This paper explores the nature and source of mathematics homework and teachers’ and students’ perspectives about the role of mathematics homework. The subjects of the study are three grade 8 mathematics teachers and 115 of their students. Data from field notes, teacher interviews and student questionnaire are analysed using qualitative methods. The findings show that all 3 teachers gave their students homework for instructional purposes to engage them in consolidating what they were taught in class as well as prepare them for upcoming tests and examinations. The homework only involved paper and pencil, was compulsory, homogenous for the whole class and meant for individual work. The main source of homework assignments was the textbook that the students used for the study of mathematics at school. ‘Practice makes perfect’ appeared to be the underlying belief of all 3 teachers when rationalising why they gave their students homework. From the perspective of the teachers, the role of homework was mainly to hone skills and comprehend concepts, extend their ‘seatwork into out of class time’ and cultivate a sense of responsibility. From the perspectives of the students, homework served 6 functions, namely improving/enhancing understanding of mathematics concepts, revising/practising the topic taught, improving problem-solving skills, preparing for test/examination, assessing understanding/learning from mistakes and extending mathematical knowledge.


grade eight homework mathematics perspectives Singapore student teacher 


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Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of EducationSingaporeSingapore

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