Is Homework Harmful or Helpful?

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Homework has both positive and negative effects on students. Whereas homework can help facilitate the learning process, this sometimes is only true if there is an adult or other teacher figure present. Some argue that assigning too much homework can cause physical health problems, social development issues and increased stress levels for students.

The debate over the effectiveness of homework is not new. Many child health and progressive education proponents in the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century argued against homework for elementary and junior high school students. A writer in 1930 even likened homework to legalized criminality.

Later studies show a variety of results. A 1984 study on the effectiveness of homework concluded that homework positively influenced scholastic achievement. The study found that graded daily homework had the greatest impact among fourth and fifth-grade students.

A 2004 study concluded that homework has non-scholastic benefits as well. Recorded homework sessions and interviews with students and parents showed that third-graders improved their skills in job management and time management when required to do homework.

A study published in 2013 showed that students were less likely to participate in extracurricular activities and to cultivate critical life skills because of homework responsibilities.