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“When Is Homework Worth the Time?”: New Study Finds Positive Relationship Between Homework and Standardized Test Scores, but Not Course Grades

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“We’re not trying to say that all homework is bad … This is more of an argument that it should be quality over quantity. So in math, rather than doing the same types of problems over and over again, maybe it should involve having students analyze new types of problems or data. In science, maybe the students should write concept summaries instead of just reading a chapter and answering the questions at the end.”

Although it found little correlation between the amount of time tenth graders spent on homework and better course grades in math and science, a new study identifies a positive relationship between homework time and standardized test scores. The study, “When Is Homework Worth the Time?” by Adam Maltese, assistant professor of science education in the Indiana University School of EducationRobert H. Tai, associate professor of science education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia; and Xitao Fan, dean of education at the University of Macau, appears in the fall 2012 issue of the High School Journal.

“Our results hint that maybe homework is not being used as well as it could be,” Maltese says in a press release from Indiana University. “We’re not trying to say that all homework is bad … This is more of an argument that it should be quality over quantity. So in math, rather than doing the same types of problems over and over again, maybe it should involve having students analyze new types of problems or data. In science, maybe the students should write concept summaries instead of just reading a chapter and answering the questions at the end.”

According to the press release, the authors suggest that other factors, such as class participation and attendance, may “mitigate the association of homework to stronger grade performance.” The authors also indicate that homework assignments given may be more in line with standardized test preparation than retaining knowledge of class material.

More information is available at http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/23471.html?emailID=23471 .

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Higher Education

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