More than two hours of homework may be counterproductive

By Clifton B. Parker, March 2014

A Stanford education 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.

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," said Pope.

Pope 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."

Source: Stanford Graduate School of Education

All news in this category

Rudolf Steiner University College Oslo

Rudolf Steiner University College (RSUC) in Oslo – Norway, was founded in 1981 with the task of providing teachers for the increasing demand from... [more]

CULT Committee calls for exclusion of non-profit educational services from the TTIP

The ongoing negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union (EU) and the United States of... [more]

France bans WiFi in childcare facilities catering children under age 3

The French National Assembly recently passed a law that will help to limit young children’s exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) generated by... [more]

US: States weigh turning education funds over to parents

A radical new concept in school choice will come up for vote in at least a half-dozen states from Virginia to Oklahoma in the coming months, as... [more]

“A Mentor in Your Pocket” — the First-Ever Waldorf App for the iPhone

The appearance in the Apple App Store of iWaldorf, the first “Inspired-Waldorf” app for the iPhone and iPad, is the culmination of a three-and-a-half... [more]

Avalon Initiative for the Renewal of Education

A new U.S. American, Waldorf-aligned education think tank has been formed in Harlemville, New York. [more]

No Handhelds for Children under 12

10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12. [more]

Waldorf Education and Multiple Intelligences

How the Waldorf grade school subject classes help develop all of the nine intelligences. [more]

Waldorf Resources: A project of the International Forum for Steiner Waldorf Education

Rudolf Steiner's educational impulse can be found all over the world. Today, there are Steiner Waldorf schools and kindergartens on every continent,... [more]

Just climb through it

At just 13, Ashima is one of the top rock climbers in the world. In July 2014, she became the second female in the world to scale a V14.  [more]

Displaying results 71 to 80 out of 128

< Previous

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Next >

Follow