How does math homework improve grades
What does the research say?
Earlier this year, a poll was conducted by the Associated Press to determine the views of parents regarding their children’s homework load. The results showed that 57% of parents believed their child was assigned an appropriate amount of math homework, with 23% feeling that it was too little, and 19% believing that it was too much (Cooper, 2006).
These results are certainly encouraging for educators as they indicate that the majority of parents are content with the amount of homework their children are receiving. However, opinions on homework are subjective and cannot conclusively prove whether or not homework is effective. This is why researchers have analyzed dozens of homework studies to determine whether homework is beneficial, and if so, how much homework is appropriate for students. The findings of these studies suggest that homework can have a positive impact on academic achievement. When comparing students who were assigned homework to those who were not but were similar in other ways, the former group typically scored higher on class tests (Cooper, 2006). While 12 studies linked the amount of homework to academic achievement, controlling for other factors that might influence this connection, national samples of students also found a positive correlation between time spent on homework and academic achievement.
However, some studies have found that there is little to no relationship between math homework and achievement for elementary school students. This may be because younger children have less developed study habits and are less able to tune out distractions at home. Additionally, younger students who are struggling in school may take more time to complete their homework assignments, which can be more challenging for them
Practice makes perfect
The significance of practice in mathematics cannot be overstated. It is a subject that relies heavily on practice in order for students to succeed. Math tests often require students to remember formulas, apply them efficiently, and solve variations of problems. By practicing regularly, students can improve their ability to understand math concepts, recognize problems quickly, and match them to the appropriate method of solving.
Research has consistently shown that it is important to memorize core mathematical concepts at the outset. Students who do not master basic skills, such as multiplication tables, in elementary school tend to struggle more than their peers (Does Practice Really Make Perfect in Math? – MLGS Tuition, 2020). They are forced to spend additional time manually working out multiplication functions, which slows them down and depletes their mental energy. As a result, students may become discouraged and disinterested in math, which can negatively impact their self-esteem.
However, blind practice is not enough to guarantee success. In fact, blindly practicing the same types of questions over and over again can result in diminishing returns. While students may be able to score full marks on simpler questions with heavy practice of standard questions, they tend to struggle with more difficult questions. These include questions that introduce a variation to the standard method, combine two or more topics to test a student’s understanding or mimic real-world conditions with a large number of factors and variants.
What is the recommended amount of homework for math improvement?
The National PTA and the NEA suggest that math homework should not exceed 10-20 minutes a day for K-2 students, 30-60 minutes for grades 3-6, and should vary by subject for junior and senior high students (Cooper, 2006). These recommendations are in line with the findings of research studies, which suggest that a little bit of homework can help younger students build study habits, while high school students can benefit from longer periods of homework.
While proponents of homework argue that it can help students develop good study habits, recognize that learning can occur at home as well as at school, foster independent learning, and promote responsible character traits, opponents counter that it can lead to boredom with schoolwork and deny students access to leisure activities. They also suggest that parents, at times, become too involved in homework, pressuring their children and confusing them with different teaching methods than the teacher.
Homework policies should consider the research evidence while allowing schools and teachers the flexibility to accommodate individual student needs and circumstances. Teachers should avoid assigning too much or too little homework and aim to strike a balance that is appropriate for their students. By doing so, students can benefit from the positive effects of homework and develop good study habits that will serve them well throughout their academic careers.
Other advantages of math homework
In today’s rapidly evolving world, where lifelong learning has become a necessity for success, developing good study habits is more important than ever. Homework can help students develop these habits by providing them with an opportunity to practice time management, organization, and critical thinking skills. Additionally, homework can help students recognize that education is not limited to the classroom but can happen anywhere, including at home. This can lead to a better understanding and appreciation of the value of education, which can have long-term benefits (Cooper, n.d.).
Furthermore, math homework can foster self-directed learning and cultivate responsible personality traits. By working independently on homework assignments, students can develop a sense of responsibility and discipline, which can be beneficial in all areas of life. They learn to prioritize their work, plan and manage their time, and take ownership of their learning. This type of self-directed learning can also help students build confidence and motivation, as they experience the satisfaction of completing tasks on their own.
Homework can also provide an opportunity for parents to observe their children’s school progress and express positive attitudes toward their academic achievements. This can be particularly important for children who may struggle in school and need encouragement to succeed. Parents can use homework assignments as a way to engage with their children and support them in their academic pursuits.
In conclusion, math homework can have many benefits beyond improving academic performance. It can help students develop good study habits, foster self-directed learning, cultivate responsible personality traits, and provide an opportunity for parents to support their children’s academic progress (Cooper, n.d.). While there are also criticisms of homework, it is clear that when used appropriately, homework can play an important role in students’ academic and personal development.
- Cooper, H. (2006, September 23). Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? | Duke Today. Duke Today. Retrieved April 14, 2023, from https://today.duke.edu/2006/09/homework_oped.html
- Cooper, H. (n.d.). Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement?: If So, How Much Is Best? SEDL. Retrieved April 14, 2023, from https://sedl.org/pubs/sedl-letter/v20n02/homework.html
- Does Practice Really Make Perfect in Math? – MLGS Tuition. (2020, March 31). Primary School Math Tuition Centre. Retrieved April 14, 2023, from https://mlgstuition.com/math-practice-perfect/