Engaging Students in Homework
Most of us have heard Benjamin Franklin’s saying that nothing is certain but death and taxes. Share this with a student in the United States, and he or she might add homework to the list. It is no surprise, then, that homework help has become an important part of afterschool programs. In fact, 90% of 21st Century Community Learning Centers reported offering tutoring and homework help in the 2004–2005 school year.1
Afterschool professionals can help students set and meet homework goals and keep parents and day-school teachers informed about students’ progress. Begin by letting day-school teachers know that homework help is available in your afterschool program, and stay informed about teachers’ homework expectations and students’ progress.
For students who work better in a structured environment, a homework agreement signed by students, parents, teachers, and staff can describe each person’s role in homework and what is expected during homework time. Students can use a homework log to record assignments, track progress, and communicate with teachers and parents. A homework log can also be used to help students manage their time, prioritize the things they need to do, and assess their own progress. These and other resources are part of the National Partnership’s Afterschool Training Toolkit for Homework. To find the homework agreement and homework log, go to the Monitoring and Communicating about Student Progress section and look at the bottom of the page.
1 Naftzger, N., Kaufman, S., Margolin, J. & Ali, A. (2006). 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) analytic support for evaluation and program monitoring: An overview of the 21st CCLC Program: 2004–05. Naperville, IL: Learning Point Associates.
Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? If So,
How Much is Best?
By Harris Cooper, PhD
A recent poll conducted for the Associated Press found that about 57% of parents felt their child was assigned about the right amount of homework. Another 23% thought it was too little, and 19% thought it was too much.
Educators should be thrilled with these numbers. Pleasing a majority of parents regarding homework and having equal numbers of dissenters shouting “Too much!” and “Too little!” is about as good as they can hope for.
What the Research Says
But opinions cannot tell us whether homework works; only research can. My colleagues and I have conducted a combined analysis of dozens of homework studies to examine whether homework is beneficial and what amount of homework is appropriate for our children.
Read the full article
Harris Cooper, is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, where he also directs the Program in Education, and author of The Battle over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents (Corwin Press). He is also a member of the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning’s steering committee.