Headmaster Blog


The Case for Homework

Dr. NafieEducators differ about the value of homework in education today.  Of course, this is not new; but, it's reasonable to ask if homework has the same benefit in the age of digital and blended learning.  It's certainly a question we ask at Clairbourn on a continuing basis.  There are statistics that show almost every point of view these days, so how does Clairbourn see it?

Clairbourn has the benefit of many years of experience in watching and learning the characteristics of successful students. We have had students that take what seems like hours just to get ready to do their homework, with lots and lots of distractions and diversions.  At the same time, we have students that do some or all of their homework while in study hall or even just sitting in the transportation area. Higher achieving students make efficient use of their time whatever it is they are doing. Few moments are wasted.  Every opportunity is used.

Critics of homework say that it's bad for young people, causing stress and even division in families. However, in a recent international study of the homework patterns gathered from 65 countries, a clear link has been revealed between longer homework hours and academic performance. Teenagers who spend more time doing homework scored much higher in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests, especially in math.  The results showed that students attending schools that set no homework vs. those that set regular amounts could add up to six months of study over a year—this according to Marilyn Achiron of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The OECD reports that China tops the list with students in Shanghai completing almost 14 hours of homework per week on average, followed by Russia with 9.7, and Singapore with 9.4 hours. By contrast U.S. teenagers spend between 3.5 and 5 hours per week.  "It is a failure of schools if they are not setting and enforcing homework.  The best schools set it, mark it, and hand it back quickly, and make a fuss if it isn't done,” according to Achiron.

In Clairbourn's view, we agree with the critics that inappropriate homework is bad for students.  However, homework that is developmentally appropriate, professionally targeted to support current learning objectives, and which requires an individual investment in student time and expectation will increase student achievement and encourage students to take increasing responsibility for their own learning experience. These qualities and these results will directly correspond in achievement and success later in life.



Robert W. Nafie, Ph. D.
Head of School

Clairbourn School Provides Private School Education for Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary School, and Middle School Grades | Serving Families in the Pasadena, California, Area and Surrounding Cities (K-12 Private Schools) | Clairbourn is a 501(c)3 charitable organization.Click here to request information.

Posted on: 1/6/2015 9:48 AMComments (0)


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