Chatboards
Mailrings
Classifieds
Lessons
Jobs
Harry Wong
Projects
Live!
Gazette
Advertise
SUBSCRIBE | SUBMIT
Dec 2017
Vol 14 No 4
BACK ISSUES


Why Students Don’t Do Their Homework–And What You Can Do About It

By Jennifer Davis Bowman Ed.D.
 


That was homework?’

‘That’s due today?’

‘But… it was the weekend.’

We hear a lot of stuff when students don’t do their homework.  Our cup runneth over with FBI-proof, puppy-dog eyes, procrastinated-filled homework excuses.  What we don’t hear, is the research on how to excuse-proof our classrooms for homework.  It seems, we are in the dark about engaging students in the homework process.  Specifically, what contributes to homework resistance?  How can we better support students in not only completing, but learning (gasp) from assigned homework?

To answer these questions, I examined a number of research articles.  I focused on interviews/surveys with classrooms that struggled with homework completion (to identify triggers).  Also, I used data from classrooms with high homework achievement (to identify habits from the homework pros).   Here are 6 research-backed reasons for why students resist homework- plus tips to help overcome them.

6 Reasons Students Don’t Do Their Homework–And What You Can Do About It

Students resist homework if…

Fact #1 The homework takes too long to complete.

In a study of over 7000 students (average age of 13), questionnaires revealed that when more than 60 minutes of homework is provided, students resisted.  In addition, based on standardized tests, more than 60 minutes of homework, did not significantly impact test scores.

Teaching Tip:  Ask students to record how long it takes to complete homework assignments for one week.  Use the record to negotiate a daily homework completion goal time.  As an acceptable time frame is established, this allows the student to focus more on the task.

Fact #2 The value of homework is misunderstood

Students erroneously believe that homework only has academic value.  In a study of 25 teachers, interviews showed that teachers’ use of homework extended beyond the traditional practice of academic content.  For example, 75% of these teachers report homework as an effective tool (to measure learning motivation, confidence, and ability to take responsibility).

Teaching Tip:  Communicate with students the multiple purposes for homework.  Reveal how homework has both short-term (impact on course grade) and long-term benefits (enhance life skills).  Identify specific long-term homework benefits that students may be unaware of such as organization, time management and goal setting.

Fact #3 The assignment is a one-size fits all.

In a study of 112 undergraduate chemistry students, the learners report interest in different types of homework.  For example, 62% of students are satisfied with online assignments (this format provided immediate feedback and allowed multiple attempts), whereas, 41% are satisfied with traditional paper assignments (this format had no computer printing issues and it is a style most familiar).

Teaching Tip:  Assess student learning style with the use of learning inventories.  Differentiate homework to account for student interest and learning preference.  Educator, Carol Tomlinson provides examples of low-prep differentiation assignments that include negotiated criteria, ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ projects, and choices of texts.  As teacher Cathy Vatterott emphasizes in The Five Hallmarks of of Good Homework, consider placing the differentiation responsibility on the learner.  For instance, ask students to ‘create your own method to practice the key terms’.

Fact #4 Feedback is not provided.

Acknowledging homework attempts matter. A survey of 1000 students shows that learners want recognition for attempting and completing homework (versus just getting the homework correct).

Also, students desire praise for their homework effort.  In a study of 180 undergraduate students, almost half of the learners agreed that teacher recognition of ‘doing a good job’ was important to them.

Teaching Tip:  Expand homework evaluation to include points for completing the assignment.  In addition, include homework feedback into lesson plans.  One example is to identify class time to identify homework patterns with the class (student struggles and successes).  Another example, is to give students opportunities to compare their homework answers with a peer (students can correct or change answers while obtaining feedback).

Fact #5 The homework is not built into classroom assessments. 

Students want their homework to prepare them for assessments.  When surveyed, 85% of students report they would complete more homework if the material was used on tests and quizzes.

Teaching Tip:  Allow students to select 1 homework question each unit that they wish to see on the test.  Place student selections in a bowl/lottery and pick a 2-3 of their responses to include in each assessment.

Fact #6 Students don’t have a homework plan.

It’s unsurprising that making provisions for homework, increases the likelihood that homework is completed.  In interviews with ninth graders, 43% of the students that completed all of their homework indicated that they had a plan.  Their homework plan consisted of the time needed to execute the work, meet deadlines, and follow daily completion routines.  Amazingly, the students with a plan complete homework in spite of their dislike for the assignment.

Teaching Tip:  Help students develop a homework plan.  For example, you may show examples and non-examples, offer templates for home-work to-do lists, or challenge students to identify phone Apps that help track homework planning procedures.

References

  • Bempechat, J., Li, J., Neier, S. B., Gillis, C. A., & Holloway, S. D. (2011).  The homework experience:  Perceptions of low-income youth.  Journal of Advanced Academics, 22(2).
  • Kuklansky, Shosberger, & EsHach (2016). Science teachers’ voice on homework beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.  International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 14(1).
  • Letterman, D. (2013).  Students’ perception of homework assignments and what influences their ideas.  Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 10(2).
  • Malik, K., Martinez, N., Romero, J., Schubel, S., & , P. A. (2014).  Mixed method study of online and written organic chemistry homework.  Journal of Chemistry Education, 91(11).
  • Science Daily (2015).  How Much Math, Science Homework is too Much?
  • Vandenbussche, J., Griffiths, W., & Scherrer, C. (2014).  Students’ perception of homework policies in lower and intermediate level mathematic courses.  Mathematics and Computer Education, 48(12).

Jennifer Davis BowmanAbout the author
Dr. Jennifer Davis Bowman serves as an adjunct professor for education and psychology courses in Ohio.

To connect with her visit her blog or follow her on Pinterest, and @DrJDavisBowman on Twitter.

 

 



Comment on this article...

Next Article...
 
This entry was posted on Friday, April 1st, 2016 and is filed under *ISSUES, April 2016, Jennifer Davis Bowman Ed.D.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.13 No.4 April 2016
Cover Story by Sarah Powley
Always the Kids
More Teacher Articles...
»Learning and EmotionsDr. Marvin Marshall
»Testing a String Theory - PBL Inspired by Steve Erkel's Time MachineTodd R. Nelson
»Technology in Education - Content Curation for Higher-Level Critical ThinkingSusan Fitzell
»Why Students Don't Do Their Homework-And What You Can Do About ItJennifer Davis Bowman Ed.D.
»Classroom Management Articles by Harry K. & Rosemary WongHarry K. & Rosemary Wong
»What Should We Teach Our Students About Social Issues - The Whole Truth Or A Watered-Down Version?Linda R. Young
»A High School Teacher Visits the "Little Ones"Dede Rittman
»Teaching! I Would Do It Again! Part 3Warren Singer
»Higher Education Becoming More Difficult To FinanceStewart Brekke
»The Spel-Lang Tree Seeds Word Study Program - FREE DOWNLOADNews Desk
»Autistic Students: Are We Asking Them to Do Their Best While They Feel Their Worst?Janet Lintala
»Earn CEUs in Maine This Summer – Eagle Hill Institute Field CoursesNews Desk
»Apple Seeds - Quotes For EducatorsBarb Stutesman
»What You Need to Know About U.S. Copyrights, Intellectual Property and LicensingInternet Scout Report

By State
AL   AK   AZ   AR   CA   CO   CT   DE   DC   FL   GA   HI   ID   IL   IN   IA   KS   KY   LA    ME   MD   MA   MI   MN   MS   MO   MT   NE   NV   NH   NJ   NM   NY   NC   ND   OH   OK   OR   PA   RI   SC   SD   TN   TX   UT   VT     VA   WA   WV   WI   WY