A s kids return to school, debate is heating up once again over how they should spend their time after they leave the classroom for the day. The no-homework policy of a second-grade teacher in Texas went viral last week , earning praise from parents across the country who lament the heavy workload often assigned to young students. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early. But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage. Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night.
Is Homework Good for Kids? Here's What the Research Says
KID KILLS HIMSELF OVER BAD GRADES
Piling on the homework doesn't help kids do better in school. In fact, it can lower their test scores. That's the conclusion of a group of Australian researchers, who have taken the aggregate results of several recent studies investigating the relationship between time spent on homework and students' academic performance. According to Richard Walker, an educational psychologist at Sydney University, data shows that in countries where more time is spent on homework, students score lower on a standardized test called the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA. The same correlation is also seen when comparing homework time and test performance at schools within countries. Past studies have also demonstrated this basic trend.
The Cult of Homework
If they are unable to go school each day to acquire the skills they require to be successful in life, then they will be at a disadvantage for their entire lives. Multiple studies have found that most students are getting too much extra assignments, leading to sleep deprivation, unhealthy levels of stress, as well as related health problems. Extra assignments given to children, particularly younger school going children, can lead to unhealthy levels of stress, according to research.
Many teachers and parents believe that homework helps students build study skills and review concepts learned in class. Others see homework as disruptive and unnecessary, leading to burnout and turning kids off to school. Decades of research show that the issue is more nuanced and complex than most people think: Homework is beneficial, but only to a degree.