Why Homework Isn’t Doing Students Any Favors


Brianna Gagnon, Staff Writer

Twirling your pencil between your fingers, straining to focus on your math assignment. You sigh, knowing that this will take you more than half an hour, and you still have a lot of work to do afterwards. You start writing again, knowing fully well that these assignments are pointless, and you’re only doing them for points to maintain a good grade because tests can only get you so far. 

If this scenario sounds familiar to you, you aren’t alone! According to a study conducted by a team of Stanford researchers, most teenagers feel this way. “-they [students] often do homework they see as ‘pointless’ or ‘mindless’ in order to keep their grades up.” The research quoted. Why should we have to do these assignments if there isn’t any educational value? If we’re just concerned about keeping a good grade?

The study also reported that 56% of students from multiple higher education communities listed homework as a primary stress factor. They also claimed that homework had caused students a multitude of different health problems. Students said that it caused sleep deprivation, headaches, exhaustion, weight loss, and stomach problems. While some cases are certainly extreme, I can confidently say that I have experienced sleep deprivation and stress headaches, as I’m sure you reading this have as well. 

Homework also reduces students’ time with friends and family. “Young people are spending more time alone,” the researchers wrote, “which means less time for family and fewer opportunities to engage in their communities.” Having to cancel plans made with friends because you got more homework than expected, is one of the worst feelings in the world. There are a million better things you could be doing, but instead you have to stay in and study while your friends have fun without you. 

The Stanford researchers found that students in the areas they surveyed spent an average of 3.1 hours on homework each night, and effectiveness plateaus at two hours. That’s going to school for six hours, to go home and go to school for three more hours. Nine hours of school each day, most of a student’s waking hours, leaving barely enough time for personal development. I have many qualms with the American school system, but homework would have to be the biggest. Why should we, as students suffer from unnecessary stress with pointless assignments that consume our homelife? That causes both mental and physical health problems? Just to maintain a high GPA, which is pretty much our only ticket to a good college? 

So what can we do to stop this? We stand up, we talk about our problems and our experiences, we let everyone know that this isn’t working. That homeworks is hurting us, not helping us. Finland has no homework and their average IQ ranks 17th in the world, opposed to our 32nd ranking. South Korea has an average of 2.9 hours of homework a week, less than we have in a single night, they rank 3rd, just behind Singapore and Hong Kong. Why haven’t we adopted this yet? We need to stop this madness that burns students out before they even graduate. 

“Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development” Wrote one of the researchers, Denise Pope. It shouldn’t be mandated just because that’s what we’re accustomed to. It needs to stop.