Even if teachers do manage to assign effective homework, it may not show up on the measures of achievement used by researchers—for example, standardized reading test scores.
Those tests are designed to measure general reading comprehension skills, not to assess how much students have learned in specific classes.
Another argument against homework is that it causes students to feel overburdened and stressed.
While that may be true at schools serving affluent populations, students at low-performing ones often don’t get much homework at all—even in high school.
Students from less educated families are most in need of the boost that effective homework can provide, because they’re less likely to acquire academic knowledge and vocabulary at home.
And homework can provide a way for lower-income parents—who often don’t have time to volunteer in class or participate in parents’ organizations—to forge connections to their children’s schools.Well-educated parents are better able to provide help, the argument goes, and it’s easier for affluent parents to provide a quiet space for kids to work in—along with a computer and internet access.While those things may be true, assigning homework—or assigning ineffective homework—can end up privileging advantaged students even more.These are things that schools of education and teacher-prep programs typically don’t teach.So it’s quite possible that much of the homework teachers assign just isn’t particularly effective for many students.Some schools are eliminating homework, citing research showing it doesn’t do much to boost achievement.But maybe teachers just need to assign a different kind of homework.In 2016, a second-grade teacher in Texas delighted her students—and at least some of their parents—by announcing she would no longer assign homework.“Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance,” she explained.The following year, the superintendent of a Florida school district serving 42,000 students eliminated homework for all elementary students and replaced it with twenty minutes of nightly reading, saying she was basing her decision on “solid research about what works best in improving academic achievement in students.” Many other elementary schools seem to have quietly adopted similar policies.Critics have objected that even if homework doesn’t increase grades or test scores, it has other benefits, like fostering good study habits and providing parents with a window into what kids are doing in school.