Homework or No Homework?

I was looking at the recent activity on my blog this morning and noticed that a post I made more than two years ago was suddenly receiving quite a number of views. The post was "No Homework Policy" And browsing through a Philippines' news site explained why there was an increase in interest on this topic. Bills have been filed in the House of Representatives in the Philippines. One of the bills would even impose a fine of P50,000 or imprisonment of one to two years on teachers who would violate the no-homework condition. I did not know that giving homework to one's students could be considered a crime. Giving homework might not be doing good in basic education but it should never be regarded as a felony.

Above copied from
The Manila Bulletin

As noted in the previous post years ago, research is quite clear with regard to homework. Homework has modest effect on the academic achievement of older students (grades 7-12) and has no effect on younger students (Kindergarten to grade 6). Seeing that homework does not benefit children during their elementary years is quite surprising because "Practice makes perfect" is quite a well proven adage. Therefore, what is beneficial in practice may not be present in homework in the elementary years. And what may be absent are quality and feedback. Of these two, what is most likely absent is feedback. Grading a student's work requires the presence of a teacher and for feedback to be useful, the teacher needs to provide this almost instantaneously. The teacher cannot be possibly present at home so there is no feedback at home. Quality is also difficult to achieve in the early elementary years especially when children are just starting to learn how to read and do math. In the later years, a student may be able to get feedback on their own as math questions usually provide ways by which a student can check if his or her answer is correct. In high school, students are a bit more sophisticated that they should be able to gauge roughly if what they are doing in science, social studies, music, art is good or not. 

Truly, family time is important. There are other things students can do and should be doing outside of school. And research showing that homework in elementary years not having any benefit needs to be taken into account. However, homework is necessary especially in the later years. It is the only way one could really learn math and the sciences. 

As usual, we need to pay close attention to what research is really telling us. Unfortunately, as always, education policy makers in the Philippines are jumping into an issue without doing due diligence. 

Above copied from
The Inquirer