Every decision we make at school is always grounded in substantial amounts of research. Many people have views about homework and the positives and negatives. Lets look at the evidence.
Homework refers to tasks given to students by their teachers to be completed outside of usual lessons. Common homework activities in primary schools tend to be reading or practising spelling or number facts, but may also include more extended activities to develop enquiry skills or more directed and focused work such as revision for tests.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT
It is certainly the case that schools whose students do homework tend to be more successful. However it is less clear that the homework is the reason why they are successful. A number of reviews and meta-analyses have explored this issue. There is stronger evidence that it is helpful at secondary level but there is much less evidence of benefit at primary level. There is some evidence that when homework is used as a short and focused intervention it can be effective in improving students’ achievement, but this is limited for primary age students. Overall the general benefits are likely to be modest if homework is more routinely set.
The quality of the task set appears to be more important than the quantity of work required from the student.
There is some Australian-based evidence for the non-academic benefits of homework which shows, for example, that homework may help to develop a routine for students and self-motivated working patterns. Nonetheless, there remains a dearth of research literature on the impact of homework on primary students’ learning and outcomes specifically in an Australian or New Zealand context.
Since 2012, evidence reviews on homework in schools have been published in New South Wales and Victoria. Both reviews concluded that there was little evidence that homework improves academic performance for primary school students, but noted that homework could have other benefits, such as promoting parental engagement.
Overall, homework in primary schools does not appear to lead to large increases in learning.
Effective homework is associated with greater parental involvement and support. How will you design homework to encourage parental engagement?
The broader evidence base suggests that short focused tasks or activities which relate directly to what is being taught, and which are built upon in school, are likely to be more effective than regular daily homework.
|Canadian Council on Learning (2009) A systematic review of literature examining the impact of |
homework on academic achievement Toronto: Canadian Council on Learning Learning http://edu.au.dk/fileadmin/edu/Udgivelser/SystematicReview_HomeworkApril27-2009.pdf
|*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 pp. 1-62. |
|Dettmers, S., Trautwein, U., & Ludtke, O. (2009). The relationship between homework time and achievement is not universal: evidence from multilevel analyses in 40 countries. School Effectiveness |
and School Improvement, 20(4), 375-405. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09243450902904601
|*Farrow, S., Tymms, P., & Henderson, B. (1999). Homeworkand attainment in primary schools, British |
Educational Research Journal, 25(3), 323-341. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0141192990250304
|Gustafsson, J. (2013) Causal inference in educational effectiveness research: a comparison of three|
methods to investigate effects of homework on student achievement , School Effectiveness and
School Improvement, 24:3, 275-295. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09243453.2013.806334
|*Paschal, R.A., Weinstein, T. & Walberg, H.J. (1984). The effects of homework on learning: A quantitative synthesis. The Journal of Educational Research, 78:2, 97-104. Rønning, M. (2011). Who benefits from homework assignments? Economics of Education Review, 30, 55-64.|