Can you take one more post about homework? Even if I can’t guarantee it’s my last? A parent recently sent me an link to an article entitled, “Is the Drive for Success Making Our Children Sick?” The author concludes that we are indeed pushing kids far beyond their boundaries, with serious health consequences. She describes how one high school is making positive changes by reducing homework assignments. The author cites a meta-analysis of homework studies, “Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, 1987-2003,” conducted by researchers at Duke University. Although they report that all homework studies had design flaws, they suggest a generally positive influence between homework and achievement, especially for grades 7-12. However, there was no strong evidence “of an association between the homework–achievement link and the outcome measure (grades as opposed to standardized tests) or the subject matter (reading as opposed to math).” The researchers suggested further research. Duh.
Harris Cooper, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke, prepared an article in 2006 entitled, “Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement?” (He has also published a book by Corwin Press, “The Battle Over Homework: A Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents.”) In his article, Cooper suggests that elementary students have no more than 10-20 minutes of homework, with flexibility based upon the “unique needs and circumstances of students and their families.” YES! This is good advice for teachers and parents of twice exceptional students (2e), who have already worked harder than their peers at school. We should not be grinding these students away with unreasonable demands upon their mental and emotional reserves.
Teachers and parents, be advocates for your 2e kids! Don’t make them sick from stress and anxiety! Make decisions about homework based on student needs, not the school’s traditions.