But in families of limited means, it’s often another story.
As the educational psychologist Lyn Corno wrote more than two decades ago, “homework is a complicated thing.” Most research on the homework-achievement connection is correlational, which precludes a definitive judgment on its academic benefits.
Researchers rely on correlational research in this area of study given the difficulties of randomly assigning students to homework/no-homework conditions.
As noted above, findings on the homework-achievement connection at the elementary level are mixed.
A small number of experimental studies have demonstrated that elementary-school students who receive homework achieve at higher levels than those who do not.
Indeed, perhaps it would be best, as some propose, to eliminate homework altogether, particularly in these early grades.
On the contrary, developmentally appropriate homework plays a critical role in the formation of positive learning beliefs and behaviors, including a belief in one’s academic ability, a deliberative and effortful approach to mastery, and higher expectations and aspirations for one’s future.
Parental concerns about their children’s homework loads are nothing new.
Debates over the merits of homework—tasks that teachers ask students to complete during non-instructional time—have ebbed and flowed since the late 19th century, and today its value is again being scrutinized and weighed against possible negative impacts on family life and children’s well-being. In some middle-class and affluent communities, where pressure on students to achieve can be fierce, yes.
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