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15th March 2018

Should schools draw a line under homework?

There is an intense debate over whether homework is necessary for secondary students in different countries. Recent studies have tried to prove that homework has a positive effect on a student’s work ethic, while others test negative and the mental effect it has on students. People and governments across the globe, have very mixed views on the topic.

Recent studies show that homework has positive effects on student. For example exam results show that homework enhances and develops a student’s understanding of their current topic by recapping what they learnt in their lesson and improving their memory. It helps with time management, a crucial skill the developing students will need in the future, as they will have to deal with large quantities of work as they go through life. Mr Lane, Head of Year 8, said, “It is an important part of extending students’ knowledge beyond the classroom.” Also a Year 8 student, Ellie, said “Homework is a really good way to revise and a good way to gather extra information outside of the lesson”.

Although it seems homework has a positive effect on students, what effect does homework have on a student’s mental wellbeing? According to a recent survey, over 99% of students said that completing homework was a stressor. Too much homework can result in lack of sleep, headaches, exhaustion and weight loss. Completing homework can limit the amount of free time a student has to participate in hobbies and socialising with family and friends. This means less homework could result in more free time, less stress and happier students.

In different countries, different quantities of homework are given. For example: some top achieving countries, like Singapore, assign their students high quantities of homework. However, Finland succeed without much homework. On average, Finnish students do approximately 3 hours of homework per week. Yet in 2012 they scored 6th highest in the world in reading. Research suggests that teenage students in the UK put in more hours of homework than in countries such as Germany, Sweden and Austria. UK students receive a certain amount of homework depending on their age. Homework quantities can range from 3 hours for younger students to around 9 hours per week for year 10 and 11 students.

Overall, we believe that homework is generally a positive factor to school life when given in manageable quantities. Less homework will result in a positive effect on student’s work ethic while caring for their mental wellbeing. It will ensure they have plenty of free time.