Does Homework Improve Student Performance

is homework effective

Warmer questions

  1. How much homework do you get each week? Are you expected to finish it all?
  2. What is the best way for you to learn how to do something? Do you read, write, listen to lectures? What is your method?
  3. Have you ever been given homework because it was expected of you to have work to take home?

Reading section

Is more homework always better?

A number of students, parents and teachers alike accept homework as an inherent part of school life. But how beneficial is it? While some parents and teachers insist that it is a significant way to review and practice what has been covered in class, compelling questions are being raised about how much homework students should do and whether they need it at all. Supporters of homework argue it not only has academic benefits, but also helps students develop vital study and time management skills, and gives parents the opportunity to engage in their children’s learning process.

On the other hand, those opposed feel that it creates unnecessary pressure on students for limited academic benefit, reduces the amount of time available to pursue other activities and interests, and places unnecessary pressure on family life.

Astonishingly, a UK-wide ban on extra work for all secondary school pupils is the demand of a 15-year-old schoolboy, Lee Sibley. Sibley goes to Severn Vale School in Quedgeley, Gloucestershire.
The pupil states in his online petition at that he has little time for his hobbies and social life because of his homework workload. He said: “I can’t socialise with my friends and family because of all this homeworkâ€.

Sibley’s petition is addressed to Prime Minister Theresa May, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the UK Parliament, Gloucester MP Richard Graham, and Severn Vale headteacher Richard Johnson.

Questions to consider:

  1. Homework focuses on student learning, development skills, and parental involvement. If it is banned, does the school actually possess other ways to evaluate these three aspects?
  2. It is said that homework at the primary school level has little impact on academic performance, but are there really other scholar tangible methods to reinforce students’ development?
  3. According to some parents, it creates unnecessary pressure and exhaustion, but is there another way to create school discipline habits students need for secondary school and beyond?
  4. Can help a parent to understand the progress the child is making at school. However, do most parents really feel the need of understanding this?

Useful vocab for talking about homework

Match the words on the left with their correct definitions on the right.

1. To breach the gap a. a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.
2. To reinforce b. to connect two things or to make the difference between them smaller.
3. Compliant c. to fix a boundary excluding what one will not tolerate or engage in.
4. Role d. to strengthen an existing feeling, idea, or habit.
5. Expectations e. convey (a property) to a creditor as security on a loan.
6. Per se f. a Latin phrase meaning “by itself” or “in itself”.
7. To draw the line g. ready or disposed to conform, submit or adapt (as to a regulation or to another’s wishes) as required or requested.
8. Tasks h. a regular payment made during a person’s retirement from an investment fund to which that person or their employer has contributed during their working life.
9. Skills i. socially expected behaviour pattern usually determined by an individual’s status in a particular society.
10. Inadequate j. a usually assigned piece of work often to be finished within a certain time.
11. Practicality k. the aspects of a situation that involve the actual doing or experience of something rather than theories or ideas.
12. Mortgage l. lacking the quality or quantity required; insufficient for a purpose.
13. Pension m. the ability to do something well; expertise.


  1. b
  2. d
  3. g
  4. i
  5. a
  6. f
  7. c
  8. j
  9. m
  10. l
  11. k
  12. e
  13. h


Video: Should homework be given to students?

The clip below is from a popular UK show called This Morning and covers many subjects that are being talked about of the day. There are two people who share their opposing opinion in the video and share their reasons for what they believe.


Watch the video and then answer the questions below.

  1. What’s the point of homework?
  2. What does Nicola want to do after work?
  3. Are Nicola’s children given homework?
  4. How do her children feel about homework?
  5. What is her opinion on the role of being a parent?
  6. What is Nicola’s opinion regarding homework?
  7. Why do students forget what they are taught in school?
Answers to the video questions
1. Homework reinforces discipline. It also allows breaching the gap between school and home.
2. She wants to chill out.
3. Yes. Her two children are given homework.
4. They like doing homework, but it takes them a lot of time.
5. She believes her role as a parent should be the teaching of life skills.
6. She thinks homework deprives children of time to develop other life skills.
7. Because teachers teach the old fashion way.


Reasons for doing homework

  1. Homework helps children develop positive study skills, responsibility and discipline from a very young age.
  2. Parents can be part of their children’s education since homework is a collaborative process between the student, parent and the school.
  3. Homework can help parents to understand the progress the child is making at school.
  4. Homework brings the family together as all members play a role in the learning process.

Reasons to ban homework

  1. Homework deprives children of time to develop other life skills built through social interaction and recreational activities.
  2. It reduces the amount of time available to follow other activities and interests which greater long-term benefit.
  3. Homework can be stressful. It creates unnecessary pressure on students.
  4. It places pressure on everyday life and creates a fraction within families.

Potential debating topics

  1. Schools that assist parents in providing homework to their students tend to have better educational outcomes.
  2. Homework at the primary school level has little impact on academic performance.
  3. Homework needs to be adapted for children with learning disabilities to ensure they obtain the same benefit from homework as their peers.
  4. Homework creates important study habits for students who experience a form of disadvantage. It engages students who may otherwise drop out of the system.
  5. Society will raise citizens with improved life skills when students have no more homework obligations.


To sum up, homework can promote study habits and self-discipline, while it facilitates parental involvement in their children’s academic performance. However, a large number of people feel that homework can result in preventable stress and tiredness, especially in younger children and working parents.
Up until a connecting relationship between homework, genuine academic achievement and personal growth is demonstrated, this argument is likely to remain unsolved and will continue to be one of personal opinion.

Further reading

The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing: Why Our Children Get Too Much of a Bad Thing by Da Capo Press

More debates and ideas can be found for free here