Executive Summary

In elementary classrooms in particular, homework is trending more detrimental than beneficial; with higher quantities of “busy work” replacing quality assessments, stress levels on the rise, and studies declaring that more homework tends to actually lower academic performance, the question of “how much homework is too much?” is forced into the spotlight. A large, unstimulating workload risks physical and mental health issues, and can cause a negative association with learning. Elementary children as young as five years old are receiving as much as an hour of homework a night (Hinton, 2018). There is a “10 minute rule” endorsed by The National PTA and The National Educational Association that supports 10 minutes of homework being assigned per night per grade level. Studies have also shown that higher quantities of homework can actually result in a poorer academic performance, with elementary students seeing close to no benefits from homework at all. The conclusion to be drawn from this is that there needs to be a more careful consideration of homework as a whole, with a close look at the traditional forms of homework, and what is working and what is not–the measure of quality in “quality, not quantity” can be a tricky one, and it is important that educators listen to their students in these matters. Students do not lack a desire to learn, and especially in the earlier grades there is no want of curiosity. Education would benefit and student stress would be reduced by teachers finding alternatives for what is commonly thought of as homework. Increasing homework serves neither the student, the student’s family, or the teacher. Practice does not always make perfect: sometimes less is more.

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