Study shows homework improves standardized test scores

November 27, 2012

New findings have emerged from the Indiana University School of Education (IU) showing that extra time spent on homework did not result in higher math and science grades for high school students. However, the researchers did see a link between doing lots of homework and achieving superior marks on standardized testing. Good grades and respectable numbers on standardized tests could both help a student receive financial aid for school through a college scholarship.

"We're not trying to say that all homework is bad. This is more of an argument that it should be quality over quantity," said lead study author Adam Maltese, an assistant professor at the IU School of Education. "In math, rather than doing the same types of problems over and over again, maybe it should involve having students analyze new types of problems or data. In science, maybe the students should write concept summaries instead of just reading a chapter and answering the questions at the end."

Maltese and his associates looked at transcripts of more than 18,000 10th-graders, as well as information from the National Center for Education Statistics. No significant difference was found between students who did and didn't do homework, but those who spent lots of time on their homework were found to get superior marks on standardized testing.

Some teachers and schools doing away with homework
The Huffington Post reports that homework has been removed from the curriculum at a few U.S. schools, for different reasons. A Maryland Elementary School started requiring students to read for 30 minutes a night instead of do homework, after teachers realized that most of the worksheet assignments didn't have anything to do with what was being studied during the day.

Meanwhile, My High School Journalism reports that a ninth grade English teacher in Dulaney High School in Timonium, Maryland, ceased to assign homework after the movie Race to Nowhere caused her to second-guess its educational effectiveness. Now, instead of written homework, she focuses entirely on making her daily course work as intensive as possible, while still requiring her students read and study on their own time.

Wicks told the news source that getting rid of written assignments has actually made her job harder, as she must spend more time preparing for class. But she also thinks that doing written assignments exclusively in the classroom may reduce cheating statistics.

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