Homework, parents will tell you, is the bane of home life. Children argue and cry about it. Parents are torn between defending its importance and privately dismissing it as excessive, given the time their children have already spent in school for the day. Several studies have recently examined homework versus no homework programs and their effects on children's scores. Research largely shows that homework does little to improve academic success. The key to implementing a no homework approach is to find time during the day for children to work independently so that teachers can assess their skills as they progress instead of only at testing time.
Is it fair to give homework?
Since many students do not go home to parents who adequately enforce their child's homework time, it does not seem fair to grade homework assignments. When teachers are working with students in the classroom, they can benefit from pursuing an online master’s degree in education, which can help with understanding how best to help these students. Some schools are moving to a system where homework goes home with the students but no homework is graded. Instead, assignments are for voluntary practice. Some schools also believe that it is unfair to assign homework when many parents work until five or later and want to spend time with their children, not fight over homework.
Learning to use independent time wisely
Traditionally, teachers have used homework to assess how students are progressing independently through curricula. If you are a teacher who plans to implement a no homework policy, you will want to learn as much as you can about independent work and how to assess it within the classroom. One great way to learn about independent work is to implement it as you learn it yourself, as part of the coursework for an online master’s degree in education. It can be very difficult to gather the data you need from each student while also keeping them engaged, so learning from your peers and bringing the practice back into the classroom can be an effective solution.
No homework schools for more engagement
When kids know they will have to go home to more work, they stop feeling the need to stay engaged during the day. If work feels never-ending, students tune out — they are just too tired to keep putting their best feet forward, some say. Teachers who engage students and expect them to demonstrate what they are learning throughout the day tend to have students who live up to their expectations. A no homework policy can help teachers get the best out of their students.
The homework versus no homework debate continues
While some schools are eliminating homework except for independent reading, many are not willing to consider this change in policy. This is not just a school issue: there are many parents who feel their children will fall behind in a no homework policy. They read the research but do not agree and feel their children will be behind in the race for success. Like many policies in education, there are different sides to every issue.
Learn more about UTA’s online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies.
Caplan, A., & Igel, L. (2015, March 12). What Happens When An Elementary School Abolishes Homework. Retrieved October 18, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/leeigel/2015/03/12/what-happens-when-an-elementary-school-abolishes-homework/
Graham, E. (2014, May 13). Should Schools Be Done With Homework? – NEA Today. Retrieved October 18, 2015, from http://neatoday.org/2014/05/13/should-schools-be-done-with-homework
Kohn, A. (n.d.). Down With Homework! | Scholastic.com. Retrieved October 18, 2015, from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/down-homework
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