Since formal education, homework has been a mainstay for educator as a strategy from elementary through university level. It is a tool used by teachers to help students reinforce the skills given during class in hopes of achieving higher levels of student academic achievement. At different times in history, the idea of homework has been either supported or rejected by the culture. Today, homework is again a topic of much debate. Experts in education believe that homework has a value of strengthening the daily skills and developing good study habits (Bempachat 2004).
There are profound differences in opinions among researchers, teachers, parents, and students on this topic. There has been controversy surrounding the topic of homework in regards to the amount of time students should spend on work outside of the classroom (Vail, 2007). The amount of homework to be done by students living in the United States is minimal when compared to twenty other countries (The Brooking Institution in Washington). In recent decades America’s youth have begun to lag behind students from other countries such as China and Japan (Dandy & Nettelbeck, 2002).
According to Third International Math and Science Study students of France, Italy, Russia, and South Africa spend twice as long performing homework then United States students. There are two studies done by the University of Michigan’s one during 1981 and other done in 1997 both compared the amount of time per week students spent doing their homework. These studies concluded that at elementary level there was a change from two hours fifty minutes to over three hours and a half, at the immediate level time had tripled the high school level there were no significant changes.
Many schools in the United States including Puerto Rico are feeling the pressure to improve achievement and increase grades in fear of bringing sanctions upon the schools for not measuring up to the standards imposed by No Child Left Behind. Harris Cooper (2004) research revealed that at the elementary level homework develops good study habits and a positive attitude, at the intermediate level homework means improving academically and at high school level more homework completed, higher scores on standardized tests and better grades in school.
If Kohn’s (2006) research is to be believed, that teacher who are assigning less or even no homework are not putting their students at a disadvantage and they are saving themselves and their students some unnecessary work. With the opposing views on the amount and benefits of homework that children should be given, the issue is to determine how much homework is expected and the potential benefits in all grade levels. Therefore this research will be done in order to investigate, which are the benefits of homework as an education strategy to reinforce and strengthen the academic skills of the students in the classroom.