August 11, 2022 - 9:02 pm
Your Saturday editorial, “Homework under attack,” misses an important fact: There is consistent evidence showing that homework doesn’t work. Based on his review of the research, author Alfie Kohn concluded that “there is absolutely no evidence of any academic benefit from assigning homework in elementary or middle school. At the high school level, the correlation is weak and tends to disappear when more sophisticated statistical measures are applied.“
This was confirmed in a 2001 study by researchers Hofferth and Sanberg, who reported that children ages 9 to 12 spent an average of three hours and 40 minutes per week on homework, but only one hour and 15 minutes doing pleasure reading. More pleasure reading resulted in higher scores on a test of reading comprehension and several math tests (“calculation” and “applied problems”), but homework had no effect on these tests.
I suggest we try a different path: decrease school pressure and encourage pleasure reading.