The Unknown Benefits of Homework

Bridget Doyle '21, Guest Writer

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Stressful. Time-consuming. Exhausting. These are some of the first words that come to many students’ minds when they hear the word “homework.” A poll conducted by states that “more than seven in 10 schoolchildren have negative feelings toward homework.” For those 70 percent of students, homework may seem like a waste of time and energy, but many do not know that there are unknown benefits behind those daily assignments, according to South science teacher Shawn McNamara.

A 49 minute class period is not enough time to help students really understand (the material),” McNamara said, “By giving out homework, students are given more time to practice what they are learning in class.”

“I do think I benefit from homework because the more you’re used to something, the better you get at it,” Kate Skupien ’21 said. “You become an expert at (the material).”

Researchers from Indiana University studied over 18,000 high school sophomores and their academic performance, according to Although the study did show their homework completion did not have a total affect over their overall grade, the study did find “a positive association between time spent on homework and student scores on standardized tests.” Therefore, students who normally complete their homework tend to do better on standardized tests compared to those who don’t do their homework.

“(Homework helps me become) more familiar with the material before the test,” Sophie Smith ’21 said.

As well as positive test results, homework also provides helpful long-term benefits, such as teaching time management and independence needed for jobs later on. According to Davidson Institute, “Self-regulation skills, such as time management, setting goals, effort and persistence in completing difficult tasks, and self-monitoring one’s performance, are not only important to academic success, but are also key components in the lives of successful professional writers, athletes, artists, and scientists.”

“(Homework helps me) become more responsible,” Will White ’21 said. “You learn to manage your time. (Without homework) you wouldn’t learn how to manage your time.”

Even though homework has its many positive effects, there is a point where there can be too much homework. This can cause stress in students. McNamara gives his students around 10 minutes of homework a night, which according to him “is completely not unreasonable.”

“Two hours of homework a night (is a good amount of homework),” White said. “Anything above that is pushing it.”

According to, “The most common purpose of homework is to have students practice material already presented in class so as to reinforce learning and facilitate mastery of specific skills.” By simply practicing concepts learned in class, students will have a better performance.

“It might just be practicing a math problem or practicing reviewing a science term,” McNamara said.  “(Students) need time to practice.”