Why I Think All Schools Should Abolish Homework

Two brothers work on laptop computers at home

H ow long is your child’s workweek? Thirty hours? Forty? Would it surprise you to learn that some elementary school kids have workweeks comparable to adults’ schedules? For most children, mandatory homework assignments push their workweek far beyond the school day and deep into what any other laborers would consider overtime. Even without sports or music or other school-sponsored extracurriculars, the daily homework slog keeps many students on the clock as long as lawyers, teachers, medical residents, truck drivers and other overworked adults. Is it any wonder that,deprived of the labor protections that we provide adults, our kids are suffering an epidemic of disengagement, anxiety and depression ?

With my youngest child just months away from finishing high school, I’m remembering all the needless misery and missed opportunities all three of my kids suffered because of their endless assignments. When my daughters were in middle school, I would urge them into bed before midnight and then find them clandestinely studying under the covers with a flashlight. We cut back on their activities but still found ourselves stuck in a system on overdrive, returning home from hectic days at 6 p.m. only to face hours more of homework. Now, even as a senior with a moderate course load, my son, Zak, has spent many weekends studying, finding little time for the exercise and fresh air essential to his well-being. Week after week, and without any extracurriculars, Zak logs a lot more than the 40 hours adults traditionally work each week — and with no recognition from his “bosses” that it’s too much. I can’t count the number of shared evenings, weekend outings and dinners that our family has missed and will never get back.

How much after-school time should our schools really own?

In the midst of the madness last fall, Zak said to me, “I feel like I’m working towards my death. The constant demands on my time since 5th grade are just going to continue through graduation, into college, and then into my job. It’s like I’m on an endless treadmill with no time for living.”

My spirit crumbled along with his.

Like Zak, many people are now questioning the point of putting so much demand on children and teens that they become thinly stretched and overworked. Studies have long shown that there is no academic benefit to high school homework that consumes more than a modest number of hours each week. In a study of high schoolers conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), researchers concluded that “after around four hours of homework per week, the additional time invested in homework has a negligible impact on performance.”

In elementary school, where we often assign overtime even to the youngest children, studies have shown there’s no academic benefit to any amount of homework at all.

Our unquestioned acceptance of homework also flies in the face of all we know about human health, brain function and learning. Brain scientists know that rest and exercise are essential to good health and real learning . Even top adult professionals in specialized fields take care to limit their work to concentrated periods of focus. A landmark study of how humans develop expertise found that elite musicians, scientists and athletes do their most productive work only about four hours per day .

Yet we continue to overwork our children, depriving them of the chance to cultivate health and learn deeply, burdening them with an imbalance of sedentary, academic tasks. American high school students , in fact, do more homework each week than their peers in the average country in the OECD, a 2014 report found.

It’s time for an uprising.

Already, small rebellions are starting. High schools in Ridgewood, N.J. , and Fairfax County, Va., among others, have banned homework over school breaks. The entire second grade at Taylor Elementary School in Arlington, Va., abolished homework this academic year. Burton Valley Elementary School in Lafayette, Calif., has eliminated homework in grades K through 4. Henry West Laboratory School , a public K-8 school in Coral Gables, Fla., eliminated mandatory, graded homework for optional assignments. One Lexington, Mass., elementary school is piloting a homework-free year, replacing it with reading for pleasure.

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Across the Atlantic, students in Spain launched a national strike against excessive assignments in November. And a second-grade teacher in Texas, made headlines this fall when she quit sending home extra work , instead urging families to “spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside and get your child to bed early.”

It is time that we call loudly for a clear and simple change: a workweek limit for children, counting time on the clock before and after the final bell. Why should schools extend their authority far beyond the boundaries of campus, dictating activities in our homes in the hours that belong to families? An all-out ban on after-school assignments would be optimal. Short of that, we can at least sensibly agree on a cap limiting kids to a 40-hour workweek — and fewer hours for younger children.

Resistance even to this reasonable limit will be rife. Mike Miller, an English teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., found this out firsthand when he spearheaded a homework committee to rethink the usual approach. He had read the education research and found a forgotten policy on the county books limiting homework to two hours a night, total, including all classes. “I thought it would be a slam dunk” to put the two-hour cap firmly in place, Miller said.

But immediately, people started balking. “There was a lot of fear in the community,” Miller said. “It’s like jumping off a high dive with your kids’ future. If we reduce homework to two hours or less, is my kid really going to be okay?” In the end, the committee only agreed to a homework ban over school breaks.

Miller’s response is a great model for us all. He decided to limit assignments in his own class to 20 minutes a night (the most allowed for a student with six classes to hit the two-hour max). His students didn’t suddenly fail. Their test scores remained stable. And they started using their more breathable schedule to do more creative, thoughtful work.

That’s the way we will get to a sane work schedule for kids: by simultaneously pursuing changes big and small. Even as we collaboratively press for policy changes at the district or individual school level, all teachers can act now, as individuals, to ease the strain on overworked kids.

As parents and students, we can also organize to make homework the exception rather than the rule. We can insist that every family, teacher and student be allowed to opt out of assignments without penalty to make room for important activities, and we can seek changes that shift practice exercises and assignments into the actual school day.

We’ll know our work is done only when Zak and every other child can clock out, eat dinner, sleep well and stay healthy — the very things needed to engage and learn deeply. That’s the basic standard the law applies to working adults. Let’s do the same for our kids.

Vicki Abeles is the author of the bestseller Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation, and director and producer of the documentaries “ Race to Nowhere ” and “ Beyond Measure. ”

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Is it time to get rid of homework? Mental health experts weigh in.

article homework should be banned

It's no secret that kids hate homework. And as students grapple with an ongoing pandemic that has had a wide range of mental health impacts, is it time schools start listening to their pleas about workloads?

Some teachers are turning to social media to take a stand against homework. 

Tiktok user @misguided.teacher says he doesn't assign it because the "whole premise of homework is flawed."

For starters, he says, he can't grade work on "even playing fields" when students' home environments can be vastly different.

"Even students who go home to a peaceful house, do they really want to spend their time on busy work? Because typically that's what a lot of homework is, it's busy work," he says in the video that has garnered 1.6 million likes. "You only get one year to be 7, you only got one year to be 10, you only get one year to be 16, 18."

Mental health experts agree heavy workloads have the potential do more harm than good for students, especially when taking into account the impacts of the pandemic. But they also say the answer may not be to eliminate homework altogether.

Emmy Kang, mental health counselor at Humantold , says studies have shown heavy workloads can be "detrimental" for students and cause a "big impact on their mental, physical and emotional health."

"More than half of students say that homework is their primary source of stress, and we know what stress can do on our bodies," she says, adding that staying up late to finish assignments also leads to disrupted sleep and exhaustion.

Cynthia Catchings, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist at Talkspace , says heavy workloads can also cause serious mental health problems in the long run, like anxiety and depression. 

And for all the distress homework  can cause, it's not as useful as many may think, says Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, a psychologist and CEO of Omega Recovery treatment center.

"The research shows that there's really limited benefit of homework for elementary age students, that really the school work should be contained in the classroom," he says.

For older students, Kang says, homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night. 

"Most students, especially at these high achieving schools, they're doing a minimum of three hours, and it's taking away time from their friends, from their families, their extracurricular activities. And these are all very important things for a person's mental and emotional health."

Catchings, who also taught third to 12th graders for 12 years, says she's seen the positive effects of a no-homework policy while working with students abroad.

"Not having homework was something that I always admired from the French students (and) the French schools, because that was helping the students to really have the time off and really disconnect from school," she says.

The answer may not be to eliminate homework completely but to be more mindful of the type of work students take home, suggests Kang, who was a high school teacher for 10 years.

"I don't think (we) should scrap homework; I think we should scrap meaningless, purposeless busy work-type homework. That's something that needs to be scrapped entirely," she says, encouraging teachers to be thoughtful and consider the amount of time it would take for students to complete assignments.

The pandemic made the conversation around homework more crucial 

Mindfulness surrounding homework is especially important in the context of the past two years. Many students will be struggling with mental health issues that were brought on or worsened by the pandemic , making heavy workloads even harder to balance.

"COVID was just a disaster in terms of the lack of structure. Everything just deteriorated," Kardaras says, pointing to an increase in cognitive issues and decrease in attention spans among students. "School acts as an anchor for a lot of children, as a stabilizing force, and that disappeared."

But even if students transition back to the structure of in-person classes, Kardaras suspects students may still struggle after two school years of shifted schedules and disrupted sleeping habits.

"We've seen adults struggling to go back to in-person work environments from remote work environments. That effect is amplified with children because children have less resources to be able to cope with those transitions than adults do," he explains.

'Get organized' ahead of back-to-school

In order to make the transition back to in-person school easier, Kang encourages students to "get good sleep, exercise regularly (and) eat a healthy diet."

To help manage workloads, she suggests students "get organized."

"There's so much mental clutter up there when you're disorganized. ... Sitting down and planning out their study schedules can really help manage their time," she says.

Breaking up assignments can also make things easier to tackle.

"I know that heavy workloads can be stressful, but if you sit down and you break down that studying into smaller chunks, they're much more manageable."

If workloads are still too much, Kang encourages students to advocate for themselves.

"They should tell their teachers when a homework assignment just took too much time or if it was too difficult for them to do on their own," she says. "It's good to speak up and ask those questions. Respectfully, of course, because these are your teachers. But still, I think sometimes teachers themselves need this feedback from their students."

More: Some teachers let their students sleep in class. Here's what mental health experts say.

More: Some parents are slipping young kids in for the COVID-19 vaccine, but doctors discourage the move as 'risky'

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Should homework be banned?

Social media has sparked into life about whether children should be given homework - should students be freed from this daily chore? Dr Gerald Letendre, a professor of education at Pennsylvania State University, investigates.

We’ve all done it: pretended to leave an essay at home, or stayed up until 2am to finish a piece of coursework we’ve been ignoring for weeks. Homework, for some people, is seen as a chore that’s ‘wrecking kids’ or ‘killing parents’, while others think it is an essential part of a well-rounded education. The problem is far from new: public debates about homework have been raging since at least the early-1900s, and recently spilled over into a Twitter feud between Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan.

Ironically, the conversation surrounding homework often ignores the scientific ‘homework’ that researchers have carried out. Many detailed studies have been conducted, and can guide parents, teachers and administrators to make sensible decisions about how much work should be completed by students outside of the classroom.

So why does homework stir up such strong emotions? One reason is that, by its very nature, it is an intrusion of schoolwork into family life. I carried out a study in 2005, and found that the amount of time that children and adolescents spend in school, from nursery right up to the end of compulsory education, has greatly increased over the last century . This means that more of a child’s time is taken up with education, so family time is reduced. This increases pressure on the boundary between the family and the school.

Plus, the amount of homework that students receive appears to be increasing, especially in the early years when parents are keen for their children to play with friends and spend time with the family.

Finally, success in school has become increasingly important to success in life. Parents can use homework to promote, or exercise control over, their child’s academic trajectory, and hopefully ensure their future educational success. But this often leaves parents conflicted – they want their children to be successful in school, but they don’t want them to be stressed or upset because of an unmanageable workload.

François Hollande says homework is unfair, as it penalises children who have a difficult home environment © Getty Images

However, the issue isn’t simply down to the opinions of parents, children and their teachers – governments also like to get involved. In the autumn of 2012, French president François Hollande hit world headlines after making a comment about banning homework, ostensibly because it promoted inequality. The Chinese government has also toyed with a ban, because of concerns about excessive academic pressure being put on children.

The problem is, some politicians and national administrators regard regulatory policy in education as a solution for a wide array of social, economic and political issues, perhaps without considering the consequences for students and parents.

Does homework work?

Homework seems to generally have a positive effect for high school students, according to an extensive range of empirical literature. For example, Duke University’s Prof Harris Cooper carried out a meta-analysis using data from US schools, covering a period from 1987 to 2003. He found that homework offered a general beneficial impact on test scores and improvements in attitude, with a greater effect seen in older students. But dig deeper into the issue and a complex set of factors quickly emerges, related to how much homework students do, and exactly how they feel about it.

In 2009, Prof Ulrich Trautwein and his team at the University of Tübingen found that in order to establish whether homework is having any effect, researchers must take into account the differences both between and within classes . For example, a teacher may assign a good deal of homework to a lower-level class, producing an association between more homework and lower levels of achievement. Yet, within the same class, individual students may vary significantly in how much homework improves their baseline performance. Plus, there is the fact that some students are simply more efficient at completing their homework than others, and it becomes quite difficult to pinpoint just what type of homework, and how much of it, will affect overall academic performance.

Over the last century, the amount of time that children and adolescents spend in school has greatly increased

Gender is also a major factor. For example, a study of US high school students carried out by Prof Gary Natriello in the 1980s revealed that girls devote more time to homework than boys, while a follow-up study found that US girls tend to spend more time on mathematics homework than boys. Another study, this time of African-American students in the US, found that eighth grade (ages 13-14) girls were more likely to successfully manage both their tasks and emotions around schoolwork, and were more likely to finish homework.

So why do girls seem to respond more positively to homework? One possible answer proposed by Eunsook Hong of the University of Nevada in 2011 is that teachers tend to rate girls’ habits and attitudes towards work more favourably than boys’. This perception could potentially set up a positive feedback loop between teacher expectations and the children’s capacity for academic work based on gender, resulting in girls outperforming boys. All of this makes it particularly difficult to determine the extent to which homework is helping, though it is clear that simply increasing the time spent on assignments does not directly correspond to a universal increase in learning.

Can homework cause damage?

The lack of empirical data supporting homework in the early years of education, along with an emerging trend to assign more work to this age range, appears to be fuelling parental concerns about potential negative effects. But, aside from anecdotes of increased tension in the household, is there any evidence of this? Can doing too much homework actually damage children?

Evidence suggests extreme amounts of homework can indeed have serious effects on students’ health and well-being. A Chinese study carried out in 2010 found a link between excessive homework and sleep disruption: children who had less homework had better routines and more stable sleep schedules. A Canadian study carried out in 2015 by Isabelle Michaud found that high levels of homework were associated with a greater risk of obesity among boys, if they were already feeling stressed about school in general.

For useful revision guides and video clips to assist with learning, visit BBC Bitesize . This is a free online study resource for UK students from early years up to GCSEs and Scottish Highers.

It is also worth noting that too much homework can create negative effects that may undermine any positives. These negative consequences may not only affect the child, but also could also pile on the stress for the whole family, according to a recent study by Robert Pressman of the New England Centre for Pediatric Psychology. Parents were particularly affected when their perception of their own capacity to assist their children decreased.

What then, is the tipping point, and when does homework simply become too much for parents and children? Guidelines typically suggest that children in the first grade (six years old) should have no more that 10 minutes per night, and that this amount should increase by 10 minutes per school year. However, cultural norms may greatly affect what constitutes too much.

A study of children aged between 8 and 10 in Quebec defined high levels of homework as more than 30 minutes a night, but a study in China of children aged 5 to 11 deemed that two or more hours per night was excessive. It is therefore difficult to create a clear standard for what constitutes as too much homework, because cultural differences, school-related stress, and negative emotions within the family all appear to interact with how homework affects children.

Should we stop setting homework?

In my opinion, even though there are potential risks of negative effects, homework should not be banned. Small amounts, assigned with specific learning goals in mind and with proper parental support, can help to improve students’ performance. While some studies have generally found little evidence that homework has a positive effect on young children overall, a 2008 study by Norwegian researcher Marte Rønning found that even some very young children do receive some benefit. So simply banning homework would mean that any particularly gifted or motivated pupils would not be able to benefit from increased study. However, at the earliest ages, very little homework should be assigned. The decisions about how much and what type are best left to teachers and parents.

As a parent, it is important to clarify what goals your child’s teacher has for homework assignments. Teachers can assign work for different reasons – as an academic drill to foster better study habits, and unfortunately, as a punishment. The goals for each assignment should be made clear, and should encourage positive engagement with academic routines.

Parents who play an active role in homework routines can help give their kids a more positive experience of learning © Getty Images

Parents should inform the teachers of how long the homework is taking, as teachers often incorrectly estimate the amount of time needed to complete an assignment, and how it is affecting household routines. For young children, positive teacher support and feedback is critical in establishing a student’s positive perception of homework and other academic routines. Teachers and parents need to be vigilant and ensure that homework routines do not start to generate patterns of negative interaction that erode students’ motivation.

Likewise, any positive effects of homework are dependent on several complex interactive factors, including the child’s personal motivation, the type of assignment, parental support and teacher goals. Creating an overarching policy to address every single situation is not realistic, and so homework policies tend to be fixated on the time the homework takes to complete. But rather than focusing on this, everyone would be better off if schools worked on fostering stronger communication between parents, teachers and students, allowing them to respond more sensitively to the child’s emotional and academic needs.

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Nobody knows what the point of homework is

The homework wars are back.

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As the Covid-19 pandemic began and students logged into their remote classrooms, all work, in effect, became homework. But whether or not students could complete it at home varied. For some, schoolwork became public-library work or McDonald’s-parking-lot work.

Luis Torres, the principal of PS 55, a predominantly low-income community elementary school in the south Bronx, told me that his school secured Chromebooks for students early in the pandemic only to learn that some lived in shelters that blocked wifi for security reasons. Others, who lived in housing projects with poor internet reception, did their schoolwork in laundromats.

According to a 2021 Pew survey , 25 percent of lower-income parents said their children, at some point, were unable to complete their schoolwork because they couldn’t access a computer at home; that number for upper-income parents was 2 percent.

The issues with remote learning in March 2020 were new. But they highlighted a divide that had been there all along in another form: homework. And even long after schools have resumed in-person classes, the pandemic’s effects on homework have lingered.

Over the past three years, in response to concerns about equity, schools across the country, including in Sacramento, Los Angeles , San Diego , and Clark County, Nevada , made permanent changes to their homework policies that restricted how much homework could be given and how it could be graded after in-person learning resumed.

Three years into the pandemic, as districts and teachers reckon with Covid-era overhauls of teaching and learning, schools are still reconsidering the purpose and place of homework. Whether relaxing homework expectations helps level the playing field between students or harms them by decreasing rigor is a divisive issue without conclusive evidence on either side, echoing other debates in education like the elimination of standardized test scores from some colleges’ admissions processes.

I first began to wonder if the homework abolition movement made sense after speaking with teachers in some Massachusetts public schools, who argued that rather than help disadvantaged kids, stringent homework restrictions communicated an attitude of low expectations. One, an English teacher, said she felt the school had “just given up” on trying to get the students to do work; another argued that restrictions that prohibit teachers from assigning take-home work that doesn’t begin in class made it difficult to get through the foreign-language curriculum. Teachers in other districts have raised formal concerns about homework abolition’s ability to close gaps among students rather than widening them.

Many education experts share this view. Harris Cooper, a professor emeritus of psychology at Duke who has studied homework efficacy, likened homework abolition to “playing to the lowest common denominator.”

But as I learned after talking to a variety of stakeholders — from homework researchers to policymakers to parents of schoolchildren — whether to abolish homework probably isn’t the right question. More important is what kind of work students are sent home with and where they can complete it. Chances are, if schools think more deeply about giving constructive work, time spent on homework will come down regardless.

There’s no consensus on whether homework works

The rise of the no-homework movement during the Covid-19 pandemic tapped into long-running disagreements over homework’s impact on students. The purpose and effectiveness of homework have been disputed for well over a century. In 1901, for instance, California banned homework for students up to age 15, and limited it for older students, over concerns that it endangered children’s mental and physical health. The newest iteration of the anti-homework argument contends that the current practice punishes students who lack support and rewards those with more resources, reinforcing the “myth of meritocracy.”

But there is still no research consensus on homework’s effectiveness; no one can seem to agree on what the right metrics are. Much of the debate relies on anecdotes, intuition, or speculation.

Researchers disagree even on how much research exists on the value of homework. Kathleen Budge, the co-author of Turning High-Poverty Schools Into High-Performing Schools and a professor at Boise State, told me that homework “has been greatly researched.” Denise Pope, a Stanford lecturer and leader of the education nonprofit Challenge Success, said, “It’s not a highly researched area because of some of the methodological problems.”

Experts who are more sympathetic to take-home assignments generally support the “10-minute rule,” a framework that estimates the ideal amount of homework on any given night by multiplying the student’s grade by 10 minutes. (A ninth grader, for example, would have about 90 minutes of work a night.) Homework proponents argue that while it is difficult to design randomized control studies to test homework’s effectiveness, the vast majority of existing studies show a strong positive correlation between homework and high academic achievement for middle and high school students. Prominent critics of homework argue that these correlational studies are unreliable and point to studies that suggest a neutral or negative effect on student performance. Both agree there is little to no evidence for homework’s effectiveness at an elementary school level, though proponents often argue that it builds constructive habits for the future.

For anyone who remembers homework assignments from both good and bad teachers, this fundamental disagreement might not be surprising. Some homework is pointless and frustrating to complete. Every week during my senior year of high school, I had to analyze a poem for English and decorate it with images found on Google; my most distinct memory from that class is receiving a demoralizing 25-point deduction because I failed to present my analysis on a poster board. Other assignments really do help students learn: After making an adapted version of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book for a ninth grade history project, I was inspired to check out from the library and read a biography of the Chinese ruler.

For homework opponents, the first example is more likely to resonate. “We’re all familiar with the negative effects of homework: stress, exhaustion, family conflict, less time for other activities, diminished interest in learning,” Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth, which challenges common justifications for homework, told me in an email. “And these effects may be most pronounced among low-income students.” Kohn believes that schools should make permanent any moratoria implemented during the pandemic, arguing that there are no positives at all to outweigh homework’s downsides. Recent studies , he argues , show the benefits may not even materialize during high school.

In the Marlborough Public Schools, a suburban district 45 minutes west of Boston, school policy committee chair Katherine Hennessy described getting kids to complete their homework during remote education as “a challenge, to say the least.” Teachers found that students who spent all day on their computers didn’t want to spend more time online when the day was over. So, for a few months, the school relaxed the usual practice and teachers slashed the quantity of nightly homework.

Online learning made the preexisting divides between students more apparent, she said. Many students, even during normal circumstances, lacked resources to keep them on track and focused on completing take-home assignments. Though Marlborough Schools is more affluent than PS 55, Hennessy said many students had parents whose work schedules left them unable to provide homework help in the evenings. The experience tracked with a common divide in the country between children of different socioeconomic backgrounds.

So in October 2021, months after the homework reduction began, the Marlborough committee made a change to the district’s policy. While teachers could still give homework, the assignments had to begin as classwork. And though teachers could acknowledge homework completion in a student’s participation grade, they couldn’t count homework as its own grading category. “Rigorous learning in the classroom does not mean that that classwork must be assigned every night,” the policy stated . “Extensions of class work is not to be used to teach new content or as a form of punishment.”

Canceling homework might not do anything for the achievement gap

The critiques of homework are valid as far as they go, but at a certain point, arguments against homework can defy the commonsense idea that to retain what they’re learning, students need to practice it.

“Doesn’t a kid become a better reader if he reads more? Doesn’t a kid learn his math facts better if he practices them?” said Cathy Vatterott, an education researcher and professor emeritus at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. After decades of research, she said it’s still hard to isolate the value of homework, but that doesn’t mean it should be abandoned.

Blanket vilification of homework can also conflate the unique challenges facing disadvantaged students as compared to affluent ones, which could have different solutions. “The kids in the low-income schools are being hurt because they’re being graded, unfairly, on time they just don’t have to do this stuff,” Pope told me. “And they’re still being held accountable for turning in assignments, whether they’re meaningful or not.” On the other side, “Palo Alto kids” — students in Silicon Valley’s stereotypically pressure-cooker public schools — “are just bombarded and overloaded and trying to stay above water.”

Merely getting rid of homework doesn’t solve either problem. The United States already has the second-highest disparity among OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations between time spent on homework by students of high and low socioeconomic status — a difference of more than three hours, said Janine Bempechat, clinical professor at Boston University and author of No More Mindless Homework .

When she interviewed teachers in Boston-area schools that had cut homework before the pandemic, Bempechat told me, “What they saw immediately was parents who could afford it immediately enrolled their children in the Russian School of Mathematics,” a math-enrichment program whose tuition ranges from $140 to about $400 a month. Getting rid of homework “does nothing for equity; it increases the opportunity gap between wealthier and less wealthy families,” she said. “That solution troubles me because it’s no solution at all.”

A group of teachers at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, made the same point after the school district proposed an overhaul of its homework policies, including removing penalties for missing homework deadlines, allowing unlimited retakes, and prohibiting grading of homework.

“Given the emphasis on equity in today’s education systems,” they wrote in a letter to the school board, “we believe that some of the proposed changes will actually have a detrimental impact towards achieving this goal. Families that have means could still provide challenging and engaging academic experiences for their children and will continue to do so, especially if their children are not experiencing expected rigor in the classroom.” At a school where more than a third of students are low-income, the teachers argued, the policies would prompt students “to expect the least of themselves in terms of effort, results, and responsibility.”

Not all homework is created equal

Despite their opposing sides in the homework wars, most of the researchers I spoke to made a lot of the same points. Both Bempechat and Pope were quick to bring up how parents and schools confuse rigor with workload, treating the volume of assignments as a proxy for quality of learning. Bempechat, who is known for defending homework, has written extensively about how plenty of it lacks clear purpose, requires the purchasing of unnecessary supplies, and takes longer than it needs to. Likewise, when Pope instructs graduate-level classes on curriculum, she asks her students to think about the larger purpose they’re trying to achieve with homework: If they can get the job done in the classroom, there’s no point in sending home more work.

At its best, pandemic-era teaching facilitated that last approach. Honolulu-based teacher Christina Torres Cawdery told me that, early in the pandemic, she often had a cohort of kids in her classroom for four hours straight, as her school tried to avoid too much commingling. She couldn’t lecture for four hours, so she gave the students plenty of time to complete independent and project-based work. At the end of most school days, she didn’t feel the need to send them home with more to do.

A similar limited-homework philosophy worked at a public middle school in Chelsea, Massachusetts. A couple of teachers there turned as much class as possible into an opportunity for small-group practice, allowing kids to work on problems that traditionally would be assigned for homework, Jessica Flick, a math coach who leads department meetings at the school, told me. It was inspired by a philosophy pioneered by Simon Fraser University professor Peter Liljedahl, whose influential book Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics reframes homework as “check-your-understanding questions” rather than as compulsory work. Last year, Flick found that the two eighth grade classes whose teachers adopted this strategy performed the best on state tests, and this year, she has encouraged other teachers to implement it.

Teachers know that plenty of homework is tedious and unproductive. Jeannemarie Dawson De Quiroz, who has taught for more than 20 years in low-income Boston and Los Angeles pilot and charter schools, says that in her first years on the job she frequently assigned “drill and kill” tasks and questions that she now feels unfairly stumped students. She said designing good homework wasn’t part of her teaching programs, nor was it meaningfully discussed in professional development. With more experience, she turned as much class time as she could into practice time and limited what she sent home.

“The thing about homework that’s sticky is that not all homework is created equal,” says Jill Harrison Berg, a former teacher and the author of Uprooting Instructional Inequity . “Some homework is a genuine waste of time and requires lots of resources for no good reason. And other homework is really useful.”

Cutting homework has to be part of a larger strategy

The takeaways are clear: Schools can make cuts to homework, but those cuts should be part of a strategy to improve the quality of education for all students. If the point of homework was to provide more practice, districts should think about how students can make it up during class — or offer time during or after school for students to seek help from teachers. If it was to move the curriculum along, it’s worth considering whether strategies like Liljedahl’s can get more done in less time.

Some of the best thinking around effective assignments comes from those most critical of the current practice. Denise Pope proposes that, before assigning homework, teachers should consider whether students understand the purpose of the work and whether they can do it without help. If teachers think it’s something that can’t be done in class, they should be mindful of how much time it should take and the feedback they should provide. It’s questions like these that De Quiroz considered before reducing the volume of work she sent home.

More than a year after the new homework policy began in Marlborough, Hennessy still hears from parents who incorrectly “think homework isn’t happening” despite repeated assurances that kids still can receive work. She thinks part of the reason is that education has changed over the years. “I think what we’re trying to do is establish that homework may be an element of educating students,” she told me. “But it may not be what parents think of as what they grew up with. ... It’s going to need to adapt, per the teaching and the curriculum, and how it’s being delivered in each classroom.”

For the policy to work, faculty, parents, and students will all have to buy into a shared vision of what school ought to look like. The district is working on it — in November, it hosted and uploaded to YouTube a round-table discussion on homework between district administrators — but considering the sustained confusion, the path ahead seems difficult.

When I asked Luis Torres about whether he thought homework serves a useful part in PS 55’s curriculum, he said yes, of course it was — despite the effort and money it takes to keep the school open after hours to help them do it. “The children need the opportunity to practice,” he said. “If you don’t give them opportunities to practice what they learn, they’re going to forget.” But Torres doesn’t care if the work is done at home. The school stays open until around 6 pm on weekdays, even during breaks. Tutors through New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development programs help kids with work after school so they don’t need to take it with them.

As schools weigh the purpose of homework in an unequal world, it’s tempting to dispose of a practice that presents real, practical problems to students across the country. But getting rid of homework is unlikely to do much good on its own. Before cutting it, it’s worth thinking about what good assignments are meant to do in the first place. It’s crucial that students from all socioeconomic backgrounds tackle complex quantitative problems and hone their reading and writing skills. It’s less important that the work comes home with them.

Jacob Sweet is a freelance writer in Somerville, Massachusetts. He is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker, among other publications.

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article homework should be banned

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Are You Down With or Done With Homework?

  • Posted January 17, 2012
  • By Lory Hough

Sign: Are you down with or done with homework?

The debate over how much schoolwork students should be doing at home has flared again, with one side saying it's too much, the other side saying in our competitive world, it's just not enough.

It was a move that doesn't happen very often in American public schools: The principal got rid of homework.

This past September, Stephanie Brant, principal of Gaithersburg Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Md., decided that instead of teachers sending kids home with math worksheets and spelling flash cards, students would instead go home and read. Every day for 30 minutes, more if they had time or the inclination, with parents or on their own.

"I knew this would be a big shift for my community," she says. But she also strongly believed it was a necessary one. Twenty-first-century learners, especially those in elementary school, need to think critically and understand their own learning — not spend night after night doing rote homework drills.

Brant's move may not be common, but she isn't alone in her questioning. The value of doing schoolwork at home has gone in and out of fashion in the United States among educators, policymakers, the media, and, more recently, parents. As far back as the late 1800s, with the rise of the Progressive Era, doctors such as Joseph Mayer Rice began pushing for a limit on what he called "mechanical homework," saying it caused childhood nervous conditions and eyestrain. Around that time, the then-influential Ladies Home Journal began publishing a series of anti-homework articles, stating that five hours of brain work a day was "the most we should ask of our children," and that homework was an intrusion on family life. In response, states like California passed laws abolishing homework for students under a certain age.

But, as is often the case with education, the tide eventually turned. After the Russians launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957, a space race emerged, and, writes Brian Gill in the journal Theory Into Practice, "The homework problem was reconceived as part of a national crisis; the U.S. was losing the Cold War because Russian children were smarter." Many earlier laws limiting homework were abolished, and the longterm trend toward less homework came to an end.

The debate re-emerged a decade later when parents of the late '60s and '70s argued that children should be free to play and explore — similar anti-homework wellness arguments echoed nearly a century earlier. By the early-1980s, however, the pendulum swung again with the publication of A Nation at Risk , which blamed poor education for a "rising tide of mediocrity." Students needed to work harder, the report said, and one way to do this was more homework.

For the most part, this pro-homework sentiment is still going strong today, in part because of mandatory testing and continued economic concerns about the nation's competitiveness. Many believe that today's students are falling behind their peers in places like Korea and Finland and are paying more attention to Angry Birds than to ancient Babylonia.

But there are also a growing number of Stephanie Brants out there, educators and parents who believe that students are stressed and missing out on valuable family time. Students, they say, particularly younger students who have seen a rise in the amount of take-home work and already put in a six- to nine-hour "work" day, need less, not more homework.

Who is right? Are students not working hard enough or is homework not working for them? Here's where the story gets a little tricky: It depends on whom you ask and what research you're looking at. As Cathy Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework , points out, "Homework has generated enough research so that a study can be found to support almost any position, as long as conflicting studies are ignored." Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth and a strong believer in eliminating all homework, writes that, "The fact that there isn't anything close to unanimity among experts belies the widespread assumption that homework helps." At best, he says, homework shows only an association, not a causal relationship, with academic achievement. In other words, it's hard to tease out how homework is really affecting test scores and grades. Did one teacher give better homework than another? Was one teacher more effective in the classroom? Do certain students test better or just try harder?

"It is difficult to separate where the effect of classroom teaching ends," Vatterott writes, "and the effect of homework begins."

Putting research aside, however, much of the current debate over homework is focused less on how homework affects academic achievement and more on time. Parents in particular have been saying that the amount of time children spend in school, especially with afterschool programs, combined with the amount of homework given — as early as kindergarten — is leaving students with little time to run around, eat dinner with their families, or even get enough sleep.

Certainly, for some parents, homework is a way to stay connected to their children's learning. But for others, homework creates a tug-of-war between parents and children, says Liz Goodenough, M.A.T.'71, creator of a documentary called Where Do the Children Play?

"Ideally homework should be about taking something home, spending a few curious and interesting moments in which children might engage with parents, and then getting that project back to school — an organizational triumph," she says. "A nag-free activity could engage family time: Ask a parent about his or her own childhood. Interview siblings."

Illustration by Jessica Esch

Instead, as the authors of The Case Against Homework write, "Homework overload is turning many of us into the types of parents we never wanted to be: nags, bribers, and taskmasters."

Leslie Butchko saw it happen a few years ago when her son started sixth grade in the Santa Monica-Malibu (Calif.) United School District. She remembers him getting two to four hours of homework a night, plus weekend and vacation projects. He was overwhelmed and struggled to finish assignments, especially on nights when he also had an extracurricular activity.

"Ultimately, we felt compelled to have Bobby quit karate — he's a black belt — to allow more time for homework," she says. And then, with all of their attention focused on Bobby's homework, she and her husband started sending their youngest to his room so that Bobby could focus. "One day, my younger son gave us 15-minute coupons as a present for us to use to send him to play in the back room. … It was then that we realized there had to be something wrong with the amount of homework we were facing."

Butchko joined forces with another mother who was having similar struggles and ultimately helped get the homework policy in her district changed, limiting homework on weekends and holidays, setting time guidelines for daily homework, and broadening the definition of homework to include projects and studying for tests. As she told the school board at one meeting when the policy was first being discussed, "In closing, I just want to say that I had more free time at Harvard Law School than my son has in middle school, and that is not in the best interests of our children."

One barrier that Butchko had to overcome initially was convincing many teachers and parents that more homework doesn't necessarily equal rigor.

"Most of the parents that were against the homework policy felt that students need a large quantity of homework to prepare them for the rigorous AP classes in high school and to get them into Harvard," she says.

Stephanie Conklin, Ed.M.'06, sees this at Another Course to College, the Boston pilot school where she teaches math. "When a student is not completing [his or her] homework, parents usually are frustrated by this and agree with me that homework is an important part of their child's learning," she says.

As Timothy Jarman, Ed.M.'10, a ninth-grade English teacher at Eugene Ashley High School in Wilmington, N.C., says, "Parents think it is strange when their children are not assigned a substantial amount of homework."

That's because, writes Vatterott, in her chapter, "The Cult(ure) of Homework," the concept of homework "has become so engrained in U.S. culture that the word homework is part of the common vernacular."

These days, nightly homework is a given in American schools, writes Kohn.

"Homework isn't limited to those occasions when it seems appropriate and important. Most teachers and administrators aren't saying, 'It may be useful to do this particular project at home,'" he writes. "Rather, the point of departure seems to be, 'We've decided ahead of time that children will have to do something every night (or several times a week). … This commitment to the idea of homework in the abstract is accepted by the overwhelming majority of schools — public and private, elementary and secondary."

Brant had to confront this when she cut homework at Gaithersburg Elementary.

"A lot of my parents have this idea that homework is part of life. This is what I had to do when I was young," she says, and so, too, will our kids. "So I had to shift their thinking." She did this slowly, first by asking her teachers last year to really think about what they were sending home. And this year, in addition to forming a parent advisory group around the issue, she also holds events to answer questions.

Still, not everyone is convinced that homework as a given is a bad thing. "Any pursuit of excellence, be it in sports, the arts, or academics, requires hard work. That our culture finds it okay for kids to spend hours a day in a sport but not equal time on academics is part of the problem," wrote one pro-homework parent on the blog for the documentary Race to Nowhere , which looks at the stress American students are under. "Homework has always been an issue for parents and children. It is now and it was 20 years ago. I think when people decide to have children that it is their responsibility to educate them," wrote another.

And part of educating them, some believe, is helping them develop skills they will eventually need in adulthood. "Homework can help students develop study skills that will be of value even after they leave school," reads a publication on the U.S. Department of Education website called Homework Tips for Parents. "It can teach them that learning takes place anywhere, not just in the classroom. … It can foster positive character traits such as independence and responsibility. Homework can teach children how to manage time."

Annie Brown, Ed.M.'01, feels this is particularly critical at less affluent schools like the ones she has worked at in Boston, Cambridge, Mass., and Los Angeles as a literacy coach.

"It feels important that my students do homework because they will ultimately be competing for college placement and jobs with students who have done homework and have developed a work ethic," she says. "Also it will get them ready for independently taking responsibility for their learning, which will need to happen for them to go to college."

The problem with this thinking, writes Vatterott, is that homework becomes a way to practice being a worker.

"Which begs the question," she writes. "Is our job as educators to produce learners or workers?"

Slate magazine editor Emily Bazelon, in a piece about homework, says this makes no sense for younger kids.

"Why should we think that practicing homework in first grade will make you better at doing it in middle school?" she writes. "Doesn't the opposite seem equally plausible: that it's counterproductive to ask children to sit down and work at night before they're developmentally ready because you'll just make them tired and cross?"

Kohn writes in the American School Board Journal that this "premature exposure" to practices like homework (and sit-and-listen lessons and tests) "are clearly a bad match for younger children and of questionable value at any age." He calls it BGUTI: Better Get Used to It. "The logic here is that we have to prepare you for the bad things that are going to be done to you later … by doing them to you now."

According to a recent University of Michigan study, daily homework for six- to eight-year-olds increased on average from about 8 minutes in 1981 to 22 minutes in 2003. A review of research by Duke University Professor Harris Cooper found that for elementary school students, "the average correlation between time spent on homework and achievement … hovered around zero."

So should homework be eliminated? Of course not, say many Ed School graduates who are teaching. Not only would students not have time for essays and long projects, but also teachers would not be able to get all students to grade level or to cover critical material, says Brett Pangburn, Ed.M.'06, a sixth-grade English teacher at Excel Academy Charter School in Boston. Still, he says, homework has to be relevant.

"Kids need to practice the skills being taught in class, especially where, like the kids I teach at Excel, they are behind and need to catch up," he says. "Our results at Excel have demonstrated that kids can catch up and view themselves as in control of their academic futures, but this requires hard work, and homework is a part of it."

Ed School Professor Howard Gardner basically agrees.

"America and Americans lurch between too little homework in many of our schools to an excess of homework in our most competitive environments — Li'l Abner vs. Tiger Mother," he says. "Neither approach makes sense. Homework should build on what happens in class, consolidating skills and helping students to answer new questions."

So how can schools come to a happy medium, a way that allows teachers to cover everything they need while not overwhelming students? Conklin says she often gives online math assignments that act as labs and students have two or three days to complete them, including some in-class time. Students at Pangburn's school have a 50-minute silent period during regular school hours where homework can be started, and where teachers pull individual or small groups of students aside for tutoring, often on that night's homework. Afterschool homework clubs can help.

Some schools and districts have adapted time limits rather than nix homework completely, with the 10-minute per grade rule being the standard — 10 minutes a night for first-graders, 30 minutes for third-graders, and so on. (This remedy, however, is often met with mixed results since not all students work at the same pace.) Other schools offer an extended day that allows teachers to cover more material in school, in turn requiring fewer take-home assignments. And for others, like Stephanie Brant's elementary school in Maryland, more reading with a few targeted project assignments has been the answer.

"The routine of reading is so much more important than the routine of homework," she says. "Let's have kids reflect. You can still have the routine and you can still have your workspace, but now it's for reading. I often say to parents, if we can put a man on the moon, we can put a man or woman on Mars and that person is now a second-grader. We don't know what skills that person will need. At the end of the day, we have to feel confident that we're giving them something they can use on Mars."

Read a January 2014 update.

Homework Policy Still Going Strong

Illustration by Jessica Esch

Ed. Magazine

The magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education

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Homework could have an impact on kids’ health. Should schools ban it?

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article homework should be banned

Reformers in the Progressive Era (from the 1890s to 1920s) depicted homework as a “sin” that deprived children of their playtime . Many critics voice similar concerns today.

Yet there are many parents who feel that from early on, children need to do homework if they are to succeed in an increasingly competitive academic culture. School administrators and policy makers have also weighed in, proposing various policies on homework .

So, does homework help or hinder kids?

For the last 10 years, my colleagues and I have been investigating international patterns in homework using databases like the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) . If we step back from the heated debates about homework and look at how homework is used around the world, we find the highest homework loads are associated with countries that have lower incomes and higher social inequality.

Does homework result in academic success?

Let’s first look at the global trends on homework.

Undoubtedly, homework is a global phenomenon ; students from all 59 countries that participated in the 2007 Trends in Math and Science Study (TIMSS) reported getting homework. Worldwide, only less than 7% of fourth graders said they did no homework.

TIMSS is one of the few data sets that allow us to compare many nations on how much homework is given (and done). And the data show extreme variation.

For example, in some nations, like Algeria, Kuwait and Morocco, more than one in five fourth graders reported high levels of homework. In Japan, less than 3% of students indicated they did more than four hours of homework on a normal school night.

TIMSS data can also help to dispel some common stereotypes. For instance, in East Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan – countries that had the top rankings on TIMSS average math achievement – reported rates of heavy homework that were below the international mean.

In the Netherlands, nearly one out of five fourth graders reported doing no homework on an average school night, even though Dutch fourth graders put their country in the top 10 in terms of average math scores in 2007.

Going by TIMSS data, the US is neither “ A Nation at Rest” as some have claimed, nor a nation straining under excessive homework load . Fourth and eighth grade US students fall in the middle of the 59 countries in the TIMSS data set, although only 12% of US fourth graders reported high math homework loads compared to an international average of 21%.

So, is homework related to high academic success?

At a national level, the answer is clearly no. Worldwide, homework is not associated with high national levels of academic achievement .

But, the TIMSS can’t be used to determine if homework is actually helping or hurting academic performance overall , it can help us see how much homework students are doing, and what conditions are associated with higher national levels of homework.

We have typically found that the highest homework loads are associated with countries that have lower incomes and higher levels of social inequality – not hallmarks that most countries would want to emulate.

Impact of homework on kids

TIMSS data also show us how even elementary school kids are being burdened with large amounts of homework.

Almost 10% of fourth graders worldwide (one in 10 children) reported spending multiple hours on homework each night. Globally, one in five fourth graders report 30 minutes or more of homework in math three to four times a week.

These reports of large homework loads should worry parents, teachers and policymakers alike.

Empirical studies have linked excessive homework to sleep disruption , indicating a negative relationship between the amount of homework, perceived stress and physical health.

article homework should be banned

What constitutes excessive amounts of homework varies by age, and may also be affected by cultural or family expectations. Young adolescents in middle school, or teenagers in high school, can study for longer duration than elementary school children.

But for elementary school students, even 30 minutes of homework a night, if combined with other sources of academic stress, can have a negative impact . Researchers in China have linked homework of two or more hours per night with sleep disruption .

Even though some cultures may normalize long periods of studying for elementary age children, there is no evidence to support that this level of homework has clear academic benefits . Also, when parents and children conflict over homework, and strong negative emotions are created, homework can actually have a negative association with academic achievement.

Should there be “no homework” policies?

Administrators and policymakers have not been reluctant to wade into the debates on homework and to formulate policies . France’s president, Francois Hollande, even proposed that homework be banned because it may have inegaliatarian effects.

However, “zero-tolerance” homework policies for schools, or nations, are likely to create as many problems as they solve because of the wide variation of homework effects. Contrary to what Hollande said, research suggests that homework is not a likely source of social class differences in academic achievement .

Homework, in fact, is an important component of education for students in the middle and upper grades of schooling.

Policymakers and researchers should look more closely at the connection between poverty, inequality and higher levels of homework. Rather than seeing homework as a “solution,” policymakers should question what facets of their educational system might impel students, teachers and parents to increase homework loads.

At the classroom level, in setting homework, teachers need to communicate with their peers and with parents to assure that the homework assigned overall for a grade is not burdensome, and that it is indeed having a positive effect.

Perhaps, teachers can opt for a more individualized approach to homework. If teachers are careful in selecting their assignments – weighing the student’s age, family situation and need for skill development – then homework can be tailored in ways that improve the chance of maximum positive impact for any given student.

I strongly suspect that when teachers face conditions such as pressure to meet arbitrary achievement goals, lack of planning time or little autonomy over curriculum, homework becomes an easy option to make up what could not be covered in class.

Whatever the reason, the fact is a significant percentage of elementary school children around the world are struggling with large homework loads. That alone could have long-term negative consequences for their academic success.

  • Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)
  • Elementary school
  • Academic success

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21 Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned

homework pros and cons

The homework debate has strong arguments on both sides. Commonly-cited reasons why homework should be banned include the idea that it is often counterproductive, stifles students’ creativity, and limits their freedom outside the classroom.

Students already have up to 7 hours of schoolwork to complete 5 days a week; adding more contributes to increased anxiety, burnout, and overall poor performance.

But arguments for homework include the fact it does increase student grades (Cooper, Robinson & Patall, 2006), it instils discipline, and it helps to reinforce what was learned into long-term memory.

The following are common arguments for banning homework – note that this is an article written to stimulate debate points on the topic, so it only presents one perspective. For the other side of the argument, it’s worth checking out my article on the 27 pros and cons of homework .

Reasons Why Homework Should Be Banned

1. it contributes to increased anxiety.

If there’s one word that describes middle-school and high-school students, it’s anxiety. In my homework statistics article , I cite research showing that 74% of students cite homework as a source of stress.

They have so much to juggle, from the novelty of adolescence to the realization that they must soon start preparing for college and their life after (Pressman et al., 2015).

It’s a lot to manage, and adding homework that reduces their free time and makes them even more restricted is downright harmful. The natural outcome of this dogpile of pressure is anxiety, and many students often feel overwhelmed, both by the hours and hours of coursework in a day and the extensive homework they are assigned (Galloway, Conner & Pope, 2013).

Because teachers often don’t communicate with one another over curricula, major assignments can overlap such that students have to tackle numerous large projects at once, which contributes to severe anxiety over good grades.

In response to this, some students check out of school entirely, letting their academic future go to waste. While, of course, it’s not fair to strawman and say that homework is to blame for all these cases, it may indeed by a contributing factor.

2. It Offers Less Social Time

Homework cuts out free time. Children already spend the better part of their day learning in a school environment, and when they come home, they need to socialize.

Whether it’s family or friends, a social balance is important. Depending on the coursework they’re assigned, homework can detrimentally affect students’ social life, which feed back into more of our first gripe about homework: its anxiety-inducing nature.

Furthermore, social time is extremely important for children to grow up well-balanced and confident. If a child is highly intelligent (book smart) but lacks to social skills we might call street smarts , they may struggle in adulthood.

3. It Detracts from Play Time

Play is extremely important for children’s physical, social, and cognitive development . In fact, children naturally learn through play .

So, when children get home from school, they need a few hours to play. They’re actually learning when playing! If playing with friends, they’re learning social skills; but playing alone also stimulates creative and analytical thinking skills.

Play is also a different type of learning than the learning that commonly happens at school. So, allowing children to play at home gives their brain a break from ‘school learning’ and lets them learn through active and even relaxing methods.

4. It Discourages Physical Exercise and Contributes to Obesity

Exercise is an important part of life for everyone, but especially for children. Developing a positive self-image and disciplining oneself is an important skill to learn, one that becomes much more difficult when homework is in the picture.

Homework can demand a lot of attention that kids could be spending exercising or socializing. These two important life pursuits can be left by the wayside, leaving students feeling confused, depressed, and anxious about the future.

Physical exercise should be considered a key feature of a child’s holistic development. It helps keep children healthy, can reduce anxiety, and support healthy immune systems. It also helps with physical development such as supporting fine and gross motor skills .

In fact, some scholars (Ren et al., 2017) have even identified excessive homework as a contributing factor for childhood obesity.

5. It Disrupts Sleep Patterns

Everyone knows the trope of a college student staying up late to finish their homework or cram for a test.

While it would be unfair to credit homework exclusively for an unhealthy sleep schedule, the constant pressure to finish assignments on time often yields one of two results.

Students can either burn the midnight oil to make sure their homework is done, or they can check out of school entirely and ignore their academic interests. Neither is an acceptable way to live.

This point is particularly pertinent to teenagers. They are not lazy; teens need 12-13 hours of sleep every day because their bodies are changing so dramatically.

To pile additional homework on them that interferes with the circadian rhythm is not just unhelpful—it may be downright harmful (Yeo et al., 2020).

6. It Involves Less Guidance

If there’s one thing that’s beneficial about the in-person learning experience, it’s the ability to raise one’s hand and let the teacher know when something is unclear or difficult to understand.

That handheld process isn’t available for homework; in fact, homework matters little in the grand scheme of learning. It’s just busywork that’s supposed to help students consolidate their knowledge.

In reality, homework becomes something that students resent and can fill them with feelings of frustration—something that would be much more readily addressed if the same content was covered in-person with a teacher to guide the student through the assignment.

7. It’s Regularly Rote Learning

In most subjects, homework isn’t reflective of the skills students need to learn to thrive in the workforce. Instead, it often simply involves rote learning (repetition of tasks) that is not seen as the best way to learn.

A main goal of education is to train up vocational professionals with defined skills. But more often than not, homework winds up as a bland set of word problems that have no basis in the real world.

Walking through real-world examples under the guidance of a teacher is much more beneficial to student learning.

8. It Can Detract from a Love of Learning

If you know what it’s like to doze off during a boring class or meeting, then you can relate to the difficulty students have paying attention in class.

That motivation starts to dwindle when students must complete assignments on their own time, often under immense pressure.

It’s not a healthy way to inspire kids to learn about different subjects and develop a love of learning.

Students already need to sit through hours and hours of class on end in-person. This learning time should be used more effectively to eliminate the need for home.

When children finally get out of class at the end of the day, they need to socialize and exercise, not spend even longer staring at a book to complete a bunch of unhelpful practice questions.

9. It Convolutes the Subject

Another important consideration about homework is that it can often be counterproductive.

That’s because teachers don’t always use the full curriculum material for their teaching, and they may choose to develop their own homework rather than to use the resources offered by the curriculum provider.

This homework can often be off-subject, extremely niche, or unhelpful in explaining a subject that students are studying.

Students who don’t understand a subject and don’t have resources to rely on will eventually give up. That risk becomes even more prevalent when you factor in the scope, complexity, and type of assignment.

Students need to be taught in a safe environment where they can feel free to ask questions and learn at their own pace. Of course, there’s no fairytale way to perfect this ideal, but what is clear is that homework is not beneficial to the learning environment for many students.

10. It’s Not What Kids Want

Lastly, homework should be banned because it’s generally not what students want. From elementary to college level, most students harbor some sort of resentment towards homework.

It might be easy to dismiss this to say that the students “aren’t living in the real world.” The truth of the matter is that the real world is a lot more nuanced, creative, and diverse than the repetitive, broad, and often stagnant homework.

It’s easy to understand why most students wish that more time in school had been spent on learning how to live rather than trying to figure out how many apples Johnny had. Subjects like car maintenance, entrepreneurship, computer skills, socialization, networking, tax filing, finances, and survival are touched on at best and ignored at worst.

It’s not enough for students to be able to regurgitate information on a piece of paper; in the end, the education system should teach them how to be self-sufficient, something that might be much easier to do if resources were divested from homework and poured into more beneficial subject material.

Consider these 11 Additional Reasons

  • Decreases time with parents – Homework may prevent parents and children from spending quality time together.
  • Hidden costs – Families often feel pressure to purchase internet and other resources to help their children to complete their homework.
  • Is inequitable – some children have parents to help them while others don’t. Similarly, some children have internet access to help while others don’t (see: Kralovec & Buell, 2001).
  • Easy to cheat – Unsupervised homework time makes it easy for children to simply cheat on their work so they can get on with play time!
  • Lack of downtime – Children need time where they aren’t doing anything. Time that is unstructured helps them to develop hobbies and interests .
  • Detracts from reading – Children could be spending their time reading books and developing their imaginations rather than working on repetitive homework tasks.
  • Take up parental time – Parents, who have just spent all day working, are increasingly expected to spend their time doing ‘teaching’ with their children at home.
  • Discourages club membership – If children are too busy with homework, they may not be able to join clubs and sporting groups that can help them make friends and develop extracurricular skills.
  • Makes it hard for college students to make a living – In college, where homework is extensive, students often can’t juggle homework with their weekend and night-time jobs. As a result, it pushes them further into student poverty.
  • Contributes to poor work-life culture – From early ages, we’re sending a message to children that they should take their work home with them. This can spill over into the workplace, where they’ll be expected to continue working for their company even after the workday ends.
  • Can reinforce faulty learning – When children learn in isolation during homework time, they may end up practicing their work completely wrong! They need intermittent support to make sure their practice is taking them down the right path.

Students may need to demonstrate their understanding of a topic to progress; that, at least, is a reflection of the real world. What’s not helpful is when students are peppered day and night with information that they need to regurgitate on a piece of paper.

For positive outcomes to come from homework, parents and teachers need to work together. It depends a lot on the type of homework provided as well as the age of the student and the need to balance homework with time to do other things in your life.

Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987–2003.  Review of educational research ,  76 (1), 1-62.

Galloway, M., Conner, J., & Pope, D. (2013). Nonacademic effects of homework in privileged, high-performing high schools.  The journal of experimental education ,  81 (4), 490-510. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/00220973.2012.745469

Kralovec, E., & Buell, J. (2001).  The end of homework: How homework disrupts families, overburdens children, and limits learning . Beacon Press.

Pressman, R. M., Sugarman, D. B., Nemon, M. L., Desjarlais, J., Owens, J. A., & Schettini-Evans, A. (2015). Homework and family stress: With consideration of parents’ self confidence, educational level, and cultural background.  The American Journal of Family Therapy ,  43 (4), 297-313. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/01926187.2015.1061407

Ren, H., Zhou, Z., Liu, W., Wang, X., & Yin, Z. (2017). Excessive homework, inadequate sleep, physical inactivity and screen viewing time are major contributors to high paediatric obesity.  Acta Paediatrica ,  106 (1), 120-127. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.13640

Yeo, S. C., Tan, J., Lo, J. C., Chee, M. W., & Gooley, J. J. (2020). Associations of time spent on homework or studying with nocturnal sleep behavior and depression symptoms in adolescents from Singapore.  Sleep Health ,  6 (6), 758-766. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2020.04.011


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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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25 Reasons Homework Should Be Banned (Busywork Arguments)

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As students across the globe plow through heaps of homework each night, one question lingers in the minds of educators, parents, and students alike: should homework be banned?

This question is not new, yet it continues to spark lively debate as research findings, anecdotal evidence, and personal experiences paint a complex picture of the pros and cons of homework.

On one hand, proponents of homework argue that it reinforces classroom learning, encourages a disciplined work ethic, and provides teachers with valuable insight into student comprehension. They see homework as an extension of classroom instruction that solidifies and enriches learning while fostering important skills like time management and self-discipline. It also offers an opportunity for parents to be involved in their children's education.

However, some people say there are a lot of downsides. They argue that excessive homework can lead to stress and burnout, reduce time for extracurricular activities and family interactions, exacerbate educational inequalities, and even negatively impact students' mental health.

child stressed about homework

This article presents 25 reasons why we might need to seriously consider this radical shift in our educational approach. But first, lets share some examples of what homework actually is.

Examples of Homework

These examples cover a wide range of subjects and complexity levels, reflecting the variety of homework assignments students might encounter throughout their educational journey.

  • Spelling lists to memorize for a test
  • Math worksheets for practicing basic arithmetic operations
  • Reading assignments from children's books
  • Simple science projects like growing a plant
  • Basic geography assignments like labeling a map
  • Art projects like drawing a family portrait
  • Writing book reports or essays
  • Advanced math problems
  • Research projects on various topics
  • Lab reports for science experiments
  • Reading and responding to literature
  • Preparing presentations on various topics
  • Advanced math problems involving calculus or algebra
  • Reading classic literature and writing analytical essays
  • Research papers on historical events
  • Lab reports for advanced science experiments
  • Foreign language exercises
  • Preparing for standardized tests
  • College application essays
  • Extensive research papers
  • In-depth case studies
  • Advanced problem-solving in subjects like physics, engineering, etc.
  • Thesis or dissertation writing
  • Extensive reading and literature reviews
  • Internship or practicum experiences

Lack of proven benefits

measured scientific results

Homework has long been a staple of traditional education, dating back centuries. However, the actual efficacy of homework in enhancing learning outcomes remains disputed. A number of studies indicate that there's no conclusive evidence supporting the notion that homework improves academic performance, especially in primary education . In fact, research suggests that for younger students, the correlation between homework and academic achievement is weak or even negative .

Too much homework can often lead to increased stress and decreased enthusiasm for learning. This issue becomes particularly pressing when considering the common 'more is better' approach to homework, where the quantity of work given to students often outweighs the quality and effectiveness of the tasks. For instance, spending countless hours memorizing facts for a history test may not necessarily translate to better understanding or long-term retention of the subject matter.

However, it's worth noting that homework isn't completely devoid of benefits. It can help foster self-discipline, time management skills, and the ability to work independently. But, these positive outcomes are usually more pronounced in older students and when homework assignments are thoughtfully designed and not excessive in volume.

When discussing the merits and drawbacks of homework, it's critical to consider the nature of the assignments. Routine, repetitive tasks often associated with 'drill-and-practice' homework, such as completing rows of arithmetic problems or copying definitions from a textbook, rarely lead to meaningful learning. On the other hand, assignments that encourage students to apply what they've learned in class, solve problems, or engage creatively with the material can be more beneficial.

Increased stress

stressed student

Homework can often lead to a significant increase in stress levels among students. This is especially true when students are burdened with large volumes of homework, leaving them with little time to relax or pursue other activities. The feeling of constantly racing against the clock to meet deadlines can contribute to anxiety, frustration, and even burnout.

Contrary to popular belief, stress does not necessarily improve performance or productivity. In fact, high levels of stress can negatively impact memory, concentration, and overall cognitive function. This counteracts the very purpose of homework, which is intended to reinforce learning and improve academic outcomes.

However, one might argue that homework can teach students about time management, organization, and how to handle pressure. These are important life skills that could potentially prepare them for future responsibilities. But it's essential to strike a balance. The pressure to complete homework should not come at the cost of a student's mental wellbeing.

Limited family time

student missing their family

Homework often infringes upon the time students can spend with their families. After spending the entire day in school, children come home to yet more academic work, leaving little room for quality family interactions. This limited family time can hinder the development of important interpersonal skills and familial bonds.

Moreover, family time isn't just about fun and relaxation. It also plays a crucial role in the social and emotional development of children. Opportunities for unstructured play, family conversations, and shared activities can contribute to children's well-being and character building.

Nonetheless, advocates of homework might argue that it can be a platform for parental involvement in a child's education. While this may be true, the involvement should not transform into parental control or cause friction due to differing expectations and pressures.

Reduced physical activity

student doing homework looking outside

Homework can often lead to reduced physical activity by eating into the time students have for sports, recreation, and simply being outdoors. Physical activity is essential for children's health, well-being, and even their academic performance. Research suggests that physical activity can enhance cognitive abilities, improve concentration, and reduce symptoms of ADHD .

Homework, especially when it's boring and repetitive, can deter students from engaging in physical activities, leading to a sedentary lifestyle. This lack of balance between work and play can contribute to physical health problems such as obesity, poor posture, and related health concerns.

Homework proponents might point out that disciplined time management could allow students to balance both work and play. However, given the demanding nature of many homework assignments, achieving this balance is often easier said than done.

Negative impact on sleep

lack of sleep

A significant concern about homework is its impact on students' sleep patterns. Numerous studies have linked excessive homework to sleep deprivation in students. Children often stay up late to complete assignments, reducing the amount of sleep they get. Lack of sleep can result in a host of issues, from poor academic performance and difficulty concentrating to physical health problems like weakened immunity.

Even the quality of sleep can be affected. The stress and anxiety from a heavy workload can lead to difficulty falling asleep or restless nights. And let's not forget that students often need to wake up early for school, compounding the negative effects of late-night homework sessions.

On the other hand, some argue that homework can teach children time management skills, suggesting that effective organization could help prevent late-night work. However, when schools assign excessive amounts of homework, even the best time management might not prevent encroachment on sleep time.

Homework can exacerbate existing educational inequalities. Not all students have access to a conducive learning environment at home, necessary resources, or support from educated family members. For these students, homework can become a source of stress and disadvantage rather than an opportunity to reinforce learning.

Children from lower socio-economic backgrounds might need to contribute to household chores or part-time work, limiting the time they have for homework. This can create a gap in academic performance and grades, reflecting not on the students' abilities but their circumstances.

While homework is meant to level the playing field by providing additional learning time outside school, it often does the opposite. It's worth noting that students from privileged backgrounds can often access additional help like tutoring, further widening the gap.

Reduced creativity and independent thinking

Homework, particularly when it involves rote learning or repetitive tasks, can stifle creativity and independent thinking. Students often focus on getting the "right" answers to please teachers rather than exploring different ideas and solutions. This can hinder their ability to think creatively and solve problems independently, skills that are increasingly in demand in the modern world.

Homework defenders might claim that it can also promote independent learning. True, when thoughtfully designed, homework can encourage this. But, voluminous or repetitive tasks tend to promote compliance over creativity.

Diminished interest in learning

Overburdening students with homework can diminish their interest in learning. After long hours in school followed by more academic tasks at home, learning can begin to feel like a chore. This can lead to a decline in intrinsic motivation and an unhealthy association of learning with stress and exhaustion.

In theory, homework can deepen interest in a subject, especially when it involves projects or research. Yet, an excess of homework, particularly routine tasks, might achieve the opposite, turning learning into a source of stress rather than enjoyment.

Inability to pursue personal interests

Homework can limit students' ability to pursue personal interests. Hobbies, personal projects, and leisure activities are crucial for personal development and well-being. With heavy homework loads, students may struggle to find time for these activities, missing out on opportunities to discover new interests and talents.

Supporters of homework might argue that it teaches students to manage their time effectively. However, even with good time management, an overload of homework can crowd out time for personal interests.

Excessive workload

The issue of excessive workload is a common complaint among students. Spending several hours on homework after a full school day can be mentally and physically draining. This workload can lead to burnout, decreased motivation, and negative attitudes toward school and learning.

While homework can help consolidate classroom learning, too much can be counterproductive. It's important to consider the overall workload of students, including school, extracurricular activities, and personal time, when assigning homework.

Limited time for reflection

Homework can limit the time students have for reflection. Reflection is a critical part of learning, allowing students to digest and integrate new information. With the constant flow of assignments, there's often little time left for this crucial process. Consequently, the learning becomes superficial, and the true understanding of subjects can be compromised.

Although homework is meant to reinforce what's taught in class, the lack of downtime for reflection might hinder deep learning. It's important to remember that learning is not just about doing, but also about thinking.

Increased pressure on young children

Young children are particularly vulnerable to the pressures of homework. At an age where play and exploration are vital for cognitive and emotional development, too much homework can create undue pressure and stress. This pressure can instigate a negative relationship with learning from an early age, potentially impacting their future attitude towards education.

Advocates of homework often argue that it prepares children for the rigors of their future academic journey. However, placing too much academic pressure on young children might overshadow the importance of learning through play and exploration.

Lack of alignment with real-world skills

Traditional homework often lacks alignment with real-world skills. Assignments typically focus on academic abilities at the expense of skills like creativity, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence. These are crucial for success in the modern workplace and are often under-emphasized in homework tasks.

Homework can be an opportunity to develop these skills when properly structured. However, tasks often focus on memorization and repetition, rather than cultivating skills relevant to the real world.

Loss of motivation

Excessive homework can lead to a loss of motivation. The constant pressure to complete assignments and meet deadlines can diminish a student's intrinsic motivation to learn. This loss of motivation might not only affect their academic performance but also their love of learning, potentially having long-term effects on their educational journey.

Some believe homework instills discipline and responsibility. But, it's important to balance these benefits against the potential for homework to undermine motivation and engagement.

Disruption of work-life balance

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is as important for students as it is for adults. Overloading students with homework can disrupt this balance, leaving little time for relaxation, socializing, and extracurricular activities. All of these are vital for a student's overall development and well-being.

Homework supporters might argue that it prepares students for the workloads they'll face in college and beyond. But it's also crucial to ensure students have time to relax, recharge, and engage in non-academic activities for a well-rounded development.

Impact on mental health

There's a growing body of evidence showing the negative impact of excessive homework on students' mental health. The stress and anxiety from heavy homework loads can contribute to issues like depression, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide. Student well-being should be a top priority in education, and the impact of homework on mental health cannot be ignored.

While some might argue that homework helps students develop resilience and coping skills, it's important to ensure these potential benefits don't come at the expense of students' mental health.

Limited time for self-care

With excessive homework, students often find little time for essential self-care activities. These can include physical exercise, proper rest, healthy eating, mindfulness, or even simple leisure activities. These activities are critical for maintaining physical health, emotional well-being, and cognitive function.

Some might argue that managing homework alongside self-care responsibilities teaches students valuable life skills. However, it's important that these skills don't come at the cost of students' health and well-being.

Decreased family involvement

Homework can inadvertently lead to decreased family involvement in a child's learning. Parents often feel unqualified or too busy to help with homework, leading to missed opportunities for family learning interactions. This can also create stress and conflict within the family, especially when parents have high expectations or are unable to assist.

Some believe homework can facilitate parental involvement in education. But, when it becomes a source of stress or conflict, it can discourage parents from engaging in their child's learning.

Reinforcement of inequalities

Homework can unintentionally reinforce inequalities. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds might lack access to resources like private tutors or a quiet study space, placing them at a disadvantage compared to their more privileged peers. Additionally, these students might have additional responsibilities at home, further limiting their time to complete homework.

While the purpose of homework is often to provide additional learning opportunities, it can inadvertently reinforce existing disparities. Therefore, it's essential to ensure that homework doesn't favor students who have more resources at home.

Reduced time for play and creativity

Homework can take away from time for play and creative activities. These activities are not only enjoyable but also crucial for the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children. Play allows children to explore, imagine, and create, fostering innovative thinking and problem-solving skills.

Some may argue that homework teaches discipline and responsibility. Yet, it's vital to remember that play also has significant learning benefits and should be a part of every child's daily routine.

Increased cheating and academic dishonesty

The pressure to complete homework can sometimes lead to increased cheating and academic dishonesty. When faced with a large volume of homework, students might resort to copying from friends or searching for answers online. This undermines the educational value of homework and fosters unhealthy academic practices.

While homework is intended to consolidate learning, the risk of promoting dishonest behaviors is a concern that needs to be addressed.

Strained teacher-student relationships

Excessive homework can strain teacher-student relationships. If students begin to associate teachers with stress or anxiety from homework, it can hinder the development of a positive learning relationship. Furthermore, if teachers are perceived as being unfair or insensitive with their homework demands, it can impact the overall classroom dynamic.

While homework can provide an opportunity for teachers to monitor student progress, it's important to ensure that it doesn't negatively affect the teacher-student relationship.

Negative impact on family dynamics

Homework can impact family dynamics. Parents might feel compelled to enforce homework completion, leading to potential conflict, stress, and tension within the family. These situations can disrupt the harmony in the household and strain relationships.

Homework is sometimes seen as a tool to engage parents in their child's education. However, it's crucial to ensure that this involvement doesn't turn into a source of conflict or pressure.

Cultural and individual differences

Homework might not take into account cultural and individual differences. Education is not a one-size-fits-all process, and what works for one student might not work for another. Some students might thrive on hands-on learning, while others prefer auditory or visual learning methods. By standardizing homework, we might ignore these individual learning styles and preferences.

Homework can also overlook cultural differences. For students from diverse cultural backgrounds, certain types of homework might seem irrelevant or difficult to relate to, leading to disengagement or confusion.

Encouragement of surface-level learning

Homework often encourages surface-level learning instead of deep understanding. When students are swamped with homework, they're likely to rush through assignments to get them done, rather than taking the time to understand the concepts. This can result in superficial learning where students memorize information to regurgitate it on assignments and tests, instead of truly understanding and internalizing the knowledge.

While homework is meant to reinforce classroom learning, the quality of learning is more important than the quantity. It's important to design homework in a way that encourages deep, meaningful learning instead of mere rote memorization.

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Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework

A Stanford researcher found that students in high-achieving communities who spend too much time on homework experience more stress, physical health problems, a lack of balance and even alienation from society. More than two hours of homework a night may be counterproductive, according to the study.

Denise Pope

Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative effects on student well-being and behavioral engagement. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

A Stanford researcher found that too much homework can negatively affect kids, especially their lives away from school, where family, friends and activities matter.

“Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good,” wrote Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education .

The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students’ views on homework.

Median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college, either two-year or four-year.

Students in these schools average about 3.1 hours of homework each night.

“The findings address how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students’ advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement and well-being,” Pope wrote.

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.

Their study found that too much homework is associated with:

• Greater stress: 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data. Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.

• Reductions in health: In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems. The researchers asked students whether they experienced health issues such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems.

• Less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits: Both the survey data and student responses indicate that spending too much time on homework meant that students were “not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills,” according to the researchers. Students were more likely to drop activities, not see friends or family, and not pursue hobbies they enjoy.

A balancing act

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.

Also, there was no relationship between the time spent on homework and how much the student enjoyed it. The research quoted students as saying they often do homework they see as “pointless” or “mindless” in order to keep their grades up.

“This kind of busy work, by its very nature, discourages learning and instead promotes doing homework simply to get points,” Pope said.

She said the research calls into question the value of assigning large amounts of homework in high-performing schools. Homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice, she said.

“Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development,” wrote Pope.

High-performing paradox

In places where students attend high-performing schools, too much homework can reduce their time to foster skills in the area of personal responsibility, the researchers concluded. “Young people are spending more time alone,” they wrote, “which means less time for family and fewer opportunities to engage in their communities.”

Student perspectives

The researchers say that while their open-ended or “self-reporting” methodology to gauge student concerns about homework may have limitations – some might regard it as an opportunity for “typical adolescent complaining” – it was important to learn firsthand what the students believe.

The paper was co-authored by Mollie Galloway from Lewis and Clark College and Jerusha Conner from Villanova University.

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No More Homework: 12 Reasons We Should Get Rid of It Completely

Last Updated: February 16, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Finn Kobler . Finn Kobler graduated from USC in 2022 with a BFA in Writing for Screen/Television. He is a two-time California State Champion and record holder in Original Prose/Poetry, a 2018 finalist for the Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate, and he's written micro-budget films that have been screened in over 150 theaters nationwide. Growing up, Finn spent every summer helping his family's nonprofit arts program, Showdown Stage Company, empower people through accessible media. He hopes to continue that mission with his writing at wikiHow. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 100,012 times. Learn more...

The amount of homework students are given has increased dramatically in the 21st century, which has sparked countless debates over homework’s overall value. While some have been adamant that homework is an essential part of a good education, it’s been proven that too much homework negatively affects students’ mood, classroom performance, and overall well-being. In addition, a heavy homework load can stress families and teachers. Here are 12 reasons why homework should be banned (or at least heavily reduced).

School is already a full-time job.

Students already spend approximately seven hours a day at school.

  • For years, teachers have followed the “10-minute rule” giving students roughly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. However, recent studies have shown students are completing 3+ hours of homework a night well before their senior years even begin. [2] X Trustworthy Source American Psychological Association Leading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologists Go to source

Homework negatively affects students’ health.

Homework takes a toll physically.

Homework interferes with student’s opportunities to socialize.

Childhood and adolescence are extraordinary times for making friends.

Homework hinders students’ chances to learn new things.

Students need time to self-actualize.

Homework lowers students’ enthusiasm for school.

Homework makes the school feel like a chore.

Homework can lower academic performance.

Homework is unnecessary and counterproductive for high-performing students.

Homework cuts into family time.

Too much homework can cause family structures to collapse.

Homework is stressful for teachers.

Homework can also lead to burnout for teachers.

Homework is often irrelevant and punitive.

Students who don’t understand the lesson get no value from homework.

  • There are even studies that have shown homework in primary school has no correlation with classroom performance whatsoever. [9] X Research source

Homework encourages cheating.

Mandatory homework makes cheating feel like students’ only option.

Homework is inequitable.

Homework highlights the achievement gap between rich and poor students.

Other countries have banned homework with great results.

Countries like Finland have minimal homework and perform well academically.

  • There are even some U.S. schools that have adopted this approach with success. [13] X Research source

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  • ↑ https://www.edutopia.org/no-proven-benefits
  • ↑ https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/03/homework
  • ↑ https://healthier.stanfordchildrens.org/en/health-hazards-homework/
  • ↑ https://teensneedsleep.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/galloway-nonacademic-effects-of-homework-in-privileged-high-performing-high-schools.pdf
  • ↑ https://time.com/4466390/homework-debate-research/
  • ↑ https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220485.2022.2075506?role=tab&scroll=top&needAccess=true&journalCode=vece20
  • ↑ https://kappanonline.org/teacher-stress-balancing-demands-resources-mccarthy/
  • ↑ https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-life-homework-pros-cons-20180807-story.html
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6294446/
  • ↑ https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/06/homework-inequality-parents-schedules-grades/485174/
  • ↑ https://www.bbc.com/news/education-37716005
  • ↑ https://www.wsj.com/articles/no-homework-its-the-new-thing-in-u-s-schools-11544610600

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Should We Ban Homework?

The cons of homework are starting to outweigh the pros.

Should Schools Ban Homework

Recent research shows that teenagers have doubled the amount of time they spend on homework since the 1990s. This is in spite of other, well-documented research that calls the efficacy of homework into question, albeit in the younger grades. Why are students spending so much time on homework if the impact is zero (for younger kids) or moderate (for older ones)? Should we ban homework? These are the questions teachers, parents, and lawmakers are asking.

Bans proposed and implemented in the U.S. and abroad

The struggle of whether or not to assign homework is not a new one. In 2017, a Florida superintendent banned homework for elementary schools in the entire district, with one very important exception: reading at home. The United States isn’t the only country to question the benefits of homework. Last August, the Philippines proposed a bill  to ban homework completely, citing the need for rest, relaxation, and time with family. Another bill there proposed no weekend homework, with teachers running the risk of fines or two years in prison. (Yikes!) While a prison sentence may seem extreme, there are real reasons to reconsider homework.

Refocus on mental health and educate the “whole child”

Prioritizing mental health is at the forefront of the homework ban movement. Leaders say they want to give students time to develop other hobbies, relationships, and balance in their lives.

This month two Utah elementary schools gained national recognition for officially banning homework. The results are significant, with psychologist referrals for anxiety decreasing by 50 percent. Many schools are looking for ways to refocus on wellness, and homework can be a real cause of stress.


Research supports a ban for elementary schools

Supporters of a homework ban often cite research from John Hattie, who concluded that elementary school homework has no effect on academic progress. In a podcast he said, “Homework in primary school has an effect of around zero. In high school it’s larger. (…) Which is why we need to get it right. Not why we need to get rid of it. It’s one of those lower hanging fruit that we should be looking in our primary schools to say, ‘Is it really making a difference?'”

In the upper grades, Hattie’s research shows that homework has to be purposeful, not busy work. And the reality is, most teachers don’t receive training on how to assign homework that is meaningful and relevant to students.

Parents push back, too

In October this Washington Post article made waves in parenting and education communities when it introduced the idea that, even if homework is assigned, it doesn’t have to be completed for the student to pass the class. The writer explains how her family doesn’t believe in homework, and doesn’t participate. In response, other parents started “opting out” of homework, citing research that homework in elementary school doesn’t further intelligence or academic success. 

Of course, homework has its defenders, especially in the upper grades

“I think some homework is a good idea,” says Darla E. in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook. “Ideally, it forces the parents to take some responsibility for their child’s education. It also reinforces what students learn and instills good study habits for later in life.”

Jennifer M. agrees. “If we are trying to make students college-ready, they need the skill of doing homework.”

And the research does support some homework in middle and high school, as long as it is clearly tied to learning and not overwhelming.

We’d love to hear your thoughts—do you think schools should ban homework? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, why you should stop assigning reading homework.

Should We Ban Homework?

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“Homework Should Be…but We Do Not Live in an Ideal World”: Mathematics Teachers’ Perspectives on Quality Homework and on Homework Assigned in Elementary and Middle Schools

Pedro rosário.

1 Departamento de Psicologia Aplicada, Escola de Psicologia, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal

Jennifer Cunha

Tânia nunes, ana rita nunes, tânia moreira, josé carlos núñez.

2 Departamento de Psicología, Universidad de Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain

Associated Data

Existing literature has analyzed homework characteristics associated with academic results. Researchers and educators defend the need to provide quality homework, but there is still much to be learned about the characteristics of quality homework (e.g., purposes, type). Acknowledging that teachers play an important role in designing and assigning homework, this study explored teachers’ perspectives regarding: (i) the characteristics of quality homework and (ii) the characteristics of the homework tasks assigned. In the current study, mathematics teachers from elementary and middle schools ( N = 78) participated in focus group discussions. To enhance the trustworthiness of the findings, homework tasks assigned by 25% of the participants were analyzed for triangulation of data purposes. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis for elementary and middle school separately. Teachers discussed the various characteristics of quality homework (e.g., short assignments, adjusted to the availability of students) and shared the characteristics of the homework tasks typically assigned, highlighting a few differences (e.g., degree of individualization of homework, purposes) between these two topics. Globally, data on the homework tasks assigned were consistent with teachers’ reports about the characteristics of the homework tasks they usually assigned. Findings provide valuable insights for research and practice aimed to promote the quality of homework and consequently students’ learning and progress.


The extensive literature on homework suggests the importance of completing homework tasks to foster students’ academic achievement (e.g., Trautwein and Lüdtke, 2009 ; Hagger et al., 2015 ; Núñez et al., 2015a ; Valle et al., 2016 ; Fernández-Alonso et al., 2017 ). However, existing research also indicate that the amount of homework assigned is not always related to high academic achievement ( Epstein and Van Voorhis, 2001 ; Epstein and Van Voorhis, 2012 ). In the words of Dettmers et al. (2010) “homework works if quality is high” (p. 467). However, further research is needed to answer the question “What is quality homework?”.

Teachers are responsible for designing and assigning homework, thus our knowledge on their perspectives about this topic and the characteristics of the homework typically assigned is expected to be a relevant contribution to the literature on the quality of homework. Moreover, data on the characteristics of homework could provide valuable information to unveil the complex network of relationships between homework and academic achievement (e.g., Cooper, 2001 ; Trautwein and Köller, 2003 ; Trautwein et al., 2009a ; Xu, 2010 ).

Thus, focusing on the perspective of mathematics teachers from elementary and middle school, the aims of the present study are twofold: to explore the characteristics of quality homework, and to identify the characteristics of the homework tasks typically assigned at these school levels. Findings may help deepen our understanding of why homework may impact differently the mathematics achievement of elementary and middle school students (see Fan et al., 2017 ).

Research Background on Homework Characteristics

Homework is a complex educational process involving a diverse set of variables that each may influence students’ academic outcomes (e.g., Corno, 2000 ; Trautwein and Köller, 2003 ; Cooper et al., 2006 ; Epstein and Van Voorhis, 2012 ). Cooper (1989 , 2001 ) presented a model outlining the factors that may potentially influence the effect of homework at the three stages of the homework process (i.e., design of the homework assignment, completion of homework and homework follow-up practices). At the first stage teachers are expected to consider class characteristics (e.g., students’ prior knowledge, grade level, number of students per class), and also variables that may influence the impact of homework on students’ outcomes, such as homework assignment characteristics. In 1989, Cooper (see also Cooper et al., 2006 ) presented a list of the characteristics of homework assignments as follows: amount (comprising homework frequency and length), purpose, skill area targeted, degree of individualization, student degree of choice, completion deadlines, and social context. Based on existing literature, Trautwein et al. (2006b) proposed a distinct organization for the assignment characteristics. The proposal included: homework frequency (i.e., how often homework assignments are prescribed to students), quality, control, and adaptivity. “Homework frequency” and “adaptivity” are similar to “amount” and “degree of individualization” in Cooper’s model, respectively. Both homework models provide a relevant theoretical framework for the present study.

Prior research has analyzed the relationship between homework variables, students’ behaviors and academic achievement, and found different results depending on the variables examined (see Trautwein et al., 2009b ; Fan et al., 2017 ). For example, while homework frequency consistently and positively predicted students’ academic achievement (e.g., Trautwein et al., 2002 ; Trautwein, 2007 ; Fernández-Alonso et al., 2015 ), findings regarding the amount of homework assigned (usually assessed by the time spent on homework) have shown mixed results (e.g., Trautwein, 2007 ; Dettmers et al., 2009 ; Núñez et al., 2015a ). Data indicated a positive association between the amount of homework and students’ academic achievement in high school (e.g., OECD, 2014a ); however, this relationship is almost null in elementary school (e.g., Cooper et al., 2006 ; Rosário et al., 2009 ). Finally, other studies reported a negative association between time spent on homework and students’ academic achievement at different school levels (e.g., Trautwein et al., 2009b ; Rosário et al., 2011 ; Núñez et al., 2015a ).

Homework purposes are among the factors that may influence the effect of homework on students’ homework behaviors and academic achievement ( Cooper, 2001 ; Trautwein et al., 2009a ; Epstein and Van Voorhis, 2012 ; Rosário et al., 2015 ). In his model Cooper (1989 , 2001 ) reported instructional purposes (i.e., practicing or reviewing, preparation, integration and extension) and non-instructional purposes (i.e., parent-child communication, fulfilling directives, punishment, and community relations). Depending on their nature, homework instructional purposes may vary throughout schooling ( Muhlenbruck et al., 2000 ; Epstein and Van Voorhis, 2001 ). For example, in elementary school, teachers are likely to use homework as an opportunity to review the content taught in class, while in secondary school (6th–12th grade), teachers are prone to use homework to prepare students for the content to be learned in subsequent classes ( Muhlenbruck et al., 2000 ). Still, studies have recently shown that practicing the content learned is the homework purpose most frequently used throughout schooling (e.g., Xu and Yuan, 2003 ; Danielson et al., 2011 ; Kaur, 2011 ; Bang, 2012 ; Kukliansky et al., 2014 ). Studies using quantitative methodologies have analyzed the role played by homework purposes in students’ effort and achievement ( Trautwein et al., 2009a ; Rosário et al., 2015 , 2018 ), and reported distinct results depending on the subject analyzed. For example, Foyle et al. (1990) found that homework assignments with the purposes of practice and preparation improved the performance of 5th-grade students’ social studies when compared with the no-homework group. However, no statistical difference was found between the two types of homework purposes analyzed (i.e., practice and preparation). When examining the homework purposes reported by 8th-grade teachers of French as a Second Language (e.g., drilling and practicing, motivating, linking school and home), Trautwein et al. (2009a) found that students in classes assigned tasks with high emphasis on motivation displayed more effort and achieved higher outcomes than their peers. On the contrary, students in classes assigned tasks with high drill and practice reported less homework effort and achievement ( Trautwein et al., 2009a ). A recent study by Rosário et al. (2015) analyzed the relationship between homework assignments with various types of purposes (i.e., practice, preparation and extension) and 6th-grade mathematics achievement. These authors reported that homework with the purpose of “extension” impacted positively on students’ academic achievement while the other two homework purposes did not.

Cooper (1989 , 2001 ) identified the “degree of individualization” as a characteristic of homework focused on the need to design homework addressing different levels of performance. For example, some students need to be assigned practice exercises with a low level of difficulty to help them reach school goals, while others need to be assigned exercises with high levels of complexity to foster their motivation for homework ( Trautwein et al., 2002 ). When there is a disparity between the level of difficulty of homework assignments and students’ skills level, students may have to spend long hours doing homework, and they may experience negative emotions or even avoid doing homework ( Corno, 2000 ). On the contrary, when homework assignments meet students’ learning needs (e.g., Bang, 2012 ; Kukliansky et al., 2014 ), both students’ homework effort and academic achievement increase (e.g., Trautwein et al., 2006a ; Zakharov et al., 2014 ). Teachers may also decide on the time given to students to complete their homework ( Cooper, 1989 ; Cooper et al., 2006 ). For example, homework may be assigned to be delivered in the following class (e.g., Kaur et al., 2004 ) or within a week (e.g., Kaur, 2011 ). However, research on the beneficial effects of each practice is still limited.

Trautwein et al. (2006b) investigated homework characteristics other than those previously reported. Their line of research analyzed students’ perception of homework quality and homework control (e.g., Trautwein et al., 2006b ; Dettmers et al., 2010 ). Findings on homework quality (e.g., level of difficulty of the mathematics exercises, Trautwein et al., 2002 ; homework “cognitively activating” and “well prepared”, Trautwein et al., 2006b , p. 448; homework selection and level of challenge, Dettmers et al., 2010 ; Rosário et al., 2018 ) varied regarding the various measures and levels of analysis considered. For example, focusing on mathematics, Trautwein et al. (2002) concluded that “demanding” exercises improved 7th-grade students’ achievement at student and class levels, while “repetitive exercises” impacted negatively on students’ achievement. Dettmers et al. (2010) found that homework assignments perceived by students as “well-prepared and interesting” (p. 471) positively predicted 9th- and 10th-grade students’ homework motivation (expectancy and value beliefs) and behavior (effort and time) at student and class level, and mathematics achievement at class level only. These authors also reported that “cognitively challenging” homework (p. 471), as perceived by students, negatively predicted students’ expectancy beliefs at both levels, and students’ homework effort at student level ( Dettmers et al., 2010 ). Moreover, this study showed that “challenging homework” significantly and positively impacted on students’ mathematics achievement at class level ( Dettmers et al., 2010 ). At elementary school, homework quality (assessed through homework selection) predicted positively 6th-grade students’ homework effort, homework performance, and mathematics achievement ( Rosário et al., 2018 ).

Finally, Trautwein and colleagues investigated the variable “homework control” perceived by middle school students and found mixed results. The works by Trautwein and Lüdtke (2007 , 2009 ) found that “homework control” predicted positively students’ homework effort in mathematics, but other studies (e.g., Trautwein et al., 2002 , 2006b ) did not predict homework effort and mathematics achievement.

The Present Study

A vast body of research indicates that homework enhances students’ academic achievement [see the meta-analysis conducted by Fan et al. (2017) ], however, maladaptive homework behaviors of students (e.g., procrastination, lack of interest in homework, failure to complete homework) may affect homework benefits ( Bembenutty, 2011a ; Hong et al., 2011 ; Rosário et al., 2019 ). These behaviors may be related to the characteristics of the homework assigned (e.g., large amount of homework, disconnect between the type and level of difficulty of homework assignments and students’ needs and abilities, see Margolis and McCabe, 2004 ; Trautwein, 2007 ).

Homework is only valuable to students’ learning when its quality is perceived by students ( Dettmers et al., 2010 ). Nevertheless, little is known about the meaning of homework quality for teachers who are responsible for assigning homework. What do teachers understand to be quality homework? To our knowledge, the previous studies exploring teachers’ perspectives on their homework practices did not relate data with quality homework (e.g., Xu and Yuan, 2003 ; Danielson et al., 2011 ; Kaur, 2011 ; Bang, 2012 ; Kukliansky et al., 2014 ). For example, Kukliansky et al. (2014) found a disconnect between middle school science teachers’ perspectives about their homework practices and their actual homework practices observed in class. However, results were not further explained.

The current study aims to explore teachers’ perspectives on the characteristics of quality homework, and on the characteristics underlying the homework tasks assigned. Findings are expected to shed some light on the role of teachers in the homework process and contribute to maximize the benefits of homework. Our results may be useful for either homework research (e.g., by informing new quantitative studies grounded on data from teachers’ perspectives) or educational practice (e.g., by identifying new avenues for teacher training and the defining of guidelines for homework practices).

This study is particularly important in mathematics for the following reasons: mathematics is among the school subjects where teachers assign the largest amount of homework (e.g., Rønning, 2011 ; Xu, 2015 ), while students continue to yield worrying school results in the subject, especially in middle and high school ( Gottfried et al., 2007 ; OECD, 2014b ). Moreover, a recent meta-analysis focused on mathematics and science homework showed that the relationship between homework and academic achievement in middle school is weaker than in elementary school ( Fan et al., 2017 ). Thus, we collected data through focus group discussions with elementary and middle school mathematics teachers in order to analyze any potential variations in their perspectives on the characteristics of quality homework, and on the characteristics of homework tasks they typically assign. Regarding the latter topic, we also collected photos of homework tasks assigned by 25% of the participating teachers in order to triangulate data and enhance the trustworthiness of our findings.

Our exploratory study was guided by the following research questions:

  • simple (1) How do elementary and middle school mathematics teachers perceive quality homework?
  • simple (2) How do elementary and middle school mathematics teachers describe the homework tasks they typically assign to students?

Materials and Methods

The study context.

Despite recommendations of the need for clear homework policies (e.g., Cooper et al., 2006 ; Bembenutty, 2011b ), Portugal has no formal guidelines for homework (e.g., concerning the frequency, length, type of tasks). Still, many teachers usually include homework as part of students’ overall grade and ask parents to monitor their children’s homework completion. Moreover, according to participants there is no specific training on homework practices for pre-service or in-service teachers.

The Portuguese educational system is organized as follows: the last two years of elementary school encompass 5th and 6th grade (10 and 11 years old), while middle school encompasses 7th, 8th, and 9th grade (12 to 14 years old). At the two school levels mentioned, mathematics is a compulsory subject and students attend three to five mathematics lessons per week depending on the duration of each class (270 min per week for Grades 5 and 6, and 225 min per week for Grades 7–9). All students are assessed by their mathematics teacher (through continuous assessment tests), and at the end of elementary and middle school levels (6th and 9th grade) students are assessed externally through a national exam that counts for 30% of the overall grade. In Portuguese schools assigning homework is a frequently used educational practice, mostly in mathematics, and usually counts toward the overall grade, ranging between 2% and 5% depending on school boards ( Rosário et al., 2018 ).


In the current study, all participants were involved in focus groups and 25% of them, randomly selected, were asked to submit photos of homework tasks assigned.

According to Morgan (1997) , to maximize the discussion among participants it is important that they share some characteristics and experiences related to the aims of the study in question. In the current study, teachers were eligible to participate when the following criteria were met: (i) they had been teaching mathematics at elementary or middle school levels for at least two years; and (ii) they would assign homework regularly, at least twice a week, in order to have enough experiences to share in the focus group.

All mathematics teachers ( N = 130) from 25 elementary and middle schools in Northern Portugal were contacted by email. The email informed teachers of the purposes and procedures of the study (e.g., inclusion criteria, duration of the session, session videotaping, selection of teachers to send photos of homework tasks assigned), and invited them to participate in the study. To facilitate recruitment, researchers scheduled focus group discussions considering participants’ availability. Of the volunteer teachers, all participants met the inclusion criteria. The research team did not allocate teachers with hierarchical relationships in the same group, as this might limit freedom of responses, affect the dynamics of the discussion, and, consequently, the outcomes ( Kitzinger, 1995 ).

Initially we conducted four focus groups with elementary school teachers (5th and 6th grade, 10 and 11 years old) and four focus groups with middle school teachers (7th, 8th, and 9th grade, 12, 13 and 14 years old). Subsequently, two additional focus group discussions (one for each school level) were conducted to ensure the saturation of data. Finally, seventy-eight mathematics teachers (61 females and 17 males; an acceptance rate of 60%) from 16 schools participated in our study (see Table 1 ). The teachers enrolled in 10 focus groups comprised of seven to nine teachers per group. Twenty teachers were randomly selected and asked to participate in the second data collection; all answered positively to our invitation (15 females and 5 males).

Participants’ demographic information.

According to our participants, in the school context, mathematics teachers may teach one to eight classes of different grade levels. In the current research, participants were teaching one to five classes of two or three grade levels at schools in urban or near urban contexts. The participants practiced the mandatory nationwide curriculum and a continuous assessment policy.

Data Collection

We carried out this study following the recommendations of the ethics committee of the University of Minho. All teachers gave written informed consent to participate in the research in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. The collaboration involved participating in one focus group discussion, and, for 25% of the participants, submitting photos by email of the homework tasks assigned.

In the current study, aiming to deepen our comprehension of the research questions, focus group interviews were conducted to capture participants’ thoughts about a particular topic ( Kitzinger, 1995 ; Morgan, 1997 ). The focus groups were conducted by two members of the research team (a moderator and a field note-taker) in the first term of the school year and followed the procedure described by Krueger and Casey (2000) . To prevent mishandling the discussions and to encourage teachers to participate in the sessions, the two facilitators attended a course on qualitative research offered at their home institution specifically targeting focus group methodology.

All focus group interviews were videotaped. The sessions were held in a meeting room at the University of Minho facilities, and lasted 90 to 105 min. Before starting the discussion, teachers filled in a questionnaire with sociodemographic information, and were invited to read and sign a written informed consent form. Researchers introduced themselves, and read out the information regarding the study purpose and the focus group ground rules. Participants were ensured of the confidentiality of their responses (e.g., names and researchers’ personal notes that might link participants to their schools were deleted). Then, the investigators initiated the discussion (see Table 2 ). At the end of each focus group discussion, participants were given the opportunity to ask questions or make further contributions.

Focus group questions.

After the focus group discussions, we randomly selected 25% of the participating teachers (i.e., 10 teachers from each school level), each asked to submit photos of the homework tasks assigned by email over the course of three weeks (period between two mathematics assessment tests). This data collection aimed to triangulate data from focus groups regarding the characteristics of homework usually assigned. To encourage participation, the research team sent teachers a friendly reminder email every evening throughout the period of data collection. In total, we received 125 photos (51% were from middle school teachers).

Data Analysis

Videotapes were used to assist the verbatim transcription of focus group data. Both focus group data and photos of the homework assignments were analyzed using thematic analysis ( Braun and Clarke, 2006 ), assisted by QSR International’s NVivo 10 software ( Richards, 2005 ). In this analysis there are no rigid guidelines on how to determine themes; to assure that the analysis is rigorous, researchers are expected to follow a consistent procedure throughout the analysis process ( Braun and Clarke, 2006 ). For the current study, to identify themes and sub-themes, we used the extensiveness of comments criterion (number of participants who express a theme, Krueger and Casey, 2000 ).

Firstly, following an inductive process one member of the research team read the first eight focus group transcriptions several times, took notes on the overall ideas of the data, and made a list of possible codes for data at a semantic level ( Braun and Clarke, 2006 ). Using a cluster analysis by word similarity procedure in Nvivo, all codes were grouped in order to identify sub-themes and themes posteriorly. All the themes and sub-themes were independently and iteratively identified and compared with the literature on homework ( Peterson and Irving, 2008 ). Then, the themes and sub-themes were compared with the homework characteristics already reported in the literature (e.g., Cooper, 1989 ; Epstein and Van Voorhis, 2001 ; Trautwein et al., 2006b ). New sub-themes emerged from participants’ discourses (i.e., “adjusted to the availability of students,” “teachers diagnose learning”), and were grouped in the themes reported in the literature. After, all themes and sub-themes were organized in a coding scheme (for an example see Table 3 ). Finally, the researcher coded the two other focus group discussions, no new information was added related to the research questions. Given that the generated patterns of data were not changed, the researcher concluded that thematic saturation was reached.

Examples of the coding scheme.

An external auditor, trained on the coding scheme, revised all transcriptions, the coding scheme and the coding process in order to minimize researchers’ biases and increase the trustworthiness of the study ( Lincoln and Guba, 1985 ). The first author and the external auditor examined the final categorization of data and reached consensus.

Two other members of the research team coded independently the photos of the homework assignments using the same coding scheme of the focus groups. To analyze data, the researchers had to define the sub-themes “short assignments” (i.e., up to three exercises) and “long assignments” (i.e., more than three exercises). In the end, the two researchers reviewed the coding process and discussed the differences found (e.g., some exercises had several sub questions, so one of the researchers coded it as “long assignments”; see the homework sample 4 of the Supplementary Material ). However, the researchers reached consensus, deciding not to count the number of sub questions of each exercise individually, because these types of questions are related and do not require a significant amount of additional time.

Inter-rater reliability (Cohen’s Kappa) was calculated. The Cohen’s Kappa was 0.86 for the data analysis of the focus groups and 0.85 for data analysis of the photos of homework assignments, which is considered very good according to Landis and Koch (1977) . To obtain a pattern of data considering the school levels, a matrix coding query was run for each data source (i.e., focus groups and photos of homework assignments). Using the various criteria options in NVivo 10, we crossed participants’ classifications (i.e., school level attribute) and nodes and displayed the frequencies of responses for each row–column combination ( Bazeley and Jackson, 2013 ).

In the end of this process of data analysis, for establishing the trustworthiness of findings, 20 teachers (i.e., ten participants of each grade level) were randomly invited, and all agreed, to provide a member check of the findings ( Lincoln and Guba, 1985 ). Member checking involved two phases. First, teachers were asked individually to read a summary of the findings and to fill in a 5-point Likert scale (1, completely disagree; 5, completely agree) with four items: “Findings reflect my perspective regarding homework quality”; “Findings reflect my perspective regarding homework practices”; “Findings reflect what was discussed in the focus group where I participated”, and “I feel that my opinion was influenced by the other teachers during the discussion” (inverted item). Secondly, teachers were gathered by school level and asked to critically analyze and discuss whether an authentic representation was made of their perspectives regarding quality homework and homework practices ( Creswell, 2007 ).

This study explored teachers’ perspectives on the characteristics of quality homework, and on the characteristics of the homework tasks typically assigned. To report results, we used the frequency of occurrence criterion of the categories defined by Hill et al. (2005) . Each theme may be classified as “General” when all participants, or all except one, mention a particular theme; “Typical” when more than half of the cases mention a theme; “Variant” when more than 3, and less than half of the cases mention a theme; and “Rare” when the frequency is between 2 and 3 cases. In the current study, only general and typical themes were reported to discuss the most salient data.

The results section was organized by each research question. Throughout the analysis of the results, quotes from participants were presented to illustrate data. For the second research question, data from the homework assignments collected as photographs were also included.

Initial Data Screening

All participating teachers defended the importance of completing homework, arguing that homework can help students to develop their learning and to engage in school life. Furthermore, participants also agreed on the importance of delivering this message to students. Nevertheless, all teachers acknowledged that assigning homework daily present a challenge to their teaching routine because of the heavy workload faced daily (e.g., large numbers of students per class, too many classes to teach, teaching classes from different grade levels which means preparing different lessons, administrative workload).

Teachers at both school levels talked spontaneously about the nature of the tasks they usually assign, and the majority reported selecting homework tasks from a textbook. However, participants also referred to creating exercises fit to particular learning goals. Data collected from the homework assigned corroborated this information. Most of participating teachers reported that they had not received any guidance from their school board regarding homework.

How do Elementary and Middle School Teachers Perceive Quality Homework?

Three main themes were identified by elementary school teachers (i.e., instructional purposes, degree of individualization/adaptivity, and length of homework) and two were identified by middle school teachers (i.e., instructional purposes, and degree of individualization/adaptivity). Figure 1 depicts the themes and sub-themes reported by teachers in the focus groups.

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Characteristics of quality homework reported by mathematics teachers by school level.

In all focus group discussions, all teachers from elementary and middle school mentioned “instructional purposes” as the main characteristic of quality homework. When asked to further explain the importance of this characteristic, teachers at both school levels in all focus group talked about the need for “practicing or reviewing” the content delivered in class to strengthen students’ knowledge. A teacher illustrated this idea clearly: “it is not worth teaching new content when students do not master the material previously covered” (P1 FG3). This idea was supported by participants in all focus groups; “at home they [students] have to work on the same content as those taught in class” (P1 FG7), “students have to revisit exercises and practice” (P2 FG9), “train over and over again” (P6 FG1), “practice, practice, practice” (P4 FG2).

While discussing the benefits of designing homework with the purpose of practicing the content learned, teachers at both school levels agreed on the fact that homework may be a useful tool for students to diagnose their own learning achievements while working independently. Teachers were empathetic with their peers when discussing the instrumentality of homework as a “thermometer” for students to assess their own progress. This idea was discussed in similar ways in all focus group, as the following quotation illustrates:

P2 FG1: Homework should be a bridge between class and home… students are expected to work independently, learn about their difficulties when doing homework, and check whether they understood the content.

When asked to outline other characteristics of quality homework, several elementary school teachers in all focus group mentioned that quality homework should also promote “student development” as an instructional purpose. These participants explained that homework is an instructional tool that should be designed to “foster students’ autonomy” (P9 FG4), “develop study habits and routines” (P1 FG8), and “promote organization skills and study methods” (P6 FG7). These thoughts were unanimous among participants in all focus groups. While some teachers introduced real-life examples to illustrate the ideas posited by their colleagues, others nodded their heads in agreement.

In addition, some elementary school teachers observed that homework tasks requiring transference of knowledge could help develop students’ complex thinking, a highly valued topic in the current mathematics curriculum worldwide. Teachers discussed this topic enthusiastically in two opposite directions: while some teachers defended this purpose as a characteristic of quality homework, others disagreed, as the following conversation excerpt illustrates:

P7 FG5: For me good homework would be a real challenge, like a problem-solving scenario that stimulates learning transference and develops mathematical reasoning … mathematical insight. It’s hard because it forces them [students] to think in more complex ways; still, I believe this is the type of homework with the most potential gains for them.

P3 FG5: That’s a good point, but they [students] give up easily. They just don’t do their homework. This type of homework implies competencies that the majority of students do not master…

P1 FG5: Not to mention that this type of homework takes up a lot of teaching time… explaining, checking…, and we simply don’t have time for this.

Globally, participants agreed on the potential of assigning homework with the purpose of instigating students to transfer learning to new tasks. However, participants also discussed the limitations faced daily in their teaching (e.g., number of students per class, students’ lack of prior knowledge) and concluded that homework with this purpose hinders the successful development of their lesson plans. This perspective may help explain why many participants did not perceive this purpose as a significant characteristic of quality homework. Further commenting on the characteristics of quality homework, the majority of participants at both school levels agreed that quality homework should be tailored to meet students’ learning needs. The importance of individualized homework was intensely discussed in all focus groups, and several participants suggested the need for designing homework targeted at a particular student or groups of students with common education needs. The following statements exemplifies participants’ opinions:

P3 FG3: Ideally, homework should be targeted at each student individually. For André a simple exercise, for Ana a more challenging exercise … in an ideal world homework should be tailored to students’ needs.

P6 FG6: Given the diversity of students in our classes, we may find a rainbow of levels of prior knowledge… quality homework should be as varied as our students’ needs.

As discussed in the focus groups, to foster the engagement of high-achievers in homework completion, homework tasks should be challenging enough (as reported previously by P3 FG3). However, participants at both school levels observed that their heavy daily workload prevents them from assigning individualized homework:

P1 FG1: I know it’s important to assign differentiated homework tasks, and I believe in it… but this option faces real-life barriers, such as the number of classes we have to teach, each with thirty students, tons of bureaucratic stuff we have to deal with… All this raises real-life questions, real impediments… how can we design homework tasks for individual students?

Considering this challenge, teachers from both school levels suggested that quality homework should comprise exercises with increasing levels of difficulty. This strategy would respond to the heterogeneity of students’ learning needs without assigning individualized homework tasks to each student.

While discussing individualized homework, elementary school teachers added that assignments should be designed bearing in mind students’ availability (e.g., school timetable, extracurricular activities, and exam dates). Participants noted that teachers should learn the amount of workload their students have, and should be aware about the importance of students’ well-being.

P4 FG1: If students have large amounts of homework, this could be very uncomfortable and even frustrating… They have to do homework of other subjects and add time to extracurricular activities… responding to all demands can be very stressful.

P4 FG2: I think that we have to learn about the learning context of our students, namely their limitations to complete homework in the time they have available. We all have good intentions and want them to progress, but if students do not have enough time to do their homework, this won’t work. So, quality homework would be, for example, when students have exams and the teacher gives them little or no homework at all.

The discussion about the length of homework found consensus among the elementary school teachers in all focus group in that quality homework should be “brief”. During the discussions, elementary school teachers further explained that assigning long tasks is not beneficial because “they [students] end up demotivated” (P3 FG4). Besides, “completing long homework assignments takes hours!” (P5 FG4).

How do Elementary and Middle School Teachers Describe the Homework Tasks They Typically Assign to Students?

When discussing the characteristics of the homework tasks usually assigned to their students four main themes were identified by elementary school teachers (i.e., instructional purposes, degree of individualization/adaptivity, frequency and completion deadlines), and two main themes were raised by middle school (i.e., instructional purposes, and degree of individualization/adaptivity). Figure 2 gives a general overview of the findings. Data gathered from photos added themes to findings as follows: one (i.e., length) to elementary school and two (i.e., length and completion deadlines) to middle school (see Figure 3 ).

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Characteristics of the homework tasks usually assigned as reported by mathematics teachers.

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Characteristics of the homework tasks assigned by mathematics teachers.

While describing the characteristics of the homework tasks usually assigned, teachers frequently felt the need to compare the quality homework characteristics previously discussed with those practices. In fact, at this stage, teachers’ discourse was often focused on the analysis of the similarities and potential discrepancies found.

The majority of teachers at both school levels in all focus group reported that they assign homework with the purpose of practicing and reviewing the materials covered earlier. Participants at both school levels highlighted the need to practice the contents covered because by the end of 6th- and 9th-grade students have to sit for a national exam for which they have to be trained. This educational context may interfere with the underlying homework purposes teachers have, as this quotation illustrates:

P3 FG3: When teaching mathematics, we set several goals, but our main focus is always the final exam they [students] have to take. I like students who think for themselves, who push themselves out of their comfort zone. However, I’m aware that they have to score high on national exams, otherwise… so, I assign homework to practice the contents covered.

Beyond assigning homework with the purpose of practicing and reviewing, middle school teachers also mentioned assigning homework with the purpose of diagnosing skills and personal development (see Figure 2 ). Many teachers reported that they use homework as a tool to diagnose students’ skills. However, several recognized that they had previously defended the importance of homework to help students to evaluate their own learning (see Figure 1 ). When discussing the latter point, participants observed the need to find out about whether students had understood the content taught in class, and to decide which changes to teaching style, homework assigned, or both may be necessary.

Participant teachers at middle school in all focus groups profusely discussed the purpose of personal development when assigning homework. In fact, not many teachers at this school level mentioned this purpose as a characteristic of quality homework (it was a variant category, so it was not reported), yet it was referred to as a cornerstone in their homework practice. Reflecting on this discrepancy, middle school teachers explained in a displeased tone that their students were expected to have developed study habits and manage their school work with autonomy and responsibility. However, this “educational scenario is rare, so I feel the need to assign homework with this aim [personal development]” (P4 FG9).

Moving further in the discussion, the majority of teachers at both school levels reported to assign whole-class homework (homework designed for the whole class with no focus on special cases). “Individualized homework requires a great amount of time to be monitored” (P1 FG6), explained several participants while recalling earlier comments. Teachers justified their position referring to the impediments already mentioned (e.g., large number of students per class, number of classes from different grade levels which means preparing different lessons). Besides, teachers discussed the challenge of coping with heterogeneous classes, as one participant noted: “the class is so diverse that it is difficult to select homework tasks to address the needs of every single student. I would like to do it…but we do not live in an ideal world” (P9 FG4).

Moreover, teachers at both school levels (see Figure 2 ) reported to assign homework according to the availability of students; still, only elementary school teachers had earlier referred to the importance of this characteristic in quality homework. When teachers were asked to elaborate on this idea, they defended the need to negotiate with students about specific homework characteristics, for example, the amount of homework and submission deadline. In some classes, matching students’ requests, teachers might assign a “weekly homework pack” (P7 FG10). This option provides students with the opportunity to complete homework according to their availability (e.g., choosing some days during the week or weekend). Teachers agreed that ‘negotiation’ fosters students’ engagement and homework compliance (e.g., “I do not agree that students do homework on weekends, but if they show their wish and actually they complete it, for me that’s okay”, P7 FG10). In addition, teachers expressed worry about their students’ often heavy workload. Many students stay in school from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm and then attend extracurricular activities (e.g., soccer training, private music lessons). These activities leave students very little free time to enjoy as they wish, as the following statement suggests:

P8 FG4: Today I talked to a group of 5th-graders which play soccer after school three times a week. They told me that sometimes they study between 10.00 and 11.00 p.m. I was astonished. How is this possible? It’s clearly too much for these kids.

Finally, elementary school teachers in all focus group referred frequency and completion deadlines as characteristics of the homework they usually assign. The majority of teachers informed that they assign homework in almost every class (i.e., teachers reported to exclude tests eves of other subjects), to be handed in the following class.

The photos of the homework assignments (see some examples in Supplementary Material ) submitted by the participating teachers served to triangulate data. The analysis showed that teachers’ discourses about the characteristics of homework assigned and the homework samples are congruent, and added information about the length of homework (elementary and middle schools) and the completion deadlines (middle school) (see Figure 3 ).

Discussion and Implications for Practice and Research

Homework research have reported teachers’ perspectives on their homework practices (e.g., Brock et al., 2007 ; Danielson et al., 2011 ; Kaur, 2011 ; Bang, 2012 ; Kukliansky et al., 2014 ), however, literature lacks research on the quality of homework. This study adds to the literature by examining the perspectives of teachers from two school levels regarding quality homework. Moreover, participants described the characteristics of the homework assignments they typically assign, which triggered the discussion about the match between the characteristics of quality homework and the tasks actually assigned. While discussing these key aspects of the homework process, the current study provides valuable information which may help deepen our understanding of the different contributions of homework to students’ learning. Furthermore, findings are expected to inform teachers and school administrators’ homework practices and, hopefully, improve the quality of students’ learning.

All teachers at both school levels valued homework as an important educational tool for their teaching practice. Consistent with the literature, participants indicated practicing or reviewing the material covered in class as the main purpose of both the homework typically assigned ( Danielson et al., 2011 ; Kaur, 2011 ) and quality homework. Despite the extended use of this homework purpose by teachers, a recent study conducted with mathematics teachers found that homework with the purpose of practicing the material covered in class did not impact significantly the academic achievement of 6th-grade students; however, homework designed with the purpose of solving problems did (extension homework) ( Rosário et al., 2015 ). Interestingly, in the current study only teachers from elementary school mentioned the homework purpose “extension” as being part of quality homework, but these teachers did not report to use it in practice (at least it was not a typical category) (see Figure 2 ). Extension homework was not referenced by middle school teachers either as quality homework or as a characteristic of homework assigned. Given that middle school students are expected to master complex math skills at this level (e.g., National Research Council and Mathematics Learning Study Committee, 2001 ), this finding may help school administrators and teachers reflect on the value and benefits of homework to students learning progress.

Moreover, teachers at both school levels stressed the use of homework as a tool to help students evaluate their own learning as a characteristic of quality homework; however, this purpose was not said to be a characteristic of the homework usually assigned. If teachers do not explicitly emphasize this homework purpose to their students, they may not perceive its importance and lose opportunities to evaluate and improve their work.

In addition, elementary school teachers identified personal development as a characteristic of quality homework. However, only middle school teachers reported assigning homework aiming to promote students’ personal development, and evaluate students’ learning (which does not imply that students evaluate their own learning). These findings are important because existing literature has highlighted the role played by homework in promoting students’ autonomy and learning throughout schooling ( Rosário et al., 2009 , 2011 ; Ramdass and Zimmerman, 2011 ; Núñez et al., 2015b ).

Globally, data show a disconnect between what teachers believe to be the characteristics of quality homework and the characteristics of the homework assigned, which should be further analyzed in depth. For example, teachers reported that middle school students lack the autonomy and responsibility expected for this school level, which translates to poor homework behaviors. In fact, contrary to what they would expect, middle school teachers reported the need to promote students’ personal development (i.e., responsibility and autonomy). This finding is consistent with the decrease of students’ engagement in academic activities found in middle school (e.g., Cleary and Chen, 2009 ; Wang and Eccles, 2012 ). This scenario may present a dilemma to middle school teachers regarding the purposes of homework. On one hand, students should have homework with more demanding purposes (e.g., extension); on another hand, students need to master work habits, responsibility and autonomy, otherwise homework may be counterproductive according to the participating teachers’ perspective.

Additionally, prior research has indicated that classes assigned challenging homework demonstrated high mathematics achievement ( Trautwein et al., 2002 ; Dettmers et al., 2010 ). Moreover, the study by Zakharov et al. (2014) found that Russian high school students from basic and advanced tracks benefited differently from two types of homework (i.e., basic short-answer questions, and open-ended questions with high level of complexity). Results showed that a high proportion of basic or complex homework exercises enhanced mathematics exam performance for students in the basic track; whereas only a high proportion of complex homework exercises enhanced mathematics exam performance for students in the advanced track. In fact, for these students, a low proportion of complex homework exercises was detrimental to their achievement. These findings, together with our own, may help explain why the relationship between homework and mathematics achievement in middle school is lower than in elementary school (see Fan et al., 2017 ). Our findings suggest the need for teachers to reflect upon the importance of assigning homework to promote students’ development in elementary school, and of assigning homework with challenging purposes as students advance in schooling to foster high academic outcomes. There is evidence that even students with poor prior knowledge need assignments with some degree of difficulty to promote their achievement (see Zakharov et al., 2014 ). It is important to note, however, the need to support the autonomy of students (e.g., providing different the types of assignments, opportunities for students to express negative feelings toward tasks, answer students’ questions) to minimize the threat that difficult homework exercises may pose to students’ sense of competence; otherwise an excessively high degree of difficulty can lead to students’ disengagement (see Patall et al., 2018 ). Moreover, teachers should consider students’ interests (e.g., which contents and types of homework tasks students like) and discuss homework purposes with their students to foster their understanding of the tasks assigned and, consequently, their engagement in homework ( Xu, 2010 , 2018 ; Epstein and Van Voorhis, 2012 ; Rosário et al., 2018 ).

We also found differences between teachers’ perspectives of quality homework and their reported homework practices concerning the degree of individualization when assigning homework. Contrary to the perspectives that quality homework stresses individual needs, teachers reported to assign homework to the whole class. In spite of the educational costs associated with assigning homework adjusted to specific students or groups of students (mentioned several times by participants), research has reported benefits for students when homework assignments match their educational needs (e.g., Cooper, 2001 ; Trautwein et al., 2006a ; Zakharov et al., 2014 ). The above-mentioned study by Zakharov et al. (2014) also shed light on this topic while supporting our participants’ suggestion to assign homework with increasing level of difficulty aiming to match the variety of students’ levels of knowledge (see also Dettmers et al., 2010 ). However, teachers did not mention this idea when discussing the characteristic of homework typically assigned. Thus, school administrators may wish to consider training teachers (e.g., using mentoring, see Núñez et al., 2013 ) to help them overcome some of the obstacles faced when designing and assigning homework targeting students’ individual characteristics and learning needs.

Another interesting finding is related to the sub-theme of homework adjusted to the availability of students. This was reported while discussing homework quality (elementary school) and characteristics of homework typically assigned (elementary and middle school). Moreover, some elementary and middle school teachers explained by email the reasons why they did not assign homework in some circumstances [e.g., eves of assessment tests of other subjects, extracurricular activities, short time between classes (last class of the day and next class in the following morning)]. These teachers’ behaviors show concern for students’ well-being, which may positively influence the relationship between students and teachers. As some participants mentioned, “students value this attitude” (P1 FG5). Thus, future research may explore how homework adjusted to the availability of students may contribute to encouraging positive behaviors, emotions and outcomes of students toward their homework.

Data gathered from the photos of the assigned homework tasks allowed a detailed analysis of the length and completion deadlines of homework. Long assignments did not match elementary school teachers’ perspectives of quality homework. However, a long homework was assigned once and aimed to help students practice the material covered for the mathematics assessment test. Here, practices diverged. Some teachers assigned this homework some weeks before and others assign it in last class before the test. For this reason, the “long term” completion deadline was not a typical category, hence not reported. Future research could consider studying the impact of this homework characteristic on students’ behaviors and academic performance.

Finally, our findings show that quality homework, according to teachers’ perspectives, requires attention to a combination of several characteristics of homework. Future studies may include measures to assess characteristics of homework other than “challenge” and “selection” already investigated ( Trautwein et al., 2006b ; Dettmers et al., 2010 ; Rosário et al., 2018 ); for example, homework adjusted to the availability of students.

Strengths and Limitations of the Study

The current study analyzed the teachers’ perspectives on the characteristics of quality homework and of the homework they typically assigned. Despite the incapability to generalize data, we believe that these findings provide important insights into the characteristics that may impact a homework assignment’s effectiveness, especially at middle school level. For example, our results showed a disconnect between teachers’ perspectives about the characteristics of quality homework and the characteristics of the homework they assign. This finding is relevant and emphasizes the need to reflect on the consistency between educational discourses and educational practices. Teachers and school administrators could consider finding opportunities to reflect on this disconnect, which may also occur in other educational practices (e.g., teacher feedback, types of questions asked in class). Present data indicate that middle school teachers reported to assign homework with the major purpose of practicing and reviewing the material, but they also aim to develop students’ responsibility and autonomy; still they neglect homework with the purpose of extension which is focused on encouraging students to display an autonomous role, solve problems and transfer the contents learned (see discussion section). Current findings also highlight the challenges and dilemmas teachers face when they assign homework, which is important to address in teachers’ training. In fact, assigning quality homework, that is, homework that works, is not an easy task for teachers and our findings provide empirical data to discuss and reflect upon its implications for research and educational practice. Although our findings cannot be generalized, still they are expected to provide important clues to enhance teachers’ homework practices in different contexts and educational settings, given that homework is among the most universal educational practices in the classroom, is a topic of public debate (e.g., some arguments against homework are related to the characteristics of the assignments, and to the malpractices in using this educational tool) and an active area of research in many countries ( Fan et al., 2017 ).

Moreover, these findings have identified some of the most common obstacles teachers struggle with; such data may be useful to school administrators when designing policies and to teacher training. The administrative obstacles (e.g., large number of students per class) reported by teachers may help understand some of the discrepancies found between teachers’ definition of quality homework and their actual homework practices (e.g., degree of individualization), and also identify which problems related to homework may require intervention. Furthermore, future research could further investigate this topic by interviewing teachers, videotaping classroom activities and discussing data in order to design new avenues of homework practices.

We share the perspective of Trautwein et al. (2006b) on the importance of mapping the characteristics of homework positively associated with students’ homework behaviors. Data from this study may inform future studies analyzing these relationships, promote adaptive homework behaviors and enhance learning.

Methodologically, this research followed rigorous procedures to increase the trustworthiness of findings, improving the validity of the study (e.g., Lincoln and Guba, 1985 ) that should be accounted for. Data from two data sources (i.e., focus groups and the homework assignments photographed) were consistent, and the member checking conducted in both phases allowed the opportunity to learn that the findings of the focus group seem to accurately reflect the overall teachers’ perspectives regarding quality homework and their homework practices.

Despite the promising contributions of this study to the body of research regarding homework practices, this specific research provides an incomplete perspective of the homework process as it has only addressed the perspectives of one of the agents involved. Future research may consider analyzing students’ perspectives about the same topic and contrast data with those of teachers. Findings are expected to help us identify the homework characteristics most highly valued by students and learn about whether they match those of teachers.

Furthermore, data from homework assignments (photos) were provided by 25% of the participating teachers and for a short period of time (i.e., three weeks in one school term). Future research may consider conducting small-scale studies by collecting data from various sources of information aiming at triangulating data (e.g., analyzing homework assignments given in class, interviewing students, conducting in-class observations) at different times of the school year. Researchers should also consider conducting similar studies in different subjects to compare data and inform teachers’ training.

Finally, our participants’ description does not include data regarding the teaching methodology followed by teachers in class. However, due to the potential interference of this variable in results, future research may consider collect and report data regarding school modality and the teaching methodology followed in class.

Homework is an instructional tool that has proved to enhance students’ learning ( Cooper et al., 2006 ; Fernández-Alonso et al., 2015 ; Valle et al., 2016 ; Fan et al., 2017 ; Rosário et al., 2018 ). Still, homework is a complex process and needs to be analyzed thoroughly. For instance, when planning and designing homework, teachers need to choose a set of homework characteristics (e.g., frequency, purposes, degree of individualization, see Cooper, 2001 ; Trautwein et al., 2006b ) considering students’ attributes (e.g., Cooper, 2001 ), which may pose a daily challenge even for experienced teachers as those of the current study. Regardless of grade level, quality homework results from the balance of a set of homework characteristics, several of which were addressed by our participants. As our data suggest, teachers need time and space to reflect on their practices and design homework tasks suited for their students. To improve the quality of homework design, school administrators may consider organizing teacher training addressing theoretical models of homework assignment and related research, discussing homework characteristics and their influence on students’ homework behaviors (e.g., amount of homework completed, homework effort), and academic achievement. We believe that this training would increase teachers’ knowledge and self-efficacy beliefs to develop homework practices best suited to their students’ needs, manage work obstacles and, hopefully, assign quality homework.

Ethics Statement

This study was reviewed and approved by the ethics committee of the University of Minho. All research participants provided written informed consent in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

Author Contributions

PR and TN substantially contributed to the conception and the design of the work. TN and JC were responsible for the literature search. JC, TN, AN, and TM were responsible for the acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of data for the work. PR was also in charge of technical guidance. JN made important intellectual contribution in manuscript revision. PR, JC, and TN wrote the manuscript with valuable inputs from the remaining authors. All authors agreed for all aspects of the work and approved the version to be published.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.


The authors would like to thank Fuensanta Monroy and Connor Holmes for the English editing of the manuscript.

Funding. This study was conducted at Psychology Research Centre, University of Minho, and supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology and the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science through national funds and when applicable co-financed by FEDER under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement (UID/PSI/01662/2013). PR was supported by the research projects EDU2013-44062-P (MINECO) and EDU2017-82984-P (MEIC). TN was supported by a Ph.D. fellowship (SFRH/BD/80405/2011) from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).

Supplementary Material

The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00224/full#supplementary-material

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Stressed student

Homework: is it worth the hassle?

Parents and educators question the value of setting assignments for students. But what does the neuroscience say?

Like all teachers, I’ve spent many hours correcting homework. Yet there’s a debate over whether we should be setting it at all.

I teach both primary and secondary, and regularly find myself drawn into the argument on the reasoning behind it – parents, and sometimes colleagues, question its validity. Parent-teacher interviews can become consumed by how much trouble students have completing assignments. All of which has led me to question the neuroscience behind setting homework. Is it worth it?

Increasingly, there’s a divide between those who support the need for homework and those who suggest the time would be better spent with family and developing relationships. The anxiety related to homework is frequently reviewed.

A survey of high-performing high schools by the Stanford Graduate School of Education, for example, found that 56% of students considered homework a primary source of stress. These same students reported that the demands of homework caused sleep deprivation and other health problems, as well as less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits.

Working memory?

When students learn in the classroom, they are using their short-term or working memory. This information is continually updated during the class. On leaving the classroom, the information in the working memory is replaced by the topic in the next class.

Adults experience a similar reaction when they walk into a new room and forget why they are there. The new set of sensory information – lighting, odours, temperature – enters their working memory and any pre-existing information is displaced. It’s only when the person returns to the same environment that they remember the key information.

But education is about more than memorising facts. Students need to access the information in ways that are relevant to their world, and to transfer knowledge to new situations.

Many of us will have struggled to remember someone’s name when we meet them in an unexpected environment (a workmate at the gym, maybe), and we are more likely to remember them again once we’ve seen them multiple times in different places. Similarly, students must practise their skills in different environments.

Revising the key skills learned in the classroom during homework increases the likelihood of a student remembering and being able to use those skills in a variety of situations in the future, contributing to their overall education.

The link between homework and educational achievement is supported by research: a meta-analysis of studies between 1987 and 2003 found that: “With only rare exceptions, the relationship between the amount of homework students do and their achievement outcomes was found to be positive and statistically significant.”

The right type of work

The homework debate is often split along the lines of primary school compared with secondary school. Education researcher Professor John Hattie, who has ranked various influences on student learning and achievement, found that homework in primary schools has a negligible effect (most homework set has little to no impact on a student’s overall learning). However, it makes a bigger difference in secondary schools.

His explanation is that students in secondary schools are often given tasks that reinforce key skills learned in the classroom that day, whereas primary students may be asked to complete separate assignments. “The worst thing you can do with homework is give kids projects; the best thing you can do is reinforce something you’ve already learned,” he told the BBC in 2014.

So homework can be effective when it’s the right type of homework. In my own practice, the primary students I teach will often be asked to find real-life examples of the concept taught instead of traditional homework tasks, while homework for secondary students consolidates the key concepts covered in the classroom. For secondary in particular, I find a general set of rules useful:

  • Set work that’s relevant. This includes elaborating on information addressed in the class or opportunities for students to explore the key concept in areas of their own interest.
  • Make sure students can complete the homework. Pitch it to a student’s age and skills – anxiety will only limit their cognitive abilities in that topic. A high chance of success will increase the reward stimulation in the brain.
  • Get parents involved, without the homework being a point of conflict with students. Make it a sharing of information, rather than a battle.
  • Check the homework with the students afterwards. This offers a chance to review the key concepts and allow the working memory to become part of the long-term memory.

While there is no data on the effectiveness of homework in different subjects, these general rules could be applied equally to languages, mathematics or humanities. And by setting the right type of homework, you’ll help to reinforce key concepts in a new environment, allowing the information you teach to be used in a variety of contexts in the future.

Helen Silvester is a writer for npj Science of Learning Community

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Why (Most) Homework Should Be Banned

The 30-minute rule is there to justify giving a lot of homework

Anthony Malcolm ‘23 , Staff Writer December 8, 2022

There are plenty of reasons why (most) homework should be banned. I’ll start out with some general facts and look at homework in general, then go into some detail about our school.

Stanford conducted a study surveying over 4,300 students in 10 high performing high schools in California. More than 70% of the students said they were “often or always stressed over schoolwork,” with 56% claiming that homework was the main stressor. But here’s the kicker: Less than 1% said homework was not a stressor. 

The researchers then asked the students if they had exhibited symptoms of stress like headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss, and stomach problems. More than 80% of the students reported at least one stress related symptom recently and 44% claimed they experienced 3 or more symptoms. The study also found that students who spend a lot of time working on homework experience more stress, physical health problems, and a lack of balance in their lives. The study claimed that any more than 2 hours of homework per night was counterproductive, and that the students who spent too much time on homework were more likely to not participate in activities and hobbies, and stop seeing friends and family. 

A smaller NYU study claimed that students at elite high schools are susceptible to chronic stress, emotional exhaustion, and alcohol and drug abuse. About half of the students said they received at least 3 hours of homework a night on top of being pressured to take college level classes and participate in extracurricular activities (sound familiar?). The study claims that many of the students felt they were being worked as hard as adults, and they said that their workload seemed inappropriate for their development level. The study reported that the students felt that they had little time for relaxing and hobbies. More than two thirds of students said they used alcohol or drugs, primarily marijuana, to cope with the stress.

Back to the Stanford study for a second; many of the students claimed that the homework was “pointless” or “mindless.” The study argues that homework should have a purpose and benefit, which should be to cultivate learning. One of the main reasons is that school feels like a full-time job at this point. We, as in BC High students, are in school from 8:25 till 2:40; most of us have some sort of extracurricular activity on top of that, and most of us have significant commutes, which means we are getting home much later. On top of a rigorous day at school, an afterschool activity, and a commute, we have to deal with a varying amount of homework every night. Sometimes it is 2 hours, sometimes 3, sometimes even 4. I will give you an example of a day in my life last year to provide a specific example, because we are not a one size fits all community. 

I live in Middleboro and Bridgewater, so I ride the train to school which takes 50 minutes to an hour. A spring day last year would start by waking up at 5:30 and then leaving my house to get to the train at 6:30-6:35, getting on the train at 6:50, getting off the train at 7:50, and arriving at the school before classes started at 8:20. I would go through the school day and stay after for track practice. After track, I would most likely get on the train at 5:00 and get home at 6:15. I would eat dinner, shower, and then start my homework around 7:30-8, and usually I would finish somewhere between 10:30ish to 11:30ish. Can you see how that can be misconstrued as a full-time job?

Some of you might be thinking (especially any teacher reading this), why didn’t you use the 30-minute rule? Well, because most (and I mean MOST) of the time the 30-minute rule is an ineffective rule that justifies giving students a lot of homework. If you use the 30-minute rule and don’t finish a homework assignment, it still has to be completed sometime, and you’ll be behind in class. It is only effective when a teacher plans for the 30-minute rule and tells you to stop at 30 minutes to get an idea of how long an assignment takes their students. The 30-minute rule is there to justify giving a lot of homework because if you say in class that the homework took a long time, you will probably be told about the 30-minute rule. But if you used the 30-minute rule, you would have an unfinished homework assignment which means, depending on the class, you would be lost and behind, and you would still have to do it at some point. If you should have to justify giving a lot of homework, then it is probably too much. 

Parker, Clifton B. “Stanford Research Shows Pitfalls of Homework.” Stanford University , 10 Mar. 2014, http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/march/too-much-homework-031014.html . 

Communications, NYU Web. NYU Study Examines Top High School Students’ Stress and Coping Mechanisms . http://www.nyu.edu/content/nyu/en/about/news-publications/news/2015/august/nyu

-study-examines-top-high-school-students-stress-and-coping-mechanisms . 

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Mobile phones in schools: are they being banned?

mobile phone ban

By the age of 12, 97% of children own a mobile phone, but the use of mobile phones in school can lead to distractions, disruption and can increase the risk of online bullying.  

Many schools have already introduced rules which prohibit the use of phones at school, to help children focus on their education, and the friends and staff around them.   

We’re introducing guidance which encourages all schools to follow this approach, so that more pupils can benefit from the advantages of a phone-free environment. Here’s everything you need to know.  

Are you banning mobile phones in schools?  

The new guidance says that schools should prohibit the use of mobile phones, but they will have autonomy on how to do this.  

Some may allow phones to be brought onto the premises but not to be used during school hours, including at breaktime.  

This brings England in line with other countries who have put in place similar rules, including France, Italy and Portugal.  

Will this apply to all pupils?   

The guidance sets out that there will be some limited cases where pupils should be exempt from the rule.  

While the majority of pupils won’t be allowed to use their mobile phones during the school day, we know that some children need their mobile phones for medical reasons, or because they have special educational needs and/or disabilities.   

How will prohibiting mobile phones work in schools?  

Schools will be able to choose an approach to prohibiting mobile phones which suits them.  

This could include banning phones from the school premises, handing in phones on arrival at school, or keeping phones locked away.   

What else are you doing to improve school behaviour?  

We’re investing £10 million in Behaviour Hubs across the country, supporting up to 700 schools to improve behaviour over three years.  

Behaviour Hubs help schools that have exemplary positive behaviour cultures to work closely with other schools that want to turn around their behaviour, alongside providing access to central support and a taskforce of advisers.  

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After Wake Forest incident, should court-storming be banned? ‘It’s a tough challenge’

WINSTON SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 24: Wake Forest Demon Deacons fans storm the court after a win Duke Blue Devils at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum on February 24, 2024 in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Wake Forest won 83-79. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

By Brendan Marks, Dana O’Neil and Nicole Auerbach

The floodgates burst before the final buzzer sounded.

Although, given the record crowd inside Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, maybe that shouldn’t have been a surprise. Nearly 15,000 Wake Forest fans had crammed into the building to watch their team take on No. 8 Duke — and, hopefully, to bear witness to a resume-affirming win, one that would solidify the Demon Deacons as an NCAA Tournament team. Imagine their excitement then, during the game’s final timeout with 1.8 seconds left, when they were on the precipice of an 83-79 home win.


That … and one cathartic, chaotic celebration.

When Duke’s subsequent inbounds pass was intercepted, it was all the signal students needed. Wake Forest fans immediately flooded the floor, sprinting to join the mosh pit forming at midcourt. One issue, though: Duke star Kyle Filipowski hadn’t gotten off the court before the celebration broke out — and multiple fans made contact with him while running at full speed. Filipowski appeared to get turned around, then injured, before a Duke manager reached him in the frenzy, forming a human barrier against the raging court storm. Soon other Duke staffers and players joined in, all protecting Filipowski as he limped off the floor.


Duke star Kyle Filipowski hurt as Wake Forest fans rush court

By the time Duke coach Jon Scheyer made it to his postgame press conference, he was fuming.

“When are we going to ban court-storming?” Scheyer asked. “Like, how many times does a player have to get into something, where they get punched or they get pushed or they get taunted right in their face? It’s a dangerous thing.”

In the wake of a second high-profile athlete-fan collision in about a month — Iowa star Caitlin Clark was knocked down on Jan. 21, after Ohio State upset Clark’s Hawkeyes — Scheyer’s question is being asked at every level of college athletics. Court storms have long been some of the most iconic visuals in college basketball, but they’ve increasingly come under fire for potential player safety concerns. “Who in their right mind,” Scheyer added, “can see that and say, yeah, that’s smart?” He isn’t alone in that sentiment. Which is why those in the basketball industry, from coaches to administrators to conference executives, now must answer the following:

Can a time-honored tradition be preserved with tweaks … or is it time to ban court storms once and for all?

“There’s a difference between trying to stop court-storming and trying to prevent injury,” Butler athletic director Barry Collier said. “I’d prefer we chase the latter of those two, and then I think we’d be in a better place.”

This is not the first time there’s been public — or private — backlash to court-storming. It’s been an ongoing discussion amongst college basketball’s shareholders for decades.

In 2004, the debate ignited after Arizona high schooler Joe Kay was accidentally trampled during a court storm; Kay suffered a stroke and torn carotid artery, which partially paralyzed his right side. In 2013, NC State’s C.J. Leslie had to lift a wheelchair-bound fan (who had fallen out of his chair during a court storm) away from the crowd to protect him. Then in 2015, Kansas State fans nearly trampled Kansas coach Bill Self after an upset home win over the Jayhawks. (In that same incident, a student threw an elbow at Kansas forward Jamari Taylor, and a KU assistant coach put another fan in a headlock.)

The court storming after Nebraska beats Purdue pic.twitter.com/wkxdX6Sex2 — Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) January 10, 2024

After No. 1 Purdue lost at Nebraska on Jan. 9 — and endured a now-common court storm — Boilermakers coach Matt Painter sounded off. “Someone’s gonna get hurt,” Painter said, almost prophetically. “Could be a student. Could be one of (the opponent’s) guys. Could be one of our guys. Could be someone working the scorer’s bench. Could be anybody — but I don’t know why people don’t get ahead of it. It’s happened a lot, and I just don’t understand that.” Now after incidents to Clark and Filipowski — two of the higher-profile players in their respective games — there’s a renewed push for change.

But will anything come of this?

Regardless of which side of the court-storming argument you fall on — whether you think they deserve to be protected as part of the student/fan experience, or if you think they’re too dangerous and should be banned — the logistical questions surrounding them are tough entry points to change. For example: How do you enforce a ban on court storms, if such a thing were to ever pass? “It’s very difficult to stop mass stampede,” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said. “Some of the security experts may even tell you in some cases, it’s safer to get out of the way than to create a worse situation.”

Many leagues mandate that their schools provide safety plans before sporting events, as a precautionary measure, but effectively enforcing those is hit-or-miss. (What good, in some cases, is a thin rope going to do in quelling a mob of young adults?) Certain conferences also enforce disciplinary measures, like fines, to disincentivize the practice. Beginning with the 2023-24 athletic calendar, for instance, the SEC moved to a multi-tiered fine system: $100,000 for first-time offenses, $250,000 for the second time, and $500,000 for any subsequent incidents.

Thus far, though, those haven’t been effective deterrents; the league just fined LSU $100,000 for its court storm following last week’s buzzer-beating win over Kentucky . (The ACC is the only high-major league that does not fine teams for court storming.) Boosters or fans starting GoFundMe accounts have paid many of those fines; the actual court-stormers — mostly students — face no real penalties, unlike those unruly fans who are tackled and often arrested when they run onto the field during pro games.

“They’re almost a badge of honor for those who rush the court,” Collier said of the fines.

More serious punishments have also been considered, but failed to gain serious traction.

“What if you make the home team forfeit the game, because their fans rushed the field or court? We certainly talked about that,” said Jeremy Hammond, the associate SEC commissioner who headed the league’s working group on event security. “But I don’t think there was an appetite, at our office or amongst our membership and their leadership, to punish the student-athletes in that manner for something they weren’t involved in and have no control over … That’s where that sort of died on the vine.”

What options are realistically available, then, to prevent these situations from recurring?

One common-sense starting point is better communication with the people involved: the fans. When Kansas State coach Jerome Tang took over before last season, he told the Wildcats’ fan base they got one court storm for the season. “If you want to build a championship culture and expectation, you’ve got to do the actions before the championships come,” Tang said. “So I told them, hey, you got the one court storming — but from here on out, let’s expect to win.” Earlier this season, the Wildcats were on the verge of beating top-10 rival Kansas, and Tang was uncertain if fans still planned to rush the floor. So he and his staff waved them down before the final buzzer and asked that students not do it.

Their response?

They … actually listened. Instead, Tang sent his players up into the stands to celebrate with their peers.

“I just feel like it’s better for us to go celebrate with them in the stands,” Tang added, “than for them to go running out on the court.”

There’s no reason that sort of communication can’t happen everywhere. Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes said Saturday night, in the wake of his team’s victory, that he anticipates the school and its fans will handle the next such situation better. “I don’t like court-stormings – never have been a part of those before,” Forbes said. “As a coach, they just don’t feel safe.”

article homework should be banned

That brings up another popular talking point, especially following the Filipowski incident: What is a coach’s role in all this? When Kansas was about to lose at Kansas State, for instance, Self pulled his players off the court with several seconds left, as a way to preemptively avoid any problems. “I said, OK, guys, game’s over,” Self said. “Throw it in bounds, everybody run to the sideline.” Scheyer said after Saturday’s game that down with his team down by four points, he still had hope of salvaging a win. “In retrospect,” he said, “I wish I would’ve gotten those guys off the court. So I let them down in that respect.”

Tang said that just as he has one assistant coach monitor a team’s fouls, in the future, you might need another assistant monitoring a potential court storm. But it’s a fine line between competition and safety.

Plus, that sort of preparation also isn’t applicable in every situation. True buzzer-beaters, for instance, don’t have any build-up time. They happen spontaneously, the raw joy of one triumphant moment washing over a crowd at once. “While you probably can mark your schedule when things are likely to happen, you don’t know when it’s going to happen,” Collier said. “You have to have a backup plan.” And that’s why, as much as communication is key, it does come back to a school’s specific game plan.

The standard at most high-major schools is for security guards or other safety personnel to string a rope around the court (or a portion of it) postgame to deter would-be stormers. The most-prepared schools, like Kansas State, even practice their postgame procedure the day before, according to Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor. “Before the big games,” Taylor added, “that might be a court storming.” Sometimes, those security folks move in conjunction with a public announcement, or a relayed message to those leading a student section. But at the same time, multiple people in the industry lament the unreasonable financial and personnel costs associated with protecting against court storms for every single game — not to mention the potential problems of overzealous security guards or students rushing right at them.

“It’s really complicated to have enough people to hold back a crowd like that,” Collier said. “We’ve had enough people before, but the general policy has been don’t create another physical altercation between security guards and the students. We’re talking about students here.”

Wake Forest, for example, entered Saturday as the betting favorite over Duke, and had its first sellout in seven seasons. It’s easier to predict court storms in situations like that, but should schools bear the financial burden of additional staffing for every single game?

“I think schools should be prepared, regardless of whether or not they know,” Self said. “You don’t hire less people because you think it might not happen. You should hire the same amount of people all the time.”

That’s also easier to say at high-major schools with more resources. For mid-major leagues, the ones reliant on auto-bids to make the NCAA Tournament, it’s less feasible to make that financial commitment for every big-time opponent that comes to town.

Storming the court has developed into a tradition, a way for fans to mark big upsets or special occasions. They get shown all over “SportsCenter” and on social media. It happens in football, too, though there’s much more real estate on a football field — where players are already wearing protective gear — than on the confines of a 94-foot basketball court. In some ways, these scenes are what differentiate college sports from the pros.

“People are trying to strike a balance between how do we not remove some of the fanfare and some of the great things about collegiate sports, what comes with an underdog taking down a team that they weren’t supposed to be — and balancing that against making sure everybody’s safe,” Hammond said. “It’s a tough challenge.”

Filipowski, his right leg wrapped in plastic and an ice pack on his knee, told reporters that he sprained his knee in the commotion. Duke doesn’t play again until Wednesday, when it hosts ACC cellar-dweller Louisville. Scheyer declined to comment on Sunday about his star player’s status.

But the sophomore forward, who leads Duke in scoring and rebounding, made clear his feelings on how things played out.

“I absolutely feel like it was personal,” Filipowski told reporters. “They didn’t do anything to stop it. That’s just ridiculous.”

Ultimately, it is the home school’s responsibility to protect not only its players, but opposing ones and officials. Wake Forest athletic director John Currie — who was also Kansas State’s AD in 2015, for the aforementioned incident with Kansas — said in a statement that while the program had a plan in place for any postgame celebration, “we clearly must do better.”

“I am in complete agreement that something more must be done about the national phenomenon of court and field storming,” the statement continued, “and Wake Forest looks forward to being a part of those conversations.”

We’ll see if those conversations ever actually lead to action.

It’s hard to stop the floodgates when they’re already open.

— The Athletic ’s CJ Moore contributed to this story .

(Top photo of Wake Forest fans storming the court after Saturday’s win over Duke: Grant Halverson / Getty Images)

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Subscribe to The Athletic for in-depth coverage of your favorite players, teams, leagues and clubs. Try a week on us.

Critical Financial

Critical Financial

17 Reasons Why Electric Cars Should Be Banned

Posted: February 25, 2024 | Last updated: February 25, 2024

<p>The use of electric cars is growing by the day, and with that come various drawbacks. Electric cars were innovated as a way to reduce greenhouse emissions and combat climate change; however, several problems arise with their increased use and call for a need to regulate them. This article looks at 17 reasons why electric cars should be banned.</p>

The use of electric cars is growing by the day, and with that come various drawbacks. Electric cars were innovated as a way to reduce greenhouse emissions and combat climate change; however, several problems arise with their increased use and call for a need to regulate them. This article looks at 17 reasons why electric cars should be banned.

<p>Electric cars use lithium-ion batteries, and the manufacture of these batteries involves mining for rare metals that greatly cause pollution. According to the <a href="https://climate.mit.edu/ask-mit/are-electric-vehicles-definitely-better-climate-gas-powered-cars">Climate Portal</a>, the production of batteries for electric cars causes 80% more emissions than gasoline cars, which significantly affects the environment.</p>

Environmental Impact of Battery Production

Electric cars use lithium-ion batteries, and the manufacture of these batteries involves mining for rare metals that greatly cause pollution. According to the Climate Portal , the production of batteries for electric cars causes 80% more emissions than gasoline cars, which significantly affects the environment.

<p>Electricity is another thing that Americans often take for granted. A constant, reliable power supply is available at homes and businesses throughout the country, powering all aspects of modern life. In the rare instance of a power outage, we often don’t know what to do with ourselves.</p>

Strain on Electrical Grid

As more people adapt to the use of electric cars, there is an increased strain on the existing electrical grids. This increases the risk of blackouts and infrastructural overload, and the situation can be even worse in areas with limited access to electricity.

<p>The first commercially available fully electric vehicle was the Tesla Roadster, released in 2008. Since this pioneering sports car, fully electric vehicles have gained popularity for many reasons; they offer unparalleled economy, sustainability, zero emissions, and quieter engines.</p>

Limited Range and Infrastructure

Electric cars face challenges for use over long distances. Despite improvements in battery technology, they still face issues with limited range. Ypte.org states that many electric vehicles only have a range of about 150 miles or less and would require a charging time of around 30 minutes with a high-voltage power station.

<p>Life on an oil rig is not for everyone. The work can be physically demanding, and the isolation intense. However, the job can be lucrative, especially for those with specialized skills.</p><p><a href="https://www.dontpayfull.com/blog/dangerous-jobs-that-pay-extremely-well">Don’t Pay Full</a> says, “Expect to be away from your family for long periods at a time, and be aware that your job is also plenty dangerous. That’s why a driller can earn over $100,000 a year.”</p>

Impact on Oil Industry and Economy

The transition to electric cars threatens traditional automotive sectors like the oil industry. Fluctuations in oil demand could disrupt economies heavily reliant on oil revenues, leading to economic instability. Therefore, banning electric cars could help preserve jobs and revenue tied to fossil fuel extraction, refining, and distribution.

<p>Proper disposal and recycling of electric car batteries need to be improved. According to <a href="https://cyberswitching.com/challenges-recycling-electric-car-batteries/#:~:text=Recycling%20electric%20car%20batteries%20is%20a%20complex%20process%20that%20involves,makes%20the%20process%20more%20complicated.">Cyber Switching</a>, there is a diverse range of processes required for the proper disposal of lithium-ion batteries, and there are no guidelines on how to do it, which increases the risk to the environment.</p>

Disposal and Recycling Challenges

Proper disposal and recycling of electric car batteries need to be improved. According to Cyber Switching , there is a diverse range of processes required for the proper disposal of lithium-ion batteries, and there are no guidelines on how to do it, which increases the risk to the environment.

<p>Countries are all fighting to take the lead in the electric car market. This international competition is helping to drive electrical advancements and make cars as eco-friendly as they can possibly be. There have been some global collaborations in the technology and infrastructure of electric cars to really get the ball rolling.</p>

Affordability and Accessibility

Banning electric cars might be necessary due to affordability and accessibility issues. Higher initial costs and the limited availability of affordable models exclude many consumers, widening socioeconomic disparities. Until electric vehicles become more accessible to all income brackets, a ban may ensure equitable transportation options for everyone.

<p>The increasing demand for rare earth metals in electric car batteries raises concerns about resource depletion and supply chain vulnerabilities. Problems with supply chains, such as limited battery production capacity and relying on a few countries for critical materials, can heighten geopolitical risks, necessitating diversification strategies and sustainable resource management practices.</p>

Resource Depletion and Supply Chain Issues

The increasing demand for rare earth metals in electric car batteries raises concerns about resource depletion and supply chain vulnerabilities. Problems with supply chains, such as limited battery production capacity and relying on a few countries for critical materials, can heighten geopolitical risks, necessitating diversification strategies and sustainable resource management practices.

<p>The stickers, however, caused trouble for gas stations and their employees. Speaking to <a href="https://www.waaytv.com/news/satirical-sticker-at-north-alabama-gas-pumps-bringing-problems-for-gas-station-owners/article_d63337c4-9b70-11ec-8c92-bbc1665ea796.html">WaayTV</a>, Perry Cagle, assistant manager of a gas station in Alabama, said, “The point of the matter is it’s causing issues for us because we get points taken off if our corporate comes by and does inspections they do.”</p>

Impact on Gasoline Tax Revenue

The shift toward electric vehicles undermines traditional revenue streams from gasoline taxes, a primary source of funding for road maintenance and infrastructure. Compensating for lost revenue requires exploring alternative funding mechanisms, such as road usage charges or taxes on electricity consumption, to compensate for lost revenue.

<p>Lithium-ion batteries in electric cars pose fire risks, presenting encounters for emergency responders. Addressing safety concerns requires specialized training and equipment for battery handling and firefighting. Additionally, concerns about pedestrian safety due to the quiet operation of electric vehicles necessitate implementing auditory warning systems to alert pedestrians to approaching vehicles.</p>

Safety Concerns

Lithium-ion batteries in electric cars pose fire risks, presenting encounters for emergency responders. Addressing safety concerns requires specialized training and equipment for battery handling and firefighting. Additionally, concerns about pedestrian safety due to the quiet operation of electric vehicles necessitate implementing auditory warning systems to alert pedestrians to approaching vehicles.

<p>Getting your car fixed can be full of surprises and head-scratching moments. From corny jokes to those confusing extra charges, mechanics sure have a special way of turning a simple service into something we’ll always remember. In this post, we look at 18 things mechanics do that might get on your nerves.</p>

Disruption of Traditional Automotive Service Industry

Electric cars need different expertise for maintenance and repair. The transition to electric vehicles (EVs) risks job displacement in traditional service sectors, necessitating retraining and adaptation for auto mechanics and service centers to meet the evolving demands of the market, posing significant challenges in the process.

<p>Ever tried getting around a major U.S. city without a car? It can be a headache. In contrast, lots of places around the world have top-notch public transit systems. Investing in better buses, trains, and subways could make life easier for millions of Americans and help reduce traffic jams.</p>

Impact on Public Transportation and Urban Planning

Electric cars may reduce reliance on public transportation, impacting urban planning. Increased private vehicle usage could strain infrastructure and exacerbate congestion. Moreover, public transit systems may need to adapt, focusing on efficiency and sustainability to remain viable options, while urban planners face challenges in balancing the needs of various transportation modes.

<p>Hazard symbols originate from the drawings used to designate something poisonous in the early 1800s. They have since been adopted internationally to ensure consistent communication of chemical hazards. The symbols are designed to be easily recognizable and understandable to avoid exposing people to harm.</p>

Public Health Concerns

Electric vehicles are often praised for their potential to reduce air pollution, but concerns arise regarding indirect emissions from electricity generation. In urban areas, where EV adoption is high but electricity relies on fossil fuels, respiratory health risks persist. Additionally, battery production involves chemicals that pose health hazards to workers and nearby communities.

<p>Trying to live a more eco-friendly life? You’ll notice that the cost of sustainable products is on the rise, making it a bit of a luxury. It’s all thanks to their popularity with wealthier people, but there are still ways to be green without spending too much.</p>

Challenges in Charging Infrastructure Expansion

Expanding charging infrastructure, especially in rural and remote areas, faces hurdles such as installation costs and lower population density. Significant investments in both hardware and software solutions are required to build and upgrade charging stations. Integrating renewable energy sources further complicates infrastructure development, requiring careful planning and investment.

<p>Electric cars can convert a higher amount of electrical energy into vehicle movement. It helps to reduce the amount of energy used when the car is idle. This means that an electric car has a better performance with fewer energy needs compared to conventional cars.</p>

Grid Decarbonization Challenges

Transitioning to electric vehicles necessitates decarbonizing the electricity grid, which involves scaling up renewable energy sources and phasing out fossil fuels. Challenges include intermittency, grid congestion, and energy market dynamics. Collaboration among policymakers, utilities, and stakeholders is essential to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon electricity system.

<p>A decrease in demand within the mining industry has caused a lot of financial instability worldwide. Concerns such as changes in environmental factors, a lack of demand for mining goods and products, and fluctuations in the number of trained workers available for employment have all seen a decline in this industry.</p>

Wildlife Habitat Threats

Increased use of electric vehicles intensifies the need for resources like lithium and cobalt, leading to a rise in mining activities. This expansion poses threats to wildlife habitats, particularly in regions rich in these minerals. Mining operations disrupt ecosystems and contribute to habitat loss, impacting biodiversity and endangering vulnerable species.

<p>The manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles contributes significantly to their overall carbon footprint. Lithium-ion batteries require energy-intensive processes and the extraction of raw materials, both of which release greenhouse gasses. Additionally, sourcing materials like lithium and cobalt can involve environmentally damaging practices, further exacerbating the carbon footprint of EV batteries.</p>

Increased Carbon Footprint

The manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles contributes significantly to their overall carbon footprint. Lithium-ion batteries require energy-intensive processes and the extraction of raw materials, both of which release greenhouse gasses. Additionally, sourcing materials like lithium and cobalt can involve environmentally damaging practices, further exacerbating the carbon footprint of EV batteries.

<p>While electric vehicles produce no <a href="https://www.acela.org/fuels-basics/fuels-and-emissions/#:~:text=service%20stations.%203-,TAILPIPE%20EMISSIONS,-Tailpipe%20emissions%20are">tailpipe emissions</a>, concerns arise about their indirect impact on air quality. The source of electricity used for charging, often derived from fossil fuels, can contribute to pollution. Furthermore, tire wear and brake dust from electric cars emit particulate matter, potentially compromising air quality.</p>

Impact on Air Quality

While electric vehicles produce no tailpipe emissions , concerns arise about their indirect impact on air quality. The source of electricity used for charging, often derived from fossil fuels, can contribute to pollution. Furthermore, tire wear and brake dust from electric cars emit particulate matter, potentially compromising air quality.

<p>People who go through a lot of traumatic experiences while they’re young can find themselves developing traits that stay with them through adulthood. What are these traits? You’ll find 18 of them in this article.</p><p><strong><a href="https://www.lovedbycurls.com/cf/people-who-had-unhappy-childhoods-usually-develop-these-18-traits/">People Who Had Unhappy Childhoods Usually Develop These 18 Traits</a></strong></p>

Read More: People Who Had Unhappy Childhoods Usually Develop These 18 Traits

People who go through a lot of traumatic experiences while they’re young can find themselves developing traits that stay with them through adulthood. What are these traits? You’ll find 18 of them in this article.

People Who Had Unhappy Childhoods Usually Develop These 18 Traits

<p>“We got lost exiting the area and ended up in a bad part of town where every other house was boarded up, and people were sitting in the middle of the street wracked out of their heads.”</p><p>“I got shot in Baltimore! It’s an absolute toilet bowl of a city. Do not go there.”</p>

17 of the Most Dangerous Cities in the World (6 Are in The US)

Every city has its dangers, but it goes without saying that some places are far more dangerous than others. We’ve compiled a list of 17 of the most dangerous cities in the world in terms of violent crime and homicide rates.

<p>The concept of traditional employment has taken a back seat in recent times with changes in economic and social factors, as well as individual preferences. Traditional jobs have also evolved, and many people don’t feel the need to take this route anymore. These are 18 reasons why no one is interested in working anymore.</p><p><a href="https://www.lovedbycurls.com/cf/18-reasons-why-no-one-is-interested-in-working-anymore/"><strong>18 Reasons Why No One Is Interested in Working Anymore</strong></a></p>

18 Reasons Why No One Is Interested in Working Anymore

The concept of traditional employment has taken a back seat in recent times with changes in economic and social factors, as well as individual preferences. Traditional jobs have also evolved, and many people don’t feel the need to take this route anymore. These are 18 reasons why no one is interested in working anymore.

<p>Are you an animal lover looking to learn more about the curious creatures that inhabit our planet alongside us? Discover the amicable side of the animal kingdom. Meet 17 of the world’s most sociable wild animals, from playful sea creatures to gentle land mammals.</p><p><a href="https://www.lovedbycurls.com/cf/17-most-friendly-wild-animals-in-the-world/"><strong>17 Most Friendly Wild Animals in the World</strong></a></p>

17 Most Friendly Wild Animals in the World

Are you an animal lover looking to learn more about the curious creatures that inhabit our planet alongside us? Discover the amicable side of the animal kingdom. Meet 17 of the world’s most sociable wild animals, from playful sea creatures to gentle land mammals.

<p>Confidence is a healthy and attractive trait that helps us stand firm in our values and set healthy boundaries. We can always become more confident, and learning the right ways to stand up for yourself is a great way to start. Here are 17 phrases you can use to do so.</p><p><a href="https://www.lovedbycurls.com/cf/17-phrases-confident-people-use-to-stand-up-for-themselves/"><strong>17 Phrases Confident People Use to Stand Up For Themselves</strong></a></p>

17 Phrases Confident People Use to Stand Up For Themselves

Confidence is a healthy and attractive trait that helps us stand firm in our values and set healthy boundaries. We can always become more confident, and learning the right ways to stand up for yourself is a great way to start. Here are 17 phrases you can use to do so.

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What to Know About the Supreme Court Arguments on Social Media Laws

Both Florida and Texas passed laws regulating how social media companies moderate speech online. The laws, if upheld, could fundamentally alter how the platforms police their sites.

  • Share full article

A view of the Supreme Court building.

By David McCabe

McCabe reported from Washington.

Social media companies are bracing for Supreme Court arguments on Monday that could fundamentally alter the way they police their sites.

After Facebook, Twitter and YouTube barred President Donald J. Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol, Florida made it illegal for technology companies to ban from their sites a candidate for office in the state. Texas later passed its own law prohibiting platforms from taking down political content.

Two tech industry groups, NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, sued to block the laws from taking effect. They argued that the companies have the right to make decisions about their own platforms under the First Amendment, much as a newspaper gets to decide what runs in its pages.

So what’s at stake?

The Supreme Court’s decision in those cases — Moody v. NetChoice and NetChoice v. Paxton — is a big test of the power of social media companies, potentially reshaping millions of social media feeds by giving the government influence over how and what stays online.

“What’s at stake is whether they can be forced to carry content they don’t want to,” said Daphne Keller, a lecturer at Stanford Law School who filed a brief with the Supreme Court supporting the tech groups’ challenge to the Texas and Florida laws. “And, maybe more to the point, whether the government can force them to carry content they don’t want to.”

If the Supreme Court says the Texas and Florida laws are constitutional and they take effect, some legal experts speculate that the companies could create versions of their feeds specifically for those states. Still, such a ruling could usher in similar laws in other states, and it is technically complicated to accurately restrict access to a website based on location.

Critics of the laws say the feeds to the two states could include extremist content — from neo-Nazis, for example — that the platforms previously would have taken down for violating their standards. Or, the critics say, the platforms could ban discussion of anything remotely political by barring posts about many contentious issues.

What are the Florida and Texas social media laws?

The Texas law prohibits social media platforms from taking down content based on the “viewpoint” of the user or expressed in the post. The law gives individuals and the state’s attorney general the right to file lawsuits against the platforms for violations.

The Florida law fines platforms if they permanently ban from their sites a candidate for office in the state. It also forbids the platforms from taking down content from a “journalistic enterprise” and requires the companies to be upfront about their rules for moderating content.

Proponents of the Texas and Florida laws, which were passed in 2021, say that they will protect conservatives from the liberal bias that they say pervades the platforms, which are based in California.

“People the world over use Facebook, YouTube, and X (the social-media platform formerly known as Twitter) to communicate with friends, family, politicians, reporters, and the broader public,” Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, said in one legal brief. “And like the telegraph companies of yore, the social media giants of today use their control over the mechanics of this ‘modern public square’ to direct — and often stifle — public discourse.”

Chase Sizemore, a spokesman for the Florida attorney general, said the state looked “forward to defending our social media law that protects Floridians.” A spokeswoman for the Texas attorney general did not provide a comment.

What are the current rights of social media platforms?

They now decide what does and doesn’t stay online.

Companies including Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, TikTok, Snap, YouTube and X have long policed themselves, setting their own rules for what users are allowed to say while the government has taken a hands-off approach.

In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that a law regulating indecent speech online was unconstitutional, differentiating the internet from mediums where the government regulates content. The government, for instance, enforces decency standards on broadcast television and radio.

For years, bad actors have flooded social media with misleading information , hate speech and harassment, prompting the companies to come up with new rules over the last decade that include forbidding false information about elections and the pandemic. Platforms have banned figures like the influencer Andrew Tate for violating their rules, including against hate speech.

But there has been a right-wing backlash to these measures, with some conservatives accusing the platforms of censoring their views — and even prompting Elon Musk to say he wanted to buy Twitter in 2022 to help ensure users’ freedom of speech.

What are the social media platforms arguing?

The tech groups say that the First Amendment gives the companies the right to take down content as they see fit, because it protects their ability to make editorial choices about the content of their products.

In their lawsuit against the Texas law, the groups said that just like a magazine’s publishing decision, “a platform’s decision about what content to host and what to exclude is intended to convey a message about the type of community that the platform hopes to foster.”

Still, some legal scholars are worried about the implications of allowing the social media companies unlimited power under the First Amendment, which is intended to protect the freedom of speech as well as the freedom of the press.

“I do worry about a world in which these companies invoke the First Amendment to protect what many of us believe are commercial activities and conduct that is not expressive,” said Olivier Sylvain, a professor at Fordham Law School who until recently was a senior adviser to the Federal Trade Commission chair, Lina Khan.

How does this affect Big Tech’s liability for content?

A federal law known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act shields the platforms from lawsuits over most user content. It also protects them from legal liability for how they choose to moderate that content.

That law has been criticized in recent years for making it impossible to hold the platforms accountable for real-world harm that flows from posts they carry, including online drug sales and terrorist videos.

The cases being argued on Monday do not challenge that law head-on. But the Section 230 protections could play a role in the broader arguments over whether the court should uphold the Texas and Florida laws. And the state laws would indeed create new legal liability for the platforms if they take down certain content or ban certain accounts.

Last year, the Supreme Court considered two cases, directed at Google’s YouTube and Twitter, that sought to limit the reach of the Section 230 protections. The justices declined to hold the tech platforms legally liable for the content in question.

What comes next?

The court will hear arguments from both sides on Monday. A decision is expected by June.

Legal experts say the court may rule that the laws are unconstitutional, but provide a road map on how to fix them. Or it may uphold the companies’ First Amendment rights completely.

Carl Szabo, the general counsel of NetChoice, which represents companies including Google and Meta and lobbies against tech regulations, said that if the group’s challenge to the laws fails, “Americans across the country would be required to see lawful but awful content” that could be construed as political and therefore covered by the laws.

“There’s a lot of stuff that gets couched as political content,” he said. “Terrorist recruitment is arguably political content.”

But if the Supreme Court rules that the laws violate the Constitution, it will entrench the status quo: Platforms, not anybody else, will determine what speech gets to stay online.

Adam Liptak contributed reporting.

David McCabe covers tech policy. He joined The Times from Axios in 2019. More about David McCabe


  1. Top 17 reason Why Homework Should Be Banned

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  17. Should Schools Ban Homework?

    (Yikes!) While a prison sentence may seem extreme, there are real reasons to reconsider homework. Refocus on mental health and educate the "whole child" Prioritizing mental health is at the forefront of the homework ban movement. Leaders say they want to give students time to develop other hobbies, relationships, and balance in their lives.

  18. "Homework Should Be…but We Do Not Live in an Ideal World": Mathematics

    Moreover, teachers should consider students' interests (e.g., which contents and types of homework tasks students like) and discuss homework purposes with their students to foster their understanding of the tasks assigned and, consequently, their engagement in homework (Xu, 2010, 2018; Epstein and Van Voorhis, 2012; Rosário et al., 2018).

  19. Homework

    News about Homework, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times.

  20. Should Homework Really Be Banned? It's Complicated

    All in all, perhaps homework shouldn't be banned completely, but it needs to be considered in a fair and balanced way. Here are some important points to remember that take the individual needs and resources of students into account: Everyone is different: Every person is unique, and each student learns differently.

  21. Homework: is it worth the hassle?

    Like all teachers, I've spent many hours correcting homework. Yet there's a debate over whether we should be setting it at all. I teach both primary and secondary, and regularly find myself ...

  22. Why (Most) Homework Should Be Banned

    There are plenty of reasons why (most) homework should be banned. I'll start out with some general facts and look at homework in general, then go into some detail about our school.

  23. Mobile phones in schools: are they being banned?

    The guidance sets out that there will be some limited cases where pupils should be exempt from the rule. While the majority of pupils won't be allowed to use their mobile phones during the school day, we know that some children need their mobile phones for medical reasons, or because they have special educational needs and/or disabilities.

  24. After Wake Forest incident, should court-storming be banned? 'It's a

    "You don't hire less people because you think it might not happen. You should hire the same amount of people all the time." That's also easier to say at high-major schools with more resources.

  25. 17 Reasons Why Electric Cars Should Be Banned

    This article looks at 17 reasons why electric cars should be banned. Photo Credit: IM Imagery/Shutterstock. Environmental Impact of Battery Production.

  26. What to Know About the Supreme Court Case on Free Speech on Social

    After Facebook, Twitter and YouTube barred President Donald J. Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol, Florida made it illegal for technology companies to ban from their sites ...

  27. Should Falcons Trade for Justin Fields: Case For & Against

    In what was likely Fields' last season in Chicago, it may have been his best. Fields threw for a career-high 2,562 yards with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions while completing 61.4 percent of ...