Does Homework Help?
January 31, 2010 by Geoff Nixon
Did you catch the Canadian court decision late last year to allow two parents to exempt their children from homework?
Apparently their children resisted homework every night and so the parents decided to check out studies to see if there was any evidence to support the assertion that the homework battles were worth it. Here’s an excerpt from the UK Guardian article:
Two years ago, Shelli began collecting studies on homework, most of which suggest that, particularly for younger grades, there is no clear link between work at home and school performance. Working with the staff at St Brigid Elementary Junior High School, she formed a homework committee. When no firm changes resulted from the committee, the couple began negotiating the legal document that decided the matter.
“We think it’s a parent’s right to choose what’s in our children’s best interests,” said Shelli. “But we’re thankful the school did the right thing.”
The fact they found no supporting articles for homework I think points to one of the difficulties with studies involving education. Due to the wide range of factors in play at any one time over a large student population, hard and fast conclusions are hard to make.
In way this is why the fMRI studies we have talked about in the past are so exciting. Looking inside the head to see if a program is effective is far more conclusive that trying to observe before and after behaviors. We only provide learning software that has been tested in experiments such as this.