High School Homework Sites
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.A homework assignment could require students to answer questions about what was covered in class that day without consulting their notes.Research has found that retrieval practice and similar learning strategies are far more powerful than simply rereading or reviewing material.For example, there’s something called “retrieval practice,” which means trying to recall information you’ve already learned.The optimal time to engage in retrieval practice is not immediately after you’ve acquired information but after you’ve forgotten it a bit—like, perhaps, after school.One study found that lower-income ninth-graders “consistently described receiving minimal homework—perhaps one or two worksheets or textbook pages, the occasional project, and 30 minutes of reading per night.” And if they didn’t complete assignments, there were few consequences.
So it’s quite possible that much of the homework teachers assign just isn’t particularly effective for many students.
Those arguments have merit, but why homework boost academic achievement?
The research cited by educators just doesn’t seem to make sense.
Good homework assignments might have helped a student learn a lot about, say, Ancient Egypt.
But if the reading passages on a test cover topics like life in the Arctic or the habits of the dormouse, that student’s test score may well not reflect what she’s learned.