Crash Course: Balanced Amount of Homework Achieve Better Results

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Crash Course: Balanced Amount of Homework Achieve Better Results

Art Courtesy of Phoebe Hanson

Art Courtesy of Phoebe Hanson

Art Courtesy of Phoebe Hanson

Scott Sorenson, Staff Writer

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Homework is arguably one of the largest stressors for high school students. Ask any one of them, and they’ll tell you so. Studies show that this stress is indeed warranted. It is common for students in Grades 9 through 12 to be assigned as much as 2-3.5 hours of homework a night, with the upper ranges of this number applying to the older students. Through all of the groaning and moaning about this problem, one question remains: Does it actually help?

The High School Journal curiosity led to the conclusion that students who spend thirty to ninety minutes a night on homework scored around 40 points higher on the SAT. Although it seems miniscule, the difference of 40 points may determine a student’s admission and scholarship opportunities.

Duke University’s 2006 study concluded that lighter homework demonstrated improved test scores and an increased chance to attend college. Proponents of these studies add that some homework fosters independent thinking, and helps teach children to learn even outside of the classroom.

This, however, is only to a point. Assignments have to be meaningful and in depth in order to reap benefits. If they consist of simply finishing up in-class work, Duke finds, the correlation can be neutral or even negative. It may stifle children’s excitement about school and make them less interested. Despite the effectiveness of homework, most students seem to despise it.

In one poll of Minnetonka High School students, 77% of them said the homework load was “too much.” Some argued that when taking the more challenging courses offered at Minnetonka, one should expect a lot of homework. Others answered that there is too much pressure to take those difficult classes. Students have complained of classwork eating into time that could be spent playing sports or hanging out with friends. Exploration of creative activities, such as painting or writing, may also be stifled when there is too much homework and not enough time.

The American Educational Research Association said that as soon as work impedes one’s ability to have fun and be a kid, the initial benefits disappear. That being said, this kind of problem doesn’t happen if you put in the proper work.

As Will Rooke, ‘22, puts it, “It’s not too much work if you do it in class. There will still be homework outside of school, but that is [reasonable].”

In fact, Amanda Wavrin, a school guidance counselor, says that students rarely come into her office stressed about homework itself. More often, it is about how homework fits in.

“It’s not specifically […] homework but about how to balance school and life and extracurriculars,” she said.

She said students should worry less about assignments, and more about how they fit into a busy schedule. The research all agrees. As long as kids can balance life and homework, the benefits outweigh the costs.

 

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