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HOMEWORK EFFECT ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT

Homework Types and Its Effect on Student Achievement

Action Research Proposal, SED 600

Selena N. Collier

November 29, 2007

California State University, Northridge


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CHAPTER I:

Introduction

Student achievement in schools has always been a concern for parents, students and

educators. There have been several theories on what help students achieve in a math class. One

of the main ideas for student achievement has been the use of homework. All over the world,

homework is used to help students practice skills learned in the classroom. It has been said that

much research on homework has been driven by the pragmatic need to understand its role in

improving achievement out-comes (Warton, 2001, p.164). In other words, homework has been

studied many times in order to understand if it does indeed help students achieve.

Most math teachers give students homework so that they can practice the skills learned in

class. Cooper, Lindsey, Nye, & Greathouse stated the reason most often cited for giving

homework is that it can improve students' retention and understanding of the covered material

(1998, p.71). Many educators would agree with this statement that homework helps students

retain information and therefore helps students achieve. Homework has been researched many

times to verify that students achievement is directly related to doing homework. In Los Angeles

Unified School District (LAUSD), homework is used in most all math classes to help students

achieve. However, from my own experience, LAUSD has different types of homework for math

classes and the different types of homework can vary from teacher to teacher. Different types of

math include homework that includes several problems or limited homework with only few

problems.

To clarify, we need a basis for the terms used in this study. Limited homework is when

students are assigned a limited amount of problems on the key concepts. Limited homework will

vary from three to six questions on the main material. Repetitive homework is when students
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have to do several problems on the same concept. There may be several concepts given in one

homework assignment. The repetitive homework will vary from twenty to forty problems on the

material.

It is believed by many that homework is directly related with student achievement.

However, this study is to go more in depth in to the topic. The purpose of this study is to

determine what type of homework is more beneficial to students academic achievement.

Homework for mathematics can be assigned differently from teachers ranging from a lot of

homework to a little. My questions are to clarify what type of homework is more beneficial to

students academic achievement.

The research question being addressed in this study is:

1. What effect does repetitive homework have on student achievement in mathematics?

CHAPTER II: Literature Review

There have been several studies done on the topic of homework related to student

achievement. I have researched the studies from several other researchers to see what has been

discovered about homework. Overall, the results are that in middle and high school grades

there is a positive association between the amount of homework that students complete and

their grades (Bempechat, 2004, p.191). This means that students homework affects their

grades. Therefore, if no homework is done then the students achievement is lowered and their

grades will suffer. Similarly, students who do their homework will increase their achievement

and improve their grades.

Homework

Some may argue that homework is only beneficial to academic achievement if the student

is at average or above average ability levels. However, Keith and Cool found that, regardless of

the students ability or prior coursework, the amount of time students devote to homework
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increases their academic achievement (1992, p. 211-212). This means that all students will

achieve more if they do their homework. It seems that homework will overall help students

achieve in the classroom, no matter their ability level.

In a study done by J. Xu, students were asked if they knew the purpose of doing

homework and he found that a majority of them were aware of the role that homework played

in helping them better understand their lessons (e.g., learn more, write better, and do math

better) (2005, p. 47). These students discovered on their own that homework was helping

them in the class. This was found without the teachers or parents telling them why they do

homework. Students have seen for themselves the advantages of doing homework for a subject,

including mathematics.

There has been research about previous homework studies and what was unsuccessful. It

was noticed that there are several ways to study the use of homework. One issue discovered was

that students do homework differently. Cooper and Valentine stated homework allows students

considerable discretion about whether, when and how to complete assignments (2001, p. 144).

These differences in homework can effect the assignments. However, for this study, it is not

important how or where the homework is completed. The main focus is to compare the type of

homework completed and see how it results in student achievement.

Time on Homework

Not only has homework been proven to increase student achievement but there have also

been studies about the amount of time spent on homework. According to Sharp, there is a

positive relationship between time spent on homework and achievement at secondary school

level (2001). This shows that doing the homework and spending a reasonable amount of time

on it will increase academic achievement in the class. Students cannot speed through the
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homework and expect to succeed. Homework is more beneficial when students take their time

on it.

Although time on homework has been associated with student achievement, it is possible

for students not to achieve when there is too much homework. A lot of homework takes more

time but it has a negative effect on achievement. The Homework Literature Review stated that

excessive homework may impact negatively on student achievement (2004, p.3). This means

that if teachers give too much homework, students may be overwhelmed, not do it and not

achieve as a result. Students need to do the homework in order too achieve and if there is an

excessive amount, then they may not do it at all or may not finish all concepts because of

incomplete assignments. There is research that indicates that a more homework the better

view is misleading and should not be the basis for policy and practice (Homework Literature,

2004, p.5). This means that too much homework is not the answer for students to achieve.

Therefore, it is the job of the teacher to have students do enough homework to achieve but not

too much homework that students will be discouraged from doing it.

Chapter III: Methodology

Procedure

Introduction:

This study will take place at Northridge Academy High School (NAHS) in the 2008-2009

academic school year. The school is a small community of 968 students. There are a total of 29

math classes with an average class size of 30.8 students. The students in NAHS are from a

variety of ethnic backgrounds: including 22.9% White, 54.4% Hispanic, 5% Asian, 7.5% African

American, 8.2% Filipino and the remaining 2% are other ethnicities (Educational Data

Partnership, 2007). NAHS has 107 English Language Learners and 139 special education

students (CA Dept. of Education, 2007).


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Participants:

The participants of this study will be the students in my two Algebra classes, named Class

A and Class B. The classes chosen for the study will both be based on the subject- Algebra-1A.

There are 27 students in Class A and 28 students in Class B. Class A includes 4 English Learners

(EL) and 4 who have Individualized Education Plans (IEP). Class B includes 4 English Learners

(EL) and 3 who have Individualized Education Plans (IEP). These classes were randomly

assigned to me by the administration.

Materials:

The materials used for this study will include the curriculum for the fall semester and

assessments to monitor student achievement. The subject matter is going to be Algebra 1A

following the CA state standards. The curriculum will include the same lesson and unit plans for

both classes involved in the study. The assessments in the study will be the same for both

classes. The assessments will include quizzes and chapter tests. These assessments will be

created by me to reflect the unit that is taught.

Length of the study:

This study will take place over a twenty week semester in the fall semester of the 2008-

2009 school year. The study will begin in mid/late August and end in mid/late January. Students

will have lessons everyday, except pupil free days or holidays, and receive homework on a daily

basis, including weekends. Students will receive at least one assessment per week, either a quiz

or test.

Method:

Students in Class A and Class B will learn the lessons the same way and receive the same

assessments. The difference between the classes will be the amount of homework problems

given daily. Everything about these classes will be the same except for the homework assigned.
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Students in Class A will be given limited homework every night for the entire semester. They

will have no more than six problems per night. Class B will be given repetitive homework for

the entire semester with a minimum of twenty questions per night. Students will then be

analyzed by their assessment scores over the course of the semester.

Analysis:

The data in this study will be collected from the scores of all assessments given. Students

will have a chance to show their competence in the subject by completing the assessments.

These assessments will be analyzed by the scores. The scores will show quantitatively which

class has the most student achievement. The scores will allow for partial credit in all questions

given. This partial credit can reveal if students understand the material but made minor mistakes

in computing the answers. The use of all or no credit assessments will not be used in this study

because the student achievement is not only measured by all correct answers but also by

understanding the concepts. Partial credit will help distinguish the students who did not

understand the material at all from the students who make computing errors but had the right

format.

Overall data will be analyzed by three main criteria. The firs criteria will be examining

by comparing the assessment scores of both classes side by side. This will help determine the

amount of student in each class who are passing and failing individual assessments. The second

criteria will be to examine overall grades. Overall class grades will also be evaluated side by

side for analysis of which class is more achieving overall. For the final criteria, the homework

completion will also be analyzed. This will show which classes are completing their homework

overall. Also, it will also show if the individual students who do the homework assignments are

the ones who are achieving.


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References

Bempechat, J. (2004, August 1). The Motivational Benefits of Homework: A Social-Cognitive

Perspective. Theory Into Practice, 43(3), 189-196.

California Department of Education. (2007, March 23). DataQuest. Retrieved November 16,

2007, <http://data1.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/>

Cooper, H., Lindsey, J.J., Nye, B., & Greathouse, S. (1998). Relationships among attitudes about

homework, amount of homework assigned and completed, and student achievement.

Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 70-83.

Cooper, H., & Valentine, J. C. (2001). Using research to answer practical questions about

homework. Educational Psychologist, 36(3), 143153.

Education Data Partnership. (2007, November 16). Profiles and Reports. Retrieved November

16, 2007, http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us/Navigation/fsTwoPanel.asp?bottom=%2 Fprofile

%2Easp%3Flevel%3D07%26reportNumber%3D16

Homework Literature Review: Summary of key research findings. (2004). Queensland:

Department of Education and the Arts.


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Keith, T.Z., & Cool, V.A. (1992). Testing models of school learning: Effects of quality of

instruction, motivation, academic coursework, and homework on academic achievement.

School Psychology Quarterly, 7, 207-226.

Sharp, C., Keys, W. and Benefield, P. (2001). Review of Studies on Homework. Slough: National

Foundation for Educational Research. Retrieved November 10, 2007, from

<http://www.nfer.ac.uk/research-areas/pims-data/summaries/hwk-review-of-studies-on-

homework.cfm>

Warton, P.M. (2001). The forgotten voices in homework: Views of students. Educational

Psychologist, 36(3), 155-165.

Xu, J. (2005, January 1). Purposes for Doing Homework Reported by Middle and High School

Students. Journal of Educational Research, 99(1). 46-55.