Pupils Spend 5.4 Hours Per Week on Homework

December 05, 1984 2 min read

Washington--For the first time, the U.S. Bureau of the Census has provided information on the homework habits of American public- and private-school students.

According to a survey conducted in October 1983, the weekly median amount of time that elementary- and high-school students reported spending on homework was 5.4 hours.

Girls generally studied more at home than boys, private-school students more than public-school students, and black and Hispanic elementary-school students more than white students, the census bureau noted.

High-school students, the bureau said, studied a median of 6.9 hours per week--ranging from 6.5 hours for public-school students to 14.2 hours for private-school students. The report noted that the difference is largely attributable to the college-preparatory orientation of many private schools and the more diverse nature of public schools.

At the elementary-school level, students studied a median of 5 hours per week--4.9 hours for public-school students and 5.5 hours for private-school students. Girls reported doing more homework than boys3(5.2 hours versus 4.6 hours) and blacks and Hispanics more than whites (5.2 hours versus 4.7 hours).

Seventy-two percent of all eley-school students received adult help with their homework, compared with 33 percent of all high-school students, the bureau reported.

Changing Schools

The survey also examined the number of students who changed schools. Nearly one-quarter of all elementary and high-school students--10.6 million--changed schools between October 1982 and October 1983. Most were public-school students who graduated to the next-higher school level or those who changed residence.

The survey also found that:

About 57.7 million people from ages 3 to 34 were enrolled in nursery school through college--48 percent of the total civilian, noninstitutional population in that age group.

Total attendance in nursery school through college dropped by 3.2 million between 1975 and 1983, largely due to a drop in the number of people of elementary- and high-school age. In contrast, the number of students 18 to 34 years old in-creased by 1.4 million, and nursery schools added 500,000 students.

Nursery-school enrollment grew from 18 percent of all 3- and 4-year-old children in 1975 to 31 percent of the age group in 1983. In 1983, more than 70 percent of all white nursery-school pupils were in privates, compared with 33 percent of black pupils.

Elementary-school enrollment dropped by more than 4.2 million, to 27.2 million, between 1975 and 1983.

High-school enrollment dropped from 15.3 million in 1975 to 14 million in 1983 after reaching 15.8 million in 1977. The bureau said the number is expected to drop to 13 million by 1990.

Total college enrollment grew from 8.2 million to 10.8 million. Increased attendance by 22-to-34-year-old women accounted for about 1.2 million more students, or 40 percent of the total college-student increase.

Copies of the report, “School Enrollment--Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 1983" (G.P.O. Stock No. 003-001-90793-3), are available for $1.25 each from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.--tm

A version of this article appeared in the December 05, 1984 edition of Education Week as Pupils Spend 5.4 Hours Per Week on Homework