The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch this Friday posted the data shown in this chart. For the 11 countries shown** you can see why WSJ seconds the call by French President Hollande to ban all homework.
Students would party hearty but this laissez-faire approach will not fly with those blessed with ambitious parents. Nevertheless the call for less homework, fueled by new data from the National Center for Education Statistics, reinforces other studies going back at least a decade.
It will be interesting to see what emerges as a consensus for a the happy medium on amount of homework assigned. Four hours per night seems way too much, especially at the 8th grade level.
Meta-analysis of hundreds of studies done on the effects of homework shows that the evidence supporting the practice is, at best, modest. Homework seems to be most useful in high school and for subjects like math. At the elementary school level homework seems to be of marginal or no academic value.
- Malcolm Gladwell
*See the report here
**I took out Saudi Arabia, whose result of 34% below average, given 11% being assigned over 4 hours of homework per night, fell far below even these very off-putting predictions–an outlier statistically.
Acknowledgment: Thanks to Devan Govender for alerting me to this issue.