Schools slash after-class work

Sunday Star Times 22 February 2009

Schools across the country are slashing homework back to the basics while others are telling kids that cooking dinner, joining a sports team and helping in the community is far more important than spending hours on science projects. Some parents who have traditionally put great weight on the amount of homework their kids do are now telling schools they won’t be enforcing it at home.

And the research is on their side. Academics say homework:
makes no difference to primary school students’ achievement, although in high school it can boost achievement;
helps bright kids the most; for others, it is often just a reminder that they cannot do a task;
requires good feedback from teachers and backs up what the student learnt at school;
has “zero evidence” supporting the idea it teaches time-management or study skills.
There is little dispute that taking some schoolwork home can be valuable but the “busywork” the weekly worksheets and long-term projects that cause such stress for families (and are all too often completed with excessive parental help) is on the way out.