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Home Work vs Homework Works!

Some educators and researchers (and I would guess many students) are calling for an end to the assigning of homework.

Their claims are based on "their" review of the research which "fails to demonstrate tangible benefits of homework, particularly for elementary students. What it does instead, they contend, is rob children of childhood, play havoc with family life and asphyxiate their natural curiosity. Learning becomes a mind-numbing grind rather than an engaging adventure."

Strong words...especially when we are facing the societal crunch of students not graduating because of failed performance-based tests...plus NCLB legislative requirements (and sanctions waiting in the wing), and dismal results in international competitions (e.g. TIMSS).

An AP-AOL Learning Services Poll (2006) revealed that elementary school students average 79 minutes of homework per night while high school students average 105 minutes per night (for all subject areas). This conflicts directly with the rule-of-thumb I was taught: two hours of homework for every hour of a mathematics class.

Gerald LeTendre and David Baker, two Penn State professors, did an international study where the highest-scoring junior high students in mathematics came from Denmark, the Czech Republic and Japan, countries where teachers assign relatively little homework. And in comparison, the lowest-scoring students came from Iran, Thailand and Greece, countries where teachers assign a great amount of mathematics homework.

For more on the situation, please read Vicki Haddock's "After Years of Teachers Piling it on, Theres a New Movement to...Abolish Homework" (San Fransisco Chronicle, 10/8/06).