Student, parent, and teacher perceptions on homework and the perceived effects of homework on family time

Since the 1980’s there has been a gradual, yet steady increase in the academic demands placed on our students and in the amount of homework assigned (Kohn, 2006). Misconceptions on the effectiveness of homework and student achievement have led many teachers to increase the amount of homework assigned to keep up with political demands (Kohn, 2006). While a significant body of research demonstrates the lack of correlation between homework and student success, children at the elementary level are receiving amounts of daily homework that interfere with family life and other extracurricular activities (Cooper, Robinson & Patall, 2006; Vatterott, 2009). Due to many parents, students and teachers normalizing increasing homework demands as a part of school life, the outcome research surrounding homework has largely been ignored. The current lack of research in this area necessitates further examination of this issue. The present research study investigated parent, teacher, and student perspectives regarding the amount of homework students are assigned. The perceived effects of homework on family time was also examined. The participants in this study were students in grades 3-6 (n = 395), their parents (n = 442), and their teachers (n = 28). Preliminary research data suggests that (a) while parents largely reported homework relates to their child’s learning, a large portion of parents also stated that homework is busy work; (b) there are differences in the perceptions of the actual and ideal amounts of assigned homework, amongst parents, students, and teachers; and (c) while the majority of parents reported that homework rarely or never gets in the way of family time, a large portion also stated that homework creates a power struggle with their student. Limitations, recommendations for future research, and suggestions for increasing the home-school connection are discussed.