Debunking The Homework Myth: Examining The Impact On Student Achievement


The myth that homework boosts achievement in school is a currently debatable topic where many experts are fighting against homework. Homework is supported with several attainable and success-based benefits ripped from the exercise. Among the many advantages are that homework improves the students’ memories and thinking skills, becomes more responsible, and teaches them to manage time. Taking assignments home also gives parents opportunities to see what their children are doing in school. Opposing arguments about the myth provide that not all homework results in improved performance. The assignments consumes the recess time meant for students to bond with their loved ones thus’ missing the social life. The arguments in support and against the myth are equally significant thus making the topic interesting and worth research. The critics of the myth, homework boosts achievement hold that although the exercise is at times unproductive, it is still necessary.

Explanation of the Myth

Homework when subjected to any level of school-going students tends to improve their class performance. The perspective of take-away assignments being helpful is highly assumed by the teaching stakeholders of the education. Many teachers are in support of this belief as well as a significant section of parents (Mitchell & Sutherland, 2020). Learners might have mixed reactions to homework yet the myth holds that they are not in the best position to decide what is best for them. Thus, educators as their superiors in terms of knowledge are left with major decisions about students’ duties towards better performance.

The myth is supported by multiple benefits ripped by students who do homework. One of the benefits is that take-away assignments help to activate the memory of students and the acquisition of new skills. According to Mitchell and Sutherland (2020), learners with low memories have their capacities boosted by homework given by their teachers. Some students barely remember what they learned in class so the after-school assignments act as constant reminders. Therefore, by having their memories boosted, the students relearn the school lessons and acquire new skills that they might have missed in class (Tait, 2013). Homework also acts as a continuation factor of education that keeps students’ minds in the learning mode. By working on class assignments while at home, the students’ minds are prevented from wandering away from the schooling concepts. Consequently, students especially teenagers have no time to associate with a bad company that can lure them out of school.

Homework exercises also teach students how to manage time and give parents chances to know how their children are faring in school. After school, students and pupils given homework will need to plan their time well and allocate some time to do the assignments. By doing homework, they also learn and acquire the skill of time management that is beneficial for the rest of their lives (Hampshire & Hourcade, 2018) A school-based assignment done at home also allows parents to monitor their children’s learning progress. According to Li and Hamlin (2019), some kindergartens and lower grades teachers request the parent to assist their children with homework. Thus, the parents are also given a chance to know strong and weak areas of learning for their children. The parents also help to boost the students’ performances by highlighting the areas their students need to strengthen to their class teachers.

Homework also promotes self-learning, molds students to be responsible, and makes their skills perfect. At an early age, pupils and students are taught to learn by themselves through homework (Muljana et al., 2021). Developing self-learning habits helps students to learn ahead of their schedule and find it easy to revise thus improving their scores. Furthermore, allowing students to learn on their own gives them the character of being responsible. Responsible students know they have to perform well in their learning. The myth also adopts the popular saying, “practice makes perfect” (Muljana et al., 2021). Particularly for mathematics, students who practiced more through homework scored high grades compared to those who rarely practiced. The basic argument is that homework is another way of relearning class coverage and boosting overall performance. This myth is important for the community because by learning both supporting and opposing sides of it, the school stakeholders can decide whether to emulate the practice or not.

Critical Analysis

The myth that homework improves academic performance critically be analyzed from various perspectives that seek to challenge the relationship between the act of doing the after-school assignment and the general performance of students. As some experts pose homework-related challenges that prevent the increase in performance, others indicate that homework barely boosts performance for some students. The critical analysis focuses on at least three opinions of critics from experts who challenge the myth.

There is no Guarantee that homework boosts Performance

Based on the teacher’s goal when setting the homework, some students increase their performance while others do not. According to an investigative study conducted by Bempechat (2019), the homework-achievement connection provides mixed findings. Drawing from research targeting elementary school and high school students, not all students that do homework perform better in school. A section of both school levels did well resulting from a given homework while others did poorly based on the homework. Bempechat (2019), therefore, argues that teachers give homework for various reasons and that determines whether the students will improve in their achievement or not. Teachers often give homework to elementary school children for different reasons including fostering skills like the ability to manage distractions, perseverance, and responsibility. Thus, when assignments are given for such purposes, they do not guarantee increased achievement.

Development issues are also major determinants of whether a student will or will not improve from homework given in school. Study shows that elementary school children performed better when subjected to homework that was meant to improve their grades (Cosio & Williamson, 2019). At their developmental age, their performance is easily predictable thus the teacher can set the right assignment for improvement. High school students however posed different findings regarding the same perspective (Bempechat 2019). The students are less likely to respond to the expected outcomes because they have a higher development level. With increased understanding of school and tolerance of related challenges, high school students barely took assignments seriously (Bempechat 2019). Mostly, the students are concerned with whether the homework is stressful or not and the time it took to complete.

The Usefulness of the Homework and Duration of Completion

School homework can either motivate or demotivate students based on its usefulness. While motivated students do better in class, least motivated ones perform poorly. Students perceive the usefulness of assignments depending on whether it covers a topic that will be tested in an exam or not. According to Flunger et al. (2021), high school and college students take longer to finish assignments that are viewed as less important. If the students know the topic covered in the homework will not be tested within a short period, they become demotivated to even complete the work (Dettmers et al., 2020). They equally pay less attention to the homework and that way earns no benefit from its completion. The effort put into completing homework can be critical to improving academic achievement (Cosio & Williamson, 2019). This factor is critical because although teachers may not give a timeframe to complete the work, motivated and beneficial students tend to do the assignment faster. Consequently, those who find no benefit in doing it lag in terms of completion.

Homework is a Stressful Burden for Students

Some students do complete homework to meet teachers’ deadlines and avoid procrastination. Such students find the exercise not useful and stressful and would opt to avoid it. In a study by Mulijana et al. (2020) students who do homework to avoid deadlines cannot benefit from the exercise. For them, assignments are unnecessary students burdens that only increase pressure on already stressful learning schedules. Students with busy after-school schedules especially those working part-time can have minimal time to work on the assignments. They then find homework as an additional burden and stressors that are not useful for their performance.

Upon the closure of the school, most students especially those in college want to relax and engage in social life. Emm-Collison et al. (2019) also affirm that homework makes students miss out on social life. The relaxing time meant to mingle with family and friends is used in completing assignments. Students with this view of homework also take time to do the exercises. Indeed, they procrastinate until the last minute to the deadline. When they do the homework, they will be meeting the deadlines and probably avoid related punishments. Such students can therefore never improve their performances from such exercises.

Homework for Young Children is a Stressor for Parents

Preschool and lower grade pupils barely complete their homework without the help of a parent. Busy parents find school assignments are additional tasks to their stressful schedules (Li & Hamlin, 2019). The teachers expect the students to improve their performance based on parental assistance. Although helping the children is a better way of bonding, daily homework for parents is exhausting (Lehner-Mear, 2021). Parents who do not make it home in time to guide their children through the tasks often suffer from guilt. Their pupils also tend to miss out on intended skills especially when they have to do the assignments by themselves.

A section of parents feels that the duty of guiding the young ones in the process of learning is particularly for the teachers. Illiterate and unavailable parents feel that the teachers should not involve them in the exercise of homework (Dolean & Lervag, 2022). While uneducated parents’ students might undermine their parents for failing to know the assignment, those with unavailable parents might blame them for lack of concern (Lehner-Mear, 2021). From this perspective, the duty of guiding the pupils in homework remains with the educators. From the homework-achievement connection, students with unavailable and illiterate parents miss the chance to improve (Lehner-Mear, 2021). Young children especially those in pre-school need total guidance in finishing their tasks. Thus, if they have no one to guide them, the homework cannot help them to improve their grades. Unavailable parents who have to incur extra charges to hire homework helpers for their pupils find it unnecessary. Some of these parents feel that children of pre-school age do not need stressful assignments and that way they will not need to incur more costs.

Alternative Perspectives

Homework Feedback Platform

Various experts provide alternatives to homework or ways of making homework more effective for school achievements. One of the alternatives is to offer feedback on the assigned homework to ensure that students learn from the exercise. This method by Buitrago (2020) holds that homework is the least beneficial for students because it is a requirement and not a learning tool. Specifically, in the engineering career, the studies indicate that homework without teachers’ feedback does not improve students’ performance (Buitrago, 2020). In this perspective, the assignment is a school requirement and not a way of learning. Buitrago (2020) therefore wishes to change that notion by making homework a learning tool. TARSIS is a platform developed to accommodate both after-school tasks and teachers’ feedback. In the platform, the teachers can revise the homework together with the students either face to face or online. The feedback here is given promptly to serve the purpose of increasing the students’ knowledge.

Many students remain unsatisfied even after doing their homework especially if they receive no feedback from their teachers. The education context is changing and so are the needs of students in the system (Tait, 2013). Although the study proposes a very specific solution for this problem, it generally recommends the importance of educators’ feedback. Thus, even in schools that cannot access TARSIS, educators can always give assignment feedback to help students capture the skills they might have missed in the exercise (Buitrago, 2020). In critical learning courses and units such as engineering and mathematics, educators’ feedback is crucial to improve the students’ academic performance.

Homework Motivational intervention

Self-learning is boring especially when it is a daily habit and may not offer measurable academic achievement. However, the exercise can be transformed to be fun and motivating with proper strategies. Motivational interventions such as doing homework from school can motivate the students by helping them enjoy the exercise (Flunger et al., 2021). This intervention requires creating pleasant and creative schools spaces in which students can do their assignments before going home. The spaces can be created within a classroom or school compound but with interesting themes to adjust their moods.

In-home settings, students especially those in high school and below take homework as a habit and a teacher requirement. These students do not enjoy homework and thus barely gain expected skills from the relearning duties. Flunger et al. (2021) affirm that through their motivational intervention study, students improved performances if they enjoyed doing the assignments. The proposed school and classroom spaces allow students to work together or interact constructively thus attaining the targeted skills. Niemi (2021) also second that classroom structure can change students’ attitudes toward homework and attain improved learning. Teachers who provide allow students to do homework from school reported that their students improved their general class achievement. However, those that demanded students to complete their work from home gained so little from the exercise.

Parental-help-free Homework

Parents of younger children especially those in pre and elementary school want teachers to offer easy assignments. According to Li and Hamlin (2019), young children should be given assignments that they can do on their own. Parents with low socioeconomic and minority status showed a high willingness to help pupils with homework. However, those with the majority and higher socioeconomic status were reluctant to help their children with homework (Lehner-Mear, 2021). Both of these groups however agreed that other unplanned and complex factors may prevent parents from helping with assignments.

Elementary pupils do not benefit from complex assignments particularly when their parents fail to help in solving. The parents, therefore, argue that educators need to provide students with tasks they can easily solve on their own. Further studies indicate that teachers needed to solve complex class concepts while in school (Lehner-Mear, 2021). That way, the students have a chance to ask more questions that may not be answered by parents. Parents also feel that complex homework undermines their abilities as well as those of their younger ones (Dolean & Lervag, 2022). A study by Yavich and Davidovitch (2020) provides that parents do not want homework scrapped from school programs but they want educators to be reasonable. Their focus on homework resolution is to provide less homework for students.

A section of teachers also agreed that loading students with much homework did not increase their performance. Some students who found homework least useful had at least four sets of assignments in a day. The assignments involved different subjects and were given by different teachers (Dolean & Lervag, 2022). Each teacher expected the student to complete their work within a similar deadline. Such homework pressures students and instead of boosting their achievement withdraws their morale and the need to score better grades. Therefore, teachers and parents suggest low levels of homework, especially for lower school pupils. That way, the homework will contribute to the class scores of the students.


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