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July 30, 2014 by MacKenzie Masten

Five Reasons I Don’t Assign Homework

The homework debate is one that has permeated education for many decades, and it shows no signs of slowing. Homework proponents perplex me because the research is so overwhelmingly against homework’s effectiveness.

After much consideration and my own exhaustive research, I stopped assigning homework a few years ago. Homework simply doesn’t fit into a Results Only Learning Environment .

Although I could speak endlessly on the negatives of homework, I’ll get right to the top five reasons I don’t assign homework, in reverse order.

5. Virtually all homework involves rote memory practice, which is always a waste of time.

In the age of the Smartphone, who needs to remember by rote.

4.  Homework has nothing to do with teaching responsibility (HW advocates love this claim).

Not only is there not one reliable study to prove that homework builds responsible children, based purely on what we know about responsibility, the assertion is illogical. Responsibility implies autonomy, and homework offers none of this. Students are told what to do, when to do it, and when it must be returned. Where does responsibility come into play?

3. Homework impinges upon a student’s time with family and on other, more valuable, activities — like play.

As Alfie Kohn states in The Homework Myth , why should children be asked to work a second shift? It’s unconscionable to send children to work for nearly eight hours a day, then have them go home and work for 2-5 more hours; we don’t live in 19th century London.

2. I can teach the material in the time I’m with my students in the classroom.

The endless cry of “I can’t teach all of the standards without assigning homework” is a tired excuse used to hide ineffective methods. Creating engaging activities in place of lecture and worksheets , along with less testing allows teachers to cover more material in class and eliminates the need for homework.

1. Students hate homework.

I want to help my students develop a thirst for learning. I want them to read for enjoyment and exploration. I want them to extend their learning when they choose because they are interested in what we do in class. If I force them to do activities that they don’t choose, they will hate them. If I penalize them for not completing something they see as valueless, they not only don’t learn, they get a bad grade and hate learning even more.

My colleagues often attempt to persuade me that homework is an integral part of teaching and learning. I’m simply not buying. So, what’s your take on the debate?


Mark Barnes is the author of four education books, including Role Reversal, named a Best Professional Book by Teacher Librarian, and the forthcoming Assessment 3.0: How to Throw Out Your Grade Book and Revolutionize Learning. Mark’s popular blog, Brilliant or Insane, is recognized as a Top 10 education technology site by EdTech Magazine. Mark also manages the Facebook group Teachers Throwing Out Grades, and he teaches three online courses on web-based instruction and social media integration in the K-12 classroom. Mark’s book, Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom is available in the ASCD bookstore here .  Follow him on Twitter , where you can continue the conversation.

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MacKenzie Masten is the Social Media Strategist for ASCD and Managing Editor for Inservice. She is the voice behind ASCD’s social media presence and her writing can be found on Inservice and ThinkFun Education. You can connect with her @kenziemasten.

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      Advantages of Math homework

      Is math homework necessary? Well, we think is vital and here is why

      In each school curriculum , one of the most important subjects is mathematics. It is considered essential that students should be able to do both simple and complex math calculations after extensive study. To sharpen student’s knowledge on this subject, teachers not only teach it in normal class times but go a step further to assign homework. There are several reasons why math homework is essential.
      These include:

      Increases memory and thinking capacity

      It is vital to note that whatever the teacher teaches in class contributes a minimal percentage to what a student is expected to know. Therefore, the larger percentage comes from the student’s individual learning efforts. In this case, if a student wishes to attain college and university levels of education, there is a need to perfect the art of individual learning. By doing things on their own, students can remember what they learnt during their exams or during real life application. Math homework, consequently, enhances the memory and thinking of a student.

      Imparts positive habits and study skills.

      When teachers in lower academic levels assign math homework to learners, they are trying to teach them the significance of learning independently. Studies have shown that students who complete homework in lower classes perform better in higher levels of learning since instructors in those institutions do not spend time chasing learners for their assignments.

      Exam preparation

      In all learning institutions, exams play a significant role in the learning process. Without them, teachers and parents may not be able to know the strengths and weaknesses of students. When teachers give math homework to students, they do so as an exercise driven to sharpen their knowledge and impart skills which come in handy when doing their exams. Consequently, the more math homework a student can complete , the more prepared they are to tackle exams.

      Imparts research skills

      When teachers assign math homework to learners, they do not expect them to get all content from their minds. Assigning of math homework gives the students a chance to conduct research. In modern times, data is a tool for drawing critical conclusions. Learning how to collect and analyze data from different sources enhances the student’s research skills. Moreover, modern technology has enabled students to have access to online tutors whom they can contact for their “ do my math for me ” requests. Since some students feel ashamed to ask questions in class, online tutors provide an avenue for them to ask questions and acquire help for their math homework.

      Drives students to review class materials.

      When teachers assign homework, they tend to base it on what they have taught in class. In such as case, students can do their assignments fast without necessarily having to look for other sources of information. If students were not given homework, there is a high chance they would end up wasting the entire evening and never review their class work.

      Gives room for parents to know what their children are being taught in class.

      Parents are essential when it comes to the well-being of learners. It is vital to acknowledge that taking children to school is a critical part of their development. School helps children acquire necessary fundamental learning skills. When teachers assign math homework, they give parents a chance to see what their children are learning in school. In the process of assessment, the parent is obligated to help where need arises. It is vital to note that when a parent helps their child do their math homework, this not only helps them learn something but also strengthens the bond between a parent and his or her children.

      Provides an avenue for teachers to know the effectiveness of their teaching.

      Homework helps teachers to know whether the lessons and materials that they are teaching in class are useful. It acts as a learning platform for them. For instance, when a teacher assigns a math assignment, and a large section of the class fails, this is an indication that students did not understand what he or she taught. Therefore, this pushes the teacher to find an easier way to teach their students and ensure the concepts are understood.

      In a nutshell, there are numerous reasons why math homework is essential to students, teachers, and parents. It is not only a learning tools for students and teachers but also a platform for parents to keep up with the progress of their children in school. Based on these views, math homework is a necessary aspect of learning contrary to what some stakeholders insinuate.

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