Science says there is such a thing as too much maths and science homework

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Psychologists now believe that an hour a day of homework is optimal and that doing it alone and regularly produces the biggest knowledge gain.

Researchers from the University of Oviedo in Spain looked at 7,725 children from public, state-subsidised and private school students in the principality of Asturias in northern Spain. The students had a mean age of 13.78. Girls made up 47.2%.

The students spent on average between one and two hours a day doing homework in all subjects.

Those whose teacher systematically assigned homework scored nearly 50 points higher on the standardised test. Those who did their math homework on their own scored 54 points higher than those who asked for frequent or constant help.

“Our data indicate that it is not necessary to assign huge quantities of homework, but it is important that assignment is systematic and regular, with the aim of instilling work habits and promoting autonomous, self-regulated learning,” said researcher Javier Suarez-Alvarez. “The data suggest that spending 60 minutes a day doing homework is a reasonable and effective time.”

The researchers found that assigning more than 70 minutes of homework per day isn’t very efficient.

“The conclusion is that when it comes to homework, how is more important than how much,” said Suarez-Alvarez. “Once individual effort and autonomous working is considered, the time spent becomes irrelevant.”

The research is published in American Psychological Association‘s Journal of Educational Psychology.

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