U.S. Homework Policies Compared to Other Countries

1 May

In comparison to other countries, U.S. students rank as average in amounts of homework.  What matters though is not the amount of time spent, but other factors such as the quality of the school / teachers, the specific grade level, etc.

  • Japan – Elementary students with four or more hours of homework per night = 1%
  • Taiwan – Elementary students with four or more hours of homework per night = 5%
  • U.S. – Elementary students with four or more hours of homework per night = 8%

While the U.S. tends to look to these countries as a standard in achievement, this data shoes evidence that more homework does not necessarily guarantee higher scores on standardized tests.  Gerald LeTendre, professor of education policy studies at Penn State, and Motoko Akiba of the University of Missori, Columbia, explain after analyzing data from their study of homework trends in eighteen countries, “An overlooked factor is the quality of the education in a nation’s public schools,” the researchers say. “Some developing nations with fewer resources may see an increase in student achievement with more homework because the homework helps student to catch up in their skills. Students in schools of well-funded nations may not need to spend as much time on homework.”

In my thesis research, I plan to examine this study as well as others similar to it to dig deeper into the effectiveness and purpose of homework in elementary school classrooms.

Penn State (2007, February 27).  Benefits Of More Homework Vary Across Nations, Grades.  ScienceDaily.  Retrieved July 3, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2007/02/070227171018.htm

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