Good or bad?

Research divided on benefits of homework


Photographer: Elizabeth Bogart

Elizabeth Bogart, Reporter

During school, students are assigned many homework assignments by teachers, but the amount of homework given does not necessarily correlate with the student’s performance on tests.

Education researchers continue to study the benefit of homework, but are divided on the overall impact of it. Some studies claim that it has no effect, some conclude that it creates better studying skills, and some even think that it could have a negative effect.

Depending on the rigor of classes and the time required by extracurricular activities, many students find themselves stressed by the amount of homework they have. Senior Camilo Arias, who plays for the men’s soccer team and participates in a few AP courses, spends about two hours daily doing his homework, yet recognizes that getting good grades is not guaranteed by merely completing an assignment.

“There are many students who ace their tests and never do homework, and then there are students who do all their homework and still don’t understand the material,” Arias said. “Test scores rely on the way a person studies, or if they memorize the information right before the test, and how much they do or do not. Homework is merely a tool to acquire better studying habits.”

The studies are not clear as to whether the completion of homework includes studying or not, which brings into question if homework is truly beneficial. When teachers were asked about the impact of homework, all agreed that performance lies within the amount of studying done and homework is a tool to do so.

“Anybody can cram for a test,”  theology and psychology teacher Sister Peggy Szeljack said. “Real learning requires processing and reviewing to understand the newly acquired knowledge and be able to talk intelligently about it. Homework is a tool designed to aid studying. Acquiring knowledge is easy, but actually understanding that knowledge and being able to analyze what has been learned requires more work, which is what homework is beneficial for.”

Economics and WWII teacher Keith Gannett typically expects students to study without the requirement of graded assignments.

“Homework is one part of the equation, not the only variable,” Gannett said. “It is designed for students to master what is taught, but it requires an effort on their part to thoroughly be focusing on what is being asked rather than answering questions based solely on information.”

Although both teachers differ in regard to the amount of homework they give, they agree that homework is not meant to be busywork but to assist students in studying.

Senior Arturo Vazquez, who takes AP classes, plays soccer, and does an average of 2-3 hours of homework, said he gets annoyed with “busywork.”

“Homework should always have a purpose,” Vazquez said. “When assignments are given, they should be in order to help students learn and not just to take more grades.”

Overall, homework can help students succeed. Studies that show no correlation between grades and amount of homework are purely based on doing that homework alone, and do not consider study time and whether the students are absorbing the information or not.

“Even though I would rather spend my evenings playing FIFA, I recognize that my grades are reflective of the fact that I study and do my homework,” Vazquez said. “I suppose it’s a good thing.”


For more information on various studies, visit these sites.