Homework can raise high school grades, because work outside of class promotes learning and develops skills. The Center for Public Education reviewed two decades of research on the benefits of homework, finding that high school students can improve their grades by doing 1 1/2 to two hours of homework a night. More than two hours of homework a night could be too much, however, and the benefit of homework for younger students is still not clearly proven.
How Much Homework Should Students Do?
Students should complete 10 minutes of homework a night for each grade level. Duke University researcher Dr. Harris Cooper developed the "10 minute rule" for how much homework benefits students in each grade. According to the rule, a student in ninth grade should do about 90 minutes of homework a night, and a high school senior should do about two hours of nightly homework. The "10 minute rule" has been endorsed by the National Education Association.
Completed Homework Improves Grades
Students should finish as much homework as possible each night to raise their grades. Duke University researchers delved in depth into the relationship between homework and good grades. The amount of homework that teachers assigned did not affect student achievement. The amount of work students completed did. The greater the number of assignments that students completed, the better grades they received, according to the Center for Public Education's review of Duke University studies and others.
Homework Builds Skills and Knowledge
High school students can improve their ability to memorize, understand and practice academic skills by completing regular homework assignments. Homework in math, reading and English will improve math skills, reading comprehension and problem-solving skills. Scholastic expert teacher Patty Blome believes that students learn best when they understand the benefits and purpose of homework assignments. Students should be aware that completing math homework will help them move to the next level in math, and that completing English homework will improve specific writing skills.
Can Students Do Too Much Homework?
More than two to 2 1/2 hours of homework a night is probably too much, according to the National Education Association. Most students can only learn so much at a time. Students should not sacrifice sleep to finish homework or cram for a test. In 2011, UCLA researchers completed a longitudinal study of 535 high school students from the ninth to the 12th grade. They found that the more students crammed for tests and the less sleep they got, the lower grades they received.
Amy Sterling Casil is an award-winning writer with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She is a professional author and college writing teacher, and has published 20 nonfiction books for schools and libraries.