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The debate over homework Essay

With homework being the debate topic since the 1940s, research shows that with the formulation and results of the Common Core and ACT assessments American people are questioning where they stand in terms of education. The ongoing debate on education has been misinterpreted by American society and since Americans realize that they are falling behind on educational ranking, a controversy on the amount and quality of homework given to students compared to the amount of learning that are shown through testing, questions the educational standards of Americans.

Compared to other nations, Americans are falling in the bottom fifth in educational rankings. This brings up the debate over homework and its effectiveness. Does practicing an assignment guarantee mastering it? How much work is too much work in the quality of assignment? What mental impact does homework pose on students psyche? In the article “Special Topic/ The Case For and Against Homework,” Robert J. Marzano and Debra J. Pickering argue that there are indications of the usefulness in homework when engaged accurately. Marzano and Pickering’s research focuses on not only the case for homework but the case against homework as well.

They base their report on synthesis studies that had been carried out. One of the synthesis, Cooper, reported that the benefits of homework increases as the time spent on homework increases (qtd. In Marzano and Pickering 2). According to the authors, the quality of homework over the quantity of it is rather more important. In the Cooper synthesis a cogent percentage of the report on homework showed that absolute effects of homework correlates to the amount of homework that the students completes rather than the amount of time spent or the amount of homework actually assigned (Marzano and Pickering 1-5).

The authors also made it clear that “too much homework may diminish its effectiveness or even become counterproductive” (qtd. In Marzano and Pickering 4). The authors made it known that although homework has its benefits spending way too time on it can pose a threat to a student’s mental state (Marzano and Pickering 3). Which coincides to what the author of the article, “Down with Homework,” Alfia Kohn had to say on the subject of homework and academic benefits. Kohn’s main argument is that the idea that homework helps children learn simply isn’t true.

The idea of homework and higher achievement does not have a positive stance in Kohn’s article. Kohn’s main focus was on elementary and secondary students. He states that “more homework isn’t correlated with higher scores for children in elementary school” (Kohn 44). Since the main controversy is on homework being beneficial to test scores, Kohn uses elementary and secondary students to prove his point that there is no evidence to support statements that says homework yields academic benefits. Kohn argues that the idea that homework helps students learn simply isn’t true.

He goes on to admit that in secondary school some research does find a correlation between test scores and homework but it tends to be a small amount of research (Kohn 44). Kohn’s main point was there is no evidence to prove that homework is beneficial to students below high school age. Kohn understands that certain lessons should continue outside of school if only the work was related to the home environment. Now tying to Marzano and Pickering’s article Kohn feels as if homework “overwhelms students and removes joy from high achievers” (Kohn 45).

Kohn makes it known that even reading for fun loses its appeal to students due to the over whelming workload that they have to carry. He addresses his belief that the idea of homework building character is a myth (Kohn 44). He feels that homework is demoralizing and overwhelms students. Kohn does not believe in the idea of students spending the majority of their time in school then coming home and doing more school work. He feels as if homework is time consuming and stressful.

Kohn states “whenever homework crowds out social experience, outdoor recreation, and creative activities…it is not meeting the basic needs of children and adolescents” (Kohn 68). An opposing view of homework and it not being beneficial to students would be, Public Schools of North Carolina, in their Article “Homework in High School: Influence on Learning. ” Although in their article the authors do not talk about the effects of homework on a student’s psyche or quality over quantity, Public Schools of North Carolina views homework as “the primary pedagogical instrument for educators” (Public School of North Carolina 1).

The article state that “previous research has demonstrated that the amount of time a student spends on homework is associated with better grades and higher achieving test scores” (Public School of North Carolina 1). The authors gather their data and resources from testing data from 58,000 high school students in North Carolina (Public School of North Carolina 1). The data showed that students who spend more time per week on homework scored higher on the North Carolina School Comprehensive Test (HSCT) which was administered to 10th

grade students. It is said that students who complete homework or other school assignments outside of the school setting generally have better grades/ GPA and achieve higher test scores. There is a variety of places where students may do work or study as long as it is outside of a school environment. Studies show that this correlates to higher achieving test scores meaning they recommend students to do more work outside of school environment. The author of all three articles agree that some work should be done outside of school.

Public Schools of North Carolina and Marzano, Pickering believe that doing homework pays off and that it creates disciplined minds. They believe that homework extends learning beyond the school days. Marzano, Pickering’s stance on the subject is that when used properly homework aids students achievement. Whereas Public School of North Carolina solely believe that the more time spent on homework shows in terms of GPA and test scores. Kohn believe that too much homework can affect student’s health and also homework and higher achievement is a myth.

I believe that doing homework is beneficial to the person depending on the value of the assignment. Meaning that if the assignments has multiple questions that are similar then it is redundant. If there are multiple questions that are different then the basis of learning the material will be harder. This can be supported by earlier information that by practicing you can master the skill and understand the material that is being taught to you which in turn can be beneficial to your grades and GPA so when testing is given you are more likely to excel.

With that being said the quality of the work has to be precise over the quantity because if a student does two or three detailed problem of the same concept then moves on to another they will benefit more than just doing twelve of the same concept problems. Students doing quantity over quality leads to stress and makes students see homework as a chore rather than something that is helpful All three authors agree in some way that homework has some type of effect on students. The quality of assignment as well as the students practicing to master the skills plays some kind of role to the students psyche.

Khan believes that the idea of homework helping children learn simply isn’t true. He believed that giving children school work to do after a long day of being at school makes the child feel overwhelmed and stressed. Marzano and Pickering believe that homework is only affective when assigned properly. They believe that doing homework creates disciplined minds and that homework should help a child master the skill of the assignment if the homework is appropriate to the student’s age and grade level. Public Schools of North Carolina believes that homework bring better test scores and higher academic achievement.

The more time you spend on homework the higher a student’s GPA increases. I believe that the only way you master something is by practicing. The only way to increase your GPA is by taking the time to study different subjects. Spending three hours on one homework assignment is tiring and stressful, but studying multiple subjects within those hours is more effective. Teachers in the future should take in account when assigning homework that students have their own life and are committed to other activities outside of school. I believe that if this is done then the debate over the effectiveness of homework would no longer persist

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