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homework-2 - Homework The BALANCED VIEW: What are the...

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What are the issues? Homework has been the topic of spirited debate for more than 100 years. During this time, public atti- tude has shifted dramatically— from positive to negative and back again. In the early 20 th century, homework was considered a key schooling strategy, an important means of dis- ciplining the child’s mind through memorization. That changed in the 1940’s as the emphasis in education shifted from learning through memorization and drill to develop- ing student problem-solving ability and initiative. But by the late 1950’s, after the launch of Sputnik, homework, again, grew in popular- ity. Worried that education in the United States lacked rigor, the pub- lic felt homework might speed up knowledge acquisition. Homework continued in favor until the mid- 1960’s, when the pendulum swung the other way. Homework came to be seen as putting needless pressure on students and a possible cause of rising mental health problems. That way of thinking came to an abrupt end with the 1983 wake-up call sounded by A Nation at Risk . Homework was back in style, and it has been on education’s front burner ever since. Today, homework is a pervasive teaching strategy accounting for 20 percent of the total time American students spend on academic tasks. Studies indicate, moreover, that the amount of homework assigned is increasing, with the biggest jump occurring for children six to eight years of age. Between 1981 and 1997, for example, the amount of homework given to these children nearly tripled from 44 minutes to more than two hours a week. Nationally, the average amount of home- work time ranges from two hours and fifteen minutes a week at the elementary level, to between six and seven hours a week at the high school level. For all its prominence, however, homework is one of the least studied topics in education. What’s more, surprisingly little attention is paid to the topic in teacher education programs. For many teachers, homework is a major source of anxiety. And for many students and parents it is a major source of struggle. This issue of the Balanced View examines what we know about homework. Our summary fo- cuses on five questions: ! Is homework effective? ! What kind works best? ! At what age is it a useful tool? ! How much is appropriate? ! What role should parents play? We begin by examining the views of advocates on both sides of the issue. And we con- clude with a series of recom- mendations for administrators, teachers, and parents. The BALANCED VIEW: Research-based information on timely topics Volume 6, June 2002 WESTCHESTER INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN SERVICES RESEARCH 7-11 South Broadway White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 682-1969 FAX: (914) 682-1760 e-mail: info@westchesterinst.org Homework
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The Balanced View 2 The relationship between homework and academic per- formance is influenced heavily by grade level. The ef- fects at the elementary level are trivial. For high school students, however, homework can make a significant impact on achievement. What do people say
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This note was uploaded on 11/12/2010 for the course CSCI 271 taught by Professor Wilczynski during the Spring '08 term at USC.

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homework-2 - Homework The BALANCED VIEW: What are the...

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