Is Homework a Waste of Time?


Sammi Souter, Writer

Today we’re going to answer the century old question, is homework a waste of time or is it actually beneficial? It has been an ongoing debate between students, teachers and researchers for generations. 

In the defense of homework being a waste of time, there are numerous studies that show little correlation between homework and improved test scores. For example, students in Japan and Finland are given less homework than students in the US, but still perform better on tests than US students. Despite this, many people still agree that homework helps to reinforce concepts for students. “No. Never. Nope. Most of the time it just stresses me out.” said Maddy Crudele, a student at IHS.  This corroborates with the study in California that found that 82% of high school students are always stressed about school work. Also, in 1999, an experiment was conducted where a group of 4th graders were divided into two smaller groups, one given nightly homework and one not. The results showed that there were no differences in math achievement scores between the two groups. Along with this, an excess amount of homework leads to cheating more often than not. About 90% of middle schoolers and 67% of high school students admit to copying another student’s homework. Between school, work and extra-curricular activities, many students don’t have the time to do their homework adequately. Most of the time, students do their homework lazily to get the grade and get it done quickly, rather than doing it to be accurate and learn something. During my interview with Maddy Crudele, she told me that she spends roughly 1-2 hours a night doing her homework while also balancing two jobs. She stated, “Most of the time, homework’s graded for completion, so I don’t spend a lot of time on it. I could put more effort in I guess.” A professor at Temple University stated, “They’re learning way more important skills when they’re not doing their homework.” Does homework take away from the life lessons a student could be learning at home?

On the other hand, many people believe that homework is beneficial to students. There are many studies and unsurprisingly, many teachers, who are in support of nightly homework. Along with this, homework has been proven to help with student’s organizational skills and helps students make the connection that learning can happen everywhere. Other studies show that homework has the greatest positive impact on younger, elementary aged students. In 2004, researchers Corno and Xu examined taped interviews with students as well as their parents and concluded that homework helps students learn responsibility and time and job management skills. Many parents aren’t aware of what their kids are doing in school, so homework also allows for parents to become more involved in their children’s learning. In addition, many teachers would agree that homework is beneficial to help reinforce concepts that were covered during school. Why is this? When learning something new, repetition is one of the best methods of  memorization. Homework assists in repetition, causing students to understand concepts faster. During my interview with Mrs.Ladimer, she expresssed to me that she “absolutely” agreed that homework helps students comprehend concepts better and gives it out daily. Her claim is backed up by the hundreds of studies that express the importance of repetition in learning. 

Now that all of the facts are laid out, is homework a waste of time for students around the world or could it actually be beneficial? There are many pros and cons to both sides of the argument, and coming to one solid conclusion is almost impossible. The effectiveness of homework is heavily based on age group, the subject the homework is assigned in, and students’ lives outside of school. Could there possibly be a better alternative? “Probably just get rid of it all together.” stated Maddy. Mrs. Ladimer disagreed with this and said, “Longer school days.” This perfectly showcases the opposing sides of the homework debate and neither side is going to budge. The debate will continue until an alternative system is implemented to cater to the needs of all students and provide the most effective way of learning outside of school.