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The objective of the policy is to reinforce the lessons taught in the classroom, stimulate further interest in the topics taught, and develop independent study skills ("Homework Minimum Set for Schools" 1983).
Preparation Assignments Intended to provide background information, these assignments can include readings in the class text, library research, collecting materials for a class demonstration, and other activities requiring the gathering or organizing of information before a class discussion or demonstration.
Effective preparation includes guidelines on why and how the assignment should be completed.
Students who have learned about a particular chemical reaction, for instance, may be asked to find examples of the reaction in their own environment.
These assignments are most effective when carefully evaluated by the teacher, when matched to the ability and background of the individual student, and when students are asked to apply recent learning directly and personally.
HOW ARE SOME SCHOOL DISTRICTS IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INCREASED HOMEWORK?
Many school districts have developed local programs and policies to answer the call for increased homework issued by education commissions. Macchiarola, Chancellor of the New York City Schools, presented a citywide homework policy to principals and community school superintendents.Frequently long-term, continuing projects that parallel classwork, extension assignments require students to apply previous learnings. The literature examining the relationship between homework and academic achievement is basically inconclusive.No studies have been able to control the many variables that affect this relationship (La Conte 1981; Knorr 1981; and Mc Dermott and others 1984).Three types are commonly assigned in the United States: practice, preparation, and extension (La Conte 1981).Practice Assignments Practice assignments reinforce newly acquired skills or knowledge.However, a recent survey conducted by the United States Bureau of the Census (1984) reports that public elementary school students spend 4.9 hours and private school elementary students spend 5.5 hours a week on homework.The survey also reported that girls do more homework than boys, and that Blacks and Hispanics do more than Whites.Nevertheless, reviews of students', teachers', and parents' perceptions reveal that all believe homework helps students achieve better grades.In addition, some recent studies have uncovered a more positive relationship between homework and student performance.This Digest discusses various types of homework assignments and examines research findings concerning the effectiveness and amount of homework assigned to American schoolchildren.It also examines some of the policies presently being discussed by school districts. Homework is the out-of-class tasks that a student is assigned as an extension of classroom work.