Is Homework Necessary?


Stamford High student’s calculus homework.

Preet Kumar, Staff Writer

Students often complain that the most stressful part of school is the homework. After coming home from a seven hour day of school, students dislike spending the rest of their day studying. Parents and students also complain that homework is the leading cause for stress in adolescents. The question is, do children actually benefit from homework?

Giving homework has been a longstanding debate in which the pros and cons are almost equal. Some teachers argue that students need homework to ensure that they know the material and build work ethic. On the other hand, teachers say that it is the student’s responsibility to study if they want good grades, and that managing their time prepares them for college. In 2013, the Board of Education homework policy was modified to count homework as only 10 percent of a student’s grade. The general trend in homework throughout the country has been to count homework for less of a student’s final grade.

Stamford Public Schools’ homework policy’s rationale is, “The general purpose of homework is to: reinforce classroom instruction; develop specific skills through practice; prepare for future lessons; foster the habits of consistent independent study and time management; and prove an opportunity for students learning outside the classroom.”

Stamford High math teacher Larry Katz said, “Depending on the level of mental stress, we don’t want to sacrifice the continued build of the work ethic. If there is a secret advantage for Stamford students, it is their ability to do hard work as they move forward. I think our students outperform in college because they know how to work hard. Ultimately, your job prospects and success are most dependent on your willingness to work hard.”

According to a student poll*, 76.5 percent of students agree that homework is only beneficial for certain classes. However, students also agree that in many instances homework is just busy work, therefore adding unnecessary stress. A student response from the poll stated, “It depends a lot on the teacher. Some teachers very obviously just want to punish their students, while some actually assign questions to make sure what was taught in class stays fresh in the students’ minds and they can do it themselves. I’d say about 20 to 30 minutes of homework is reasonable, any more than that is pushing it.”

History teacher Jeremy White said, “I believe in homework, but I also believe in personal responsibility. Homework should never be busy work. It should help kids reinforce what they’ve learned. I am fortunate enough to teach classes in which most of the students are seniors and on track to go to college and so I put much of the ‘out of class work’ on them. The more they learn to immerse themselves in the subject on their own, the more prepared for college life they will be.”

*a small student poll on google forms in which students shared their views on homework