Do High Schools Assign Too Much Homework?

For some students, work after school can be a struggle. Projects and daily work can cut into free time, and after school activities such as sports, hobbies, and other activities can also cut into time that may be needed to work on schoolwork. In addition, many students do not enjoy doing schoolwork on their own time, as it can be dull or repetitive. It can be difficult for students and teachers to strike the perfect balance of after-school work with other hobbies and activities on a daily basis. Negative health effects may also come into play from doing too much homework each night.

When assigned too much homework, students may feel negative effects for various reasons. Negative health effects from homework were clearly present in a study conducted by Denise Pope, a senior lecturer at Stanford’s graduate school of education. The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Education, looked at more than 4,300 students from more than 10 middle to upper class high-performing public and private high schools in California, and it found that students were on average doing three hours of homework a night, with some even doing as much as five hours a night. According to CNN, the recommended time high schoolers are given to spend on homework is around 2 hours a night. Even worse, the research found that excessive homework was associated with high stress levels, physical health problems, and a lack of balance in teen’s lives after school. The study also found that 56% of students in the study cited homework as a primary stressor in their lives. Pope also stated that a clear connection was observed between students’ stress and physical impacts such as migraines, ulcers and other stomach problems, sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and weight loss. This demonstrates clear health concerns that excessive after-school work presents to teens, and shows the importance of keeping the level of after-school work down. Alternatively, there is a positive side to students doing the recommended amount of work after school every day. Students will grasp the material better due to repetition, which leads to memorization, which will help students remember the material they will be tested on. Franklin High School Spanish teacher Gregorio Rangel stated that, “A little work in each class helps to memorize and refine one’s skills. Teachers should be giving a list of adequate resources for students to use, which should cut down on after-school work.” When introduced to the idea that educators could have a selected day of the week to meet with one another and plan out work for the upcoming week, Rangel was somewhat enthused. “I think it’s a good idea, but the idea of high school is to prepare you for college, and they do not discuss the projects they will give you in college, they just throw them at you. I do not think students receive too much work here at Franklin, and I’m very old-fashioned, and I think that people should be responsible for their own time.” Sophomore student Santino Olguin also agrees that the Franklin workload is manageable, and says that he does not have frequent trouble with being overworked despite taking one Advanced Placement class and honors English. “Sometimes I have to ask for help on projects, but other than that, I do not normally need to ask for help from teachers,” Olguin states. When the topic of students enjoying school work came up, Olguin stated that, “Everyone I know doesn’t like it, some manage to get through it, and others simply choose not to do it at all. My main classes that give out the most homework are AP Seminar and AVID.” Advancement Through Individual Determination, or AVID, is a college career prep class. Although divisive, it is clear that Franklin does not have as many students struggling due to homework. Although some high schools give out more after school work than they should, Franklin students appear to be adequately challenged with after school work, barring a student taking large amounts of challenging courses.

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