Does homework really work?

by: Leslie Crawford | Updated: December 12, 2023

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Does homework help

You know the drill. It’s 10:15 p.m., and the cardboard-and-toothpick Golden Gate Bridge is collapsing. The pages of polynomials have been abandoned. The paper on the Battle of Waterloo seems to have frozen in time with Napoleon lingering eternally over his breakfast at Le Caillou. Then come the tears and tantrums — while we parents wonder, Does the gain merit all this pain? Is this just too much homework?

However the drama unfolds night after night, year after year, most parents hold on to the hope that homework (after soccer games, dinner, flute practice, and, oh yes, that childhood pastime of yore known as playing) advances their children academically.

But what does homework really do for kids? Is the forest’s worth of book reports and math and spelling sheets the average American student completes in their 12 years of primary schooling making a difference? Or is it just busywork?

Homework haterz

Whether or not homework helps, or even hurts, depends on who you ask. If you ask my 12-year-old son, Sam, he’ll say, “Homework doesn’t help anything. It makes kids stressed-out and tired and makes them hate school more.”

Nothing more than common kid bellyaching?

Maybe, but in the fractious field of homework studies, it’s worth noting that Sam’s sentiments nicely synopsize one side of the ivory tower debate. Books like The End of Homework , The Homework Myth , and The Case Against Homework the film Race to Nowhere , and the anguished parent essay “ My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me ” make the case that homework, by taking away precious family time and putting kids under unneeded pressure, is an ineffective way to help children become better learners and thinkers.

One Canadian couple took their homework apostasy all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. After arguing that there was no evidence that it improved academic performance, they won a ruling that exempted their two children from all homework.

So what’s the real relationship between homework and academic achievement?

How much is too much?

To answer this question, researchers have been doing their homework on homework, conducting and examining hundreds of studies. Chris Drew Ph.D., founder and editor at The Helpful Professor recently compiled multiple statistics revealing the folly of today’s after-school busy work. Does any of the data he listed below ring true for you?

• 45 percent of parents think homework is too easy for their child, primarily because it is geared to the lowest standard under the Common Core State Standards .

• 74 percent of students say homework is a source of stress , defined as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss, and stomach problems.

• Students in high-performing high schools spend an average of 3.1 hours a night on homework , even though 1 to 2 hours is the optimal duration, according to a peer-reviewed study .

Not included in the list above is the fact many kids have to abandon activities they love — like sports and clubs — because homework deprives them of the needed time to enjoy themselves with other pursuits.

Conversely, The Helpful Professor does list a few pros of homework, noting it teaches discipline and time management, and helps parents know what’s being taught in the class.

The oft-bandied rule on homework quantity — 10 minutes a night per grade (starting from between 10 to 20 minutes in first grade) — is listed on the National Education Association’s website and the National Parent Teacher Association’s website , but few schools follow this rule.

Do you think your child is doing excessive homework? Harris Cooper Ph.D., author of a meta-study on homework , recommends talking with the teacher. “Often there is a miscommunication about the goals of homework assignments,” he says. “What appears to be problematic for kids, why they are doing an assignment, can be cleared up with a conversation.” Also, Cooper suggests taking a careful look at how your child is doing the assignments. It may seem like they’re taking two hours, but maybe your child is wandering off frequently to get a snack or getting distracted.

Less is often more

If your child is dutifully doing their work but still burning the midnight oil, it’s worth intervening to make sure your child gets enough sleep. A 2012 study of 535 high school students found that proper sleep may be far more essential to brain and body development.

For elementary school-age children, Cooper’s research at Duke University shows there is no measurable academic advantage to homework. For middle-schoolers, Cooper found there is a direct correlation between homework and achievement if assignments last between one to two hours per night. After two hours, however, achievement doesn’t improve. For high schoolers, Cooper’s research suggests that two hours per night is optimal. If teens have more than two hours of homework a night, their academic success flatlines. But less is not better. The average high school student doing homework outperformed 69 percent of the students in a class with no homework.

Many schools are starting to act on this research. A Florida superintendent abolished homework in her 42,000 student district, replacing it with 20 minutes of nightly reading. She attributed her decision to “ solid research about what works best in improving academic achievement in students .”

More family time

A 2020 survey by Crayola Experience reports 82 percent of children complain they don’t have enough quality time with their parents. Homework deserves much of the blame. “Kids should have a chance to just be kids and do things they enjoy, particularly after spending six hours a day in school,” says Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth . “It’s absurd to insist that children must be engaged in constructive activities right up until their heads hit the pillow.”

By far, the best replacement for homework — for both parents and children — is bonding, relaxing time together.

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A daughter sits at a desk doing homework while her mom stands beside her helping

Credit: August de Richelieu

Does homework still have value? A Johns Hopkins education expert weighs in

Joyce epstein, co-director of the center on school, family, and community partnerships, discusses why homework is essential, how to maximize its benefit to learners, and what the 'no-homework' approach gets wrong.

By Vicky Hallett

The necessity of homework has been a subject of debate since at least as far back as the 1890s, according to Joyce L. Epstein , co-director of the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University. "It's always been the case that parents, kids—and sometimes teachers, too—wonder if this is just busy work," Epstein says.

But after decades of researching how to improve schools, the professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Education remains certain that homework is essential—as long as the teachers have done their homework, too. The National Network of Partnership Schools , which she founded in 1995 to advise schools and districts on ways to improve comprehensive programs of family engagement, has developed hundreds of improved homework ideas through its Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork program. For an English class, a student might interview a parent on popular hairstyles from their youth and write about the differences between then and now. Or for science class, a family could identify forms of matter over the dinner table, labeling foods as liquids or solids. These innovative and interactive assignments not only reinforce concepts from the classroom but also foster creativity, spark discussions, and boost student motivation.

"We're not trying to eliminate homework procedures, but expand and enrich them," says Epstein, who is packing this research into a forthcoming book on the purposes and designs of homework. In the meantime, the Hub couldn't wait to ask her some questions:

What kind of homework training do teachers typically get?

Future teachers and administrators really have little formal training on how to design homework before they assign it. This means that most just repeat what their teachers did, or they follow textbook suggestions at the end of units. For example, future teachers are well prepared to teach reading and literacy skills at each grade level, and they continue to learn to improve their teaching of reading in ongoing in-service education. By contrast, most receive little or no training on the purposes and designs of homework in reading or other subjects. It is really important for future teachers to receive systematic training to understand that they have the power, opportunity, and obligation to design homework with a purpose.

Why do students need more interactive homework?

If homework assignments are always the same—10 math problems, six sentences with spelling words—homework can get boring and some kids just stop doing their assignments, especially in the middle and high school years. When we've asked teachers what's the best homework you've ever had or designed, invariably we hear examples of talking with a parent or grandparent or peer to share ideas. To be clear, parents should never be asked to "teach" seventh grade science or any other subject. Rather, teachers set up the homework assignments so that the student is in charge. It's always the student's homework. But a good activity can engage parents in a fun, collaborative way. Our data show that with "good" assignments, more kids finish their work, more kids interact with a family partner, and more parents say, "I learned what's happening in the curriculum." It all works around what the youngsters are learning.

Is family engagement really that important?

At Hopkins, I am part of the Center for Social Organization of Schools , a research center that studies how to improve many aspects of education to help all students do their best in school. One thing my colleagues and I realized was that we needed to look deeply into family and community engagement. There were so few references to this topic when we started that we had to build the field of study. When children go to school, their families "attend" with them whether a teacher can "see" the parents or not. So, family engagement is ever-present in the life of a school.

My daughter's elementary school doesn't assign homework until third grade. What's your take on "no homework" policies?

There are some parents, writers, and commentators who have argued against homework, especially for very young children. They suggest that children should have time to play after school. This, of course is true, but many kindergarten kids are excited to have homework like their older siblings. If they give homework, most teachers of young children make assignments very short—often following an informal rule of 10 minutes per grade level. "No homework" does not guarantee that all students will spend their free time in productive and imaginative play.

Some researchers and critics have consistently misinterpreted research findings. They have argued that homework should be assigned only at the high school level where data point to a strong connection of doing assignments with higher student achievement . However, as we discussed, some students stop doing homework. This leads, statistically, to results showing that doing homework or spending more minutes on homework is linked to higher student achievement. If slow or struggling students are not doing their assignments, they contribute to—or cause—this "result."

Teachers need to design homework that even struggling students want to do because it is interesting. Just about all students at any age level react positively to good assignments and will tell you so.

Did COVID change how schools and parents view homework?

Within 24 hours of the day school doors closed in March 2020, just about every school and district in the country figured out that teachers had to talk to and work with students' parents. This was not the same as homeschooling—teachers were still working hard to provide daily lessons. But if a child was learning at home in the living room, parents were more aware of what they were doing in school. One of the silver linings of COVID was that teachers reported that they gained a better understanding of their students' families. We collected wonderfully creative examples of activities from members of the National Network of Partnership Schools. I'm thinking of one art activity where every child talked with a parent about something that made their family unique. Then they drew their finding on a snowflake and returned it to share in class. In math, students talked with a parent about something the family liked so much that they could represent it 100 times. Conversations about schoolwork at home was the point.

How did you create so many homework activities via the Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork program?

We had several projects with educators to help them design interactive assignments, not just "do the next three examples on page 38." Teachers worked in teams to create TIPS activities, and then we turned their work into a standard TIPS format in math, reading/language arts, and science for grades K-8. Any teacher can use or adapt our prototypes to match their curricula.

Overall, we know that if future teachers and practicing educators were prepared to design homework assignments to meet specific purposes—including but not limited to interactive activities—more students would benefit from the important experience of doing their homework. And more parents would, indeed, be partners in education.

Posted in Voices+Opinion

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11 Surprising Homework Statistics, Facts & Data

homework pros and cons

The age-old question of whether homework is good or bad for students is unanswerable because there are so many “ it depends ” factors.

For example, it depends on the age of the child, the type of homework being assigned, and even the child’s needs.

There are also many conflicting reports on whether homework is good or bad. This is a topic that largely relies on data interpretation for the researcher to come to their conclusions.

To cut through some of the fog, below I’ve outlined some great homework statistics that can help us understand the effects of homework on children.

Homework Statistics List

1. 45% of parents think homework is too easy for their children.

A study by the Center for American Progress found that parents are almost twice as likely to believe their children’s homework is too easy than to disagree with that statement.

Here are the figures for math homework:

  • 46% of parents think their child’s math homework is too easy.
  • 25% of parents think their child’s math homework is not too easy.
  • 29% of parents offered no opinion.

Here are the figures for language arts homework:

  • 44% of parents think their child’s language arts homework is too easy.
  • 28% of parents think their child’s language arts homework is not too easy.
  • 28% of parents offered no opinion.

These findings are based on online surveys of 372 parents of school-aged children conducted in 2018.

2. 93% of Fourth Grade Children Worldwide are Assigned Homework

The prestigious worldwide math assessment Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) took a survey of worldwide homework trends in 2007. Their study concluded that 93% of fourth-grade children are regularly assigned homework, while just 7% never or rarely have homework assigned.

3. 17% of Teens Regularly Miss Homework due to Lack of High-Speed Internet Access

A 2018 Pew Research poll of 743 US teens found that 17%, or almost 2 in every 5 students, regularly struggled to complete homework because they didn’t have reliable access to the internet.

This figure rose to 25% of Black American teens and 24% of teens whose families have an income of less than $30,000 per year.

4. Parents Spend 6.7 Hours Per Week on their Children’s Homework

A 2018 study of 27,500 parents around the world found that the average amount of time parents spend on homework with their child is 6.7 hours per week. Furthermore, 25% of parents spend more than 7 hours per week on their child’s homework.

American parents spend slightly below average at 6.2 hours per week, while Indian parents spend 12 hours per week and Japanese parents spend 2.6 hours per week.

5. Students in High-Performing High Schools Spend on Average 3.1 Hours per night Doing Homework

A study by Galloway, Conner & Pope (2013) conducted a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California. 

Across these high-performing schools, students self-reported that they did 3.1 hours per night of homework.

Graduates from those schools also ended up going on to college 93% of the time.

6. One to Two Hours is the Optimal Duration for Homework

A 2012 peer-reviewed study in the High School Journal found that students who conducted between one and two hours achieved higher results in tests than any other group.

However, the authors were quick to highlight that this “t is an oversimplification of a much more complex problem.” I’m inclined to agree. The greater variable is likely the quality of the homework than time spent on it.

Nevertheless, one result was unequivocal: that some homework is better than none at all : “students who complete any amount of homework earn higher test scores than their peers who do not complete homework.”

7. 74% of Teens cite Homework as a Source of Stress

A study by the Better Sleep Council found that homework is a source of stress for 74% of students. Only school grades, at 75%, rated higher in the study.

That figure rises for girls, with 80% of girls citing homework as a source of stress.

Similarly, the study by Galloway, Conner & Pope (2013) found that 56% of students cite homework as a “primary stressor” in their lives.

8. US Teens Spend more than 15 Hours per Week on Homework

The same study by the Better Sleep Council also found that US teens spend over 2 hours per school night on homework, and overall this added up to over 15 hours per week.

Surprisingly, 4% of US teens say they do more than 6 hours of homework per night. That’s almost as much homework as there are hours in the school day.

The only activity that teens self-reported as doing more than homework was engaging in electronics, which included using phones, playing video games, and watching TV.

9. The 10-Minute Rule

The National Education Association (USA) endorses the concept of doing 10 minutes of homework per night per grade.

For example, if you are in 3rd grade, you should do 30 minutes of homework per night. If you are in 4th grade, you should do 40 minutes of homework per night.

However, this ‘rule’ appears not to be based in sound research. Nevertheless, it is true that homework benefits (no matter the quality of the homework) will likely wane after 2 hours (120 minutes) per night, which would be the NEA guidelines’ peak in grade 12.

10. 21.9% of Parents are Too Busy for their Children’s Homework

An online poll of nearly 300 parents found that 21.9% are too busy to review their children’s homework. On top of this, 31.6% of parents do not look at their children’s homework because their children do not want their help. For these parents, their children’s unwillingness to accept their support is a key source of frustration.

11. 46.5% of Parents find Homework too Hard

The same online poll of parents of children from grades 1 to 12 also found that many parents struggle to help their children with homework because parents find it confusing themselves. Unfortunately, the study did not ask the age of the students so more data is required here to get a full picture of the issue.

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Interpreting the Data

Unfortunately, homework is one of those topics that can be interpreted by different people pursuing differing agendas. All studies of homework have a wide range of variables, such as:

  • What age were the children in the study?
  • What was the homework they were assigned?
  • What tools were available to them?
  • What were the cultural attitudes to homework and how did they impact the study?
  • Is the study replicable?

The more questions we ask about the data, the more we realize that it’s hard to come to firm conclusions about the pros and cons of homework .

Furthermore, questions about the opportunity cost of homework remain. Even if homework is good for children’s test scores, is it worthwhile if the children consequently do less exercise or experience more stress?

Thus, this ends up becoming a largely qualitative exercise. If parents and teachers zoom in on an individual child’s needs, they’ll be able to more effectively understand how much homework a child needs as well as the type of homework they should be assigned.

Related: Funny Homework Excuses

The debate over whether homework should be banned will not be resolved with these homework statistics. But, these facts and figures can help you to pursue a position in a school debate on the topic – and with that, I hope your debate goes well and you develop some great debating skills!

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 15 Self-Actualization Examples (Maslow's Hierarchy)
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ Forest Schools Philosophy & Curriculum, Explained!
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ Montessori's 4 Planes of Development, Explained!
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ Montessori vs Reggio Emilia vs Steiner-Waldorf vs Froebel

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More than two hours of homework may be counterproductive, research suggests.

Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative impacts on student well-being and behavioral engagement (Shutterstock)

A Stanford education researcher found that too much homework can negatively affect kids, especially their lives away from school, where family, friends and activities matter.   "Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good," wrote Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education .   The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students' views on homework.   Median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college, either two-year or four-year.   Students in these schools average about 3.1 hours of homework each night.   "The findings address how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students' advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement and well-being," Pope wrote.   Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.   Their study found that too much homework is associated with:   • Greater stress : 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data. Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.   • Reductions in health : In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems. The researchers asked students whether they experienced health issues such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems.   • Less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits : Both the survey data and student responses indicate that spending too much time on homework meant that students were "not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills," according to the researchers. Students were more likely to drop activities, not see friends or family, and not pursue hobbies they enjoy.   A balancing act   The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.   Also, there was no relationship between the time spent on homework and how much the student enjoyed it. The research quoted students as saying they often do homework they see as "pointless" or "mindless" in order to keep their grades up.   "This kind of busy work, by its very nature, discourages learning and instead promotes doing homework simply to get points," said Pope, who is also a co-founder of Challenge Success , a nonprofit organization affiliated with the GSE that conducts research and works with schools and parents to improve students' educational experiences..   Pope said the research calls into question the value of assigning large amounts of homework in high-performing schools. Homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice, she said.   "Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development," wrote Pope.   High-performing paradox   In places where students attend high-performing schools, too much homework can reduce their time to foster skills in the area of personal responsibility, the researchers concluded. "Young people are spending more time alone," they wrote, "which means less time for family and fewer opportunities to engage in their communities."   Student perspectives   The researchers say that while their open-ended or "self-reporting" methodology to gauge student concerns about homework may have limitations – some might regard it as an opportunity for "typical adolescent complaining" – it was important to learn firsthand what the students believe.   The paper was co-authored by Mollie Galloway from Lewis and Clark College and Jerusha Conner from Villanova University.

Clifton B. Parker is a writer at the Stanford News Service .

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Denise Pope

Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative effects on student well-being and behavioral engagement. (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

A Stanford researcher found that too much homework can negatively affect kids, especially their lives away from school, where family, friends and activities matter.

“Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good,” wrote Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education .

The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students’ views on homework.

Median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college, either two-year or four-year.

Students in these schools average about 3.1 hours of homework each night.

“The findings address how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students’ advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement and well-being,” Pope wrote.

Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.

Their study found that too much homework is associated with:

* Greater stress: 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data. Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.

* Reductions in health: In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems. The researchers asked students whether they experienced health issues such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems.

* Less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits: Both the survey data and student responses indicate that spending too much time on homework meant that students were “not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills,” according to the researchers. Students were more likely to drop activities, not see friends or family, and not pursue hobbies they enjoy.

A balancing act

The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.

Also, there was no relationship between the time spent on homework and how much the student enjoyed it. The research quoted students as saying they often do homework they see as “pointless” or “mindless” in order to keep their grades up.

“This kind of busy work, by its very nature, discourages learning and instead promotes doing homework simply to get points,” Pope said.

She said the research calls into question the value of assigning large amounts of homework in high-performing schools. Homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice, she said.

“Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development,” wrote Pope.

High-performing paradox

In places where students attend high-performing schools, too much homework can reduce their time to foster skills in the area of personal responsibility, the researchers concluded. “Young people are spending more time alone,” they wrote, “which means less time for family and fewer opportunities to engage in their communities.”

Student perspectives

The researchers say that while their open-ended or “self-reporting” methodology to gauge student concerns about homework may have limitations – some might regard it as an opportunity for “typical adolescent complaining” – it was important to learn firsthand what the students believe.

The paper was co-authored by Mollie Galloway from Lewis and Clark College and Jerusha Conner from Villanova University.

Media Contacts

Denise Pope, Stanford Graduate School of Education: (650) 725-7412, [email protected] Clifton B. Parker, Stanford News Service: (650) 725-0224, [email protected]

Is Homework Good for Kids? Here’s What the Research Says

A s kids return to school, debate is heating up once again over how they should spend their time after they leave the classroom for the day.

The no-homework policy of a second-grade teacher in Texas went viral last week , earning praise from parents across the country who lament the heavy workload often assigned to young students. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early.

But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage. Here’s what you need to know:

For decades, the homework standard has been a “10-minute rule,” which recommends a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night. High school seniors should complete about two hours of homework each night. The National PTA and the National Education Association both support that guideline.

But some schools have begun to give their youngest students a break. A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction. “We really want kids to go home at 4 o’clock, tired. We want their brain to be tired,” Kelly Elementary School Principal Jackie Glasheen said in an interview with a local TV station . “We want them to enjoy their families. We want them to go to soccer practice or football practice, and we want them to go to bed. And that’s it.”

A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders.

New solutions and approaches to homework differ by community, and these local debates are complicated by the fact that even education experts disagree about what’s best for kids.

The research

The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school. The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.

Cooper’s analysis focused on how homework impacts academic achievement—test scores, for example. His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills. On the other hand, some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children. At the end of his analysis, Cooper recommended further study of such potential effects of homework.

Despite the weak correlation between homework and performance for young children, Cooper argues that a small amount of homework is useful for all students. Second-graders should not be doing two hours of homework each night, he said, but they also shouldn’t be doing no homework.

Not all education experts agree entirely with Cooper’s assessment.

Cathy Vatterott, an education professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, supports the “10-minute rule” as a maximum, but she thinks there is not sufficient proof that homework is helpful for students in elementary school.

“Correlation is not causation,” she said. “Does homework cause achievement, or do high achievers do more homework?”

Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs , thinks there should be more emphasis on improving the quality of homework tasks, and she supports efforts to eliminate homework for younger kids.

“I have no concerns about students not starting homework until fourth grade or fifth grade,” she said, noting that while the debate over homework will undoubtedly continue, she has noticed a trend toward limiting, if not eliminating, homework in elementary school.

The issue has been debated for decades. A TIME cover in 1999 read: “Too much homework! How it’s hurting our kids, and what parents should do about it.” The accompanying story noted that the launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to a push for better math and science education in the U.S. The ensuing pressure to be competitive on a global scale, plus the increasingly demanding college admissions process, fueled the practice of assigning homework.

“The complaints are cyclical, and we’re in the part of the cycle now where the concern is for too much,” Cooper said. “You can go back to the 1970s, when you’ll find there were concerns that there was too little, when we were concerned about our global competitiveness.”

Cooper acknowledged that some students really are bringing home too much homework, and their parents are right to be concerned.

“A good way to think about homework is the way you think about medications or dietary supplements,” he said. “If you take too little, they’ll have no effect. If you take too much, they can kill you. If you take the right amount, you’ll get better.”

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What we know about online learning and the homework gap amid the pandemic

A sixth grader completes his homework online in his family's living room in Boston on March 31, 2020.

America’s K-12 students are returning to classrooms this fall after 18 months of virtual learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some students who lacked the home internet connectivity needed to finish schoolwork during this time – an experience often called the “ homework gap ” – may continue to feel the effects this school year.

Here is what Pew Research Center surveys found about the students most likely to be affected by the homework gap and their experiences learning from home.

Children across the United States are returning to physical classrooms this fall after 18 months at home, raising questions about how digital disparities at home will affect the existing homework gap between certain groups of students.

Methodology for each Pew Research Center poll can be found at the links in the post.

With the exception of the 2018 survey, everyone who took part in the surveys is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the  ATP’s methodology .

The 2018 data on U.S. teens comes from a Center poll of 743 U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 conducted March 7 to April 10, 2018, using the NORC AmeriSpeak panel. AmeriSpeak is a nationally representative, probability-based panel of the U.S. household population. Randomly selected U.S. households are sampled with a known, nonzero probability of selection from the NORC National Frame, and then contacted by U.S. mail, telephone or face-to-face interviewers. Read more details about the NORC AmeriSpeak panel methodology .

Around nine-in-ten U.S. parents with K-12 children at home (93%) said their children have had some online instruction since the coronavirus outbreak began in February 2020, and 30% of these parents said it has been very or somewhat difficult for them to help their children use technology or the internet as an educational tool, according to an April 2021 Pew Research Center survey .

A bar chart showing that mothers and parents with lower incomes are more likely than fathers and those with higher incomes to have trouble helping their children with tech for online learning

Gaps existed for certain groups of parents. For example, parents with lower and middle incomes (36% and 29%, respectively) were more likely to report that this was very or somewhat difficult, compared with just 18% of parents with higher incomes.

This challenge was also prevalent for parents in certain types of communities – 39% of rural residents and 33% of urban residents said they have had at least some difficulty, compared with 23% of suburban residents.

Around a third of parents with children whose schools were closed during the pandemic (34%) said that their child encountered at least one technology-related obstacle to completing their schoolwork during that time. In the April 2021 survey, the Center asked parents of K-12 children whose schools had closed at some point about whether their children had faced three technology-related obstacles. Around a quarter of parents (27%) said their children had to do schoolwork on a cellphone, 16% said their child was unable to complete schoolwork because of a lack of computer access at home, and another 14% said their child had to use public Wi-Fi to finish schoolwork because there was no reliable connection at home.

Parents with lower incomes whose children’s schools closed amid COVID-19 were more likely to say their children faced technology-related obstacles while learning from home. Nearly half of these parents (46%) said their child faced at least one of the three obstacles to learning asked about in the survey, compared with 31% of parents with midrange incomes and 18% of parents with higher incomes.

A chart showing that parents with lower incomes are more likely than parents with higher incomes to say their children have faced tech-related schoolwork challenges in the pandemic

Of the three obstacles asked about in the survey, parents with lower incomes were most likely to say that their child had to do their schoolwork on a cellphone (37%). About a quarter said their child was unable to complete their schoolwork because they did not have computer access at home (25%), or that they had to use public Wi-Fi because they did not have a reliable internet connection at home (23%).

A Center survey conducted in April 2020 found that, at that time, 59% of parents with lower incomes who had children engaged in remote learning said their children would likely face at least one of the obstacles asked about in the 2021 survey.

A year into the outbreak, an increasing share of U.S. adults said that K-12 schools have a responsibility to provide all students with laptop or tablet computers in order to help them complete their schoolwork at home during the pandemic. About half of all adults (49%) said this in the spring 2021 survey, up 12 percentage points from a year earlier. An additional 37% of adults said that schools should provide these resources only to students whose families cannot afford them, and just 13% said schools do not have this responsibility.

A bar chart showing that roughly half of adults say schools have responsibility to provide technology to all students during pandemic

While larger shares of both political parties in April 2021 said K-12 schools have a responsibility to provide computers to all students in order to help them complete schoolwork at home, there was a 15-point change among Republicans: 43% of Republicans and those who lean to the Republican Party said K-12 schools have this responsibility, compared with 28% last April. In the 2021 survey, 22% of Republicans also said schools do not have this responsibility at all, compared with 6% of Democrats and Democratic leaners.

Even before the pandemic, Black teens and those living in lower-income households were more likely than other groups to report trouble completing homework assignments because they did not have reliable technology access. Nearly one-in-five teens ages 13 to 17 (17%) said they are often or sometimes unable to complete homework assignments because they do not have reliable access to a computer or internet connection, a 2018 Center survey of U.S. teens found.

A bar chart showing that in 2018, Black teens and those from lower-income households were especially likely to be impacted by the digital 'homework gap'

One-quarter of Black teens said they were at least sometimes unable to complete their homework due to a lack of digital access, including 13% who said this happened to them often. Just 4% of White teens and 6% of Hispanic teens said this often happened to them. (There were not enough Asian respondents in the survey sample to be broken out into a separate analysis.)

A wide gap also existed by income level: 24% of teens whose annual family income was less than $30,000 said the lack of a dependable computer or internet connection often or sometimes prohibited them from finishing their homework, but that share dropped to 9% among teens who lived in households earning $75,000 or more a year.

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Analyzing ‘the homework gap’ among high school students

Subscribe to the brown center on education policy newsletter, michael hansen and michael hansen senior fellow - brown center on education policy , the herman and george r. brown chair - governance studies @drmikehansen diana quintero diana quintero former senior research analyst, brown center on education policy - the brookings institution, ph.d. student - vanderbilt university @quintero05diana.

August 10, 2017

Researchers have struggled for decades to identify a causal, or even correlational, relationship between time spent in school and improved learning outcomes for students. Some studies have focused on the length of a school year while others have focused on hours in a day and others on hours in the week .

In this blog post, we will look at time spent outside of school–specifically time spent doing homework–among different racial and socio-economic groups. We will use data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) to shed light on those differences and then attempt to explain those gaps, using ATUS data and other evidence.

What we know about out-of-school time

Measuring the relationship between out-of-school time and outcomes like test scores can be difficult. Researchers are primarily confounded by an inability to determine what compels students to choose homework during their time off over other activities. Are those who spend more time on homework just extra motivated? Or are they struggling students who need to work harder to keep up? What role do social expectations from parents or peers play?

Previous studies have examined the impact of this outside time use on educational outcomes for students. A 2007 study using data from Berea College in Kentucky identified a causal relationship between hours spent studying and a student’s academic performance through an interesting measure. The researchers took advantage of randomly assigned college roommates, paying attention to those who came to campus with a video game console in tow. They hypothesized students randomly assigned to a roommate without a video game console would study more, since all other factors remained equal. That hypothesis held up, and that group also received significantly higher grades, demonstrating the causal relationship.

Other research has relied on data collected through the American Time Use Survey, a study of how Americans spend their time, and shown the existence of a gender gap and a parental education gap in homework time. Other studies have looked at the relationship between holding a job and student’s time use in discretionary activities , like sleep, media consumption, and time spent on homework. We are curious about out-of-school differences in homework time by race and income.

Descriptive statistics of time use

We began with a general sample of 2,575 full-time high school students between the ages of 15 and 18 from the ATUS, restricting the sample to their answers about time spent on homework during weekdays and school months (September to May). Among all high school students surveyed (those that reported completing their homework and those that did not), the time allocated to complete homework amounted to less than an hour per day, despite the fact that high school teachers report they assign an average of 3.5 hours of homework per day.

To explore racial or income-based differences, in Figure 1, we plot the minutes that students reporting spending on homework separately by their racial/ethnic group and family income. We observed a time gap between racial groups, with Asian students spending the most time on homework (nearly two hours a day). Similarly, we observe a time gap by the students’ family income.

Time high school students spend on homework by race and parents' income

We can also use ATUS data to isolate when students do homework by race and by income. In Figure 2, we plot the percentage of high school students in each racial and income group doing homework by the time of day. Percentages remain low during the school day and then expectedly increase when students get home, with more Asian students doing more homework and working later into the night than other racial groups. Low-income students reported doing less homework per hour than their non-low-income peers.

Percentage of high school students doing homework by time of day, race, and income

Initial attempts to explain the homework gap

We hypothesized that these racial and income-based time gaps could potentially be explained by other factors, like work, time spent caring for others, and parental education. We tested these hypotheses by separating groups based on particular characteristics and comparing the average number of minutes per day spent on homework amongst the comparison groups.

Students who work predictably reported spending less time on educational activities, so if working disproportionately affected particular racial or income groups, then work could help explain the time gap. Students who worked allocated on average 20 minutes less for homework than their counterparts who did not work. Though low-income students worked more hours than their peers, they largely maintained a similar level of homework time by reducing their leisure or extracurricular activities. Therefore, the time gap on homework changed only slightly with the inclusion of work as a factor.

We also incorporated time spent taking care of others in the household. Though a greater percentage of low-income students take care of other household members, we found that this does not have a statistically significant effect on homework because students reduce leisure, rather than homework, in an attempt to help their families. Therefore, this variable again does not explain the time gaps.

Finally, we considered parental education, since parents with more education have been shown to encourage their children to value school more and have the resources to ensure homework is completed more easily. Our analysis showed students with at least one parent with any post-secondary degree (associate or above) reported spending more time on homework than their counterparts whose parents do not hold a degree; however, gaps by race still existed, even holding parental education constant. Turning to income levels, we found that parental education is more correlated with homework time among low-income students, reducing the time gap between income groups to only eight minutes.

Societal explanations

Our analysis of ATUS could not fully explain this gap in time spent on homework, especially among racial groups. Instead, we believe that viewing homework as an outcome of the culture of the school and the expectations of teachers, rather than an outcome of a student’s effort, may provide some reasons for its persistence.

Many studies, including recent research , have shown that teachers perceive students of color as academically inferior to their white peers. A 2016 study by Seth Gershenson et al. showed that this expectations gap can also depend on the race of the teacher. In a country where minority students make up nearly half of all public school students, yet minority teachers comprise just 18 percent of the teacher workforce, these differences in expectations matter.

Students of color are also less likely to attend high schools that offer advanced courses (including Advanced Placement courses) that would likely assign more homework, and thus access to rigorous courses may partially explain the gaps as well.

Research shows a similar, if less well-documented, gap by income, with teachers reporting lower expectations and dimmer futures for their low-income students. Low-income students and students of color may be assigned less homework based on lower expectations for their success, thus preventing them from learning as much and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy .

In conclusion, these analyses of time use revealed a substantial gap in homework by race and by income group that could not be entirely explained by work, taking care of others, or parental education. Additionally, differences in educational achievement, especially as measured on standardized tests, have been well-documented by race and by income . These gaps deserve our attention, but we should be wary of blaming disadvantaged groups. Time use is an outcome reflecting multiple factors, not simply motivation, and a greater understanding of that should help raise expectations–and therefore, educational achievement–all around.

Sarah Novicoff contributed to this post.

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Homework help

Necessity of online homework help.

Contemporary world is a scene for competitions. Starting at early childhood environment immerse us into struggle for best positions. With constant population growth it becomes harder to get a place in kindergartens, schools for gifted children, prestigious universities and, of course, you are not alone in desire to have a well-paid job. Children since early age know that they must study hard, devote themselves into different subjects, and be successful and active in post-school projects. Under pressure of numerous complex tasks no wonder they often require homework help. For their needs special websites were launched. And now every child can get guidance and online homework help from every corner of the world. With opportunity to ask questions about necessary subjects he will at his own pace learn information. This also adds more individuality to process of studying, as children might experience problems with concentrated and fast group-learning. Online homework help is not merely a way to make grades better and to finish all tasks in time, it's personal attention and support. Websites offer plenty of subjects to work at, but according to searches most popular (as it's complicated to understand) is math homework help. This subject is a nightmare for both schoolchildren and their parents.

Why using college homework help is beneficial

It might come as surprise for graduates but when you enter college or university, amount of homework will be only increasing. Yes, besides lectures and practical courses you are obliged to do some homework too. And it might be incredibly more complicated than all things you have done in school. Plenty of students are struggling to cope with amount of tasks themselves but some are looking for websites for college homework help. With current subjects, with unknown teachers, with new classrooms it's stressful enough for young people to be focused. That's why students choose homework help discord, a place to discuss all difficulties online and solve problems. With guidance and support of experts it's easier to understand unknown topics and work on self-improvement. It's recommended not to torture yourself and get accounting homework help or any other kind of assistance. With wide range of professionals you can find a person no matter how complicated your task is.

Is it safe to trust strangers with important tasks?

Looking for online help with college or school tasks you might doubt reliability of person who is assisting you from other side of screen. How is it possible to find a proper tutor for difficult statistics homework help? Read reviews, study information, ask for certificates or diplomas to be assured you hire a true expert to perform job

Raychelle Cassada Lohmann Ph.D.

The Value of Homework

Are teachers assigning too much homework.

Posted September 5, 2016 | Reviewed by Ekua Hagan

  • Studies show that the benefits of homework peak at about one hour to 90 minutes, and then after that, test scores begin to decline.
  • Research has found that high school teachers (grades 9-12) report assigning an average of 3.5 hours’ worth of homework a week.
  • While homework is necessary, there needs to be balance as well as communication between teachers about the amount of homework being assigned.

SIphotography/Deposit Photos

The value of homework has been the subject of debate over the years. In regards to research, the jury is still out as to whether homework positively impacts a student's academic achievement.

In the past, I have written a couple of posts on homework and whether or not it is being used or abused by educators. I am always amazed at what some of my young readers share about sleepless nights, not participating in extracurricular events, and high levels of stress —all of which are attributed to large and daunting amounts of homework .

There have been studies that show that doing homework in moderation improves test performance. So we can’t rule out the value of homework if it’s conducive to learning. However, studies have also shown that the benefits of homework peak at about one hour to 90 minutes, and then after that, test scores begin to decline.

Now, while looking at data, it’s important to review the standard, endorsed by the National Education Association and the National Parent-Teacher Association , known as the "10-minute rule" — 10 minutes of homework per grade level per night. That would mean there would only be 10 minutes of homework in the first grade, and end with 120 minutes for senior year of high school (double what research shows beneficial). This leads to an important question: On average, how much homework do teachers assign?

monkeybusiness/Deposit Photos

Typical homework amounts

A Harris Poll from the University of Phoenix surveyed teachers about the hours of homework required of students and why they assign it. Pollsters received responses from approximately 1,000 teachers in public, private, and parochial schools across the United States.

High school teachers (grades 9-12) reported assigning an average of 3.5 hours’ worth of homework a week. Middle school teachers (grades 6-8) reported assigning almost the same amount as high school teachers, 3.2 hours of homework a week. Lastly, K-5 teachers said they assigned an average of 2.9 hours of homework each week. This data shows a spike in homework beginning in middle school.

Why homework is assigned

When teachers were asked why they assign homework, they gave the top three reasons:

  • to see how well students understand lessons
  • to help students develop essential problem-solving skills
  • to show parents what's being learned in school

Approximately, 30 percent of teachers reported they assigned homework to cover more content areas. What’s interesting about this poll was the longer an educator had been in the field the less homework they assigned. Take a look at the breakdown below:

  • 3.6 hours (teachers with less than 10 years in the classroom)
  • 3.1 hours (teachers with 10 to 19 years in the classroom)
  • 2.8 hours (teachers with more than 20 years in the classroom)

The need for balance

While many agree that homework does have a time and place, there needs to be a balance between life and school. There also needs to be communication with other teachers in the school about assignments. Oftentimes, educators get so involved in their subject area, they communicate departmentally, not school-wide. As a result, it’s not uncommon for teens to have a project and a couple of tests all on the same day. This dump of work can lead to an overwhelming amount of stress.

Questions for educators

Educators, how can you maximize the benefit of homework? Use the questions below to guide you in whether or not to assign work outside of the classroom. Ask yourself:

  • Do I need to assign homework or can this be done in class?
  • Does this assignment contribute and supplement the lesson reviewed in class?
  • Do students have all of the information they need to do this assignment? In others words, are they prepared to do the homework?
  • What are you wanting your students to achieve from this assignment? Do you have a specific objective and intended outcome in mind?
  • How much time will the assignment take to complete? Have you given your students a sufficient amount of time?
  • Have you taken into account other coursework that your students have due?
  • How can you incorporate student choice and feedback into your classroom?
  • How can you monitor whether or not you are overloading your students?

Wavebreakmedia/Deposit Photos

What kids think of homework

Educators: As a conclusion, I have provided a few of the many comments, that I have received below. I think it’s important to look at the age/grade level and messages these teens have shared. Take time to read their words and reflect on ways you can incorporate their perspective into course objectives and content. I believe the solution to the homework dilemma can be found in assigning work in moderation and finding a balance between school, home, and life.

“I am a 7th grader in a small school in Michigan. I think one of the main problems about what teachers think about homework is that they do not think about what other classes are assigned for homework. Throughout the day, I get at least two full pages of homework to complete by the next day. During the school year, I am hesitant to sign up for sports because I am staying up after a game or practice to finish my homework.”

homework stats

“I'm 17 and I'm in my last year of high school. I can honestly tell you that from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. (sometimes 1 or 2 a.m.) I am doing homework. I've been trying to balance my homework with my work schedule, work around my house, and my social life with no success. So if someone were to ask me if I think kids have too much homework, I would say yes they do. My comment is based solely on my personal experience in high school.”

“I am 13 and I have a problem: homework. I can’t get my homework done at home because it is all on my school MacBook. I don’t own my own personal computer, only an Amazon Fire tablet. What’s the problem with my tablet? There are no middle or high school apps for it. You are might be wondering, “Why not bring the MacBook home?” Well, I am not allowed to, so what is the punishment ? Four late assignments, and 1 late argument essay. And 90% of the homework I get is on my MacBook. This is a mega stresser!"

Raychelle Cassada Lohmann Ph.D.

Raychelle Cassada Lohman n , M.S., LPC, is the author of The Anger Workbook for Teens .

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Is Homework Necessary? Education Inequity and Its Impact on Students

homework stats

The Problem with Homework: It Highlights Inequalities

How much homework is too much homework, when does homework actually help, negative effects of homework for students, how teachers can help.

Schools are getting rid of homework from Essex, Mass., to Los Angeles, Calif. Although the no-homework trend may sound alarming, especially to parents dreaming of their child’s acceptance to Harvard, Stanford or Yale, there is mounting evidence that eliminating homework in grade school may actually have great benefits , especially with regard to educational equity.

In fact, while the push to eliminate homework may come as a surprise to many adults, the debate is not new . Parents and educators have been talking about this subject for the last century, so that the educational pendulum continues to swing back and forth between the need for homework and the need to eliminate homework.

One of the most pressing talking points around homework is how it disproportionately affects students from less affluent families. The American Psychological Association (APA) explained:

“Kids from wealthier homes are more likely to have resources such as computers, internet connections, dedicated areas to do schoolwork and parents who tend to be more educated and more available to help them with tricky assignments. Kids from disadvantaged homes are more likely to work at afterschool jobs, or to be home without supervision in the evenings while their parents work multiple jobs.”

[RELATED] How to Advance Your Career: A Guide for Educators >> 

While students growing up in more affluent areas are likely playing sports, participating in other recreational activities after school, or receiving additional tutoring, children in disadvantaged areas are more likely headed to work after school, taking care of siblings while their parents work or dealing with an unstable home life. Adding homework into the mix is one more thing to deal with — and if the student is struggling, the task of completing homework can be too much to consider at the end of an already long school day.

While all students may groan at the mention of homework, it may be more than just a nuisance for poor and disadvantaged children, instead becoming another burden to carry and contend with.

Beyond the logistical issues, homework can negatively impact physical health and stress — and once again this may be a more significant problem among economically disadvantaged youth who typically already have a higher stress level than peers from more financially stable families .

Yet, today, it is not just the disadvantaged who suffer from the stressors that homework inflicts. A 2014 CNN article, “Is Homework Making Your Child Sick?” , covered the issue of extreme pressure placed on children of the affluent. The article looked at the results of a study surveying more than 4,300 students from 10 high-performing public and private high schools in upper-middle-class California communities.

“Their findings were troubling: Research showed that excessive homework is associated with high stress levels, physical health problems and lack of balance in children’s lives; 56% of the students in the study cited homework as a primary stressor in their lives,” according to the CNN story. “That children growing up in poverty are at-risk for a number of ailments is both intuitive and well-supported by research. More difficult to believe is the growing consensus that children on the other end of the spectrum, children raised in affluence, may also be at risk.”

When it comes to health and stress it is clear that excessive homework, for children at both ends of the spectrum, can be damaging. Which begs the question, how much homework is too much?

The National Education Association and the National Parent Teacher Association recommend that students spend 10 minutes per grade level per night on homework . That means that first graders should spend 10 minutes on homework, second graders 20 minutes and so on. But a study published by The American Journal of Family Therapy found that students are getting much more than that.

While 10 minutes per day doesn’t sound like much, that quickly adds up to an hour per night by sixth grade. The National Center for Education Statistics found that high school students get an average of 6.8 hours of homework per week, a figure that is much too high according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It is also to be noted that this figure does not take into consideration the needs of underprivileged student populations.

In a study conducted by the OECD it was found that “after around four hours of homework per week, the additional time invested in homework has a negligible impact on performance .” That means that by asking our children to put in an hour or more per day of dedicated homework time, we are not only not helping them, but — according to the aforementioned studies — we are hurting them, both physically and emotionally.

What’s more is that homework is, as the name implies, to be completed at home, after a full day of learning that is typically six to seven hours long with breaks and lunch included. However, a study by the APA on how people develop expertise found that elite musicians, scientists and athletes do their most productive work for about only four hours per day. Similarly, companies like Tower Paddle Boards are experimenting with a five-hour workday, under the assumption that people are not able to be truly productive for much longer than that. CEO Stephan Aarstol told CNBC that he believes most Americans only get about two to three hours of work done in an eight-hour day.

In the scope of world history, homework is a fairly new construct in the U.S. Students of all ages have been receiving work to complete at home for centuries, but it was educational reformer Horace Mann who first brought the concept to America from Prussia. 

Since then, homework’s popularity has ebbed and flowed in the court of public opinion. In the 1930s, it was considered child labor (as, ironically, it compromised children’s ability to do chores at home). Then, in the 1950s, implementing mandatory homework was hailed as a way to ensure America’s youth were always one step ahead of Soviet children during the Cold War. Homework was formally mandated as a tool for boosting educational quality in 1986 by the U.S. Department of Education, and has remained in common practice ever since.  

School work assigned and completed outside of school hours is not without its benefits. Numerous studies have shown that regular homework has a hand in improving student performance and connecting students to their learning. When reviewing these studies, take them with a grain of salt; there are strong arguments for both sides, and only you will know which solution is best for your students or school. 

Homework improves student achievement.

  • Source: The High School Journal, “ When is Homework Worth the Time?: Evaluating the Association between Homework and Achievement in High School Science and Math ,” 2012. 
  • Source: IZA.org, “ Does High School Homework Increase Academic Achievement? ,” 2014. **Note: Study sample comprised only high school boys. 

Homework helps reinforce classroom learning.

  • Source: “ Debunk This: People Remember 10 Percent of What They Read ,” 2015.

Homework helps students develop good study habits and life skills.

  • Sources: The Repository @ St. Cloud State, “ Types of Homework and Their Effect on Student Achievement ,” 2017; Journal of Advanced Academics, “ Developing Self-Regulation Skills: The Important Role of Homework ,” 2011.
  • Source: Journal of Advanced Academics, “ Developing Self-Regulation Skills: The Important Role of Homework ,” 2011.

Homework allows parents to be involved with their children’s learning.

  • Parents can see what their children are learning and working on in school every day. 
  • Parents can participate in their children’s learning by guiding them through homework assignments and reinforcing positive study and research habits.
  • Homework observation and participation can help parents understand their children’s academic strengths and weaknesses, and even identify possible learning difficulties.
  • Source: Phys.org, “ Sociologist Upends Notions about Parental Help with Homework ,” 2018.

While some amount of homework may help students connect to their learning and enhance their in-class performance, too much homework can have damaging effects. 

Students with too much homework have elevated stress levels. 

  • Source: USA Today, “ Is It Time to Get Rid of Homework? Mental Health Experts Weigh In ,” 2021.
  • Source: Stanford University, “ Stanford Research Shows Pitfalls of Homework ,” 2014.

Students with too much homework may be tempted to cheat. 

  • Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education, “ High-Tech Cheating Abounds, and Professors Bear Some Blame ,” 2010.
  • Source: The American Journal of Family Therapy, “ Homework and Family Stress: With Consideration of Parents’ Self Confidence, Educational Level, and Cultural Background ,” 2015.

Homework highlights digital inequity. 

  • Sources: NEAToday.org, “ The Homework Gap: The ‘Cruelest Part of the Digital Divide’ ,” 2016; CNET.com, “ The Digital Divide Has Left Millions of School Kids Behind ,” 2021.
  • Source: Investopedia, “ Digital Divide ,” 2022; International Journal of Education and Social Science, “ Getting the Homework Done: Social Class and Parents’ Relationship to Homework ,” 2015.
  • Source: World Economic Forum, “ COVID-19 exposed the digital divide. Here’s how we can close it ,” 2021.

Homework does not help younger students.

  • Source: Review of Educational Research, “ Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Researcher, 1987-2003 ,” 2006.

To help students find the right balance and succeed, teachers and educators must start the homework conversation, both internally at their school and with parents. But in order to successfully advocate on behalf of students, teachers must be well educated on the subject, fully understanding the research and the outcomes that can be achieved by eliminating or reducing the homework burden. There is a plethora of research and writing on the subject for those interested in self-study.

For teachers looking for a more in-depth approach or for educators with a keen interest in educational equity, formal education may be the best route. If this latter option sounds appealing, there are now many reputable schools offering online master of education degree programs to help educators balance the demands of work and family life while furthering their education in the quest to help others.

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High school statistics

Unit 1: displaying a single quantitative variable, unit 2: analyzing a single quantitative variable, unit 3: two-way tables, unit 4: scatterplots, unit 5: study design, unit 6: probability, unit 7: probability distributions & expected value.

1.1 Definitions of Statistics, Probability, and Key Terms

For each of the following eight exercises, identify: a. the population, b. the sample, c. the parameter, d. the statistic, e. the variable, and f. the data. Give examples where appropriate.

A fitness center is interested in the mean amount of time a client exercises in the center each week.

Ski resorts are interested in the mean age that children take their first ski and snowboard lessons. They need this information to plan their ski classes optimally.

A cardiologist is interested in the mean recovery period of her patients who have had heart attacks.

Insurance companies are interested in the mean health costs each year of their clients, so that they can determine the costs of health insurance.

A politician is interested in the proportion of voters in his district who think he is doing a good job.

A marriage counselor is interested in the proportion of clients she counsels who stay married.

Political pollsters may be interested in the proportion of people who will vote for a particular cause.

A marketing company is interested in the proportion of people who will buy a particular product.

Use the following information to answer the next three exercises: A Lake Tahoe Community College instructor is interested in the mean number of days Lake Tahoe Community College math students are absent from class during a quarter.

What is the population she is interested in?

  • all Lake Tahoe Community College students
  • all Lake Tahoe Community College English students
  • all Lake Tahoe Community College students in her classes
  • all Lake Tahoe Community College math students

Consider the following:

X X = number of days a Lake Tahoe Community College math student is absent

In this case, X is an example of a:

  • population.

The instructor’s sample produces a mean number of days absent of 3.5 days. This value is an example of a:

1.2 Data, Sampling, and Variation in Data and Sampling

For the following exercises, identify the type of data that would be used to describe a response (quantitative discrete, quantitative continuous, or qualitative), and give an example of the data.

number of tickets sold to a concert

percent of body fat

favorite baseball team

time in line to buy groceries

number of students enrolled at Evergreen Valley College

most-watched television show

brand of toothpaste

distance to the closest movie theatre

age of executives in Fortune 500 companies

number of competing computer spreadsheet software packages

Use the following information to answer the next two exercises: A study was done to determine the age, number of times per week, and the duration (amount of time) of resident use of a local park in San Jose. The first house in the neighborhood around the park was selected randomly and then every 8th house in the neighborhood around the park was interviewed.

“Number of times per week” is what type of data?

  • qualitative
  • quantitative discrete
  • quantitative continuous

“Duration (amount of time)” is what type of data?

Airline companies are interested in the consistency of the number of babies on each flight, so that they have adequate safety equipment. Suppose an airline conducts a survey. Over Thanksgiving weekend, it surveys six flights from Boston to Salt Lake City to determine the number of babies on the flights. It determines the amount of safety equipment needed by the result of that study.

  • Using complete sentences, list three things wrong with the way the survey was conducted.
  • Using complete sentences, list three ways that you would improve the survey if it were to be repeated.

Suppose you want to determine the mean number of students per statistics class in your state. Describe a possible sampling method in three to five complete sentences. Make the description detailed.

Suppose you want to determine the mean number of cans of soda drunk each month by students in their twenties at your school. Describe a possible sampling method in three to five complete sentences. Make the description detailed.

List some practical difficulties involved in getting accurate results from a telephone survey.

List some practical difficulties involved in getting accurate results from a mailed survey.

With your classmates, brainstorm some ways you could overcome these problems if you needed to conduct a phone or mail survey.

The instructor takes her sample by gathering data on five randomly selected students from each Lake Tahoe Community College math class. The type of sampling she used is

  • cluster sampling
  • stratified sampling
  • simple random sampling
  • convenience sampling

A study was done to determine the age, number of times per week, and the duration (amount of time) of residents using a local park in San Jose. The first house in the neighborhood around the park was selected randomly and then every eighth house in the neighborhood around the park was interviewed. The sampling method was:

  • simple random

Name the sampling method used in each of the following situations:

  • A woman in the airport is handing out questionnaires to travelers asking them to evaluate the airport’s service. She does not ask travelers who are hurrying through the airport with their hands full of luggage, but instead asks all travelers who are sitting near gates and not taking naps while they wait.
  • A teacher wants to know if her students are doing homework, so she randomly selects rows two and five and then calls on all students in row two and all students in row five to present the solutions to homework problems to the class.
  • The marketing manager for an electronics chain store wants information about the ages of its customers. Over the next two weeks, at each store location, 100 randomly selected customers are given questionnaires to fill out asking for information about age, as well as about other variables of interest.
  • The librarian at a public library wants to determine what proportion of the library users are children. The librarian has a tally sheet on which she marks whether books are checked out by an adult or a child. She records this data for every fourth patron who checks out books.
  • A political party wants to know the reaction of voters to a debate between the candidates. The day after the debate, the party’s polling staff calls 1,200 randomly selected phone numbers. If a registered voter answers the phone or is available to come to the phone, that registered voter is asked whom he or she intends to vote for and whether the debate changed his or her opinion of the candidates.

A “random survey” was conducted of 3,274 people of the “microprocessor generation” (people born since 1971, the year the microprocessor was invented). It was reported that 48% of those individuals surveyed stated that if they had $2,000 to spend, they would use it for computer equipment. Also, 66% of those surveyed considered themselves relatively savvy computer users.

  • Do you consider the sample size large enough for a study of this type? Why or why not?
  • Based on your “gut feeling,” do you believe the percents accurately reflect the U.S. population for those individuals born since 1971? If not, do you think the percents of the population are actually higher or lower than the sample statistics? Why? Additional information: The survey, reported by Intel Corporation, was filled out by individuals who visited the Los Angeles Convention Center to see the Smithsonian Institute's road show called “America’s Smithsonian.”
  • With this additional information, do you feel that all demographic and ethnic groups were equally represented at the event? Why or why not?
  • With the additional information, comment on how accurately you think the sample statistics reflect the population parameters.

The Well-Being Index is a survey that follows trends of U.S. residents on a regular basis. There are six areas of health and wellness covered in the survey: Life Evaluation, Emotional Health, Physical Health, Healthy Behavior, Work Environment, and Basic Access. Some of the questions used to measure the Index are listed below.

Identify the type of data obtained from each question used in this survey: qualitative, quantitative discrete, or quantitative continuous.

  • Do you have any health problems that prevent you from doing any of the things people your age can normally do?
  • During the past 30 days, for about how many days did poor health keep you from doing your usual activities?
  • In the last seven days, on how many days did you exercise for 30 minutes or more?
  • Do you have health insurance coverage?

In advance of the 1936 Presidential Election, a magazine titled Literary Digest released the results of an opinion poll predicting that the republican candidate Alf Landon would win by a large margin. The magazine sent post cards to approximately 10,000,000 prospective voters. These prospective voters were selected from the subscription list of the magazine, from automobile registration lists, from phone lists, and from club membership lists. Approximately 2,300,000 people returned the postcards.

  • Think about the state of the United States in 1936. Explain why a sample chosen from magazine subscription lists, automobile registration lists, phone books, and club membership lists was not representative of the population of the United States at that time.
  • What effect does the low response rate have on the reliability of the sample?
  • Are these problems examples of sampling error or nonsampling error?
  • During the same year, George Gallup conducted his own poll of 30,000 prospective voters. These researchers used a method they called "quota sampling" to obtain survey answers from specific subsets of the population. Quota sampling is an example of which sampling method described in this module?

Crime-related and demographic statistics for 47 US states in 1960 were collected from government agencies, including the FBI's Uniform Crime Report . One analysis of this data found a strong connection between education and crime indicating that higher levels of education in a community correspond to higher crime rates.

Which of the potential problems with samples discussed in 1.2 Data, Sampling, and Variation in Data and Sampling could explain this connection?

YouPolls is a website that allows anyone to create and respond to polls. One question posted April 15 asks:

“Do you feel happy paying your taxes when members of the Obama administration are allowed to ignore their tax liabilities?” (lastbaldeagle. 2013. On Tax Day, House to Call for Firing Federal Workers Who Owe Back Taxes. Opinion poll posted online at: http://www.youpolls.com/details.aspx?id=12328 (accessed May 1, 2013).)

As of April 25, 11 people responded to this question. Each participant answered “NO!”

Which of the potential problems with samples discussed in this module could explain this connection?

A scholarly article about response rates begins with the following quote:

“Declining contact and cooperation rates in random digit dial (RDD) national telephone surveys raise serious concerns about the validity of estimates drawn from such research.”(Scott Keeter et al., “Gauging the Impact of Growing Nonresponse on Estimates from a National RDD Telephone Survey,” Public Opinion Quarterly 70 no. 5 (2006), http://poq.oxfordjournals.org/content/70/5/759.full (accessed May 1, 2013).)

The Pew Research Center for People and the Press admits:

“The percentage of people we interview – out of all we try to interview – has been declining over the past decade or more.” (Frequently Asked Questions, Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, http://www.people-press.org/methodology/frequently-asked-questions/#dont-you-have-trouble-getting-people-to-answer-your-polls (accessed May 1, 2013).)

  • What are some reasons for the decline in response rate over the past decade?
  • Explain why researchers are concerned with the impact of the declining response rate on public opinion polls.

1.3 Frequency, Frequency Tables, and Levels of Measurement

Fifty part-time students were asked how many courses they were taking this term. The (incomplete) results are shown below:

  • Fill in the blanks in Table 1.33 .
  • What percent of students take exactly two courses?
  • What percent of students take one or two courses?

Sixty adults with gum disease were asked the number of times per week they used to floss before their diagnosis. The (incomplete) results are shown in Table 1.34 .

  • Fill in the blanks in Table 1.34 .
  • What percent of adults flossed six times per week?
  • What percent flossed at most three times per week?

Nineteen immigrants to the U.S were asked how many years, to the nearest year, they have lived in the U.S. The data are as follows: 2 ; 5 ; 7 ; 2 ; 2 ; 10 ; 20 ; 15 ; 0 ; 7 ; 0 ; 20 ; 5 ; 12 ; 15 ; 12 ; 4 ; 5 ; 10 .

Table 1.35 was produced.

  • Fix the errors in Table 1.35 . Also, explain how someone might have arrived at the incorrect number(s).
  • Explain what is wrong with this statement: “47 percent of the people surveyed have lived in the U.S. for 5 years.”
  • Fix the statement in b to make it correct.
  • What fraction of the people surveyed have lived in the U.S. five or seven years?
  • What fraction of the people surveyed have lived in the U.S. at most 12 years?
  • What fraction of the people surveyed have lived in the U.S. fewer than 12 years?
  • What fraction of the people surveyed have lived in the U.S. from five to 20 years, inclusive?

How much time does it take to travel to work? Table 1.36 shows the mean commute time by state for workers at least 16 years old who are not working at home. Find the mean travel time, and round off the answer properly.

Forbes magazine published data on the best small firms in 2012. These were firms which had been publicly traded for at least a year, have a stock price of at least $5 per share, and have reported annual revenue between $5 million and $1 billion. Table 1.37 shows the ages of the chief executive officers for the first 60 ranked firms.

  • What is the frequency for CEO ages between 54 and 65?
  • What percentage of CEOs are 65 years or older?
  • What is the relative frequency of ages under 50?
  • What is the cumulative relative frequency for CEOs younger than 55?
  • Which graph shows the relative frequency and which shows the cumulative relative frequency?

Use the following information to answer the next two exercises: Table 1.38 contains data on hurricanes that have made direct hits on the U.S. Between 1851 and 2004. A hurricane is given a strength category rating based on the minimum wind speed generated by the storm.

What is the relative frequency of direct hits that were category 4 hurricanes?

  • Not enough information to calculate

What is the relative frequency of direct hits that were AT MOST a category 3 storm?

1.4 Experimental Design and Ethics

How does sleep deprivation affect your ability to drive? A recent study measured the effects on 19 professional drivers. Each driver participated in two experimental sessions: one after normal sleep and one after 27 hours of total sleep deprivation. The treatments were assigned in random order. In each session, performance was measured on a variety of tasks including a driving simulation.

Use key terms from this module to describe the design of this experiment.

An advertisement for Acme Investments displays the two graphs in Figure 1.14 to show the value of Acme’s product in comparison with the Other Guy’s product. Describe the potentially misleading visual effect of these comparison graphs. How can this be corrected?

The graph in Figure 1.15 shows the number of complaints for six different airlines as reported to the US Department of Transportation in February 2013. Alaska, Pinnacle, and Airtran Airlines have far fewer complaints reported than American, Delta, and United. Can we conclude that American, Delta, and United are the worst airline carriers since they have the most complaints?

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COMMENTS

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  2. Does homework still have value? A Johns Hopkins education expert weighs

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  5. More than two hours of homework may be counterproductive, research

    A Stanford education scholar found that too much homework can cause stress, health problems and reduce time for other activities in high-achieving schools. The study used survey and open-ended data from 4,317 students in California and challenged the assumption that homework is inherently good.

  6. Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework

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    This article uses data from the American Time Use Survey to examine the differences in homework time by race and income among high school students. It also explores the possible factors that could explain the gap, such as work, caregiving, parental education, and teacher expectations.

  13. College Homework Help Services Online

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  14. The Value of Homework

    A blog post that explores the benefits and drawbacks of homework, based on research and surveys. It also provides questions and tips for educators to balance and monitor homework assignments.

  15. School Report: Do we get too much homework?

    It is quite a mixed picture. A big report for the Department for Education, published in 2014, concluded that students in Year 9 who spent between two and three hours on homework on an average ...

  16. AP®︎ Statistics

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  21. High School Statistics

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  22. Ch. 1 Homework

    Crime-related and demographic statistics for 47 US states in 1960 were collected from government agencies, including the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. One analysis of this data found a strong connection between education and crime indicating that higher levels of education in a community correspond to higher crime rates.

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