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Overall, high-school students relate that they spend less than one hour per day on homework, on average, and only 42 percent say they do it five days per week.In one recent survey by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a minimal 13 percent of 17-year-olds said they had devoted more than two hours to homework the previous evening (see Figure 1).Thus, a 1st grader would do 10 minutes each day and a 4th grader, 40 minutes.
For middle-school students, Cooper and colleagues report that 90 minutes per day of homework is optimal for enhancing academic achievement, and for high schoolers, the ideal range is 90 minutes to two and a half hours per day.
Beyond this threshold, more homework does not contribute to learning.
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.
The Homework-Achievement Connection A narrow focus on whether or not homework boosts grades and test scores in the short run thus ignores a broader purpose in education, the development of lifelong, confident learners.
Still, the question looms: homework enhance academic success?
Certainly, young children are still developing skills that enable them to focus on the material at hand and study efficiently.
Teachers’ goals for their students are also quite different in elementary school as compared to secondary school.
Recent years have seen an increase in the amount of homework assigned to students in grades K–2, and critics point to research findings that, at the elementary-school level, homework does not appear to enhance children’s learning.
Why, then, should we burden young children and their families with homework if there is no academic benefit to doing it?