About Homework

About Homework-15
sat down with Bempechat and Erin Bruce (Wheelock’17,’18), a new fourth-grade teacher at a suburban Boston school, and future teacher freshman Emma Ardizzone (Wheelock) to talk about what quality homework looks like, how it can help children learn, and how schools can equip teachers to design it, evaluate it, and facilitate parents’ role in it.

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The optimal time to engage in retrieval practice is not immediately after you’ve acquired information but after you’ve forgotten it a bit—like, perhaps, after school.

A homework assignment could require students to answer questions about what was covered in class that day without consulting their notes.

That’s what I think is the greatest value of homework—in cultivating beliefs about learning and skills associated with academic success.

If we greatly reduce or eliminate homework in elementary school, we deprive kids and parents of opportunities to instill these important learning habits and skills.

A study that looked specifically at math homework, for example, found it boosted achievement in elementary school than in middle school—just the opposite of the findings on homework in general.

And while one study found that parental help with homework generally doesn’t boost students’ achievement—and can even have a negative effect— another concluded that economically disadvantaged students whose parents help with homework improve their performance significantly.And most have gotten little training in how and why to assign homework.These are things that schools of education and teacher-prep programs typically don’t teach.And psychologists have identified a range of strategies that help students learn, many of which seem ideally suited for homework assignments.For example, there’s something called “retrieval practice,” which means trying to recall information you’ve already learned.“Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance,” she explained.The following year, the superintendent of a Florida school district serving 42,000 students eliminated homework for all elementary students and replaced it with twenty minutes of nightly reading, saying she was basing her decision on “solid research about what works best in improving academic achievement in students.” Many other elementary schools seem to have quietly adopted similar policies.In some subjects, like math, worksheets can be very helpful.It has to do with the value of practicing over and over.” Photo by i Stock/Glenn Cook Photography Do your homework. Educators have debated the merits of homework since the late 19th century.But for the most part, the studies haven’t looked at whether it matters what kind of homework is assigned or whether there are different effects for different demographic student groups.Focusing on those distinctions could be illuminating.

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