(Home)working towards success

Students gain valuable skills from homework


Photo by Mckenzee Johnson

Students work together in the Learning and Innovation Hub. When students collaborate on curricular and extracurricular activities, they learn valuable life skills like problem solving and communication. Homework also teaches valuable skills like hard work, perseverance, creative thinking, and resilience.

In just 162 minutes, you could watch a movie, go for a run, read part of a book, or cook a meal. This amount of time is how long the average high school student spends on homework a night: 2.7 hours, according to a survey done by the Washington Post, and students who are enrolled in AP and honors classes may spend even more time on their assignments. In fact, according to a Bear Facts survey of 252 people, 53% of LZ students spend two or more hours on homework a night. While homework is often surrounded by complaints from students, it is, in my opinion, beneficial to learning, quizzes, summative tests, and final exams.

Despite the common perception that students dislike homework, a survey by MetLife found that 77% of students consider homework “somewhat or very important.”
In an average week, I spend 2-3 hours on homework each night and then 4-6 hours on homework over the weekend. Although homework is not my favorite activity, I believe that it is one of the best tools to help further my learning because it provides practice with important skills, targets, and concepts, especially in classes like math, science, and history.

Not only is homework is an essential part of learning and important for most classes, I feel that it is also necessary to take into account that students need to be able to balance their schoolwork with other activities, such as sports, clubs, volunteering, part time jobs, obligations to places of worship, and social gatherings.

For me, my school activities, along with responsibilities at home, can make it a challenge to balance all of my work, and I often have to do my homework all at once on a Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon, or Friday night.

Dean Jewett, physical education teacher, has a unique philosophy on homework that differs from that of many other teachers.
“I tell the kids to have [their homework] out when we’re going through [notes] and they should be able to finish [their homework] in class, if not, [the assignments] take minimal time outside of class,” Jewett said.

Another important aspect of schoolwork and its relationship with students is mental health. Mental health is now becoming highly prioritized in our society. In a piece from USA Today, Sara Monizuko writes that “mental health experts agree heavy workloads have the potential to do more harm than good for students.”

While the health and well-being of students should be a priority for the school, I believe it is also crucial for students to learn how to balance the demands of homework with the rest of their lives. A workplace will assign tasks that are challenging and require effective time management, and having homework better prepares students to handle these rigors. A survey from the Harris Interactive polling organization reports that while 70% of students polled reported that homework is beneficial, 90% of these same students said that homework causes an increase in their stress level.

In addition to being beneficial to learning, provided that students can balance the work, homework also serves as an important part of a student’s grade in a class. In addition to providing formative points, assigning points gives students an incentive to complete their homework. To many, it seems illogical to assign homework but not give points for it, because students have spent time doing work.

While Alaina Fahey, junior, believes that homework is generally helpful for better test performance, she also believes that it should be an opportunity for students to earn points, even if those points are just for doing the assignment.

“I think if we’re spending time outside of class working on [homework], [the assignments] should be a part of our grade, because we are working on it for that class,” Fahey said.
Jewett does assign formative points to his homework, and gives students those points either for completion of the homework or accuracy depending on their assignments.

I spend a lot of time on homework outside of class, and put a lot of effort into making sure that those assignments are done completely and well. I feel that if students are spending large amounts of time working on assignments, they should at least be rewarded for that effort with a small amount of formative points.

Fahey thinks that while homework should be graded, she states that it does not have very much impact on her grade.

“[Homework affects my grade] very little, and when we take a summative my grade will either drastically drop or go up a ton,” Fahey said.

Manjusha Peddireddy, sophomore, agrees with Fahey’s idea about points for homework, but also commented on LZ’s grading system.

“I personally don’t like the grading system that much because your grade becomes heavily dependent on your summative scores,” Peddireddy said. “Summatives are 80% of our grade meaning that formative work can only bring [my grade] up by a little.”

I think that the current grading system of 80/20 works well for students. I personally see that formative assignments allow me to practice skills without having to worry about drastically altering my grade, and having summative tests and projects that make up a big portion of our grade will better prepare us for college, where semester grades can be based on two exams.

In my opinion, it is important that homework is assigned to students. It is also important for students to take it upon themselves to complete these assignments, regardless of if the points are for completion or accuracy. Doing so gives them a better opportunity to learn and maximize the value of their years in school.