Is Homework Really Necessary?

Young kids only learn how to stress from homework, not academics.

Kristeen Blake

Young kids only learn how to stress from homework, not academics.

Amber Reddish, Photojournalist

Homework is a controversial topic that many people have different opinions on. On one side, many believe it is necessary for academic success, but on the other hand, many studies disprove that belief, by showing that there is no significant correlation between grades and test scores with homework.

Despite the argument that homework allows students more practice learning the new academic material, many statistics suggest there is no real benefit to homework. In one study conducted by a group of scientists, Maltese and his colleagues, it was found that even studies supporting homework could easily be disproved due to outside factors that influenced an individual’s success. If anything, the strongest correlation found was an added two or three points to a test grade.

When Maltese and his colleagues looked at the actual grades of students, not just grade-point averages or test scores, they surprisingly found an even weaker correlation. Before looking at the statistics, they originally believed homework would have more of an influence in one’s grades; most likely due to the fact that homework is actually part of a person’s overall grade. Yet, Maltese found no relationship whatsoever between time spent on homework and the grade received for a course. This showed that students who did all of their homework and students who did none of their homework virtually received the same grade. This poses the question: Is there even a benefit to doing homework? If you consider the fact that doing it would not affect your grade, I believe many would say no.

I personally agree that homework does not benefit one’s academic career. Despite the belief that practice is necessary for success at anything, academics are different. You may be getting practice, but what happens if you are doing it wrong or do not know how to do it at all? Zyra Rehman (11) says she “feels like [her] homework is just twenty of the same problems where [she] just copies the same steps twenty times.” If you already know how to do a problem, answering twenty more variations of the same question will not make you more successful at the skill. That is like saying if you spell a word correctly ten times you know how to spell it more the tenth time than you did the first time, which frankly is just not true.

Homework may have some slight positive effects, but overall it has little to no effect on an individual’s academic success. Many teachers choose to ignore these statistics either out of disagreement or belief that not giving students homework is babying them. Although homework may be unfair and unnecessary for students, in the end it is ultimately the teacher’s choice. Plus those couple extra points on a test never hurt.