Is Homework Worth It?

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It is evident that high school students are tasked with a sufficient amount of homework each night after their seven hour school day. Some students debate whether or not the amount of time and effort they put into their homework each night is actually going to help them in the class. 

To better understand their perspective, we asked Shaler teachers for their own opinions about homework and the reason they give it out. From the math department, Shaler teachers, Paul Stadleman and Matthew White, both agreed that the reasoning for their homework is to help the student independently learn the material without assistance from the teacher. They believe for the math portion of high school, students should be able to take what they have learned in class, and use it to further expand on the material on their own. Another one of Shaler’s math teachers, Alyssa Rihn, gave her input for her Algebra 1 classes saying she feels homework helps get parents involved in their child’s education. Rihn also concluded that when it comes to other subjects in school, math and science classes are much more analytical and  statistics based, while English classes are more discussion and elaboration based. All three of these teachers agreed that they don’t give homework every night to their students. 

“Learning is a process and I believe in “climbing up the ladder,” as well as a method known as scaffolding, by analyzing or working with content and concepts in a variety of ways in order to expand their knowledge and understanding.””

— Mrs. McCarthy

English teacher Jared Dahlgren represented the English department voicing his opinion in terms of different level classes. Dahlgren agreed that the reason he gives homework is so students can independently learn the material. Dahlgren stated that, if given the opportunity, he will always give students time in class to start their homework so they are clear on the assignment. Dahlgren also takes into consideration high schooler’s other homework, and how it can become a lot when all added together. Dahlgren does not give homework every night to his students.

Rena Murphy, who teaches Honors and AP Chemistry, gave her input saying most of her homework assignments are long term so her students can also practice time management, and give students the opportunity to ask questions if they are confused on the material. 

“My students have mentioned that the chemistry homework can be challenging, but they like that the program gives them more than one attempt to answer a question correctly.” Murphy added. 

A ninth grade history teacher, Holly McCarthy, helped us by giving her insight stating that one of her main reasons for giving homework is to help students prepare for the lesson the next day. McCarthy does not grade all of her student’s homework assignments to help demonstrate to her students that homework is a learning process. McCarthy expressed her opinion by saying that when it comes to late work with students, she’s very strict about it and is not super lenient. 

“Learning is a process and I believe in “climbing up the ladder,” as well as a method known as scaffolding, by analyzing or working with content and concepts in a variety of ways in order to expand their knowledge and understanding.  This is especially true for me as a Social Studies teacher as I don’t just want the kids to think all they need to do is memorize some vocab and dates.” McCarthy communicated. 

A portion of the students of Shaler contributed to the discussion as well by answering a few questions on their strong beliefs. The vast majority of the students agreed that they take part in extracurricular activities, leaving little time for homework. Of these students, about half of them felt they received too much homework each night. Students of all these classes, meaning AP, Honors, and Regular were also asked what classes they feel they have the most homework in. Generally, students agreed on English being the subject they have the most homework in. More specifically, all the students emphasized that they feel they receive too much homework. The amount of homework given to each student does differentiate based on the class, and who the teacher is. 

“Personally I feel like homework can be beneficial if it is given in moderation. Too much is overwhelming and hard for me to comprehend, but if it’s a smaller, more reasonable amount I think it can help.” said Freshman Emma Cochran when asked to share her opinion. 

As far as changing the homework system at Shaler, nothing has been discussed between the school board, and they do not have any plans on initiating anything anytime soon.