Research Supporting No Homework
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The no-homework policy of a second-grade teacher in Texas went viral last week, earning praise from parents across the country who lament the heavy workload often assigned to young students. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early.
A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders.
Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs, thinks there should be more emphasis on improving the quality of homework tasks, and she supports efforts to eliminate homework for younger kids.
Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.
The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.
I am a research professor at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy, where I lead the Certificate in Education Finance, an interdisciplinary program that equips participants with practical skills in strategic fiscal management, policy analysis, leadership, and communications. I am also director of the Edunomics Lab, a research center exploring and modeling complex education finance decisions to inform policy and practice. My research traces effects of fiscal policies at the federal, state, and district levels for implications on resources at the school and classroom levels. Previously, I was a Senior Economic Advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy teaching thermodynamics at the Naval Nuclear Power School.
It may surprise you, as it did me, to learn that no study has ever demonstrated any academic benefit to assigning homework before children are in high school. In fact, even in high school, the association between homework and achievement is weak -- and the data don't show that homework is responsible for higher achievement. (Correlation doesn't imply causation.)