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The Internet and bookstores are crowded with books offering parents advice on how to get children to do homework.
Yet the historical arguments on both sides are familiar.
They bear a striking similarity to the arguments waged in today's debate over homework.
This might be because wealthier students are likely have the resources for a quiet place to study at home, and may get more encouragement and emphasis on their studies from parents, writes Marilyn Achiron, editor for OECD’s Directorate for Education and Skills.
It should also be noted that this list only includes countries that take the PISA exam, which mostly consists of OECD member countries, and it also includes countries that are OECD partners with “enhanced engagement,” such as parts of China and Russia.
That’s according to a new report on data the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development collected from countries and regions that participate in a standardized test to measure academic achievement for 15-year-olds, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).(It should be noted that while Shanghai scored highest on the 2012 PISA mathematics test, Shanghai is not representative of all of mainland China, and the city received criticism for only testing a subset of 15-year-olds to skew scores higher.)While there are likely many other factors that contribute to student success, homework assigned can be an indicator of PISA test scores for individuals and individual schools, the report notes.
In the individual schools in some regions—Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, and Singapore—that earned the highest math scores (pdf, pg.On average, teachers assign 15-year-olds around world about five hours of homework each week.But those average hours don’t necessarily tell the whole story.As a result, a discussion of homework stirs controversy as people debate both sides of the issue.But the arguments both for and against homework are not new, as indicated by a consistent swing of the pendulum over the last 100 years between pro-homework and anti-homework attitudes.Learning consisted of drill, memorization, and recitation, which required preparation at home: At a time when students were required to say their lessons in class in order to demonstrate their academic prowess, they had little alternative but to say those lessons over and over at home the night before.Before a child could continue his or her schooling through grammar school, a family had to decide that chores and other family obligations would not interfere unduly with the predictable nightly homework hours that would go into preparing the next day's lessons. 174) The critical role that children played as workers in the household meant that many families could not afford to have their children continue schooling, given the requisite two to three hours of homework each night (Kralovec & Buell, 2000).Teachers, overwhelmed by an already glutted curriculum and pressures related to standardized tests, assign homework in an attempt to develop students' skills and extend learning time.At the same time, they are left frustrated when the students who most need more time to learn seem the least likely to complete homework.The history of homework and surrounding attitudes is relevant because the roots of homework dogma developed and became entrenched over the last 100 years.Attitudes toward homework have historically reflected societal trends and the prevailing educational philosophy of the time, and each swing of the pendulum is colored by unique historical events and sentiments that drove the movement for or against homework.