In the 1800s the majority
of children did not go to school beyond grammar school. Those who
did ended up having to do "memorization and drilling of facts"
(Gill and Schlossman, 1996). During the 1900s restrictions were
placed on homework. California's homework law in 1901 declared
"children under the age of 15 should not have to do any. Better
that children should play in the sunshine, reformers said" (Gill
and Schlossman, 1996). Schools began increasing the amount of
homework in the 1980s and 1990s, especially for younger students.
Today "it is unusual to find schools that do not give homework,
and many school systems require it" (Gill and Schlossman,
The definition of homework
is assignments for students to do out of class. There are three
types of homework: practice, preparation, and extension. Practice
reinforces new skills. For example, a student may be given a set
of math problems for homework that are similar to the ones
completed in class. Preparation helps students prepare for future
classroom activities such background research on an upcoming
topic. Extension is normally a long-term project that goes along
with class work throughout the year. Examples are term papers or
science fair projects.
"Why is homework
important" is a question asked numerous times throughout the year
by students. "Many teachers and parents agree that homework
develops students' iniative and responsibility and fulfills the
expectations of students, parents, and the public" (Mar. 1996).
The case for homework has toughened because of the relationship
between homework and student achievement.
There has always been the
question of how much homework is too much. The article How
Important is Homework explains that it varies by grade. No
more than twenty minutes a day should be spent on homework for
students in kindergarten through third grade. Fourth through
sixth grade is to have twenty to forty minutes of homework a day
while it varies from seventh grade to twelfth grade. For the
latter, the amount of homework depends mostly on the number and
type of classes being taken. However, anything over two hours a
night is not suitable.
"A typical homework
completing high school student will outperform students who do
not do homework by 69% on standardized tests" (Plate, 2000).
Homework reinforces work done in school, promotes student
iniative, independence, and responsibility, and brings both home
and school closer. With homework, critical thinking and concept
information are increased and students retain information and
understand material better.
With homework comes the
temptation to cheat in order to get the assignment completed on
time. The amount of time needed for homework limits the
students' time for other activities within the community.
Teachers should not use
homework as a type of punishment because it takes away from the
purpose of homework. Homework should also be connected to what is
going on in the class or what will be going on in the class. A
reasonable amount of homework should also be given.
In conclusion, the
majority of information found leans toward homework as something
positive. However, I believe that most teachers give too much
homework. From my experience in high school, many teachers gave
busy work as in class assignments and then assigned more homework
on top of what had to be finished at home. In one class alone, I
had over two hours of homework several times a month. I also
believe there is more literature available that leans toward
homework. From all of my research, I only found a few articles
that were against it. Students are wanted to participate in
athletics and to join activities in the school and community, but
I feel most students are not able to fully do that because of the
amount of homework assigned from their numerous classes.
28 Mar. 1996. 10 Oct. 2006
Gill, Brian, and Steven
Schlossman. "The Crusade to Abolish Homework." American
Journal of Education (1996).
Plate, Jolynn. "Homework
and Its Role in Constructivist Pedagogy." 2000. University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, CTER Masters Program. 09 Oct. 2006