Should students have homework?

Student complaints about overwhelming homework assignments have made many Americans skeptical about the benefits of homework, as many wonder if the educational advantages outweigh the potential damage done by assigning excessive homework.

Rise of the Issue

An age-old concept, the merits of homework, have been contested for centuries. Homework has evolved to adapt to modernity many times over this period, but the objective of it remains the same: a form of concept review for students to complete outside the classroom. 

Proponents of regular homework assignments say that homework is necessary in teaching students concepts they learn in the classroom. They also argue that homework teaches students lots of real-world skills, including responsibility, problem solving, and critical thinking. 

Critics of homework policies argue that work should be limited to the classroom, as there should be a clear distinction between work time and family time. They also say that homework does not have the intended benefits and instead, it tends to lead to burnout, fatigue, and boredom with learning.

Issue Timeline


The dawn of modern-day homework

American students are tasked with memorizing basic facts as a form of homework, and are required to recite them the next day to the teacher.


Progressive educators call for the end of homework

Education reform advocates argue that homework does not facilitate learning, and that learning is best facilitated by doing. This leads to the abolition of homework in elementary school classrooms across the country.


“Back-to-basics” style of education encouraged

Drill-oriented tasks are pushed by conservative Americans due to the prominent belief among this group that this method of teaching is most effective.


New study finds time spent on homework increased

A study conducted by the University of Michigan finds that students aged 6 to 8 do 128 minutes of homework on average per week, compared to 52 minutes per week in 1981.


Limited association between homework and achievement

Studies find that homework does not guarantee academic improvement, as there is no clear trend in homework data indicating that it is associated with students’ success.

Micro Issues


Student Mental Health

Many argue that the amount of homework students are assigned is detrimental to student mental health and can lead to depression and anxiety due to constant academic expectations. Those in favor say that students must learn to manage their time better, and that this is a skill they will need later in life as well.


Student Performance

Advocates of homework say that students must be assigned homework in order to truly learn the material they are taught in school. Opponents of homework policies say that this might cause students to experience burnout or fatigue with the learning material instead.


Teacher Workload

Opponents of strict homework policies argue that teachers often already have too much on their plates, and adding homework to the list of tasks they must accomplish is unreasonable. Proponents say that this is necessary regardless of the extra work for both students and teachers because it helps reinforce concepts to the students, and thus, makes teaching a lot easier and effective.

Pro Arguments


Students need to learn responsibility.

Homework supporters believe that assigning homework can help students learn how to manage their time and responsibilities, thus preparing them for life after school.


Homework helps reinforce school curriculum.

Having homework each night can help students practice concepts learned in class and also allow them to memorize certain content.


Homework can encourage parents to be involved in their child’s education.

Homework can bridge the divide between school and home by showing parents what their child is learning. This can open up communication between parents and their child, as students tend to ask caregivers for assistance on homework.


Students can identify what concepts they do not understand.

Homework assignments allow students, in the comfort of their own homes, to realize which concepts they struggle with and get the opportunity to practice at their own pace.


Homework can reduce stress during examination periods.

If students practice class concepts daily, they will often not require as much time to study for tests and quizzes, reducing the amount of cramming students tend to do the night before an exam, as well as the stress and anxiety that goes with it.

Con Arguments


It causes unnecessary stress.

Students already feel unprecedented academic stress while in school, and bringing this stress home is not helpful for the students’ mental wellbeing or their academic performance.


Conflicting research exists about the effectiveness of homework.

Studies often show completely different academic performance as a result of homework, with the University of Melbourne citing a net-zero impact of homework on academic performance, while Duke University researchers found that homework does indeed improve student performance.


Homework limits necessary leisure time.

Students already spend 6-8 hours per weekday in the classroom, and many argue that once home they should be granted the freedom to spend time with their families and friends to help them reset and recharge for the next day.


Home assignments can lead to boredom and burnout.

After constant recitation of academic concepts, students can reach their limit on how much learning is actually beneficial for them, which often leads to burnout and disinterest in the subject they are studying.


Homework can lead students to experience a lack of sleep.

Because they constantly get assignments after school, students often do not have sufficient time to complete them, causing them to stay awake for several hours to complete them.