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Pros and Cons of Homework

Updated on July 23, 2012



Should Teachers Assign Homework?

Look at any online forum for students, and you’re sure to find a plethora of negative posts about homework. Within these posts, teachers are often viewed as a homework-loving bunch, but a new trend is taking hold in education. Teachers are beginning to question the value of homework more and more. Look at any online forum for teachers, and you’ll find a plethora of comments about homework, many positive and many negative. This article will explore both sides of the homework issue, the pros and the cons of assigning homework.

Districts across the nation have homework policies. Some districts limit that amount of homework that can be assigned on any given day. Other districts prohibit teachers from assigning work on certain days, typically weekends or holiday breaks. With increased teacher accountability, standardized test results are being monitored to determine teacher evaluations and even teacher salaries. As a result of district policies and increased teacher accountability, the homework discussion has been heating up for the past few years.

Pros of Homework

  • Homework helps students learn organization skills, and it reinforces personal responsibility.
  • Homework teaches time management.
  • Homework allows students to work at their own pace.
  • Study after study shows that children do better when parents are involved in their child’s education. Homework encourages parent involvement
  • Doing homework allows students a more relaxed atmosphere to do their work. Many students respond better to this familiar atmosphere and tend to do better in school.
  • While no significant study has ever confirmed the belief that homework yields nonacademic benefits, no study has ever disproved the assumption. It is still largely believed that homework helps build self-discipline, independence, perseverance, and better time-management skills.
  • Assigned homework provides additional opportunities to learn or practice concepts.
  • Some studies do find a positive relationship between homework and higher test scores in high school.
  • While no study has confirmed that assigning homework results in increased test scores for children in elementary schools, no study has disproved the assumption.
  • Some studies suggest that students who do homework are often better prepared for the rigor and homework that is expected in college.
  • Many parents perceive homework as tangible evidence that their children are receiving a good education. According to numerous polling results, the majority of parents favor homework.
  • With time constraints, teacher accountability, performance pay, and all of the pressure on teachers, homework provides additional opportunities to make sure students learn concepts necessary for good test results and future success.

Cons of Homework

  • Homework is often looked at as busy work. Much homework is pointless and results in no academic value. It does, however, result in a loss of family time and often causes extra stress at home.
  • When homework is assigned, it should be graded. Teachers often fail to grade homework and instead give a completion grade. This isn't truly beneficial for the student. Practice does not make perfect if the child is practicing incorrectly. Practice makes permanent.
  • Assigning more homework can result in more grading and less time preparing relevant, purposeful lessons.
  • When work goes home in the form of homework, can you really be sure who is doing it? Parents, siblings, and friends may be completing the work. Students may be sharing answers.
  • What is the homework’s purpose? Homework is often assigned in an effort to make a class look or seem rigorous. When it comes to work, shouldn't quality weigh heavier than quantity?
  • Homework only benefits the highest academic performers. Many students, typically the lowest performers or the economically disadvantaged students, don’t do homework, so they end up with missing work. Teachers spend an inordinate amount of time hunting down missing work or grading late papers. This takes away from valuable, relevant lessons.
  • No significant study has ever confirmed the belief that homework yields nonacademic benefits such as self-discipline, independence, perseverance, or better time-management skills.
  • No significant study has ever confirmed that assigning homework results in increased test scores for children in elementary school.
  • Some studies have reflected a negative attitude, among students who get more homework. There are negative effects of homework, including a child’s frustration towards homework and exhaustion
  • Some teachers use homework as a punishment. Using homework as a punishment can destroy the entire purpose of homework and devalue the importance of education.
  • Childhood obesity is plaguing the United States. When children have homework, they have less play time, less time to exercise. Shouldn't children be playing and enjoying their childhood instead of laboring over busy work?

Does Homework Help?

Classrooms across America are different. What works for one teacher doesn't necessarily work for another. Student interests and work ethics vary as much as teaching styles and classroom polices do. Homework success is largely based on the curriculum, intensity, relevancy, and volume of work.

While homework continues to be a highly controversial topic, successful teachers can be found on both sides of this debate. Teachers must determine what works best for them, and no study can really do that for them.

Homework Comments

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      Clayton61636 3 years ago

      I have to say this is wonderful article. It's especially worse in colleges and universities. You are given to much homework with unrealistic time limits while trying to maintaining four really hard classes. We need to inform educators about what this stress is doing to students.

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      hi 4 years ago

      yes and no for homework

    • profile image

      Chris 4 years ago

      Now homework

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      Well written. Voted up !