Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.

Idled High School Students Aren’t Getting Much Homework Yet, Survey Finds

By Debra Viadero — March 24, 2020 3 min read

More than half of students may not be getting tangible homework assignments while their schools are closed during the coronavirus crisis, a new nationwide survey of parents suggests.

Conducted among 320 parents of high school students, the first-glimpse survey by Kaplan Test Prep found that when asked about the roadmap and tools schools were using to keep the education process going outside of the classroom, only 43 percent of parents said that their children were receiving homework assignments.

The majority of parents said their schools were providing other alternatives such as virtual learning environments and access to online learning materials, and 15 percent of parents said that their schools weren’t requiring any work to be done at all while they were closed.

“As this crisis plays out, it’s going to be a fluid situation.” said Dennis Yim, Kaplan’s director of academics. The survey was conducted from March 19 to 20, just as some school closures were getting underway.

According to Yim, many schools are still developing the most effective ways to continue the learning process for students in real-time. While some schools might be providing tangible assignments for students to work on and others are offering more technological options, all approaches that are most likely going to continue to be updated as the pandemic continues.

Additionally, the survey found that if their children’s schools were to switch to online virtual learning for the rest of the year, 69 percent of parents believe their children would still have the necessary skills to succeed.

“Given that a large percentage of schools haven’t offered those assignments, but parents are still optimistic, lends to the idea that everyone is working together on this,” Yim said.

While the range of support and resources varied significantly across schools, most parents said they were pleased with how their children’s schools have handled coronavirus challenges and are adjusting to alternative methods of education and communication.

Seventy-seven percent of participants said that their high schools were doing a good job of communicating with them amidst all the pandemic uncertainty. Sixty-seven percent said that their high schools were adequately providing the support necessary for their children to continue learning from home.

“It’s important that schools remain in close contact,” Yim said. “As the weeks go by, it seems most likely that we’re going to see more guidance from schools about how students can keep up with their studies.”

Alongside the positive outlook on how their children’s schools are currently operating, many parents appear to still be hopeful that schools will reopen soon.

A combined 83 percent of parents said that they believe schools will reopen either before or at the start of the regularly scheduled 2020-2021 school year, including 30 percent who believe they’ll reopen before the end of the current school year, and 20 percent who predict a summer re-opening.

This level of optimism may seem surprising given the current state of schools. As of March 22, about 54.5 million students across 46 states have been affected by school closures and federal health officials were predicting the crisis would last months more.

According to Yim, it’s critical to speak with parents to hear their perspectives and understand what their needs are at a time like this. Yim added that such conversations are important to provide some solidarity.

“Every parent is going through some troubling times at the moment.” Yim said

However, it seems the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has yet to fully discourage most parents’ from being hopeful for the future of their children’s education.

“I think everyone is working towards the same goals here... there’s an opportunity to really take advantage of this time and to communicate how to take that advantage.” Yim said.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Director of Athletics
Farmington, Connecticut
Farmington Public Schools

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read