais, Judith A. Owens, and Allison Schettini-Evans, “Homework and Family Stress: With Consideration of Parents’ Self Confidence, Educational Level, and Cultural Background,”  , 2015
34.Heather Koball and Yang Jiang, “Basic Facts about Low-Income Children,” nccp.org, Jan. 2018
35.Meagan McGovern, “Homework Is for Rich Kids,” huffingtonpost.com, Sep. 2, 2016
36.H. Richard Milner IV, “Not All Students Have Access to Homework Help,” nytimes.com, Nov. 13, 2014
37.Claire McLaughlin, “The Homework Gap: The ‘Cruelest Part of the Digital Divide’,” neatoday.org, Apr. 20, 2016
38.Doug Levin, “This Evening’s Homework Requires the Use of the Internet,” edtechstrategies.com, May 1, 2015
39.Amy Lutz and Lakshmi Jayaram, “Getting the Homework Done: Social Class and Parents’ Relationship to Homework,”  , June 2015
40.Sandra L. Hofferth and John F. Sandberg, “How American Children Spend Their Time,” psc.isr.umich.edu, Apr. 17, 2000
41.Alfie Kohn, “Does Homework Improve Learning?,” alfiekohn.org, 2006
42.Patrick A. Coleman, “Elementary School Homework Probably Isn’t Good for Kids,” fatherly.com, Feb. 8, 2018
43.Valerie Strauss, “Why This Superintendent Is Banning Homework – and Asking Kids to Read Instead,” washingtonpost.com, July 17, 2017
44.Pew Research Center, “The Way U.S. Teens Spend Their Time Is Changing, but Differences between Boys and Girls Persist,” pewresearch.org, Feb. 20, 2019
45.ThroughEducation, “The History of Homework: Why Was It Invented and Who Was behind It?,” , Feb. 14, 2020
46.History, “Why Homework Was Banned,” (accessed Feb. 24, 2022)
47.Valerie Strauss, “Does Homework Work When Kids Are Learning All Day at Home?,” , Sep. 2, 2020
48.Sara M Moniuszko, “Is It Time to Get Rid of Homework? Mental Health Experts Weigh In,” , Aug. 17, 2021
49.Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer, “The Worsening Homework Problem,” , Apr. 13, 2021
50.Kiara Taylor, “Digital Divide,” , Feb. 12, 2022
51.Marguerite Reardon, “The Digital Divide Has Left Millions of School Kids Behind,” , May 5, 2021
52.Rachel Paula Abrahamson, “Why More and More Teachers Are Joining the Anti-Homework Movement,” , Sep. 10, 2021

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why is homework bad quora

Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in.

It's no secret that kids hate homework. And as students grapple with an ongoing pandemic that has had a wide range of mental health impacts, is it time schools start listening to their pleas about workloads?

Some teachers are turning to social media to take a stand against homework. 

Tiktok user @misguided.teacher says he doesn't assign it because the "whole premise of homework is flawed."

For starters, he says, he can't grade work on "even playing fields" when students' home environments can be vastly different.

"Even students who go home to a peaceful house, do they really want to spend their time on busy work? Because typically that's what a lot of homework is, it's busy work," he says in the video that has garnered 1.6 million likes. "You only get one year to be 7, you only got one year to be 10, you only get one year to be 16, 18."

Mental health experts agree heavy workloads have the potential do more harm than good for students, especially when taking into account the impacts of the pandemic. But they also say the answer may not be to eliminate homework altogether.

Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold , says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health."

"More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies," she says, adding that staying up late to finish assignments also leads to disrupted sleep and exhaustion.

Cynthia Catchings, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist at Talkspace , says heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression. 

And for all the distress homework  can cause, it's not as useful as many may think, says Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, a psychologist and CEO of Omega Recovery treatment center.

"The research shows that there's really limited benefit of homework for elementary age students, that really the school work should be contained in the classroom," he says.

For older students, Kang says, homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night. 

"Most students, especially at these high achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's taking away time from their friends, from their families, their extracurricular activities. And these are all very important things for a person's mental and emotional health."

Catchings, who also taught third to 12th graders for 12 years, says she's seen the positive effects of a no-homework policy while working with students abroad.

"Not having homework was something that I always admired from the French students (and) the French schools, because that was helping the students to really have the time off and really disconnect from school," she says.

The answer may not be to eliminate homework completely but to be more mindful of the type of work students take home, suggests Kang, who was a high school teacher for 10 years.

"I don't think (we) should scrap homework; I think we should scrap meaningless, purposeless busy work-type homework. That's something that needs to be scrapped entirely," she says, encouraging teachers to be thoughtful and consider the amount of time it would take for students to complete assignments.

The pandemic made the conversation around homework more crucial 

Mindfulness surrounding homework is especially important in the context of the past two years. Many students will be struggling with mental health issues that were brought on or worsened by the pandemic , making heavy workloads even harder to balance.

"COVID was just a disaster in terms of the lack of structure. Everything just deteriorated," Kardaras says, pointing to an increase in cognitive issues and decrease in attention spans among students. "School acts as an anchor for a lot of children, as a stabilizing force, and that disappeared."

But even if students transition back to the structure of in-person classes, Kardaras suspects students may still struggle after two school years of shifted schedules and disrupted sleeping habits.

"We've seen adults struggling to go back to in-person work environments from remote work environments. That effect is amplified with children because children have less resources to be able to cope with those transitions than adults do," he explains.

'Get organized' ahead of back-to-school

In order to make the transition back to in-person school easier, Kang encourages students to "get good sleep, exercise regularly (and) eat a healthy diet."

To help manage workloads, she suggests students "get organized."

"There's so much mental clutter up there when you're disorganized. ... Sitting down and planning out their study schedules can really help manage their time," she says.

Breaking up assignments can also make things easier to tackle.

"I know that heavy workloads can be stressful, but if you sit down and you break down that studying into smaller chunks, they're much more manageable."

If workloads are still too much, Kang encourages students to advocate for themselves.

"They should tell their teachers when a homework assignment just took too much time or if it was too difficult for them to do on their own," she says. "It's good to speak up and ask those questions. Respectfully, of course, because these are your teachers. But still, I think sometimes teachers themselves need this feedback from their students."

More: Some teachers let their students sleep in class. Here's what mental health experts say.

More: Some parents are slipping young kids in for the COVID-19 vaccine, but doctors discourage the move as 'risky'

Does homework really work?

by: Leslie Crawford | Updated: December 12, 2023

Print article

Does homework help

You know the drill. It’s 10:15 p.m., and the cardboard-and-toothpick Golden Gate Bridge is collapsing. The pages of polynomials have been abandoned. The paper on the Battle of Waterloo seems to have frozen in time with Napoleon lingering eternally over his breakfast at Le Caillou. Then come the tears and tantrums — while we parents wonder, Does the gain merit all this pain? Is this just too much homework?

However the drama unfolds night after night, year after year, most parents hold on to the hope that homework (after soccer games, dinner, flute practice, and, oh yes, that childhood pastime of yore known as playing) advances their children academically.

But what does homework really do for kids? Is the forest’s worth of book reports and math and spelling sheets the average American student completes in their 12 years of primary schooling making a difference? Or is it just busywork?

Homework haterz

Whether or not homework helps, or even hurts, depends on who you ask. If you ask my 12-year-old son, Sam, he’ll say, “Homework doesn’t help anything. It makes kids stressed-out and tired and makes them hate school more.”

Nothing more than common kid bellyaching?

Maybe, but in the fractious field of homework studies, it’s worth noting that Sam’s sentiments nicely synopsize one side of the ivory tower debate. Books like The End of Homework , The Homework Myth , and The Case Against Homework the film Race to Nowhere , and the anguished parent essay “ My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me ” make the case that homework, by taking away precious family time and putting kids under unneeded pressure, is an ineffective way to help children become better learners and thinkers.

One Canadian couple took their homework apostasy all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. After arguing that there was no evidence that it improved academic performance, they won a ruling that exempted their two children from all homework.

So what’s the real relationship between homework and academic achievement?

How much is too much?

To answer this question, researchers have been doing their homework on homework, conducting and examining hundreds of studies. Chris Drew Ph.D., founder and editor at The Helpful Professor recently compiled multiple statistics revealing the folly of today’s after-school busy work. Does any of the data he listed below ring true for you?

• 45 percent of parents think homework is too easy for their child, primarily because it is geared to the lowest standard under the Common Core State Standards .

• 74 percent of students say homework is a source of stress , defined as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss, and stomach problems.

• Students in high-performing high schools spend an average of 3.1 hours a night on homework , even though 1 to 2 hours is the optimal duration, according to a peer-reviewed study .

Not included in the list above is the fact many kids have to abandon activities they love — like sports and clubs — because homework deprives them of the needed time to enjoy themselves with other pursuits.

Conversely, The Helpful Professor does list a few pros of homework, noting it teaches discipline and time management, and helps parents know what’s being taught in the class.

The oft-bandied rule on homework quantity — 10 minutes a night per grade (starting from between 10 to 20 minutes in first grade) — is listed on the National Education Association’s website and the National Parent Teacher Association’s website , but few schools follow this rule.

Do you think your child is doing excessive homework? Harris Cooper Ph.D., author of a meta-study on homework , recommends talking with the teacher. “Often there is a miscommunication about the goals of homework assignments,” he says. “What appears to be problematic for kids, why they are doing an assignment, can be cleared up with a conversation.” Also, Cooper suggests taking a careful look at how your child is doing the assignments. It may seem like they’re taking two hours, but maybe your child is wandering off frequently to get a snack or getting distracted.

Less is often more

If your child is dutifully doing their work but still burning the midnight oil, it’s worth intervening to make sure your child gets enough sleep. A 2012 study of 535 high school students found that proper sleep may be far more essential to brain and body development.

For elementary school-age children, Cooper’s research at Duke University shows there is no measurable academic advantage to homework. For middle-schoolers, Cooper found there is a direct correlation between homework and achievement if assignments last between one to two hours per night. After two hours, however, achievement doesn’t improve. For high schoolers, Cooper’s research suggests that two hours per night is optimal. If teens have more than two hours of homework a night, their academic success flatlines. But less is not better. The average high school student doing homework outperformed 69 percent of the students in a class with no homework.

Many schools are starting to act on this research. A Florida superintendent abolished homework in her 42,000 student district, replacing it with 20 minutes of nightly reading. She attributed her decision to “ solid research about what works best in improving academic achievement in students .”

More family time

A 2020 survey by Crayola Experience reports 82 percent of children complain they don’t have enough quality time with their parents. Homework deserves much of the blame. “Kids should have a chance to just be kids and do things they enjoy, particularly after spending six hours a day in school,” says Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth . “It’s absurd to insist that children must be engaged in constructive activities right up until their heads hit the pillow.”

By far, the best replacement for homework — for both parents and children — is bonding, relaxing time together.

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Trauma-informed practices in schools, teacher well-being, cultivating diversity, equity, & inclusion, integrating technology in the classroom, social-emotional development, covid-19 resources, invest in resilience: summer toolkit, civics & resilience, all toolkits, degree programs, trauma-informed professional development, teacher licensure & certification, how to become - career information, classroom management, instructional design, lifestyle & self-care, online higher ed teaching, current events, the homework debate: the case against homework.

The Homework Debate: The Case Against Homework

This post has been updated as of December 2017.

It’s not uncommon to hear students, parents, and even some teachers always complaining about homework. Why, then, is homework an inescapable part of the student experience? Worksheets, busy work, and reading assignments continue to be a mainstay of students’ evenings.

Whether from habit or comparison with out-of-class work time in other nations, our students are getting homework and, according to some of them, a LOT of it. Educators and policy makers must ask themselves—does assigning homework pay off?

Is there evidence that homework benefits students younger than high school?

The Scholastic article Is Homework Bad? references Alfie Kohn’s book The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing , in which he says, “There is no evidence to demonstrate that homework benefits students below high school age.”

The article goes on to note that those who oppose homework focus on the drawbacks of significant time spent on homework, identifying one major negative as homework’s intrusion into family time. They also point out that opponents believe schools have decided homework is necessary and thus assign it simply to assign some kind of homework, not because doing the work meets specifically-identified student needs.

“Busy work” does not help students learn

Students and parents appear to carry similar critiques of homework, specifically regarding assignments identified as busy work—long sheets of repetitive math problems, word searches, or reading logs seemingly designed to make children dislike books.

When asked how homework can negatively affect children, Nancy Kalish, author of The Case Against Homework: How Homework is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It , says that many homework assignments are “simply busy work” that makes learning “a chore rather than a positive, constructive experience.”

Commenters on the piece, both parents and students, tended to agree. One student shared that on occasion they spent more time on homework than at school, while another commenter pointed out that, “We don’t give slow-working children a longer school day, but we consistently give them a longer homework day.”

Without feedback, homework is ineffective

The efficacy of the homework identified by Kalish has been studied by policy researchers as well. Gerald LeTendre, of Penn State’s Education Policy Studies department points out that the shotgun approach to homework, when students all receive the same photocopied assignment which is then checked as complete rather than discussed individually with the student, is “not very effective.”  He goes on to say that, “If there’s no feedback and no monitoring, the homework is probably not effective.”

Researchers from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia had similar findings in their study, “ When Is Homework Worth The Time ?” According to UVAToday, these researchers reported no “substantive difference” in the grades of students related to homework completion.

As researcher Adam Maltese noted, “Our results hint that maybe homework is not being used as well as it could be.” The report further suggested that while not all homework is bad, the type and quality of assignments and their differentiation to specific learners appears to be an important point of future research.

If homework is assigned, it should heighten understanding of the subject

The Curry School of Education report did find a positive association between standardized test performance and time spent on homework, but standardized test performance shouldn’t be the end goal of assignments—a heightened understanding and capability with the content material should.

As such, it is important that if/when teachers assign homework assignments, it is done thoughtfully and carefully—and respectful of the maximum times suggested by the National Education Association, about 10 minutes per night starting in the first grade, with an additional 10 minutes per year after.

Continue reading — The Homework Debate: How Homework Benefits Students

Monica Fuglei is a graduate of the University of Nebraska in Omaha and a current adjunct faculty member of Arapahoe Community College in Colorado, where she teaches composition and creative writing.

You may also like to read

  • The Homework Debate: How Homework Benefits Students
  • Ending the Homework Debate: Expert Advice on What Works
  • Advice on Creating Homework Policies
  • Elementary Students and Homework: How Much Is Too Much?
  • Homework in Middle School: Building a Foundation for Study Skills
  • Homework Helps High School Students Most — But it Must Be Purposeful

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Is homework a necessary evil?

After decades of debate, researchers are still sorting out the truth about homework’s pros and cons. One point they can agree on: Quality assignments matter.

By Kirsten Weir

March 2016, Vol 47, No. 3

Print version: page 36

After decades of debate, researchers are still sorting out the truth about homework’s pros and cons. One point they can agree on: Quality assignments matter.

  • Schools and Classrooms

Homework battles have raged for decades. For as long as kids have been whining about doing their homework, parents and education reformers have complained that homework's benefits are dubious. Meanwhile many teachers argue that take-home lessons are key to helping students learn. Now, as schools are shifting to the new (and hotly debated) Common Core curriculum standards, educators, administrators and researchers are turning a fresh eye toward the question of homework's value.

But when it comes to deciphering the research literature on the subject, homework is anything but an open book.

The 10-minute rule

In many ways, homework seems like common sense. Spend more time practicing multiplication or studying Spanish vocabulary and you should get better at math or Spanish. But it may not be that simple.

Homework can indeed produce academic benefits, such as increased understanding and retention of the material, says Duke University social psychologist Harris Cooper, PhD, one of the nation's leading homework researchers. But not all students benefit. In a review of studies published from 1987 to 2003, Cooper and his colleagues found that homework was linked to better test scores in high school and, to a lesser degree, in middle school. Yet they found only faint evidence that homework provided academic benefit in elementary school ( Review of Educational Research , 2006).

Then again, test scores aren't everything. Homework proponents also cite the nonacademic advantages it might confer, such as the development of personal responsibility, good study habits and time-management skills. But as to hard evidence of those benefits, "the jury is still out," says Mollie Galloway, PhD, associate professor of educational leadership at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. "I think there's a focus on assigning homework because [teachers] think it has these positive outcomes for study skills and habits. But we don't know for sure that's the case."

Even when homework is helpful, there can be too much of a good thing. "There is a limit to how much kids can benefit from home study," Cooper says. He agrees with an oft-cited rule of thumb that students should do no more than 10 minutes a night per grade level — from about 10 minutes in first grade up to a maximum of about two hours in high school. Both the National Education Association and National Parent Teacher Association support that limit.

Beyond that point, kids don't absorb much useful information, Cooper says. In fact, too much homework can do more harm than good. Researchers have cited drawbacks, including boredom and burnout toward academic material, less time for family and extracurricular activities, lack of sleep and increased stress.

In a recent study of Spanish students, Rubén Fernández-Alonso, PhD, and colleagues found that students who were regularly assigned math and science homework scored higher on standardized tests. But when kids reported having more than 90 to 100 minutes of homework per day, scores declined ( Journal of Educational Psychology , 2015).

"At all grade levels, doing other things after school can have positive effects," Cooper says. "To the extent that homework denies access to other leisure and community activities, it's not serving the child's best interest."

Children of all ages need down time in order to thrive, says Denise Pope, PhD, a professor of education at Stanford University and a co-founder of Challenge Success, a program that partners with secondary schools to implement policies that improve students' academic engagement and well-being.

"Little kids and big kids need unstructured time for play each day," she says. Certainly, time for physical activity is important for kids' health and well-being. But even time spent on social media can help give busy kids' brains a break, she says.

All over the map

But are teachers sticking to the 10-minute rule? Studies attempting to quantify time spent on homework are all over the map, in part because of wide variations in methodology, Pope says.

A 2014 report by the Brookings Institution examined the question of homework, comparing data from a variety of sources. That report cited findings from a 2012 survey of first-year college students in which 38.4 percent reported spending six hours or more per week on homework during their last year of high school. That was down from 49.5 percent in 1986 ( The Brown Center Report on American Education , 2014).

The Brookings report also explored survey data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which asked 9-, 13- and 17-year-old students how much homework they'd done the previous night. They found that between 1984 and 2012, there was a slight increase in homework for 9-year-olds, but homework amounts for 13- and 17-year-olds stayed roughly the same, or even decreased slightly.

Yet other evidence suggests that some kids might be taking home much more work than they can handle. Robert Pressman, PhD, and colleagues recently investigated the 10-minute rule among more than 1,100 students, and found that elementary-school kids were receiving up to three times as much homework as recommended. As homework load increased, so did family stress, the researchers found ( American Journal of Family Therapy , 2015).

Many high school students also seem to be exceeding the recommended amounts of homework. Pope and Galloway recently surveyed more than 4,300 students from 10 high-achieving high schools. Students reported bringing home an average of just over three hours of homework nightly ( Journal of Experiential Education , 2013).

On the positive side, students who spent more time on homework in that study did report being more behaviorally engaged in school — for instance, giving more effort and paying more attention in class, Galloway says. But they were not more invested in the homework itself. They also reported greater academic stress and less time to balance family, friends and extracurricular activities. They experienced more physical health problems as well, such as headaches, stomach troubles and sleep deprivation. "Three hours per night is too much," Galloway says.

In the high-achieving schools Pope and Galloway studied, more than 90 percent of the students go on to college. There's often intense pressure to succeed academically, from both parents and peers. On top of that, kids in these communities are often overloaded with extracurricular activities, including sports and clubs. "They're very busy," Pope says. "Some kids have up to 40 hours a week — a full-time job's worth — of extracurricular activities." And homework is yet one more commitment on top of all the others.

"Homework has perennially acted as a source of stress for students, so that piece of it is not new," Galloway says. "But especially in upper-middle-class communities, where the focus is on getting ahead, I think the pressure on students has been ratcheted up."

Yet homework can be a problem at the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum as well. Kids from wealthier homes are more likely to have resources such as computers, Internet connections, dedicated areas to do schoolwork and parents who tend to be more educated and more available to help them with tricky assignments. Kids from disadvantaged homes are more likely to work at afterschool jobs, or to be home without supervision in the evenings while their parents work multiple jobs, says Lea Theodore, PhD, a professor of school psychology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. They are less likely to have computers or a quiet place to do homework in peace.

"Homework can highlight those inequities," she says.

Quantity vs. quality

One point researchers agree on is that for all students, homework quality matters. But too many kids are feeling a lack of engagement with their take-home assignments, many experts say. In Pope and Galloway's research, only 20 percent to 30 percent of students said they felt their homework was useful or meaningful.

"Students are assigned a lot of busywork. They're naming it as a primary stressor, but they don't feel it's supporting their learning," Galloway says.

"Homework that's busywork is not good for anyone," Cooper agrees. Still, he says, different subjects call for different kinds of assignments. "Things like vocabulary and spelling are learned through practice. Other kinds of courses require more integration of material and drawing on different skills."

But critics say those skills can be developed with many fewer hours of homework each week. Why assign 50 math problems, Pope asks, when 10 would be just as constructive? One Advanced Placement biology teacher she worked with through Challenge Success experimented with cutting his homework assignments by a third, and then by half. "Test scores didn't go down," she says. "You can have a rigorous course and not have a crazy homework load."

Still, changing the culture of homework won't be easy. Teachers-to-be get little instruction in homework during their training, Pope says. And despite some vocal parents arguing that kids bring home too much homework, many others get nervous if they think their child doesn't have enough. "Teachers feel pressured to give homework because parents expect it to come home," says Galloway. "When it doesn't, there's this idea that the school might not be doing its job."

Galloway argues teachers and school administrators need to set clear goals when it comes to homework — and parents and students should be in on the discussion, too. "It should be a broader conversation within the community, asking what's the purpose of homework? Why are we giving it? Who is it serving? Who is it not serving?"

Until schools and communities agree to take a hard look at those questions, those backpacks full of take-home assignments will probably keep stirring up more feelings than facts.

Further reading

  • Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987-2003. Review of Educational Research, 76 (1), 1–62. doi: 10.3102/00346543076001001
  • Galloway, M., Connor, J., & Pope, D. (2013). Nonacademic effects of homework in privileged, high-performing high schools. The Journal of Experimental Education, 81 (4), 490–510. doi: 10.1080/00220973.2012.745469
  • Pope, D., Brown, M., & Miles, S. (2015). Overloaded and underprepared: Strategies for stronger schools and healthy, successful kids . San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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Student Opinion

Should We Get Rid of Homework?

Some educators are pushing to get rid of homework. Would that be a good thing?

why is homework bad quora

By Jeremy Engle and Michael Gonchar

Do you like doing homework? Do you think it has benefited you educationally?

Has homework ever helped you practice a difficult skill — in math, for example — until you mastered it? Has it helped you learn new concepts in history or science? Has it helped to teach you life skills, such as independence and responsibility? Or, have you had a more negative experience with homework? Does it stress you out, numb your brain from busywork or actually make you fall behind in your classes?

Should we get rid of homework?

In “ The Movement to End Homework Is Wrong, ” published in July, the Times Opinion writer Jay Caspian Kang argues that homework may be imperfect, but it still serves an important purpose in school. The essay begins:

Do students really need to do their homework? As a parent and a former teacher, I have been pondering this question for quite a long time. The teacher side of me can acknowledge that there were assignments I gave out to my students that probably had little to no academic value. But I also imagine that some of my students never would have done their basic reading if they hadn’t been trained to complete expected assignments, which would have made the task of teaching an English class nearly impossible. As a parent, I would rather my daughter not get stuck doing the sort of pointless homework I would occasionally assign, but I also think there’s a lot of value in saying, “Hey, a lot of work you’re going to end up doing in your life is pointless, so why not just get used to it?” I certainly am not the only person wondering about the value of homework. Recently, the sociologist Jessica McCrory Calarco and the mathematics education scholars Ilana Horn and Grace Chen published a paper, “ You Need to Be More Responsible: The Myth of Meritocracy and Teachers’ Accounts of Homework Inequalities .” They argued that while there’s some evidence that homework might help students learn, it also exacerbates inequalities and reinforces what they call the “meritocratic” narrative that says kids who do well in school do so because of “individual competence, effort and responsibility.” The authors believe this meritocratic narrative is a myth and that homework — math homework in particular — further entrenches the myth in the minds of teachers and their students. Calarco, Horn and Chen write, “Research has highlighted inequalities in students’ homework production and linked those inequalities to differences in students’ home lives and in the support students’ families can provide.”

Mr. Kang argues:

But there’s a defense of homework that doesn’t really have much to do with class mobility, equality or any sense of reinforcing the notion of meritocracy. It’s one that became quite clear to me when I was a teacher: Kids need to learn how to practice things. Homework, in many cases, is the only ritualized thing they have to do every day. Even if we could perfectly equalize opportunity in school and empower all students not to be encumbered by the weight of their socioeconomic status or ethnicity, I’m not sure what good it would do if the kids didn’t know how to do something relentlessly, over and over again, until they perfected it. Most teachers know that type of progress is very difficult to achieve inside the classroom, regardless of a student’s background, which is why, I imagine, Calarco, Horn and Chen found that most teachers weren’t thinking in a structural inequalities frame. Holistic ideas of education, in which learning is emphasized and students can explore concepts and ideas, are largely for the types of kids who don’t need to worry about class mobility. A defense of rote practice through homework might seem revanchist at this moment, but if we truly believe that schools should teach children lessons that fall outside the meritocracy, I can’t think of one that matters more than the simple satisfaction of mastering something that you were once bad at. That takes homework and the acknowledgment that sometimes a student can get a question wrong and, with proper instruction, eventually get it right.

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August 16, 2021

Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in

by Sara M Moniuszko

homework

It's no secret that kids hate homework. And as students grapple with an ongoing pandemic that has had a wide-range of mental health impacts, is it time schools start listening to their pleas over workloads?

Some teachers are turning to social media to take a stand against homework .

Tiktok user @misguided.teacher says he doesn't assign it because the "whole premise of homework is flawed."

For starters, he says he can't grade work on "even playing fields" when students' home environments can be vastly different.

"Even students who go home to a peaceful house, do they really want to spend their time on busy work? Because typically that's what a lot of homework is, it's busy work," he says in the video that has garnered 1.6 million likes. "You only get one year to be 7, you only got one year to be 10, you only get one year to be 16, 18."

Mental health experts agree heavy work loads have the potential do more harm than good for students, especially when taking into account the impacts of the pandemic. But they also say the answer may not be to eliminate homework altogether.

Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold, says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health."

"More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies," she says, adding that staying up late to finish assignments also leads to disrupted sleep and exhaustion.

Cynthia Catchings, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist at Talkspace, says heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression.

And for all the distress homework causes, it's not as useful as many may think, says Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, a psychologist and CEO of Omega Recovery treatment center.

"The research shows that there's really limited benefit of homework for elementary age students, that really the school work should be contained in the classroom," he says.

For older students, Kang says homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night.

"Most students, especially at these high-achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's taking away time from their friends from their families, their extracurricular activities. And these are all very important things for a person's mental and emotional health."

Catchings, who also taught third to 12th graders for 12 years, says she's seen the positive effects of a no homework policy while working with students abroad.

"Not having homework was something that I always admired from the French students (and) the French schools, because that was helping the students to really have the time off and really disconnect from school ," she says.

The answer may not be to eliminate homework completely, but to be more mindful of the type of work students go home with, suggests Kang, who was a high-school teacher for 10 years.

"I don't think (we) should scrap homework, I think we should scrap meaningless, purposeless busy work-type homework. That's something that needs to be scrapped entirely," she says, encouraging teachers to be thoughtful and consider the amount of time it would take for students to complete assignments.

The pandemic made the conversation around homework more crucial

Mindfulness surrounding homework is especially important in the context of the last two years. Many students will be struggling with mental health issues that were brought on or worsened by the pandemic, making heavy workloads even harder to balance.

"COVID was just a disaster in terms of the lack of structure. Everything just deteriorated," Kardaras says, pointing to an increase in cognitive issues and decrease in attention spans among students. "School acts as an anchor for a lot of children, as a stabilizing force, and that disappeared."

But even if students transition back to the structure of in-person classes, Kardaras suspects students may still struggle after two school years of shifted schedules and disrupted sleeping habits.

"We've seen adults struggling to go back to in-person work environments from remote work environments. That effect is amplified with children because children have less resources to be able to cope with those transitions than adults do," he explains.

'Get organized' ahead of back-to-school

In order to make the transition back to in-person school easier, Kang encourages students to "get good sleep, exercise regularly (and) eat a healthy diet."

To help manage workloads, she suggests students "get organized."

"There's so much mental clutter up there when you're disorganized... sitting down and planning out their study schedules can really help manage their time," she says.

Breaking assignments up can also make things easier to tackle.

"I know that heavy workloads can be stressful, but if you sit down and you break down that studying into smaller chunks, they're much more manageable."

If workloads are still too much, Kang encourages students to advocate for themselves.

"They should tell their teachers when a homework assignment just took too much time or if it was too difficult for them to do on their own," she says. "It's good to speak up and ask those questions. Respectfully, of course, because these are your teachers. But still, I think sometimes teachers themselves need this feedback from their students."

©2021 USA Today Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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A student in my course does well on exams, but doesn't do the homework: Go easy on them, or make them "pay the price?"

I have a student in my course that does well on the exams, and his answers to the exam questions show a deep understanding of the material. However, this student has not been handing in the assigned homeworks and has a missed a few lab assignments, as well. I've been told by other faculty that he has a job which keeps him up late, and have noticed that he struggles to stay awake at times during the class.

Depending on how he fares on a project worth a large portion of his grade, and the final exam, the missed homeworks/labs could cause his grade to be below a C, which is the required grade that a student must receive if they are to advance to the second, more advanced course [and, a C grade is also needed to get credit for the course; otherwise, the student will need to retake it again on the next offering, which isn't until two semesters from now]. Further, this student is a senior, so a D grade would be a major setback for him.

For those of you who have been in this situation before as an instructor, my question:

Have you ever passed/failed a student like the one described above? If so, do you regret your decision? Why or why not?

ff524's user avatar

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat . –  ff524 Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 19:56

23 Answers 23

As an instructor, when I find myself in this situation, I invite the student to make an appointment to speak with me privately in my office.

During that private meeting, I will discuss his/her current performance in the class, and point out the likely consequences if he/she does not submit the required work. I will advise the student as to what he/she must do to achieve the grade he/she needs.

Then it's up to the student to earn the grade he/she wants - or to fail. You can't live their lives for them.

  • 75 Given that the point of the course is to develop understanding of the material, I (personally) would be a fan of offloading some of the weight of the work onto the exam. I took a course once where the work was entirely optional, and not completing it would mean the exam and mid-term would be worth 100% of your final grade. –  Chris Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 0:06
  • 58 @Chris Sure, that may be possible in some courses. In other courses (I am in electrical engineering), part of demonstrating mastery of course material involves showing that you can use the material in a realistic context - project and lab work - not just in exams, which are somewhat artificial. –  ff524 Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 0:42
  • 11 In addition, if the student is really having a hard time for reasons outside of school, a meeting like this gives them a chance to ask the professor for help and be directed to resources that can alleviate some of their problems. –  Kevin Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 3:34
  • 26 @Chris 'I took a course once...' The vast majority of my courses were 100% final exam. That's what I call normal. –  Jessica B Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 8:13
  • 7 Is not the purpose of education to ensure your students know the knowledge you present them. Closed book exams in class then it places the highest demands generally imposed in undergraduate classes (consider homework, take home quizzes, and lab work). If your student preforms well on the most difficult tasks you present them why would you penalize them for failing to do the easier tasks. –  user3730788 Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 15:53

I strongly recommend you start with whatever the policy is in your syllabus. Most syllabi contain details about grading, points allocation, etc. By starting here, you can avoid any claims of "unique treatment", given that everyone received the same instructions.

That said, it sounds as though your student has a unique personal situation causing him to have difficulty completing all the material. In that case, I would follow the advice of ff524 and meet with the student privately to discuss. Simply bring the issue up and see what the student says. A comment of "I don't need to do your stupid homework, I'm good enough at the material without it" may deserve a different reaction than "I would love to do it but I simply don't have time with my other responsibilities".

eykanal's user avatar

  • 49 @ff524 - Personally, if I could be convinced that the student really had time management issues, I would consider waiving part or all of the homework requirement. The student is clearly learning the material, which is the overall goal anyways; if they're succeeding, why fail them on a technicality? –  eykanal Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 19:47
  • 89 If the homework is a "technicality," why are you making the other students do it? If completing the homework isn't really necessary for demonstrating mastery of the course material, then you need to rethink your grading scheme. (And/or your homework.) –  ff524 Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 19:48
  • 16 @eykanal If a student hands in completed homework assignments, and completes exams, and the overall grade would be passing, but discussions with the student reveal that they really don't understand the material (maybe they got lucky on assignments and exams), should they fail (since they don't actually grasp the material) or pass on a technicality (they completed homework assignments and exams), too? –  Joshua Taylor Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 20:10
  • 20 @ff524 - I've seen many teachers assign homework to force students to practice the material. Others have it as a core requirement, as part of the learning process itself. It really depends on the teacher and the teaching method. –  eykanal Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 21:30
  • 20 @tonysdg That's interesting, because over here I've heard the opposite argument: We should make homework voluntary and students should be grown up enough to decide whether or not they need to do it in order to learn the material. "Learn the material one way or another - how you do it is your responsibility - but if you don't use the offered learning material (homework) then don't whine about it if you fail the exam." –  Sumyrda - remember Monica Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 6:55

I had a professor that instituted a "flex" grading system (for all students) to cover this contingency.

There were three aspects of the course: 1) homework 2) hourly exams, and 3) the final, weighted 1/3, 1/3, 1/3.

But if some student did markedly better or worse on one aspect of the course, the professor would re-weight the grades 40% for the best aspect, 25% for the worst aspect, and 35% for the middle one. That way, each part of the course would have a minimum weight of 25% and a maximum weight of 40%, but students with skewed grades were given a benefit compared to the 1/3, 1/3, 1/3.

The professor's experience was that the "re-weighting" rarely changed anyones' grade, but might for the odd student. I was that odd student.

Tom Au's user avatar

  • 10 @DanielR.Collins it is trivial to implement such a scheme in Excel or other spreadsheet. If you don't know how, ask for administrative support from your department and I'm sure they'll help you figure it out. Not saying you should use such a grading system, but the technical difficulty shouldn't be a factor in your decision. –  Dan Romik Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 3:20
  • 7 @DanielR.Collins these software suites usually have a function enabling download/upload of grades. At my institution many instructors would download the raw grading data, process it in Excel to compute final scores, and upload the final grades into the system. Is it slightly more work? Maybe (actually sometimes the opposite, as grading software is a pain to use and setting up your own spreadsheet makes things more transparent and minimizes the chance of errors). Is it sufficiently hard and time-consuming for your "waste of time" argument to make sense? I don't think so. –  Dan Romik Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 3:28
  • 8 @DanielR.Collins No, it doesn't need doing each week. It needs doing once at the end of term. A student doesn't have a grade for a course until they have completed the course. –  Jessica B Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 8:18
  • 2 @DanielR.Collins If my students want to know where they stand, I tell them to work it out. They know what they've got for all the marked work, so they are just as capable of doing the calculation as I am. –  Jessica B Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 7:56
  • 1 @DanielR.Collins - "My tech sucks so bad I can't calculate a simple maximum" is a really poor excuse for not giving a student the credit that one would otherwise say they deserve. What limits the ability to select an "ideal" grade should be measuring how well a student has mastered the material (which is inherently tricky), not primary school mathematics. –  Rex Kerr Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 4:50

Talk to the Student now

If possible you should communicate to the student exactly the precarious position they are in. Presumably this student is capable of completing the assignments and labs just like other students in the course. From the sounds of it, even doing an average to below-average job on these would substantially reduce the odds of a very negative outcome.

At that point the burden is on the student. You cannot make changes to the weighting of grades because of the external circumstances: this would really not be fair to other students. Presumably you have some notion of the percentage weights the various graded assignments are worth. Explain this, and make it clear that excellent performance on exams is simply not enough.

Of course, I would feel bad giving a D or lower to a student in this situation, but the grade must reflect the student's performance in the course as a whole. It is unethical to give a student a grade other than the one their coursework has earned.

Ryan Dougherty's user avatar

  • 6 I would like to add that other students may have the opposite problem: They are putting in a lot of work for the homework, but are not doing well on exams (for whatever reason). It would be unfair to shift the scoring in their un-favor, if it was specified before (most drastically, they may have chosen a course over others because of the focus on homework). –  mafu Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 1:29
  • 1 @mafu It is however possible to accommodate both ends of the spectrum by giving indirect homework incentives, instead of or in addition to direct incentives (i.e., graded assignments). For example, you could allow students who fulfill all or most of their homework assignments to redo their exam once -- by which I mean: once more than those who didn't do enough of their homework. Or perhaps allow them more time on their exams. With perks like these, students who don't have or make time to do all the homework still have the opportunity to get a 100% score -- it will just be a little harder! –  Will Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 8:37
  • @mafu if they do all the homework, but they're still incompetent at the end (unable to pass exams/demonstrate mastery), shouldn't their grade indicate that they don't actually understand the subject? –  Craig Tullis Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 16:14
  • When it comes to workforce performance what correlates best Exams or Homework?I put this as a comment and not a question because I would like people to think about this . –  Autistic Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 5:14

Kudos to you for wanting to find a way for a talented and hard-working but over-extended student to succeed.

What is the right measure of whether the student is mastering the material in a way that supports the follow-on classes? Ideally, you will design your syllabus so that the student's grade will appropriately reflect their level of mastery. In some courses, there is no real mastery without lab mastery. In others, textbook-based conceptual mastery would suffice. They are many reasons why the grade contract on your syllabus might be incorrectly formulated. E.g., you might be weighting homework heavily because that is the only reasonable way to get pass rates appropriate to your institution. That is, sadly enough, sometimes it is unavoidable to reward effort instead of mastery. You say the student shows "deep understanding", and if by that you mean that he will be well prepared for the follow-on courses, you might propose a fair replacement for the grade contract on your syllabus. Make sure you would be comfortable offering every other student the same option. Then consider whether the grade contract on the syllabus should be altered to include this option. If yes, then you have probably found a good solution.

One strategy I use in courses where the final exam provides a comprehensive test of appropriate mastery is to give an A grade to anyone who gets an A on the final. (Of course, this is inappropriate in many courses.) Perhaps this offers a helpful starting point for dealing with this student.

Alan's user avatar

  • 3 +1 for the alternative grading scheme. Actually, most of the classes I took as an undergrad worked that way, but you had to at least pass the homework as well (get 50% right). –  Sumyrda - remember Monica Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 23:02

There are many answers already, but let me give one that applies in France (hoping I am not the only French around here).

First, Universities usually have special attendance waivers for students who work aside their studies. Students have to declare this early to make university able to accommodate them, but it is always a good thing to let them know they should disclose their situation to the person in charge. Note that some otherwise mandatory requirement can be waived (e.g. some homework, some in-class evaluations) but that some cannot (e.g. practical work in experimental sciences are usually too important a part of the curriculum to be waived).

Second, the grading system is often only loosely defined, which makes one able to adapt it to the case. One should of course always be as fair and as precise as possible, to make the grade really reflect what it should measure.

Third, even if the grading scheme has been precisely established and cannot be changed at all, the end-of-year jury has complete power of changing grades. Be sure to attend it so that the student's case is treated appropriately. Short of that, make sure the case is known to all colleagues.

Benoît Kloeckner's user avatar

While it is important to try to be "consistent" with grades, I think we can mostly agree that the point of courses is to educate, rather than demanding compliance to (admittedly artificial, even if self-consistent) rules. If the situation described comes up in the middle of the term, it's awkward to accommodate, because suddenly declaring that students have the option of having their grade determined by just exams could be objected-to on the grounds that if they'd known that, they might not have done the other work... Hard to argue with this, even if we imagine that the intention of homework and labs is to help learn the material, etc.

In the past, I have bent my own rules and given grades based on performance on the final. By this time, I would arrange things so that I'd have less reason to do so... Altogether, out of perhaps 100 such cases in 40 years, I can recall at most 1 or 2 where students were genuinely successful in learning the material while being somewhat disconnected. So, in fact, although some students half-heartedly complained that they'd have not done the homework if they'd been allowed-to, not "allowing" it did them a favor.

So, I have no regrets at bending the rules for a few, although I was not happy that in 98 percent of cases this bending didn't save them.

So, by now, my default for undergrad courses is to "require" homework + for exceptions see me at the beginning of the term, not part-way through... explaining that changing things in the middle easily leads to unfairness... I do give examples of plausible exceptions (about skipping homework, especially, about missing a midterm, ... how can I demand that people not go ski-ing at Thanksgiving?...)

Summary: the goal is education, but/and a significant fraction of students will dis-serve themselves through naivete... But/and I no longer can stomach arguing that enforcement of artificial rules "makes sense". I strongly prefer more defensible positions. :)

paul garrett's user avatar

  • 1 What if the intent of labs and homeworks is not just for students to learn the material, but for students to demonstrate that they can effectively use the material on types of problems that are not feasible in the context of an exam? –  ff524 Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 1:42
  • 3 @ff524, yes, I agree that there is the possibility that you mention, of course. But/and not only might this be un-obvious to the students, but not truly innate to the subject matter... so I would feel it necessary to make such a distinction, about the goals, very, very clear at the outset, so that no one could plausibly imagine that "a good grade on the final" could possibly reflect the desired competence. That is, the true goals, whatever their reasonable testing-ground, could be made clear. Competence is competence, with or without obedience-to-rules. –  paul garrett Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 3:27
  • 2 @ff524: Such cases ought not to be referred to as "homework", but "projects". Students recognize the difference, and won't expect projects to be optional or minimally weighted. –  Ben Voigt Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 5:41
  • bravo, @paulgarrett. Excellent argument. –  dwoz Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 18:19

Stick to your syllabus.

That doesn't mean you're out of options though. Talk to the student and determine a minimum number of assignments that the student must complete in order to reach that C. Concentrate on balancing assignments that the student can complete, with assignments that you feel are especially important.

My school has a similar grade requirement for meeting the prerequisite for advanced classes, although a student will get credit for the current class with a D. When faced with similar situations I have on occasion recommended students be accepted despite their lower than typical grade. That has had mixed results, bending the rules too much for a student will not do them any favors.

BBS's user avatar

First of all, let's dispense with the fantasy-world argument about the ethics of grading fairness and all that claptrap...The student's grade is the student's grade, and no other student has any standing to discuss it or even notice it, much less complain about it. "Objective" grading is a starting point. No more, no less.

Having said that, I have opened the door to the fact that any grade given is purely at the discretion of the professor, and that doesn't mean it is completely arbitrary: there should be some discernible qualification or justification for a grade that diverges from an "objective" grade.

Of course, any individual Professor's criterion for adjusting a grade will ultimately be subject to review and revision by the department chair and/or dean or even provost...so let's just dispense with that here and consider it assumed.

I think the breakpoint is whether the situation is chronic or episodic. My personal feeling is that a student isn't going to school to get through part-time work...They're doing part-time work to get through school. Their coursework is, as far as I care about, thier primary concern. With this notion, I am less inclined to give chronic absentee/no homework situations a "pass" but reserve the ability to be lenient in the here-and-there odd situations where "life happens."

dwoz's user avatar

  • 8 as I suspected, many academicians HATE the idea that grades are anything but God's Own Truth. Downvoters, go nuts! –  dwoz Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 21:38
  • 2 +1 for "The student's grade is the student's grade, and no other student has any standing to discuss it or even notice it, much less complain about it." There should be no notion of a zero-sum game in academia. If a fellow student managed to get a better grade, be happy for him. –  LLlAMnYP Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 15:20
  • 1 Hmm. As long as the students will be compared by prospective employers or grad schools on the basis of grades (and they will be unless you teach at the kind of place that is as much social club and finishing school as university) then the other students certainly do have an interest in what their peers make. Now, you could take the view that you are assigning a more correct grade by allowing a variation. But you need to think carefully about that: how many other students are fighting through comparable circumstances and doing it better than this student. Why are you cheating them? –  dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 3:06
  • @LLlAMnYP, yeah! favoritism, discrimination, nepotism, so what. If the professor gave another student a better grade for worse scores that's the way it goes. Just be happy for him. –  8bitwide Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 5:48
  • @8bitwide Yes, pretty much so. It's a shame that you can't get it as good, as the "teacher's pet", but merely the fact that someone got a better grade isn't taking anything from me. Where I studied, dropping out of uni for a male student often meant getting drafted by the military. Finishing a semester without Cs meant getting a stipend for the next 6 months. Whistleblowing on a cheater could hurt the cheater, but certainly would not make your own stipend bigger. So yeah, be happy for the guy if he managed to get what he needs. (PS - employers don't give shit about grades). –  LLlAMnYP Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 8:59

In my experience, if a students final mark works out to be just short of a passing grade It is common for teachers to round up the grade if they think the student has an adequate understanding of the material.

In some cases this has involved meeting the student after the final exam and going over the test with them to get a better understanding of the students depth of understanding. Some answers on a test may look good, but it could just be that the student has seen a similar problem before and has a good memory - but are not capable of elaborating on their answer. In this way you can get a better sense of the students actual proficiency with the material and decide based on that to pass or fail.

The whole purpose of homework is to help prepare the student for midterms and finals - and retain that knowledge. So if they can accomplish that without the homework and have an above average understanding of the material I don't think it makes sense for them to fail the class. This is probably one reason why university level courses often have finals worth 50% of the grade, whereas homework accounts for maybe 10%.

user1489223's user avatar

  • The relative percentages of exams and homework vary greatly from one school to another, and even one professor to another at the same school. –  Oswald Veblen Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 0:36
  • "The whole purpose of homework is to help prepare the student for midterms and finals" - not in my class. Homework and lab work is a chance to get students to apply material in a way that isn't practical in the context of an exam. –  ff524 Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 3:25

Depending on whether your academic rules at your institution allow this flexibility, you can offer the student to do what at least two of my professors did during my undergraduate days:

Talk to the student first to ensure that they really understand the material.

Offer them to simply take the tests and the final test as 100% of their grade. Maybe ask to solve a couple of randomly selected homework problems too.

In the interest of fairness, offer the same option to all students in the class who qualify (based on already-passed test grades). If they feel that they really know the material excellently enough not to bother doing the homework, prove it to you in an brief oral exam combined. If they perform as well, they get the same waiver.

You ensure that the students you graduate from your class truly reflect the level of knowledge you wish to impart to them

You don't penalize students who know their stuff (because they are just extra smart, or because this is old material for them) by making them do make-work which doesn't enhance their knowledge or understanding because the homework in class isn't intended to evaluate the student's knowledge but to help them gain that understanding.

You don't treat anyone specially due to their "special circumstances".

Remember, your goal is to (1) teach the material; (2) teach to learn. It's not to make students complete 100% of their homework because the homework, like Everest, is there .

DVK's user avatar

  • +1 for allowing the student to be graded by demonstrating his command of the subject matter in a way which convinces you of that fact, rather than by adhering to anything else. –  einpoklum Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 22:43

What do you wish a grade in your class to mean? If you ignore the missing homework, a good grade in your class will indicate that a student has a strong grasp of the material and a high level of skill in solving the sorts of problems which you put on your tests within time limits. If you penalize the missing homework enough to make excellent test performance alone inadequate to obtain the good grade, a good grade in your class will not reflect the students ability to utilize their knowledge of the material to solve problems under time constraints. They may still have a good grasp of the material, or they might not. If they get a poor grade, they may still have a good grasp of the material, or they might not. The homework-penalizing grading will, however, reflect a degree of subservience and submission to discipline even in situations where the homework has little to no benefit to the students knowledge.

otakucode's user avatar

  • 4 Why do you assume that homework has no benefit outside of the strict material on tests? The more open-ended time for homework often increased its value, in my experience. –  jakebeal Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 1:33
  • 1 @jakebeal: Not for many students, who copy their answers off the internet. –  user21820 Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 7:30
  • 3 @user21820 Then that is poorly designed homework. –  jakebeal Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 13:31
  • 2 @jakebeal: I agree that there are ways to design homework to lessen that problem, but with websites like Math SE around, no math homework is immune from the problem since often the proofs from good students are very similar too. I've personally observed many students doing just that, and for these students homework doesn't improve their understanding at all. –  user21820 Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 13:38
  • 3 Most of the reason for even having homework is to force the students to actually study and learn the material so the professor is not lecturing to a bunch of blank faces. That is what is required for the overwhelming majority of students to keep them on task and not have them procrastinate on learning. The homework is also a way to give "free" points to the students grades to make up for not doing well on the exam. In actuality, if one were to look at the "ideal" situation, the OP's student is exactly that. A student who learns what is needed when it is needed. Why punish the student for that? –  Dunk Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 16:02

The last part of your question is a poll and is not kosher for this site, but I will offer my point of view about your basic dilemma.

The old-fashioned way of grading put a great deal of weight on the exam(s). In a lab course, this would include a lab exam.

Over time, we started to become more humane, and reduce the pressure about the exam performance, by giving more weight to other components.

If you feel that your exams are well enough designed that a solid exam performance sufficiently permits a student to demonstrate mastery of the material, and if you are confident about your exam proctoring procedures, then be humane. Be flexible. Celebrate his mastery of your course material by giving this student a well-deserved A.

aparente001's user avatar

As others have said: default to the syllabus grading scheme to the letter. Diverging from this sends you down a sinkhole of making more modifications on the fly, trying to be fair to all students, running different case what-ifs, and generally doing a lot more work.

Given enough heads-up (again, as others said), I have specified a bare-minimum number of assignments that a student has to turn in to get a passing grade.

Also consider the appropriateness of an "Incomplete" grade. Although I almost never do it, if there is truly a unique situation that you want to account for, consider withholding the grade until the student passes in some bare-minimum work after the fact. A downside of this is that it does create more work for you (scheduling and following up), but in theory that grade status is designed to account for that.

Daniel R. Collins's user avatar

In my alma mater, which was also where I taught for a several years, the academic studies bylaws explicitly stated that the course grade is intended to reflect the student's command of the subject matter. Assuming the subject matter is not the practical skill of writing code or building something, the "deep understanding" OP has discerned would be enough to give the student an excellent grade. There are rules, and there are higher-level rules (the "constitutional level" if you will). So, actually, sticking to some formula in the syllabus against one's better judgement would be mis-grading that student and, theoretically (but not practically) grounds for him/her to complain...

einpoklum's user avatar

  • This is a good answer. In other contexts, what you describe can be compared with the Rule according to higher law . That is, while statutes and case law are very important to a well-functioning, consistent, and fair legal system, there are some times where things just break down and require human intervention from people with a thorough understanding of fundamental rights and fairness. –  Robert Columbia Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 23:07

One way out would be to announce to the class that you would be giving out a difficult optional assignment that anyone can attempt for bonus credit of say 20%, and at the same time inform that student privately that you are doing this for his sake but such that it is still fair to all, and so he had better submit the optional assignment if he didn't want to get a poor grade.

The first advantage is that it is fair to all students and yet rewarding those who have a much deeper mastery of the subject. You should of course mark the assignment impartially and try to prevent any cheating, and it will naturally give extra credit to the better students.

The second advantage is that it does not penalize any students at all, since it is purely bonus credit. So no student will have any reason to complain, since the good students can prove that they deserve a good grade.

The third advantage is that you do not have to rely on your subjective and possibly inaccurate judgement of this student's abilities. It may be bad to give good students an 'undeserving' poor grade, but it would be even worse to give bad students a truly undeserving better grade than there is clear evidence for (unless you are absolutely certain that your student's performance on the exam is so outstanding that all your colleagues will agree fully with you).

Note that I'm purposely not answering the question of whether to pass or fail the student involved, since according to the above we can only answer that question after the optional assignment deadline.

user21820's user avatar

  • 2 This is common in my department. –  Nemo Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 17:06
  • @Nemo: That's nice. I myself do it but not as a last-minute resort but right from the beginning. But I've never seen or heard of such practices in my university's mathematics department, which is a pity. –  user21820 Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 2:59

It is imperative that you design your grading system to take this type of situation into account. Some students simply will not get the homework done, even if they understand the material. The reason is not really your concern (unless of course it's something like a medical or family emergency). In my courses, I always instituted a way for students to avoid zeros on homework. For instance, I would allow them to make up late work for up to a week, though at only a fraction of the value. If it was past a week, I would offer them additional work (e.g. writing a paper, or doing a special project or lab) to make up some points. However, I stress that this policy must be written in your syllabus so that grading remains fair to all students.

f.thorpe's user avatar

  • I studied at a high-level British university where papers should be turned in some time before the end of the year. I wrote more and much better papers than I ever had, and I enjoyed them and was actually interested in practically all of them, instead of (at rule-based American universities) staying up all night and forcing myself to do what was required on time. –  Dronz Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 17:12
  • 1 One system that could accommodate students who master the test material but don't do the homework, would be to have test scores above a certain level, waive the homework requirements, and/or have the grade for the homework for a unit equal the test grade if the test grade is higher than the homework grade. Typical grading formulae are pretty crude and introduce artificial stress (unless your goal is to teach game theory and how to beat arbitrary rating systems). –  Dronz Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 17:15
  • 1 @Dronz I agree, but whatever you do it needs to be clear in the syllabus so that there is fair treatment for all students –  f.thorpe Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 18:25

My approach in this kind of situation has been to follow my syllabus and grading process to the letter. Students who earn Fs, even those who need a passing grade to advance, get Fs. If they need a heads up to see this coming, then it's definitely worth pulling them aside and telling them. It really can change their approach.

Bill Barth's user avatar

  • 5 It can also result in grades in your class being near meaningless. For instance, in junior high school I had an algebra class. I got straight As on the tests. I did well on the homework. The teacher, however, defined half of the grade be based upon keeping all returned homework and tests in a folder. I was not good with organization, and had basically no such folder at the end of term. His intention was to fail me, but I luckily successfully argued that organizational skills were not even taught by him, so weighting them so heavily was petty and counterproductive to education. –  otakucode Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 0:36
  • 3 @otakucode: I would call that an example of having a bad grading schema , which is a different (albeit important) issue. The solution is to fix the grading schema to something worthwhile. –  Daniel R. Collins Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 3:17
  • 1 Everyone should take notice that I didn't comment on OP's choice of what counts for what. I've always figured that anyone who can ace the exams and turns in a few of the homeworks should be able to to get an A. –  Bill Barth Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 4:05

Convert assignment to exam. Just explain the student that not everything can be verified in exam, that some kinds of performance, understanding can only be seen from assignment results, so assignment marks influence the exam marks.

As the student is doing exams well, he will do the assignments well also now, because they are part of the exam. Currently he probably does not think it is necessary.

algorithmic_fungus's user avatar

Your syllabus has, or should have, a formula used to calculate the students' grades. This student is making a choice, based upon what he or she understands that formula to be, not to do the homework. Every student should be able to look at the grade formula, figure out what grade they can accept, weigh that against their goals and the time demands of their other courses and pursuits, and determine what they want to hand in.

Of course, doing the homework should help the student to generate an understanding of the topics in the course, and thus help the student do better on exams and major assignments. It could also help a student recognize red flags for a lack of understanding that merits extra attention. If the homework doesn't play such a role, or some other similar role, then it's just busy work, and you need to ask why its being assigned in the first place.

You should view the grade as a pre-established contract with the student put forth in the syllabus. If the student can abide by it, they stay in the course, and if they find they can't, they're free to make other plans. The fact that you're wrestling with this decision now seems to signal that you haven't clearly established this contract. Use this situation as an experience to sharpen your grade formula in the future such that a student in this situation would get the grade you feel is deserved, but for this semester you need to stick to whatever formula you conveyed. If you haven't conveyed a formula, do what you think is right, but it is WRONG to place students in a situation where they don't understand what generates their grade and you should certainly fix this for future iterations.

How much should homeworks count? My own personal feeling is that if it counts too much, it just encourages academic dishonesty. It should count enough that poor homework performance should certainly rule out an A, just to encourage students to do it.

Scott Seidman's user avatar

  • 3 I disagree vehemently with your first sentence. Grading is an inherently subjective task, and I always made sure to keep my syllabi loose enough to allow me to assign sensible grades. In particular, I think that setting percentage thresholds for letter grades and trying to design exams to fit them is absurd. I made up exams that tested what I wanted to test and then interpreted the results. –  Brian M. Scott Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 4:55
  • @Brian that is what curves are for. You can't go changing a term paper that accounts for 10% of grade to 30% or homework that counts 5% to 20% because the grades don't work out the way you want them to. –  Scott Seidman Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 17:05
  • I’d never ever have assigned a figure like 5% in the first place: it’s too small and too precise. My syllabi ran to descriptions more like this for courses in which there were too many students for me to bleed copious comments over weekly homeworki: There will be three midterms and a final. The midterms will count approximately equally, and the final will be worth approximately two midterms. –  Brian M. Scott Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 21:05

You should discuss an alternative scheme for the homework problems for this student. Just tell the student that the way things are going now is not acceptable, he'll not get the credits for the course. If he tells you that he'll try harder, tell him that you actually know why he isn't doing well on the assignments, that he is going to fail the course and may also become ill due to overwork and then risk dropping out of university altogether.

Then offer him an alternative scheme for the assignments that is more compatible with his schedule, but which also comes with zero tolerance for not adhering to it. You should aim for assignments for him that are at least as hard as the regular assignments. You should tell in class that some students are following an alternative scheme for assignments to accommodate for private issues, that this is open to everyone, but the assignments are on average a bit harder than the regular assignments. This makes sure all students are treated equally, and that the alternative scheme is not an easy pass so the floodgates for the alternative scheme are not opened.

Count Iblis's user avatar

One follow-up question I wold ask is whether the exam in question is as rigorous as the OP suggests; the student may indeed have known the material well (or known it already from past exposure), but if it required very little practice to master the skills needed to excel at a summative assessment, how powerful a measure could it possibly be? My students often ask me for a final exam whose grade could trump the rest of the semester (probably because they got that "Senior Day" treatment in high school), but I ask them two question which quickly snuff out the requests:

Would you be satisfied if your exam results dipped and thus brought your A down to a C, "just because" you got a 79.8% on the exam?

Are you prepared for an exam genuinely testing every major "essential" ("irreplaceable") concept we have discussed, and not this "gentler" one I have prepared in acknowledgement that you have already showed me a partial mastery based on your earlier exams? ("'Cause I could always make this final exam a lot more challenging....)

thebishopofcalc's user avatar

  • 1 After reflecting on it after the semester ended, I'm fairly certain that the student had prior exposure to the material, which was not the case for a majority of students who were in that particular class. The student in question passed this particular course, but failed the follow-on course [I suppose he did not have as much prior exposure to the material covered in the follow-on course]. –  Mad Jack Commented May 14, 2016 at 3:44

I know what you want to do. You want to give them a break. BUT, you established grading standards for the entire class. It would be unfair to treat this student differently from the rest. And you can be penalized for doing so. If you don't want to enforce your own standard, then you should create a new one for the next class. But you must enforce the one you established for this class.

Eric Peterson's user avatar

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why is homework bad quora

Reasons Why Homework Is Bad For Students?

why homework is bad

  • Post author By admin
  • October 12, 2022

Homework is a word that most students don’t want to hear. Because, after many hours of sitting in the same class, the last thing students get is more schoolwork over their precious weekends. Well, it is known to be a traditional schooling system. Lets now 

Some feel that Homework is a necessary part of education. On the other hand, some believe that the time should be invested in extra activities. Many studies have found that most students are getting too much extra Homework and assignments that lead to many problems like stress, sleeping problems, and other problems related to health. 

Typically in high schools, students take six classes a day, which means they receive 24.5 hours of homework weekly. But this is not the main problem. The problem with the school nowadays is that it promotes stress at a very high level by giving students extra work that most of the students don’t want to do. 

There are plenty of reasons why Homework is bad for students, but in this Blog, we will look at the top 18 most crucial reasons.

Without wasting any time, let’s get started.

Table of Contents

18 Reasons Why Homework Is Bad For Students

There are many reasons why Homework is bad, but in this Blog, we will cover the top 18 reasons why Homework is bad for students. 

  • May lead to Stress Problems

No time for outside activities

Excessive homework cause depression, have no real impact on performance, homework control the student’s freedom.

  • May break student’s confidence

No real benefit

The school became a full-time job, irrelevant content, lack of social skills , waste of time, no time for family, destroy sleep cycle.

  • Excessive Homework encourages cheating 

Can lower your grades

Counterproductivity.

  • No time for daily exercise

Consume free time

May lead to stress problems..

Extra assignments given by high schools and universities to students may lead to unhealthy stress levels. If bombarded with countless work at the school and at home, students may feel anxiety and stress. I know students need to learn in the class, but they also get some time to explore other things outside the academic world. 

This is obvious if you get work after work and fail to complete that work. You will automatically get stressed, and that gets worse over time. 

According to the survey, 56 percent of the students think that Homework is the primary cause of stress. At the same time, the remaining students think that giving tests and getting good marks causes stress. Only 1 percent of the students think that Homework does not cause notable stress.

One of the main reasons Homework is bad is that you get no time to go outside and play something that will automatically boost your productivity and instantly kill stress. Doing outside activities will not only boost your productivity but also make you healthy physically as well as mentally. 

Excessive Homework may cause Depression, which then affects students mentally and physically too. According to the studies, more than 39% of the students have experienced Depression daily. The main reason is that most students want more grades rather than doing Homework. When students are unable to attain their goals, then it is really hard to maintain their health, so as a result, they get depressed. All of these issues can have a negative impact on someone’s life. 

Extra time spent on Homework does not have a real impact on performance. As a result, it’s more like you’re wasting time by doing the same thing repeatedly, which does not produce any result.

Childhood is meant to be enjoyed, but extra Homework makes it impossible. Instead of spending time on something else, students spend most of their time on Homework. As a result, Homework became the reason to control students’ freedom. 

May break students’ confidence

If you’re doing the same thing repeatedly, you don’t get any result from this. Then the probability is high that you will lose your confidence. So, to boost your confidence, students should take some breaks and then get back to work.

A decrease in academic performance is directly connected to spending more time on Homework. Homework can help you get better marks, but it usually has a low return. As a result, there is no real benefit from the Homework. 

This is the seventh reason why Homework is bad for the students. 

In Chile, most school days start from 8 a.m and end at 4 p.m or later. Every day, students spend approximately 9 hours in school, like you’re doing a full-time job. 

If the Homework has nothing to do with the topic or the subject, it should be prohibited. It is unfair to provide Homework that a student did not cover in the class and expect a better report. 

Heavy homework activities may have a terrible effect on student life. Everyone needs some time for daily routine activity and quality time with their friends and family. But teachers assign heavy Homework during weekends. Then there is no choice but for the students to complete the task rather than be more social. 

Most studies found that Homework is a waste of time that keeps people from doing things they want to do. Such as attending important events or sports. As a result, even if a student wants to attend or participate in such events, in such circumstances, students don’t have enough time due to workload. 

This is the twelfth reason why Homework is bad and should be banned. In most parts of the world, students doest have time to spend with their family members. Well, the most difficult thing for today’s parents is that they don’t spend enough time with their children. Students start working on their homework as soon as they get back home. As a result, students barely have time to talk with their parents.

Even on the weekend, students work on their extra assignments and Homework. That being said, students miss weekends that they are supposed to spend with their family members. However, without work, students have more time for family. 

In most cases, students don’t want to get up early in the morning. When you sleep for a longer period and wake up late in the morning, you would feel more relaxed and chill. But due to excessive amounts of Homework, students barely get 7 hours of sleep. As a result, Homework is the biggest concern that destroys the sleep cycle. 

This is the thirteenth reason why Homework should be banned. 

Excessive Homework encourages cheating

When students have an excessive amount of work to complete in a short period, it is really difficult for them to complete their Homework. As a result, to complete Homework in time, they copy from other students. Cheating is illegal in any school. If the teacher finds out that both assignments have relevant material, they get punished. That is why Homework is bad. 

One of the main reasons Homework is bad is that many teachers cannot provide all the important information in the class, and parents can not help children. If you spend most of the time doing homework, you don’t get time to study. As a result, it can lower your grades. 

Rather than improving education, a heavy homework load may affect the students’ performance. Students have too much stress to complete Homework every other night, which can affect the student’s performance in school. A homework load may counter your productivity skills. 

No Time For Daily Workout

This is the seventeenth reason why Homework is bad. Well, exercise has many benefits, like if you work out daily then it can improve your mental health, and remove stress. On the other hand, some aerobic exercise can even help you with Depression. Students don’t have time for daily workouts due to an excessive homework load. 

Everybody needs some free time to chill or relax, but what if you don’t have time to do anything? How do you feel? Well, the obvious answer is you feel very bad. That’s what students feel when they don’t have time to play or to spend some time with family, just because of frequently given Homework and assignments by the teachers. 

Reasons Why Homework Is Bad & Should be Banned

why is homework bad quora

Four main reasons why homework should be banned

  • It creates family stress : Some parents argue with their children about getting Homework done or being frustrated with their inability to teach children about any topic.
  • Students can do other important activities : Other activities include outdoor time, family bonding time, and other unscheduled play.
  • Doesn’t increase academic achievement : According to many studies, Homework has weak links to get better academic achievements.
  • Leads to more anxiety : It can cause more academic stress for students. 

Conclusion: Why Homework is Bad

In this blog, we have learned 18 reasons why Homework is bad. I hope you understand why Homework is bad for the student; not only do students in the same city face this problem, but it’s a worldwide cause. Students also have the freedom to do other activities and have some free time to chill and relax. 

This is the end of this Blog. I hope you like it. Also, Read: Best Homework Songs to Listen While Study

Q1. Is Homework Good or bad?

Ans. Too much of anything can harm you instead of helping you. So, if students get too much work, it can do more harm than good. Studies have shown that if a student gets less Homework, it’s good, but if it’s too much, it’s bad.

Q2. Why is too much Homework bad for mental health?

Ans. Studies conducted at Stanford University in 2013 have found that top-performing students are distracted and mostly spend more time on Homework than on improving academic skills. As a result, they experienced more stress, problems related to health, lack of social skills, and many more.

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Why am I struggling so hard to do my homework?

The first debate was a complete disaster for Joe Biden

  • Joe Biden and Donald Trump met for their first debate of 2024 on Thursday.
  • It was a total disaster for Biden, owing to his visibly frail performance.
  • Trump was able to capitalize on it, appearing relatively calm and in command.

Insider Today

Joe Biden and Donald Trump met for their first debate of the year on Thursday.

It was a high-stakes gamble for the president, who has consistently trailed the former president in both national and swing state polls.

It went horribly.

Biden started off especially weak

From the very beginning of the debate, there was an unmistakable frailty to Biden's demeanor. According to NBC , he has a cold.

Responding to the CNN moderator Jake Tapper's first question, which was about the economy, Biden appeared out of breath. He hastily began reciting facts while slurring and occasionally omitting words.

At times, Biden uttered nonsensical phrases.

On another question about the war in Gaza, Biden flubbed, saying, "We are the biggest producer of support for Israel of anyone in the world."

During another question about the national debt, Biden inexplicably concluded by saying "We finally beat Medicare."

President Biden seems to stumble while answering a question about drug prices, going silent before saying, “We finally beat Medicare.” Donald Trump: “He’s right, he did beat Medicare, he beat it to death.” pic.twitter.com/JxyJXW6atJ — The Recount (@therecount) June 28, 2024

"Well, he's right," Trump responded. "He did beat Medicare. He beat it to death."

Trump, for his part, effectively capitalized on Biden's weak performance, maintaining a calm demeanor and staying disciplined while occasionally making jabs at the president.

Related stories

"I really don't know what he said at the end of that sentence," said Trump. "I don't think he knows what he said either."

Former President Trump: "I really don't know what he said at the end of that sentence. I don't think he knows what he said either." pic.twitter.com/V106E98OSy — CSPAN (@cspan) June 28, 2024

Biden grew more energetic over time — but his responses remained muddled

Over the course of the debate, Biden's voice grew slightly less hoarse. But the incoherence in many of his responses remained.

Many Republican elected officials went into tonight claiming that Biden would be on drugs , anticipating that the president would deliver a relatively strong performance.

They ended up being wrong — but in a way that worked to their benefit.

Trump told plenty of lies. But Biden's poor performance overshadowed that.

Even as the former president maintained a relatively even keel at the debate, he told a litany of lies.

He falsely blamed Biden for the numerous indictments he's facing: Two of them were brought by local officials in New York and Georgia, while two others originated from the Justice Department, which operates independently of the president.

Trump claimed that food prices have "doubled and tripled and quadrupled" under Biden, a gross exaggeration of the 25% increase from 2019 to 2023 , according to the Department of Agriculture.

He also claimed Biden used the phrase "super predators" to describe African Americans, even though there's no record of the president making those comments.

It hardly ended up mattering: Biden's poor performance outshined all of it.

There's another debate on September 10. Biden will have to think hard about whether to do it.

Both Biden and Trump have agreed to another debate on September 10.

If you're a Biden ally, there's a few different ways to look at that: It could be an opportunity to reset what is obviously a very bad impression that was set tonight, or it could be yet another forum for Biden to show weakness.

Thursday's debate was the earliest general election debate on record: though both men are the presumptive nominees of their respective parties, they have yet to be officially nominated.

There are several other Democrats who have long been seen as potential Biden alternatives, should he choose to drop out.

But it's unclear if the president would opt to do so, or whether he'll face such calls from within his party.

There's also the potential for a chaotic convention in August if the party has to choose a new nominee, given nthe ideological divisions within the party.

After the debate, former senior Obama White House advisor David Axelrod, who reportedly triggered Biden's ire in the past over raising questions about the president's standing, was unrelenting in his analysis.

"I think there was a sense of shock actually on how he came out at the beginning of this debate," Axelrod said on CNN, while trying to give Biden some credit for addressing issues like abortion, "how his voice sounded — he seemed a little disoriented at the beginning of the debate. He did get stronger as the debate went on, but by that time, I think the panic had set in."

Axelrod agreed with other CNN panelists that there will now be discussions on whether Biden should step aside.

What emotions did you feel while reading this article?

Select all that apply

Thanks for your input!

Watch: Here's what to expect at the Biden-Trump debate

why is homework bad quora

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  1. Why Homework Is Bad For Students

    why is homework bad quora

  2. Why Homework is Bad for Students? 3 Reasons and 5 Facts!

    why is homework bad quora

  3. 20 reasons why homework is bad and why students dislike it

    why is homework bad quora

  4. Why Homework is Bad for Students? 3 Reasons and 5 Facts!

    why is homework bad quora

  5. Know the 15 Important Reasons Why is Homework Bad

    why is homework bad quora

  6. 10 Reasons Why Homework Is a Bad Idea

    why is homework bad quora

VIDEO

  1. Bad homework

  2. What why homework

  3. Why? Homework 😭😂😂😂🤣

  4. Why Homework Shouldn't Exist!

  5. why homework

  6. 4 REASONS WHY HOMEWORK IS 🗑😡

COMMENTS

  1. The Pros and Cons of Homework

    Homework also helps students develop key skills that they'll use throughout their lives: Accountability. Autonomy. Discipline. Time management. Self-direction. Critical thinking. Independent problem-solving. The skills learned in homework can then be applied to other subjects and practical situations in students' daily lives.

  2. Why Students Should Not Have Homework

    Examining these arguments offers important perspectives on the wider educational and developmental consequences of homework practices. 1. Elevated Stress and Health Consequences. According to Gitnux, U.S. high school students who have over 20 hours of homework per week are 27% more likely to encounter health issues.

  3. The Pros and Cons: Should Students Have Homework?

    The Other Side: Why Homework Is Bad. While homework has its benefits, there are also many arguments against it. Some believe that homework can cause increased stress, limit time for extracurricular activities, and reduce family time. Studies and expert opinions highlight the drawbacks of too much homework, showing how it can negatively affect ...

  4. Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework

    A Stanford researcher found that too much homework can negatively affect kids, especially their lives away from school, where family, friends and activities matter. "Our findings on the effects ...

  5. Is Homework Bad? Here Is What Research Says

    In this study, Cooper et al analyzed a large pool of research studies on homework conducted in the United States between between 1987 and 2003. Their findings indicate the existence of 'a positive influence of homework on achievement'. The influence is mainly noticed in students in grades 7-12 and less in students grades K-6.

  6. Homework Pros and Cons

    Homework does not help younger students, and may not help high school students. We've known for a while that homework does not help elementary students. A 2006 study found that "homework had no association with achievement gains" when measured by standardized tests results or grades. [ 7]

  7. Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in

    For older students, Kang says, homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night. "Most students, especially at these high achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's ...

  8. Does homework really work?

    After two hours, however, achievement doesn't improve. For high schoolers, Cooper's research suggests that two hours per night is optimal. If teens have more than two hours of homework a night, their academic success flatlines. But less is not better. The average high school student doing homework outperformed 69 percent of the students in ...

  9. The Case Against Homework: Why It Doesn't Help Students Learn

    According to UVAToday, these researchers reported no "substantive difference" in the grades of students related to homework completion. As researcher Adam Maltese noted, "Our results hint that maybe homework is not being used as well as it could be.". The report further suggested that while not all homework is bad, the type and quality ...

  10. Is homework a necessary evil?

    Beyond that point, kids don't absorb much useful information, Cooper says. In fact, too much homework can do more harm than good. Researchers have cited drawbacks, including boredom and burnout toward academic material, less time for family and extracurricular activities, lack of sleep and increased stress.

  11. Should We Get Rid of Homework?

    The authors believe this meritocratic narrative is a myth and that homework — math homework in particular — further entrenches the myth in the minds of teachers and their students.

  12. Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in

    Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold, says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health ...

  13. Professor gives unreasonable amount of homework, can anything ...

    A homework assignment which is 30 questions long and involves typed paragraphs for each question. Five pages of the study guide based on the 35 pages of textbook texts and her lecture. 5 pages of the lab manual all color coded based on her specific standards. Two online homework assignments through an online program totaling 1.5 hours length each.

  14. A student in my course does well on exams, but doesn't do the homework

    In others, textbook-based conceptual mastery would suffice. They are many reasons why the grade contract on your syllabus might be incorrectly formulated. E.g., you might be weighting homework heavily because that is the only reasonable way to get pass rates appropriate to your institution.

  15. The Homework Debate

    An article on Newsday.com says that since 1981, time spent on homework is up 51 per cent. Author Bennett agrees that too much homework hurts the whole family. "It takes away from family time, puts parents in an adversarial role with kids and interferes with the child's ability to play and have other after-school activities.".

  16. What do you think about homework, it's something good or bad ...

    As far as homework goes: I like the idea of learning how to work independently & how to work on our own time in order to get things done, and how to learn & study on our own. However, you're already at school for 8 hours a day, plus lunch & commute time, plus homework time after school.

  17. 20 Reasons Why Homework Is Bad

    20 Reasons Why Homework Is Bad. Excessive workload: Heavy homework loads can lead to increased stress levels and burnout among students, affecting their mental and physical well-being. Lack of ...

  18. Probing Question: Is homework bad for kids?

    Probing Question: Is homework bad for kids? | Penn State University. Ask an eleven-year-old whether homework is a bad thing, and you'll likely be greeted with vigorous nodding and not a hint of ambiguity. But do grown-up experts agree? As with so many things, the answer is mixed.

  19. 18 Reasons Why Homework Is Bad For Students?

    There are many reasons why Homework is bad, but in this Blog, we will cover the top 18 reasons why Homework is bad for students. May lead to Stress Problems. No time for outside activities. Excessive Homework cause Depression. Have no real impact on performance.

  20. Why am I struggling so hard to do my homework? : r/education

    I don't know why it's this way honestly. It may be anxiety. It can interfere with you ability to focus. It's easy to focus on your interests or something you really want to do but it's hard to have the willpower to do something that you aren't necessarily interested in. 1.

  21. The first debate was a complete disaster for Joe Biden

    Biden seemed out of breath, hastily reciting facts while slurring and omitting words. At times, the president uttered nonsensical phrases.