dissertation homework reviews

dissertation homework reviews

The Importance of Homework in Educational Settings: A Comprehensive Review

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1. Introduction

The first part of this paper presents a broad review of the existing literature concerning homework. It examines and discusses several issues that arise around the concept of homework. The literature review results in the extraction of ten different concepts of homework covering four different parts of educational practice. After analysis of the most important empirical studies, it can be argued that in these four domains, homework shows a consistent and persistent positive impact that is crucial for domain learning. In the second part, the critique is presented. The authors will discuss the formal curricular goals of homework and, at the level of countries, the values of homework in terms of equity and social justice.

This paper aims to uncover the explicit meanings of homework in the academic literature, synthesize empirical results on its educational effects, explore the different objectives that are implemented in educational practice, and adopt a critical stance. Homework needs to be conceptualized in a way that encompasses not only academic learning but also other forms of learning, such as a politically correct and just form of education consistent with the basic principles of human rights, and the construction of citizens able to critically think and participate in democratic societies. Such reflections and frameworks could guide and inform the complex methodological work of defining or identifying the types of educational activities that should be performed out-of-school. The result of this process would produce better practices and better use of out-of-school activities for better educational results. The history of homework shows us that school practice doesn’t always follow what science points out and prove.

2. Theoretical Frameworks on Homework

Although researchers often suggest, based on their diverse research results, that many factors should be considered when discussing the relationship between homework and students’ learning achievements, theoretical support for that proposition is often neglected. A complex construct like homework may be regarded as having different aspects and being influenced by diverse conditions. Education, from a systemic point of view, is a function of a dyad integrating the school and the home. The family conditions, the characteristics of the academic subjects, the features of the school system, and the school’s formulation are the four dimensions that are involved in the relationship. This four-dimensional approach of the school-family interaction diverges in some aspects and shows parallels with the other three theoretical proposals that conceptualize homework as a school assignment, as an independent variable of students’ process of learning, as an educational tool to integrate the action of the institution with the activities of the home, and finally, as a variable showing the expectations of students and of their responsibility. These four points of view on the phenomenon lead to different conclusions about how to organize children’s learning activity, and they also diverge in terms of the regulated time and dedication that the activity requires from pupils. The models offer diverging explanations of homework: one emphasizes the cognitive and intellectual activities related to undertaking the task; another emphasizes the family involvement in the task. When comparing the effects of homework on gains in learning, these theoretical approaches differ. Some stress the interaction between schools and families, while some stress the student’s personal investment in the study. Some appeal to family resources and community support, while others stress the organization of the task and the types of questions to be considered at home, emphasizing some types of exercises over others.

3. Benefits of Homework

Homework is recognized as an important component of education and learning, but although it has the potential to drive and improve learning, it is not routinely included as a part of the formal curricula provided in school systems in many countries. From an early age, most students are aware of the value of homework and what special flavors homework contributes to. Students come to understand the joys of combining homework with after-school activities and spending long hours debating with school friends about the meaningfulness of the homework. They become familiar with the neighborhood-organized homework groups, which provide a context for relaxed exploration and sharing of their thoughts and fears. For many students, homework becomes associated with stress, fear of failure, and teacher evaluation. In some cases, parental involvement during homework activities can lead to major family tensions, in particular when time and understanding toward the child are poor.

At the same time, homework has the potential to reinforce the learning which occurs in school and to provide extra opportunities for practice. However, it is also possible that when homework is considered an important part of the learning process, teachers will tend to assign more tasks, and so the danger of students experiencing anxiety over the amount of tasks can arise. There is a need to establish a balance in the homework instructions and frequency of homework. It should be undertaken to assess whether homework produces desirable student outcomes, whether children who do homework every day will be subjected to high levels of stress, whether any benefits are short-lived, and what specific homework activities are most beneficial.

4. Challenges and Criticisms of Homework

In essence, it is the constancy of concern over a long period of time that is likely to deliver educational benefits. Along similar lines, the only observed effect of private tutoring was on test scores that occurred in response to family preoccupations about these dire possibilities. As others have noted, few mechanisms are as powerful at creating parental concern as homework. The positive effects that we identified occur over the long term. This phenomenon is reflected in the hours of homework literature that is reviewed at the beginning of the chapter. Simply does the act of committing time free of distractions to homework have a role in students’ development reduce home problems and build in students’ time preference for the future, alter the role of students’ assessment of their abilities or similar models. It should be no surprise that the educational returns to homework work in establishing these critical components of human development.

The most significant feature of homework is that it represents an instrument that culture (society, family and the school) consistently applies across children’s development. Hamblin observes, home involvement is a component of parental investment that is largely defined by its absence. That is, homework time will represent not only a direct intervention, but parents’ valuation of children being engaged in education.

Given the unique and powerful effects of homework, one might be surprised to find that aiming directly at creating such an intervention provides very limited effects. This is very counterintuitive and has caused many critics of homework to see this finding as evidence that homework is not good for students or to hold that, at best, it makes only a small contribution to education. The argument goes as follows: if special interventions can only have limited impact, then the regular homework that students are given must have similarly limited benefits. On average, this argument is logically compelling, but critically misses an important aspect of the homework intervention.

5. Best Practices and Recommendations for Effective Homework Assignments

Create homework guidelines. Such recommended homework practices should be offered to students in a document, website, or, better yet, at the beginning of a school year or semester, during each of which, the teacher can explain and model these strategies. Even so, teachers should periodically remind students of these guidelines, rephrasing the instructions to make them fresh each time: “When you begin the homework during the next few days, be sure to…” Finally, a parent or guardian should be given a copy of these homework guidelines, as they can provide invaluable guidance at home.

Given these aforementioned benefits of homework, how can instructors use it effectively? In this section, we will provide practical tips for setting up, revising, and following up on homework assignments in order to maximize their benefit for students. Although strong empirical studies in education and cognitive psychology point to these strategies for making homework more effective, we believe that more research needs to explicitly test these strategies. We hope we inspire such studies, but until we have that research base, the strategies we articulate should work, in general, to help homework serve its educational ends.

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