Homework can be defined as the tasks given to the students by their class teachers, which has to be completed outside of the class. Homework usually has features that some amount of reading should be performed, writing to be completed, problems to be solved, and other skills to be practiced based on the nature of the assignments.
Homework could be designed carefully to fulfill the needs of the academic curriculum, and prepare the students for upcoming lessons, extend what they know by having them apply it to new situations, or to integrate their abilities by applying many different skills to a single task. Homework also provides an opportunity for parents to participate in their children’s education (Richards-Babb, Drelick, Henry, & Robertson-Honecker, 2011). Purposes of Homework
The purpose of the homework is that it should reinforce ideas, concepts, and knowledge of the subject matter taught. It is necessary in case of teaching a subject such as math, physics or chemistry. Through homework, students should review and practice what they have learned in the classroom, and prepare for the forthcoming lesson. It should offer to the students to study a subject in depth. Homework should let students investigate on their own, and learn how to find answers to questions.
It should allow students build, work as a team, on their own time, with their own schedule. So that they can plan out themselves how much effort they need to supply in order to carry out the assignments successfully (Homework: is it worth it?, 2012). Home work also helps the teacher for the continuous monitor and evaluation of the progress of the students. Homework facilitates teachers to find out student’s organizational skills, time management.
Another purpose of the homework is that it makes the students to be responsible and accountable. It should create an opportunity for parents to involve in their child’s learning and progress. Homework strengthens the home-school links (Heitzmann, 2007). Amounts of Homework
The amount of homework varies based on the course and the ability level of the students. An investigation conducted by the United States Bureau of the Census (1984) found that “public elementary school students reported spending an average of 4.9 hours and private school elementary students 5.5 hours a week on homework. Public high school students reported doing 6.5 hours and private school students 14.2 hours (Mendicino, Razzaq, & Heffernan, 2009).
Recent research studies by the Brown Center on Education Policy concluded that the majority of U.S. students (83% of nine-year-olds; 66% of thirteen-year-olds; 65% of seventeen-year-olds) spend less than an hour a day on homework, and this has held true for most of the past 50 years. In the last 20 years, homework has increased only in the lower grade levels, where it least matters (and indeed, may be counterproductive)” (“Homework: is it worth it?” 2012). Amounts of Homework
As a saying revels ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’, too much time spending on homework may lightly have the negative effects. It is said that generally homework does appear to result in higher levels of achievement for older students (at the secondary level). At the same time to the students aged between 11 to13, homework appears to be of benefit, but not to the same degree as for older students. For these students, spending more than an hour or two on homework does not result in greater benefit.
So, it is a vital factor for the teacher to ensure that homework assignments are an appropriate length for the developmental level of their students (Too Much Homework Can Be Counterproductive, 2005). In America, NEA and the National PTA recommendations are in line with those suggested by Harris Cooper: 10 to 20 minutes per night in the first grade, and an additional 10 minutes per grade level thereafter (giving 2 hours for 12th grade). In Britain, the Government has laid down guidelines, recommending that children as young as five should do up to an hour a week of homework on reading, spelling and numbers, rising to 1.5 hours per week for 8-9 year olds, and 30 minutes a day for 10-11 year olds.
The primary motivation for the Government policy on this seems to be a hope that this will reduce the time children spend watching TV, and, presumably, instill good study habits.
Two researchers from Penn State say that instead of improving educational achievement in countries around the world, increases in homework may actually undercut teaching effectiveness and worsen disparities in student learning (Too much homework can be counterproductive, 2005). Effects of
Harris Cooper, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Missouri, has reviewed more than 100 studies on the effectiveness of homework. In general, he has found that the benefits of doing homework seem to depend on the student’s grade level. He also points out that “In high school, students who regularly do homework outperform those who do not, as measured by standardized tests and grades. In middle school, homework is half as effective, and in elementary school it has no apparent measurable effect on achievement” (Molland, 2012).
Students’ self regulation processes also developed through the homework along with its effect on academic achievements. Zimmerman says that Self-regulation of learning involves learners setting goals, selecting appropriate learning strategies, maintaining motivation, and monitoring and evaluating academic progress Darshanand Ramdass and Barry J. Zimmerman (2011) points out that “ a longitudinal study with fifth-grade students showed that doing homework fosters self-regulation skills and reading achievement”. Types of homework
Academically, there are four kinds of assignments or homework. They are, practice homework, preparation homework, extension homework and creative homework. Practice homework meant for repeating the same kind of work again and again in order to remember a skill, especially while learning mathematics, vocabulary and spelling.
Preparation homework intended to the preparation of the next day lesson. The purpose of extension homework is to make the students to be able to connect and separate topics. Creative homework is a challenging one which meant for using different skills to show what the students have learned in the classroom. Online Homework