Homework is a contentious issue, and this has characterized the subject for the past few years. Contrary to opinions and those in support exist among students, parents, and experts as well. But what is the relationship between homework and learning? Does homework help the learning process?
So Does Homework Boost Learning?
Some learning institutions have cited research in their endeavors in eliminating homework, but no clear-cut justification exists in eliminating assignment. For instance, in 2016, a teacher in Texas announced that she wouldn’t administer homework to the joy of some of the parents and students. Many more have followed suit in implementing such policies to the opposition of critics who hold that assignments help students not only with grades but other skills, good study routines, and allowing parents to know what their kids do in school.
Practicing between learning lessons better equips a student to have a grip on the subject of interest like learning violin, so this shows just how critical homework is when properly administered. So contrary to some of the research findings, there exist strategies that can ensure a useful contribution of homework to the entire learning process.
- Retrieval practice. It is a mechanism of trying to remember information already learned, and it requires time between learning and the administration of the exercise. The ideal time for this practice is when you have forgotten a little about the information learned. Research shows that retrieval practice is a far powerful strategy than reviewing or rereading a material.
- Proper teacher training on why and how to assign after-school assignments.
Most programs in education training and teacher-preps don’t teach such elements. Therefore, most teachers assign homework that is not directed and effective. To change this, then teachers have to be retrained on such aspects, especially on homework administration, to ensure whatever they give as assignments contribute to the student’s learning process.
- Focused research on homework effectiveness. Most studies done in support of scrapping off of homework has found positive homework effect on high and middle school student performance, excluding the elementary students. But such studies have not specified the effect of a specific kind of homework assigned or impact of homework on different student group demographics which can have distinct and informative results.
For instance, research focused on math homework found it effective in boosting performance in elementary school rather than the middle school stage, which is opposite for the generalized homework research findings. Another research found homework help from parents negatively affects a student’s achievement. In contrast, another found that economically disadvantaged learners significantly improved their level of performance with homework and test help from their parents.
- Administration of homework early on especially for disadvantaged students.
There are advantages associated with students from affluent families who might benefit a lot from homework compared to disadvantaged students. Disadvantaged students need homework to develop their academic understanding based on the low exposure to resources compared to their affluent counterparts. While overburdening students with homework can be counterproductive, underprivileged students often get little to no homework from their schools, which creates a gap in performance later on in college. A professor noted that disadvantaged students, primarily Hispanic and black students in his class, had severe handicaps from a lack of good homework routines and study skills, which improved upon homework administration as a remedy.
Wrong strategies have led to ineffective homework, which doesn’t contribute to learning at all. However, realigning these can help students boost their performance.