How much is too much homework?
More isn’t necessarily better when it comes to math and science homework, according to a new study published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Educational Psychology.
Researchers at the University of Oviedo in Spain looked at the performance of 7,725 public, state-subsidized and private school students from northern Spain.
In the study, students were given a questionnaire asking how often they did homework and how much time they spent on various subjects. Results in math and science from standardized tests were also analyzed to help compare student’s knowledge improvement with the amount of homework spent each night.
The results were surprising.
The study tried to determine the optimal amount of time kids should be doing homework before they saw students’ math and science results decline. Teachers who assigned, on average, 70 minutes of homework per day were able to see better test results than students who were assigned more than 70 minutes per day.
“Our data indicates that it is not necessary to assign huge quantities of homework, but it is important that assignments are systematic and regular, with the aim of instilling work habits and promoting autonomous, self-regulated learning, said Javier Suarez-Alvarez, PhD, co-lead author in a press release.
Study leaders found that students spent on average between one and two hours a day doing homework in all subjects.
Valeria Nanclares-Nogués, a psychologist with the Pediatric Developmental Center at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago believes that the purpose of homework has developed a negative effect on parents because of the work load.
“The original idea of homework was for the student to briefly review the day’s school work at home and have another opportunity for practice to enhance retention. But it seems like homework loads have significantly increased, adding quite a bit of stress for both student and parents,” says Nanclares-Nogués.
She provides helpful tips for conquering homework:
- Help your child get organized.
- Prioritize the work by setting small goals each night.
- Give your child frequent breaks.
- Reinforce positive attitudes towards homework.
- Try to keep it fun!
“The conclusion is that when it comes to homework, how is more important than how much,” said Suarez-Alvarez.
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