Homework: The Great Debate

As I continue my Teacher as Researcher journey, I find myself more and more interested in focusing on homework for my research question. Many if not most teachers assign weekly — even nightly — homework; but is it extending student thinking? Is it beneficial to students at all? And does it decrease equity in your classroom? These are all sub-questions I’m hoping to explore throughout my project.

First, however, I had to do some research on the current research: what is already out there on the subject of homework? This article, an interview with Dr. Harris Cooper, suggests 60 to 90 minutes of homework per night for middle school students; this number seems astronomically high to me. Middle schoolers have sports, music, friends, family time — all of which I deem at least as important as academics — and an hour and a half of homework a night seems excessive.

This article is about standards based grading and homework, another important sub-question of my research: how does homework and grading of homework fit into SBG? The article says you can give homework all you want, but it can’t be included in the students final grade for the class; this is because standards based grading measures mastery of content, and homework is just practice. In the same way you shouldn’t average student attempts on an assignment, you can’t include homework because it ultimately falsifies the students’ score.

What I’ve taken away from my small amount of research is there is a lot out there about homework and whether or not we should assign it — but not a lot of the research focuses on student response to homework. Do they feel it helps them? Do they think it interrupts time with family/sports/friends/hobbies? These are important things to consider as we decide whether or not we as teachers will assign homework to our students.

What do you think: are you pro homework or totally against it? Comment with your reasoning!

One thought on “Homework: The Great Debate

  1. What I love about your question (and the related questions) is that it pulls back the curtain on a practice we take for granted as part of schooling, and that always changes the playing field.


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