Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 295–317 | Cite as

Homework and achievement: Explaining the different strengths of relation at the elementary and secondary school levels

  • Laura Muhlenbruck
  • Harris Cooper
  • Barbara Nye
  • James J. Lindsay
Article

Abstract

Four explanations were tested for why the correlation between homework and achievement is weaker in elementary school than secondary school. Eighty-two teachers answered questions about their homework practices, and their responses were related to their students' achievement test scores. No evidence was found to suggest the weaker correlation in elementary school associated with a restricted variation in amounts of homework in early grades nor that teachers assigned more homework to poor-performing classes. Evidence did suggest that teachers in early grades assigned homework more often to develop young students' management of time, a skill rarely measured on standardized achievement tests. Also consistent with this hypothesis, elementary school teachers were more likely to use homework to review class material and to go over homework in class, while secondary school teachers more often used homework to prepare for and enrich class lessons. Finally, there was weak evidence that young students who were struggling in school took more time to complete homework assignments.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Austin, Joe D. (1979). Homework research in mathematics. School Science and Mathematics, 79, 115–121.Google Scholar
  2. Barber, Bill (1986). Homework does not belong on the agenda for school reform. Educational Leadership, 43, 55–57.Google Scholar
  3. Bents-Hill, Cheryl, Boswell, Ruth, Byers, Julia, Cohen, Nancy, Cummings, Jack, & Leavitt, Bryce (1988, April). Relationship of academic performance to parent estimate of homework time. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  4. Cool, Valerie A., & Keith, Timothy Z. (1991). Testing a model of school learning: Direct and indirect effects on academic achievement. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 16, 28–44.Google Scholar
  5. Cooper, Harris (1989). Homework. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  6. Cooper, Harris, Lindsay, James J., Nye, Barbara, & Greathouse, Scott (1998). Relationships among attitudes about homework, amount of homework assigned and completed, and student achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 70–83.Google Scholar
  7. Cooper, Harris, Lindsay, James J., & Nye, Barbara. (1999). Homework in the home: How student, family and parenting style differences relate to the homework process. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  8. Corno, Lyn (1996). Homework is a complicated thing. Educational Researcher, 25, 27–30.Google Scholar
  9. Coulter, Frank (1979). Homework: A neglected research area. British Educational Research Journal, 5, 21–33.Google Scholar
  10. CTB (1988). Comprehensive test of basic skills: Technical Report (4th ed.). New York: Macmillan/McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  11. Dufresne, Annette, & Kobasigawa, Akira (1989). Children's spontaneous allocation of study time: Differential and sufficient aspects. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 47, 274–296.Google Scholar
  12. Earle, Rodney S. (1992). Homework as an instructional event. Educational Technology, 32, 36–41.Google Scholar
  13. Epstein, Joyce L. (1983). Homework practices, achievements, and behaviors of elementary school students. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 250 351).Google Scholar
  14. Foyle, Harvey C. (1985). The effects of preparation and practice homework on student achievement in tenth-grade American history. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.Google Scholar
  15. Friesen, Charles D. (1979). The results of homework versus no-homework research studies. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 167 508.Google Scholar
  16. Goldstein, Avram (1960). Does homework help? A review of research. Elementary School Journal, 1, 212–224.Google Scholar
  17. Harding, Robert C. (1979). The relationship of teacher attitudes toward homework and the academic achievement of primary grade students. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Lehigh University.Google Scholar
  18. Keith, Timothy Z. (1986). Homework. West Lafayette, In: Kappa Delta Pi.Google Scholar
  19. Keith, Timothy Z., & Cool, Valerie A. (1992). Testing models of school learning: Effects of quality of instruction, motivation, academic coursework, and homework on academic achievement. School Psychology Quarterly, 1, 209–226.Google Scholar
  20. Keith, Timothy Z., Keith, Patricia B., Troutman, Gretchen C., Bickley, Patricia G., Trivette, Paul S., & Singh, Kusum. (1993). Does parental involvement affect eighth-grade achievement? Structural analysis of national data. School Psychology Review, 22, 474–496.Google Scholar
  21. Knorr, Cynthia L. (1981). A synthesis of homework research and related literature. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 199 933.Google Scholar
  22. Lane, David M., & Pearson, Deborah A. (1982). The development of selective attention. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 28, 317–337.Google Scholar
  23. Marshall, Patricia M. (1983). Homework and social facilitation theory in teaching elementary school mathematics. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Stanford University.Google Scholar
  24. North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (1983). Special research studies, 1983–1984. Raleigh, NC; North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.Google Scholar
  25. Otto, Harvey J. (1950). Elementary education. In Encyclopedia of educational research (2nd ed.). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  26. Paschal, Rosanne A., Weinstein, Thomas, & Walberg, Herbert J. (1984). The effects of homework on learning: A quantitative synthesis. Journal of Educational Research, 78, 97–104.Google Scholar
  27. Plude, Dana J., Enns, James T. & Brodeur, Darlene. (1994). The development of selective attention: A life-span overview. Acta Psychologica, 86, 227–272.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Muhlenbruck
    • 1
  • Harris Cooper
    • 1
  • Barbara Nye
    • 2
  • James J. Lindsay
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Tennessee State UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations