After slaving away at one or more desks all day, the last thing students want to do is sit down at yet another table and complete more work. As of late, it seems as though schools are assigning more than their fair share of homework to students. Some parents approve, but others are very concerned about the amount of homework their children do. Schools in the United States should assign less homework. Excessive homework causes a nearly comical level of stress on students, giving too much homework is simply ineffective, and homework is as much a nuisance to parents as it is to their children. Teachers should be assigning their students less homework.
First, homework famously causes a lot of stress on students. It eats up hours of their days and any former student will remember long nights spent doing math problems and studying for tests. Clifton Parker, a Social Sciences writer at Stanford News, describes a survey of 4,317 students at 10 high performing California high schools conducted by Denise Pope, who found that “56 percent of students [said] homework [was] a primary source of stress… Less than 1 percent of the students said that homework was not a stressor” (Parker). Nearly all students viewed homework, as well as tests and the pressure to get good grades, as the primary source of stress in their lives. An education, and the assignments the result from one, are, in theory, truly a gift to young people. In practice, however, can do more harm than good, it seem. Students are not even given the privilege to worry about problems in their lives caused by something that they will carry with them; they are mostly worrying about worksheets and essays. In addition to this, homework is actually hurting some students, not just causing them stress. In the aforementioned article, Parker explains Pope’s finding that, “In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems” (Parker). Even if homework may hold all the benefits that supporters cite to maintain its distribution, its harmful effects on students alone should be enough. If simply sleep deprivation isn’t evidence of harm enough to convince homework advocates, just type “Gunn High School Workload” into an internet browser and article after article about a stress-caused suicide epidemic will surface. Homework causes more harm than good to students, and lessening it would improve the quality of life for those issued it.
Second, giving more than a certain amount of homework just becomes ineffective. If assigned more than the recommended amount of work students will no longer benefit from it, it will just be wasting their time. According to Valerie Strauss, an education writer for the Washington Post, “Elementary school students [only] get… academic benefit from… reading and some basic skills practice … [For h]igh school students... there is no academic benefit after two hours a night; for middle-schoolers, 1 1/2 hours” (Strauss) Giving too much homework to children is just an annoyance if there is too much; they are no longer gaining anything. Many high school students get as much as 3.5 hours of homework nightly (Klein), which loses its meaning. Children, but especially high schoolers have enough on their plates already, but wasting their time with stress-inducing and sleep-depriving assignments that they are not gaining any benefit from is ridiculous practice. Furthermore, homework does not even necessarily lead to higher grades. Giving students assignments can lead to a richer understanding of the material, but it can also just eat up their time. According to a study from the University of Virginia, “Contrary to much published research, a regression analysis of time spent on homework and the final class grade found no substantive difference in grades between students who complete homework and those who do not” (Arrington). Not only are students not gaining any benefit from the extensive amounts of homework they receive, all of their effort is not even reflected in their course grades. Homework takes up time children could spend doing other things that they need to do; after school activities, socialising, spending time with family, sleeping, and more. Instead they sit at tables for hours on end doing work that their grade may not even reflect. Students do more homework than is effective to do.
Some homework advocates argue that homework helps parents involve themselves in their children’s educational lives. These supporters insist that bringing schoolwork home is very helpful for parents to find out what their kids are learning. According to psychologist Joan M. T. Walker, “[H]omework can be a powerful tool for (a) letting parents and other adults know what the child is learning, (b) giving children and parents a reason to talk about what's going on at school, and (c) giving teachers an opportunity to hear from parents about children's learning” (Walker). Especially if students are not likely to discuss their academic lives with adults in the household, homework can give these adults a window into the classroom. While homework can provide all of these things for parents, this and other supporters fail to mention that many parents are as burdened by homework as the students are. According to Kelly Wallace, a family and career life writer for CNN, a study conducted by Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, an international expert on family dynamics, found that “... as … parent's confidence in their ability to help their child with homework went down, the stress in the household went up” (Wallace). Parents are not always able to provide their kids the help they need, which causes hardship and discomfort on the part of both the parents and children. In the same article, Wallace describes Donaldson-Pressman’s findings that “... results indicate that homework as it is now being assigned discriminates against children whose parents don't have a college degree, against parents who have English as a second language, against, essentially, parents who are poor” (Wallace). As it is clear to see, many parents, especially those in already tough situations, are as tired of homework as their children are.
Homework is a pain. Any current or former student can verify. It takes a lot of energy and brainpower and time that many students have a hard time finding after a long day at school. Too much of it is very stressful on students and can lead to serious health problems, especially sleep deprivation and headaches. It can push students into depressions and suicides if not regulated well, if it continues to be regulated as it currently is. It is ineffective when over-assigned as it always seems to be, and all of a student’s effort will not even be reflected in a grade. Homework is as difficult for parents as it is students and unfairly discriminates against underprivileged, poorer families. In smaller doses, homework can do a lot of good; solidifying ideas taught in class and offering review and practice. But when it is assigned in seemingly meaningless, large proportions, it does far more harm than good.
Arrington, Rebecca P. "Study: Homework Doesn't Mean Better Grades, But Maybe Better Standardized Test Scores." UVA Today. University of Virginia, 03 Dec. 2012. Web. 25 May 2017.
Klein, Karin. "About 3.5 Hours of Homework a Day for High Schoolers? That's Too Much."Los
Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 01 Mar. 2014. Web. 25 May 2017.
Project, Harvard Family Research. "Parental Involvement in Homework: A Review of Current Research and Its Implications for Teachers, After School Program Staff, and Parent Leaders." Parental Involvement in Homework. N.p., Oct. 2004. Web. 25 May 2017.
Strauss, Valerie. "As Homework Grows, So Do Arguments Against It." The Washington Post. WP Company, 12 Sept. 2006. Web. 25 May 2017.
University, Stanford. "Stanford Research Shows Pitfalls of Homework." Stanford News. Stanford News, 15 Apr. 2016. Web. 25 May 2017.
Wallace, Kelly. "Kids Have Three times Too Much Homework, Study Finds." CNN. Cable News Network, 12 Aug. 2015. Web. 25 May 2017.