Is homework good or bad for students? The great homework debate

the great homework debate

Published: November 16th, 2021

It’s the age-old question, is homework really good for students or is it causing more harm to young ones? In short, the answer is complex as there’s no right or wrong answer to this question. However, the teaching experts at Promethean have considered both sides to bring you an informed discussion on the topic to help you form your own opinion.

As kids returned to the classroom in person, they had to get back used to routines from before national lockdowns, including balancing increasingly busy schedules that demand time to be dedicated to family, exercise, maintaining social relationships and self-care. So, where is homework meant to fit into all of this and should it be taking time away from other meaningful life experiences that will aid a child in growing into a well-rounded person?

Why homework is considered good for students

Several factors make homework good for you. We have outlined four main elements to why homework is good below. 

Homework improves student achievement.

Many argue that homework improves student achievement in school. It helps them achieve better grades on tests and exams and increases the likelihood of attending college and university. Those who actively spend time on their homework are more likely to achieve higher grades throughout their school career than those who do not do any homework.

Practice helps academic achievement.

Homework is good because it also allows students to practice what they have learned in the classroom. For young students, it may provide an opportunity to practice their spelling and handwriting skills. In contrast, for older students, homework can help to remember key concepts and formulas for upcoming tests. If there’s confusion on a topic, homework provides students with an opportunity to attempt to work through and learn the material on their own before taking their issues to the teacher during school hours.

Homework encourages time management skills and independent learning.

With such busy schedules, children learn time management skills by balancing other responsibilities around completing homework on time. Being able to complete homework on time and to the best of their ability while also attending sports clubs, social engagements and having a healthy lifestyle is setting students up with essential skills to balance multiple priorities and commitments when they get older.

Homework also allows students to work through subjects independently, testing their knowledge and reliance on their understanding to get tasks completed. This promotes independent learning and encourages students to seek answers before asking teachers, parents, or guardians for help.

Parents can be involved with their child’s learning.

By discussing what types of homework your child needs to carry out that week, parents can be involved with their child’s learning from the beginning. Educational research from Johns Hopkins University found an interactive homework process known as Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork (TIPS) dramatically improves student achievement rates. They found that students in the TIPS group earned significantly higher report card grades after 18 weeks than non-TIPS students. 

Why homework might be considered bad for students

On the other hand, many people argue that banning homework should be enforced in all schools because it doesn’t have the positive effect of improving academic achievement that has already been discussed. Below we have summarised some of the key arguments against homework in schools.

Excessive, unnecessary stress

According to Stanford University research, 56% of students felt that homework was a primary stress factor for them. This could be due to the perceived consequences of getting the answers wrong, not completing the tasks on time or missing out on other social engagements and extracurricular activities.

Physical and mental health problems

Too much pressure and stress from traditional homework lead to a more significant increase in students’ physical and mental health problems. In the same study by Stanford University, it was found that many students believed increased homework led to sleep deprivation, headaches, exhaustion, weight loss and stomach problems. These health problems will significantly affect children’s learning abilities and their day to day life.

School to life imbalance

Too much homework will also negatively affect students’ life balance between completing school work, family time, socialising, physical activity and taking care of themselves. Completing more than three hours of homework a night will prevent students from gaining valuable life skills, making lasting friendships and generally enjoying the experience of growing up before adult responsibilities set in for the rest of their life. Children will not be able to grow into well-rounded individuals if all they do is homework.

Lack of evidence that homework helps younger children

Research published in the Review of Educational Research states that “in elementary school, homework had no association with achievement gains” when measured by standardised tests results or grades. It’s also been found that homework is not the most effective tool for young learners to apply new information; instead, playing games, helping with cooking or reading independently encourages more important life skills than homework.

Conclusion to the ‘Is homework good or bad’ debate

Overall, is homework good or bad for students? There is no definite answer either way. Each child is different and has vastly different learning styles and preferences. These should be considered when deciding how much homework is given to a class and whether too much is being given at such a young age. 

Teachers, parents and guardians should monitor homework’s impact on children in their care and work with the students to find a balance in workload that doesn’t overwhelm and cause unnecessary stress in day to day life.

How can students do homework without stress?

The best way to do homework without stress is through the help and support of teachers and parents or guardians. Using Promethean’s ActivInspire and ClassFlow teaching software, students will be able to work collaboratively with teachers in school through the cloud-based teaching software that delivers real-time interactions for all types of learning. Teachers can record lessons and make them available for students during homework time as well. Make use of support circles to ensure homework gets completed with the least amount of stress.

Interested in learning more about the Promethean ActivPanel interactive display and how it can transform your classroom? Speak with one of our experts and book your free demo today!