Role of Homework in Education in the US


Homework can be referred to as the assignment or tasks the teachers allocate to their students. These assignments and tasks are meant to be completed outside the class environment. They are also meant to be completed after the time that has been allocated for classes. The assignments or tasks can be completed anywhere and at anytime by the students. If the students are in a boarding school, they can complete their homework in the evenings in their dormitories or in the library. The reason why these assignments got the name homework is that majority of the students opt to complete these assignments at home, rather than at school.

There is a ranging debate on the benefits, if any, that homework has on the US educational system. Many people have argued that these assignments should be scrapped out of the system because they have far much more costs to the students and other stakeholders than benefits. Proponents of these assignments argue that they are a very useful tool in helping the student to learn independently amongst other benefits. It is important to note that these assignments are allocated to students at every level of the American educational system. This is from elementary grade school, high school, colleges and even universities. It has been noted that as the student progresses through the educational system, the assignments get progressively harder and lengthy.

This paper will look at the role that homework assignments do play in the US educational system. The writer will be interested in finding out whether the assignments do really benefit the students, and if so, how and to what extent. The writer will also examine on the amount of homework that is beneficial to the student. This is because the amount of assignment does vary from one level of students to the other. The justification of the teachers playing a role in determining the activities of the students after school will also be examined, together with the reforms that can be carried out to make homework more beneficial to the American student.

Role of Homework in Education in the US

Effects of Homework

Johannes argues that these assignments have both benefits and costs to the student in the American education system (16).

Benefits of Homework

As a pedagogical instrument, this practice is very crucial in developing the long term cognitive attributes of the student, together with motivation (Johannes: 16). When the student is given assignment to carry away from class, there is a likelihood that his understanding of the topic that was covered will improve. This is because most of the assignments tend to involve what has been already covered in class that day. If the student did not understand some of the aspects of the topic that was taught in class, homework will jog his memory and provide a deeper understanding (Brownski: 22).

As far as cognitive attributes of the student are concerned, homework helps in improving the retention capacity of the student (Brownski: 27). Studies have shown that it is not possible to memorize everything in class as it is been taught. Some aspects off the topic under discussion tend to bypass the memory circuit of the student. However, during consolidation of the memory which takes place after the discussion is over, the student is able to sort out some of the materials that he was unable to during the lesson. Consolidation of the memory takes place when the student is doing the homework, and this helps him in sorting out sensory inputs that h was unable to in class (Brownski: 27).

Homework also helps in improving the study skills of the students. This is because it trains them on how to revise and manage their time, among other beneficial skills (Adeloitte: 99). It also helps the students to realize that learning can take place anywhere, and it is a continuous process. They realize that classroom is not the only place where learning can take place. The

Role of Homework in Education in the US

parents are also involved in the learning process through the homework. They are able to gauge the steps that their children are making in learning (Adeloitte: 103). The students also learn how to be more responsible. They acquire self-discipline as they are supposed to meet deadlines in completing the assignments.

Negative Effects of Homework

Homework has been known to cause undue stress to the student (Johannes: 18). This is especially so if it leads to conflicts between the parent and the student.

A lot of the student’s time is taken by the homework. As such, other beneficial activities such as sports and socialization are ignored to the detriment of the student (Brownski: 25). A research that was conducted by Adeloitte in 2009 in grade schools led to the realization that when the students are overloaded with homework, they can lose interest in the subject under consideration or in some cases, lose interest in the whole learning process (Adeloitte: 100). Homework can also confuse the student instead of clarifying issues to them. This is especially so when the students who are helped by the parents realize that the teaching techniques that the parent is using are different from those adopted by the teacher (Johannes: 18).

Homework: How much is too much?

It is crucial for the teachers to strike a balance between the amount of homework they hand out and the developmental stage of the student. There are some guidelines that are usually followed by teachers to ensure this. For grades one to three, experts recommend 20 minutes of homework in a day (Brownski: 24). Grades four to six, an average of thirty minutes is appropriate, while two hours per day is what is recommended for students in grades seven to nine (Brownski: 24).

Role of Homework in Education in the US

Teachers: Should they decide on what their Charges do After School?

The teachers have the right to decide what their students do after school, but to a limit. This is because they are the ones who are charged with imparting knowledge on the students. Since it has been proved that learning can take place anywhere and at anytime, teachers, been the ones in charge of it, should be able to control it (Brownski: 23). That is why they have the right to determine the amount of homework that the students should carry home. After all, they are the ones that are blamed when the students fail their exams. But they should also ensure that they give their students time to spend with their friends and on other things crucial to their development.

Reforms to Improve the Benefits of Homework

Some of the reforms that can make homework more beneficial to the student are ensuring that parents get more involved in the process. It should be made mandatory for the parents to help their children with their homework. This way, the homework will serve the purpose of bringing all the stakeholders in the education system together. Schools should also set limits on the amount of homework that students should be given. This will ensure that the students are not overworked and they have time for other crucial activities like sports and socialization.


Homework has both negative and positive effects on the education system in US. Some of the benefits include improving the cognitive skills of the student, together with creating a culture of self-discipline and responsibility among the same. Some negative attributes include overworking the students and encouraging cheating. However, the benefits outweigh the costs, and so the assignments should remain in the system. However, there are some reforms that should be carried to improve the benefits and mitigates the costs. This involves limiting the amount of work that the student is assigned.

Role of Homework in Education in the US


Adeloitte, Gregory M. “Teaching Techniques in the US Educational System.” New York:

McGraw-Hill, 2009. 99-103.

Brownski, Newton Y. “Pedagogical Issues in American Schools.” Long Beach: Cengen Books, 2007. 22-27.

Johannes, Bernard I. “Homework in Schools: Benefits and Costs to the Education System.” New

Jersey: Prentice-Hall. 16-18.