Parents and students rejoice as teacher Brandy Young decided to cancel homework for her second-grade class for the entire school year at Godley Elementary School in Johnson County, Texas. The idea of her new homework policy came to her after doing extensive research during the summer and learning that homework is not linked to student success. She sent a note to the parents and one of them was so pleased to hear the news that she posted the letter on Facebook.

Mom Samantha Gallagher’s post has more than 67,400 shares and she wrote in the caption that her daughter is “loving her new teacher already!” according to a report by Fox News. The first to report that the post had gone viral was KXAS-TV.

According to teacher Brandy Young, homework is not linked to student success. Photo credit: IStockphoto / Parade
According to teacher Brandy Young, homework is not linked to student success. Photo credit: IStockphoto / Parade

Young passed her letter to parents at the school’s “Meet the Teacher Night” and explained her decision to ban homework.

“After much research this summer, I am trying something new. Homework will only consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this year,” Young’s message read.

The only homework her students will have to do will consist of work they could not finish during the school day.

She also wrote that student performance is not improved by homework at all according to previous research. However, she did not mean that she wanted students to waste their time instead of doing homework. The teacher specified what she wanted them to eat dinner as a family and asked parents to encourage their children to spend the evenings doing things that are proven to help develop academic skills, including reading together, playing outside and going to bed early.

Young told CBS that students need to learn other things when they go home after school and remarked it was not good for them to continue doing pencil and paper work following the hard work they had done all day. She explained her idea was to develop their “whole person”.

Parents and colleagues praised Young’s policy

The innovative policy received a lot of praise from parents. Gallagher, who said she was glad her daughter had a teacher who was willing to work on new methods for the benefit of her students, said her family was planning to spend more time together in the evenings and that Brook, her child, would have more time to invest in gymnastics.

The post has a bunch of comments from parents who welcomed Young’s interest in promoting quality time between students and their families.

Gallagher noted that many respondents were educators interested in learning more about Young and how to implement her new homework policy themselves.

Glyn Jenkins, a Sound Prep Academy teacher who has been teaching for 15 years, said during an interview with Seattle’s King 5 that the policy was “absolutely justifiable”. She added that such a letter home at the beginning of the year was great to set the expectation.

“It is important that kids know that it isn’t all about work. With school work and learning, where does one end and the other begin?” said Jenkins.

What the research says

Homework seems to be more associated with performance on standardized tests than with better course grades for math and science students, according to a study conducted by an Indiana University School of Education faculty member in Bloomington. The research, published in The High School Journal in 2012 and reviewed months later on Indiana University Bloomington’s website for research, revealed that homework was not being used as it should be.

Researcher Adam Maltese, assistant professor of science education in the IU School of Education, and his co-authors concluded that there should be a clear purpose for doing homework and both the teacher and the students must understand it. Co-author Robert H. Tai, associate professor of science education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, remarked that more is not better when it comes to homework.

“If homework is going to be such an important component of learning in American schools, it should be used in some way that’s more beneficial,” Maltese said, according to the report published on Indiana University Bloomington’s website for research . “More thought needs to be given to this, rather than just repeating problems already done in class.”

The Center for Public Education posted in 2007 a report which included a series of myths about homework. The first one is that homework increases academic achievement, which was refuted by researcher Cooper in 1989 as he said that previous studies had contradicted one another given that they had been designed so differently it was impossible to evaluate them fairly against the findings of others. In other words, by that time it was not easy to determine whether homework improved student success.

The second myth addressed in the report was that the lack of excessive homework caused student’s test scores to fail to be internationally competitive. However, when looking at data from international assessments it becomes clear that there is little association between test scores and the amount of homework assigned to students. For instance, Japanese and Finnish students outperform U.S. students on tests even though they are assigned less homework, according to 2004 information from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

And the third myth has to do with people who question homework as an important aspect of academic improvement. Kralovec and Buell (2001) pointed out that homework critics focused their attention on the fact that students frequently do their homework without adults who can help in the learning process rather than on the work assigned itself.

The debate is still open.

Source: The Washington Post