International Review of Education

, Volume 60, Issue 5, pp 661–681 | Cite as

Homework and primary-school students’ academic achievement in Latin America

Article

Abstract

This paper explores teachers’ habits (1) in terms of setting homework for their students and (2) in terms of building on homework in the classroom. Based on data collected in UNESCO’s Second Regional Comparative and Explanatory Study (SERCE), the sample size of this analysis is about 200,000 Primary Grade 3 and 6 students in 16 Latin American countries. SERCE applied standardised achievement tests and context questionnaires to these students, their families, teachers and principals of the schools involved. Choosing four aspects (student, classroom, school and country) for their multilevel study and focusing on two subjects (Mathematics and Language), the authors of this paper investigated the relationship between homework and students’ academic achievement. The results of their analysis show that the majority of Latin American teachers set homework in all or almost all classes. Ninety per cent of the teachers estimated that it took their students between 15 and 30 minutes to complete their homework. Follow-up figures in terms of checking and correcting homework were somewhat lower, as was the number of teachers who actually built on homework in teaching sessions. This study highlights the importance of following up on the contents covered in homework in the classroom to maximise effective learning.

Keywords

Homework School performance Academic achievement Teaching methodology Elementary education Latin America 

Résumé

Devoirs et succès scolaires des élèves primaires en Amérique latine – Les auteurs de l’article examinent les habitudes des enseignants d’une part quant à la distribution de devoirs aux élèves, et d’autre part à la reprise du contenu des devoirs en classe. Provenant des données collectées pour la Deuxième étude régionale comparative et explicative de l’UNESCO (SERCE), la taille de l’échantillon pour cette analyse était d’environ 200 000 élèves de 3e et 6e classes primaires réparties dans 16 pays latino-américains. L’étude SERCE avait administré des tests d’aptitudes standardisés et des questionnaires contextuels à ces élèves et à leurs familles ainsi qu’aux enseignants et directeurs des écoles participantes. Ayant sélectionné quatre facteurs (élève, classe, établissement et pays) pour leur étude multi-niveaux et se limitant à deux matières (calcul et langue), les auteurs ont exploré la relation entre devoirs et réussite scolaire des élèves. Les résultats de leur analyse indiquent que la majorité des enseignants latino-américains donnent des devoirs dans toutes les classes ou presque. Quatre-vingt-dix pour cent d’entre eux estiment que les élèves ont besoin d‘un temps de travail de 15 à 30 minutes pour effectuer ces devoirs. Les chiffres complémentaires relatifs à la vérification et à la correction des devoirs sont légèrement plus faibles, de même que le nombre d’enseignants qui intègrent les résultats des devoirs dans les séquences d’enseignement. Cette étude souligne l’importance de reprendre en classe le contenu des devoirs afin d’optimiser l’efficacité de l’apprentissage.

Resumen

Este artículo explora los hábitos de los docentes al mandar deberes a sus estudiantes(1) y cómo los docentes utilizan los deberes en el aula. A través de los datos recogidos por el SERCE (Segundo estudio regional comparativo y explicativo de la UNESCO), la muestra del estudio se conforma de más de 200.000 estudiantes de 3° y 6° de Primaria de 16 países Latinoamericanos. El estudio SERCE aplica pruebas de rendimiento estandarizadas, cuestionarios de contexto a los estudiantes, sus familias, los docentes y los directores escolares de las escuelas participantes. Elaboramos un estudio multinivel para rendimiento en Lengua y Matemáticas de cuatro niveles de análisis (estudiante, aula, escuela y país). Los resultados de los análisis muestran que la mayoría de los docentes latinoamericanos encargan deberes en todas o casi todas sus clases. El 90% de los docentes estiman que sus estudiantes necesitarán entre 15 y 30 minutos para finalizar los deberes encargados. Corregir y comprobar si los deberes se realizan es una actividad menos realizada por los docentes, así como incorporar lo trabajado en los deberes como temario del aula. Este estudio subraya la importancia de corregir los deberes e incorporarlas como contenidos de las sesiones de clase para maximizar el aprendizaje de los estudiantes.

References

  1. Baker, D. P., LeTendre, G. K., & Akiba, M. (2005). Schoolwork at home? Low quality schooling and homework. In D. P. Baker & G. K. LeTendre (Eds.), National differences, global similarities: World culture and the future of schooling (pp. 117–133). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Campbell, L. J. (1990). Using individual learning style inventories and group teaching methods in a sixth grade classroom. Miami: Nova Southeastern University.Google Scholar
  3. Campbell, J. R., Reese, C. M., O’Sullivan, C., & Dossey, J. A. (1996). National Assessment of Academic Progress (NAEP) 1994: Trends in academic progress. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.Google Scholar
  4. Cooper, H. (1989). Homework. White Plains, NY: Longman.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cooper, H. (2007). The battle over homework: Common ground for administrators, teachers, and parents. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cooper, H., Lindsay, J. J., Nye, B., & Greathouse, S. (1998). Relationships among attitudes about homework, amount of homework assigned and completed, and student achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(1), 70–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987–2003. Review of Educational Research, 76(1), 1–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cooper, H., & Valentine, J. C. (2001). Using research to answer practical questions about homework. Educational Psychology, 36(3), 143–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dettmers, S., Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., Kunter, M., & Baumert, J. (2010). Homework works if homework quality is high: Using multilevel modeling to predict the development of achievement in mathematics. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(2), 467–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. DfEE (Department for Education and Employment). (1997). White paper: Excellence in schools. Cmnd 3681. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  11. Epstein, J. L. (1988). Homework practices, achievement, and behaviors of elementary school students. Baltimore. MD: Center on Families, Communities, Schools, and Children’s Learning, Johns Hopkins University.Google Scholar
  12. Eren, O., & Henderson, D. (2008). The impact of homework on student achievement. Econometrics Journal, 11(2), 326–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Falch, T., & Rønning, M. (2011). Homework assignment and student achievement in OECD countries. Oslo: Department of Economics/Norwegian University of Science and Technology.Google Scholar
  14. Garner, W. T. (1978). Linking school resources to educational outcomes: The role of homework. Teachers College Research Bulletin, 19, 1–10.Google Scholar
  15. Gill, B., & Schlossman, S. (1996). A sin against childhood: Progressive education and the crusade to abolish homework, 1897–1941. American Journal of Education, 105(1), 27–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goldstein, H. (2010). Multilevel statistical models (4th ed.). Chichester: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gordon, P. (1980). Homework: Origins and justifications. Westminister Studies in Education, 3(1), 27–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hagen, H. H. (1927). The value of homework as compared with supervised study. In Second yearbook, Chicago Principal’s Club (pp. 147–149). Chicago: Chicago Principal’s ClubGoogle Scholar
  19. Hallam, S. (2006). Homework: Its uses and abuse. London: Institute of Education, University of London.Google Scholar
  20. Hong, E., Milgram, R. M., & Rowell, L. L. (2004). Homework motivation and preference: A learner-centered homework approach. Theory Into Practice, 43(3), 197–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Keith, T. Z., Keith, P. B., Troutman, G. C., Bickley, P. G., Trivette, P. S., & Singh, K. (1993). Does parental involvement affect eighth-grade student achievement? Structural analysis of national data. School Psychology Review, 22(3), 474–496.Google Scholar
  22. Kohn, A. (2006). The homework myth: Why our kids get too much of a bad thing. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.Google Scholar
  23. Kralovec, E., & Buell, J. (2000). The end of homework: How homework disrupts families, overburdens children, and limits learning. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  24. Lam, J. W. (1996). The employment activity of Chinese-American high school students and its relationship to academic achievement (Master’s thesis, University of Texas at Arlington, 1996). Masters Abstracts International, 34, 2148.Google Scholar
  25. Leeuw, J., & Meijer, E. (2008). Handbook of multilevel analysis. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. LLECE (Laboratorio Latinoamericano de Evaluación de la Calidad de la Educación). (2008). Segundo Estudio Regional Explicativo y Comparativo (SERCE). Santiago de Chile: UNESCOGoogle Scholar
  27. Marzano, R. J., & Pickering, D. J. (2007). Special topic: The case for and against homework. Educational Leadership, 64(6), 74–79.Google Scholar
  28. Mills, M., & Stevens, P. (1998). Improving writing and problem solving skills of middle school students. Skylight, IL: Saint Xavier University and IRI.Google Scholar
  29. Muhlenbruck, L., Cooper, H., Nye, B., & Lindsay, J. J. (2000). Homework and achievement: Explaining the different strengths of relation at the elementary and secondary school levels. Social Psychology of Education, 3(4), 295–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mullis, I. V. S., Martin, M. O., & Foy, P. (2005). IEA’s TIMSS 2003 International report on achievement in the mathematics cognitive domains: Findings from a developmental project. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College.Google Scholar
  31. Murillo, F. J. (Coord.) (2007). Investigación Iberoamericana sobre Eficacia Escolar [Iberoamerican research of school effectiveness]. Bogotá: Convenio Andrés Bello.Google Scholar
  32. Murillo, F. J., & Martinez-Garrido, C. (2013). Impact of homework on academic performance. A study of Iberoamerican students of primary education/Incidencia de las tareas para casa en el rendimiento académico. Un estudio con estudiantes iberoamericanos de Educación Primaria. Revista de Psicodidáctica/Journal of Pscychodidactics, 18(1), 157–171.Google Scholar
  33. Murillo, F. J., Martinez-Garrido, C., & Hernandez-Castilla, R. (2011). Décalogo para una enseñanza eficaz [Decalogue for effective teaching]. REICE-Revista Iberoamericana sobre calidad eficacia y cambio en educación, 9(1), 6–27.Google Scholar
  34. Pape, S. J., Zimmerman, B. J., & Pajares, F. (2002). This issue: Becoming a self-regulated learner. Theory Into Practice, 41(2), 62–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pettigrew, F., & Buell, C. (1989). Preservice and experienced teacher`s ability to diagnose learning styles. Journal of Educational Research, 82(3), 187–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Reimers, F. (2000). Educación, desigualdad y opciones de política en América Latina en el siglo XX [Education, inequality and policy in Latin America in the 20th century]. Revista Iberoamericana de Educación, 30(2), 11–42.Google Scholar
  37. Rønning, M. (2010). Homework and pupil achievement in Norway. Evidence from TIMSS. Oslo: Statistics Norway.Google Scholar
  38. Trautwein, U., & Köller, O. (2003a). The relationship between homework and achievement still much of a mystery. Educational Psychology Review, 15(2), 115–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Trautwein, U., & Köller, O. (2003b). Time investment does not always pay off: The role of self-regulatory strategies in homework execution. Zeitschrift fur Pädagogische Psychologie, 17(3/4), 199–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Trautwein, U., Schmitz, B., & Baumert, J. (2001). Do homework assignments enhance achievement? A multilevel analysis in 7th-grade mathematics. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 27, 26–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. U. S. DoE (Department of Education). (2002). No child left behind: A desktop reference. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.Google Scholar
  42. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). (2006). Evaluación del desempeño y carrera profesional docente. Una panorámica de América y Europa [Performance evaluation and teaching career. A view of America and Europe]. Santiago de Chile: UNESCO.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad de Formación de Profesorado y EducaciónUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations