After conducting its own literature review, receiving 32 submissions and hearing from 16 expert witnesses during three days of public hearings, the inquiry committee had this to say: ' It is not possible from the available data to make unequivocal statements about the effectiveness of homework overall in assisting student learning.’ It does, however, want the state education department to support schools and teachers in this area by explaining current research. Most of the studies deal with the United States and Europe.
Supporters of homework argue it not only has academic benefits, but also helps youngsters develop important study and time management skills, and gives parents a chance to engage in their child’s learning.
' Providing every student with targeted feedback about their homework is very difficult for teachers, so it often falls between the cracks.' Professor John Hattie, of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, has famously calculated the 'effect-size' of more than 100 education innovations.
He recently told the BBC that homework in primary school has an effect-size of around zero 'which is why we need to get it right, not why we need to get rid of it...' He added homework does make a bigger difference in secondary school, mainly because the tasks are often about reinforcing and giving students another chance to practice what they've learnt.
This infographic is based on his work (with the reported effect size being the average across grades).
I’m looking forward to reading the Australian research - I hadn’t come across that yet.
On the other side of the debate: ‘For those opposed to homework, many feel that it creates unnecessary pressure on students for limited or disputed academic benefit, robs children of time to develop other life skills, through recreational and artistic activities and social interaction, and places pressure on family life,’ the report says.
Walker, of the University of Sydney, told one of the public hearings that research on homework tends to focus on three things: student learning and achievement; the development of student learning skills; and parental involvement.
He also gets to see that there is a connection between school and home and that we are interested in what he’s doing. Many of the parents at our school have English as a second language and struggle to meet this weekly requirement.
If their child is struggling they are not always able to assist, or to recognise the issue.