Example Argument w/ Sources

An argument I plan to explore is the connection between poor implementation of homework and stress levels of students. The sources Margolis (2005) and Pressman et al. (2015) are of benefit to this argument.

A counter argument I plan to bring up and work to refute is the concept of “healthy stress” and its benefit to motivation. Research shows that too often the level of stress homework inspires in students stretches this concept past both mental and physical health. There is also the fact that motivational strategies must be taught, and if this homework is being assigned without teaching the strategies, students are likely to be defeated in their minds before they’ve even begun.

I will also bring in the larger concern of stress on the family when “too much” homework comes into play; when the amount of homework assigned reaches a certain threshold, the detriment is not only to the student expected to complete the work, but the guardian of the student expected to aid them in its completion.

3 Additional Annotated Bibliography Entries

Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, 1987–2003. Review of Educational Research76(1), 1–62. https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543076001001

This source is a synthesis of other studies, ranging from 1987 to 2003, about the effects of homework on academic performance. Those conducting the synthesis found that while there is an academic benefit to homework, that is dependent on grade level, with substantial benefits for high school studies, middling benefits for middle school students, and few measurable benefits for elementary students. Cooper is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Program in Education at Duke University in North Carolina; Robinson was at the time a PhD candidate in Social Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Duke University; Patall was at the time of writing a graduate student in Social Psychology at Duke University. The source was chosen for its long timeline of information, as it covers many years. As the information was compiled in 2006, it is not particularly current, but it is still relevant, as it covers a span of history including the 21st century. The source was found by searching Google Scholar, using the terms “homework” and “achievement.”

 

Cooper, H. (2010). Homework’s Diminishing Returns. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2010/12/12/stress-and-the-high-school-student/homeworks-diminishing-returns

This source is a continuation of Harris Cooper’s research into the nature of homework in today’s world, and the argument he puts forward that it is quality, not quantity, that matters. Cooper is a Professor of Psychology and Director in Education at Duke University in NC. This source was chosen as it shows a progression of Cooper’s thoughts on homework. It pairs with the synthesis of research he and his colleagues conducted in 2006. It is a short article, and is meant to inform the general public; the fact that it is an article on a news website makes it geared towards a wider audience than his study, making his research and opinions formed by said research more accessible. The article was written in 2010, which is not particularly recent but still holds weight and relevance for Cooper’s stance on homework in the 21st century, and its trending when compared to the previously referenced synthesis. The source was found by searching Google for “Harris Cooper” and “homework.” It is hosted on The New York Times website.

Terada, Y. (2015). Research Trends: Why Homework Should Be Balanced. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/research-trends-is-homework-effective-youki-terada

This article is a short synthesis of others’ research the importance of balance when it comes to homework. There is evidence of homework linked positively to academic performance, yes, when used properly as a learning tool, but there is a limit and a measure of quality that must be considered. Too much homework can lower student achievement and interfere negatively with a student’s home life and other important extracurricular activities. Youki Terada is a Research and Standards Editor for Edutopia; before Edutopia Terada studied connections between informal and formal science learning for elementary students at UC Berkeley, and researched for STEM digital libraries and other educational technology programs. This article was written in 2015, making it a more recent compilation of information relating to homework and its positives and negatives, and this variety bolsters its relevance. The source was found by searching Google for “homework” and “education” and “research.” The source is hosted on Edutopia, a website by the George Lucas Educational Foundation that seeks to “[shine] a spotlight on what works in education.”

 

TradeMark reflection

What did you learn from TradeMark Gunderson’s presentation about Copyright/Copyleft that may help you in our class or in your other academic pursuits? Did he challenge your thinking? Did he offer you advice you will use?

I feel that what Gunderson talked about will be helpful in my education in particular, where I may need to use images and media found online to complete assignments having to do with making example lesson plans. I know already how to search for images that are available for use with or without editing, and for commercial use for personal use, on Google. It is helpful to know from Gunderson’s presentation that I as a student in a teacher role as well in my career post-graduation will be able to make copies of papers for assignments, i.e. worksheets from a resource book, legally in order to distribute them, under usage laws that have to do with the purposes of the copying being for education. It is good to be aware of the nuance with copyright laws.

Annotated Bibliography – 4 Sources

Hinton, M. (2018). Kindergarten Homework Debate: Too Much Too Soon? Education Week, 38(14), 12. Retrieved from https://proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=133631700&site=ehost-live

This article is a broad examination of homework and its relation to kindergarten students: it considers both the benefits and the psychological impact as well as offering up viewpoints from both teachers and guardians of young children. The author is a journalist for the publication Education Week. This source was chosen for its emphasis on younger children, and for including the opinions of parents and guardians, who are able to offer a different perspective, as they have worked with their children to complete the homework outside of a classroom setting. This article is from the 28th of November, 2018, which makes it not even a year old, and thus especially relevant to this topic, demonstrating the continuing concern of homework load. The article was found using Academic Search Complete, with the search terms “homework” and “early childhood education” and “too much” (in quotations, to link the words together).  

 

Margolis, H. (2005). Resolving Struggling Learners’ Homework Difficulties: Working With Elementary School Learners and Parents. Preventing School Failure, 50(1), 5–12. https://doi.org/10.3200/PSFL.50.1.5-12

The article explores the stress homework places on students as well as parents, identifies possible resolutions both educators and student guardians can implement in the classroom and at home in order to aid struggling learners. The author is Howard Margolis, a Professor and coordinator of special education from Queens College in New York City. This source was chosen for its attention to both the home life and school life of a student; when making an argument about what qualifies as “too much” homework and the stress it provokes it is important to consider the student’s life as a whole. This article is from 2005, and thus is relevant to the topic, as it addresses the rising quantity of homework in the 21st century. The source was located using Academic Search Complete; the search terms were “homework” and “struggl*” and “elementary.” 

 

Pressman, R. M., Sugarman, D. B., Nemon, M. L., Desjarlais, J., Owens, J. A., & Schettini-Evans, A. (2015). Homework and Family Stress: With Consideration of Parents’ Self Confidence, Educational Level, and Cultural Background. American Journal of Family Therapy, 43(4), 297–313. https://doi.org/10.1080/01926187.2015.1061407

This article examines family stress in relation to homework load; it measures the load based on the National Education Association’s 10 Minute Rule, which is a guideline that states students should not be assigned more than 10 minutes of homework per grade level. The authors are from various institutions: Pressman is from New England Center for Pediatric Psychology, in Providence, Rhode Island; Sugarman is from the Department of Psychology at Rhode Island College; Nemon is from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts; Desjarlais is from Dean College of Franklin, Massachusetts; Owens is from Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, District of Columbia; Schettini-Evans is from the Alpert School of Medicine of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. The source was chosen for it’s specificity when it comes to a definition of “homework load” and the involvement of the families of students. The source also talks about how often when the authors examined the homework load the students were receiving, they greatly exceeded the recommended amount of homework. The source is from 2015, which is one of the more recent sources found, and thus especially relevant to this timely issue. The source was found by utilizing Academic Search Complete, and is from the American Journal of Family Therapy.

 

Simplicio, J. S. C. (2005). Homework in the 21 St Century: The Antiquated and Ineffectual Implementation of a Time Honored Educational Strategy. Education, 126(1), 138–142. Retrieved from https://proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=18360683&site=ehost-live 

This article speaks to the controversy regarding homework, both amount and implementation, and presents both the side that advocates for the educational value of homework as a reinforcement of important concepts and the side that considers the type of homework most commonly assigned to be repetitive and tedious. Simplicio is a researcher and author of various books and works relating to the field of education. This source was chosen for its inclusion of varying viewpoints: the author presents both sides of the homework controversy and seeks to find a solution. The source is from 2005, a time period within the relevant range, as it specifically in the title addresses homework in the 21st century. The source was found using Academic Search Complete, and EBSCO. The source was found searching the database using the terms “homework” and “education” and “implement*.”

Working Thesis

Homework in elementary classrooms is trending more detrimental than beneficial; with students as young as kindergarten-age given hours of work a night, this burden feeds the issue that is a lack of motivation in students, and along with paltry resources for educators and an expectation of parental involvement that is often unobtainable, can cause stress levels to rise to a degree that invites adverse health consequences for students and teachers alike.

“Expert” Interview Answers

Interview over email…

1. What are some controversies re: homework implementation/methodology?

Homework has been a hotspot for a few years now. It is usually in regards to how much homework is beneficial versus too much homework. Some students are sent home with packets of work each night which can take a few hours to complete. From my experience homework is something that is generally not policed in schools aside from if you have to have it and whether it allowed to be graded.

2. In your experience, what form does hw most often take? (Worksheets, reflections, etc.)

From my experience as a teacher and as an observer of other teachers most homework takes the form of practice worksheets.

3. Overall, do you go over hw in class?

  • if yes, do you find it impactful compared to when you do not?
  • if no, why is that?

I do not go over homework in my class. The reason is some students will complete the week’s homework on Monday, some on Thursday and about half the class does not complete homework.

4. How many days a week is hw assigned? What is the typical window for completion?

Homework is assigned everyday. They receive a sheet on Monday with questions for each day and it is due Friday.

5. How many hours a week would you say you spend grading? Grading homework specifically?

I usually spend 4-5 hours a week grading class assignments and about 1 grading homework.

6. What are your thoughts on the homework controversies? Thoughts on the level of hw for kindergarten onward, in elementary, and the amount of work expectation placed on students outside of a classroom?

Homework has a place in our education system. I believe the level should be increased as the students reaches certain milestones in the education system. In lower elementary the homework should really focus on the foundations the student needs. An example would be reading appropriately leveled books for the student. Once a student hits 4th grade in our education system it is assumed the student has learned how to read and is now ready to read to learn. (For example students have classes dedicated to informational texts instead of just basic reading and math.) So reading in the lower level should be something that reinforced at home through homework. As a student gets older and starts to learn about scientific concepts as well as more intricate math problems that needs to be reflected in the amount of homework given to reinforce the ideas.

Overall homework serves to reinforce the material taught in the classroom but it also gives the students and opportunity to bring their parents into their educational life. Homework can spark conversations about topics learned in class between the student and their parents and can help build on what was taught at school.

7. Who is the deciding factor on quantity of homework, you or the school? Is there a minimum? A maximum?

In our school it is the administration who decides. Every year they have changed the homework policy. Four years ago it was a policy of you must assign homework but you are not allowed to grade homework. It has changed to you can grade homework but only as an effort grade in our gradebook, next it was you have to call it homelearning it is not called homework anymore and you can grade it. I believe this is the current policy as I was not informed of any updates at the beginning of the year.

8. What stands as the biggest obstacle when it comes to hw completion?

The biggest obstacle is the motivation and attitude towards school of the student when it comes to homework completion. The homework I assign is not difficult and I often inform the students of exactly where to find the answers in their readings. Additionally at the end of class a few times a week I give them time to complete the homework. So in my opinion the only standing in the way is the motivation and attitude of the student.

9. In your classroom, how much of a student’s grade is impacted by hw?

In my class the homework can only help if a student does not turn in homework I do not put in a zero for the student instead I let the assignment sit. Which means the pool of points that student has is smaller but it is not counted against them. Homework is 4 points a week so about 36 points a quarter or one quiz grade if completed.

10. For student and teacher, what is one benefit you see of hw? What is one drawback?

One benefit I see of homework is it can create conversations between child and parent about the topics they are learning in school. A second benefit it reinforcing the ideas taught in class.

One drawback is not on homework but rather how students complete homework. Homework is meant to reinforce what was taught in school. The subject matter taught in school is something that should be on their level. For example in science we talk about the Law of Conservation of Energy and that law is written in terms a fourth grader should be able to understand. So when I assign a question asking students what the Law states often I get these long answers that students googled and are copying down. These are often at a high school level or beyond and contain words that through my experience with that student I know they do not know. So when this occurs the homework loses its purpose.