Raging Debate: Abolish Homework? Reduce It? Keep It?

Homework has been a staple in education for generations, but now, questions are being asked about its effectiveness in improving learning, and when it's appropriate to assign it. Below you'll find a number of links to articles either supporting or calling into question the value of homework, and it's effect on families, children, learning and schooling.

Summary Of The Homework And Assignments Debate


  • Homework helps integrate home and school, and helps parents stay "connected" to their child's school life, and even what the child is doing, and how well s/he is doing it.
  • It is a critical aspect of learning, since there's only so much that can be accomplished in a school day, and homework allows students to "practice" what they are supposed to have learned, AND prepare for what they will learn next.
  • It allows teachers to evaluate where a child is, and what difficulties s/he may be facing, by looking at the errors made in homework assignments.
  • Homework helps build study skills and discipline that will be important later on as students are expected to become more self-managing and self-directed.

Detractors (Abolitionists)

  • Homework is often busy work involving repetitive tasks dressed up as practice.
  • Homework's relationship to achievement is not borne out by the research.
  • It stresses out kids, particularly those at lower levels, and negatively affects kid's motivation to learn and attend school.
  • In a busy world, parents find it difficult to supervise and be involved in homework and don't want the responsibility.
  • Homework, per se, should be fun and enjoyable for it to be effective, and often it's not.
  • It detracts from other activities that are important for child development, including free PLAY.
  • Good students don't need the extra work, and poor students don't complete it, so don't gain from it, except for high stress levels.

Important Note On Homework Research

As with many things human, the research on homework is inconsistent. Often the answer to many questions is far more complex than "homework is good", or "homework is bad". The ultimate answer is the value of homework depends on a number of factors and contexts.

As you read, be alert to your own tendency to give credence to research that supports your already existing conclusion. That way, you'll become more open to the many issues and complexities involved.

Top : Homework - Abolish Or Reduce Or Keep : Page 2 :

The new debate in education is whether teachers and schools need to either abolish homework, or at least reduce it significantly. Here you'll find pro's and con's about each option.

More On The Complexities Of Homework, and Whether It Should be Abolished: Homework - Abolish Or Reduce Or Keep

Ten Reasons to Abolish Homework (And Five Alternatives) - by JOHN T. SPENCER
Author is clearly on the side of getting rid of homework, and suggests some alternatives, based on the idea that kids will naturally work at what they find meaningful. (Views So Far 305 )

The Cult(ure) of Homework - Chapter One - Must Read - by Cathy Vatterott
Must read on homework. This is a complete chapter from a book on the topic, replete with research citations. This is a more academic article, but as such, it's very indepth. (Views So Far 389 )

The Value of Homework: Is Homework an Important Tool for Learning in the Classroom? - by Steven A. Carbone II
Discussion of some research findings on the value of homework, and in particular on how homework provides teachers information so that teachers can help individual students based on their homework success or problems. (Views So Far 404 )

Today's Assignment - Getting Rid of Homework - by LOUIS MENAND
Excellent New Yorker piece on France's move to ban homework. Presentation of the two sides, and suggests some of the claims of abolitionists are not supported by the research. (Views So Far 388 )

What research says about the value of homework: Research review - by Center For Public Education
Must read. In depth, covering research on various issues regarding homework, its value, the history, and a lot more. One of the best and you should start here. (Views So Far 433 )

There's lots more in this section: Prev 6