K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

Important Announcement about Online Courses and LEARN NC.

Important Message about LEARN NC

LEARN NC is evaluating its role in the current online education environment as it relates directly to the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education (UNC-CH SOE). We plan to look at our ability to facilitate the transmission of the best research coming out of UNC-CH SOE and other campus partners to support classroom teachers across North Carolina. We will begin by evaluating our existing faculty and student involvement with various NC public schools to determine what might be useful to share with you.

Don’t worry! The lesson plans, articles, and textbooks you use and love aren’t going away. They are simply being moved into the new LEARN NC Digital Archive. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. These resources will be preserved on our website for the foreseeable future. That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment.

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Research on homework shows that it is not the valuable educational tool that many believe. Kralovec and Buell (2001) found that “homework often disrupts family life, interferes with what parents want to teach their children, and punishes students in poverty for being poor.” In addition, homework has serious limitations for teaching and learning.

For elementary students, homework does not improve academic achievement (Cooper, 1994). Supporters of homework claim that homework in the elementary grades can develop character traits like self-discipline and time management skills. However, this view lacks solid evidence.

Based on this information, the following suggestions should be kept in mind when considering homework assignments and policies:

  • Be mindful of the amount of homework assigned. Homework types and amounts must be modified consistent with individual student needs, even within regular education. Remember that what is ten minutes work for one student can easily be an hour’s work for another.
  • Homework should never be counted as a part of the content grade unless the teacher is certain that all the students in the class come from a similar level of environmental enrichment and parental support.
  • Provide a system for checking children’s materials and copying of assignments at the end of the school day, particularly for students who have difficulty in homework organization.
  • Assignments should have a clear purpose that is understood by students. If they have this understanding, students are more likely to complete assignments.
  • Except in rare cases, students should not be removed or restricted from extra-curricular activities, including recess, for failure to complete homework assignments.

References

Cooper, H. (1994). The battle over homework: An administrator’s guide to setting sound and effective policies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Kralovec, E. & Buell, J. (2001). "End homework now." Educational Leadership, 58 (7).