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How Much Is Too Much?

The Homework Dilemma

Haley Stocks, Online Editor

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When it comes homework, it seems like every year students get a little bit more. According to the National Education Association (NEA) and the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA) a standard of “10 minutes of homework per grade level” should be followed. This means a senior in high school should have two hours of homework a night.

According to a study done by Stanford University, students in “high achieving communities who spend too much time on homework experience more stress, physical health problems, a lack of balance in their lives, and alienation from society.”

The study suggested that spending more than two hours a night on homework is counterproductive. The average high school student, in the study, reported doing more than three hours of homework a night. Of those students, 70 percent said that they were “often or always stressed over schoolwork”, and 80 percent had reported experiencing one or more stress-related symptoms in the past month.

“The data shows that homework over this level is not only not beneficial to children’s grades or GPA, but there’s really a plethora of evidence that it’s detrimental to their attitude about school, their grades, their self-confidence, their social skills, and their quality of life,” said Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, expert on family dynamics.

A Metlife study found that 70 percent of students grades three to 12 had at least one math assignment per night. 62 percent of students had at least one homework assignment in a language arts class per night, and 42 percent of students had at least one homework assignment per night in a science class.

Students who receive large amounts of homework will miss out on active playtime, essential for learning social skills, proper brain development, and warding off childhood obesity,” said Harris Cooper, professor at Duke University.

In a meta-analysis done by Duke University, a positive correlation was found between amount of homework and student achievement. The study found that homework may “improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills.” The analysis also found that an increased homework level may cause “physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children.”

Homework can teach how to work independently and teach students how to utilize different resources. It can also teach students how to deal with frustration. However, if the workload becomes too great the negative effects can outweigh the positive effects.

Increased homework levels can also lead to copying and cheating. In a survey of 18,000 students, 80 percent of students said that they let someone copy their homework.

The homework debate has been going on for almost a century, and has no end in sight. For now teachers and students will continue to do what they feel is appropriate in the situation.

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