Manassas Journal Messenger | Homework hype?

Those who say teachers are piling on too much homework probably didn?t welcome a recent report compiled the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

The study found that most students across the nation are assigned less than an hour?s worth of homework each night. Part of the survey also found that most students in three primary age groups (ages 9, 13 and 17) reported being assigned less than an hour of work each night.

A separate study by the RAND Corp. found that only about one in 10 high school students does the recommended amount (around two hours) of homework each night.

Education experts have always encouraged students to spend at least 10 minutes on homework per grade level. This means fifth graders should spend 50 minutes per night while ninth graders spend 90 minutes.

The popular assumption has been that teachers are loading our students down with burdensome assignments at home. The folks at the Brookings Institute said that while there may be isolated cases of heavy homework assignments, most parents and students aren?t budgeting their time outside of class. Too often television, sports, socializing at the mall and part-time jobs absorb the time that should be dedicated to homework.

It has been proven that students who focus on homework assignments are more likely to succeed in the classroom. They learn the material quicker and are more prepared than most students who dedicate less time to assignments.

Still, Tom Loveless, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at The Brookings Institution, said that it is the teacher?s responsibility to grasp an accurate picture of what most students face. It always comes down to good communication between teachers and parents.

It is up to parents to stay informed on how much homework is being assigned and the difficulty of the assignments.

There will always be debate over the homework load carried by school students. Teachers will always be challenged by parents on the amount of work assigned ? some complain there?s too much; others complain there?s not enough.

Regardless of which side is correct, one thing is certain. Homework and a student?s positive attitude toward it, is key to academic success. The amount of homework assigned should always be left up to teachers, who work with parents, rather than through the mandates of local and state policy makers.

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