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Homework, or a homework assignment, is a set of tasks assigned to students by their teachers to be completed outside the class. Common homework assignments may include a quantity or period of reading to be performed, writing or typing to be completed, math problems to be solved, a school project to be built (such as a diorama or display), or other skills to be practiced.
The basic objectives of assigning homework to students are the same as schooling in general: to increase the knowledge and improve the abilities and skills of the students, to prepare them for upcoming (or complex or difficult) lessons, to extend what they know by having them apply it to new situations, or to integrate their abilities by applying different skills to a single task. Homework also provides an opportunity for parents to participate in their children's education. Homework also may be designed to reinforce what students have already learned. Opponents of homework cite the practice as rote, or grind work, designed to take up children's time, without offering tangible benefit.
Methods to assess the correlation between homework and academic performance vary. Homework research dates back to the early-1900s. However, no consensus exists on the general effectiveness on homework. Results of homework studies varied based on multiple factors, such as the age group of those studied and the measure of academic performance.
Cooper, Robinson & Patall (2006) studied the literature on homework from 1987 to 2003, yielding varied results from different studies. The studies compared the time spent on homework with grades and test scores as measures of academic achievement. Studies involving older students reported a positive and significant correlation, but studies involving younger students reported a slightly negative correlation when both parent and student reports of the time spent on homework were included, but the correlation slightly increased when only student reports were included. The authors recommended that researchers commence further studies using different methodology, warning that the correlation may not be caused by age. For older students, very high amounts of homework caused students' academic performance to worsen.
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