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Homework… How much is enough? How much is too much?

March 1, 2008

The “Homework” issue has been a debate in public education for as long as I can recall – I had strong opinions on this “too much” concept when I was in Research Seminar with Mr. Marcero back in the day… On the surface it seems like it should be an easy answer. Use homework to assess understanding and target trends within the class to review areas that reflect the need for more coverage. In addition, it allows parents to see what is being covered in school. Seems simple, right?

Well, what if doing that means an hour of homework each night at the elementary level? We have be told (by who? – I’m not sure) that homework should be targeted to 10 minutes per grade level – so every 3rd grader should have a half hour of homework each night.

A quick web search finds numerous sites and blogs discussing the issue. Over the last several years both Time and Newsweek have included articles. NPR put on a four part series – including the very real issue of “family stress” related to homework.

There are studies saying homework doesn’t help, others that say there is a positive correlation between homework and student achievement. The Brookings Institute has a study that says the amount of student time dedicated to homework is largely unchanged over the last 20 years – how come it doesn’t feel that way?

Clearly this is not only an issue in Saline but throughout the educational world. It is one we need to look at to make sure we are aware of the various aspects and strive for appropriate amounts and targeted instructional benefits.

I welcome your comments on this topic. (None regarding my performance in Mr. Marcero’s class please.)

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