Research and Reports

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Increasing students' homework load may not be a good idea at the elementary level, a Baltimore researcher has concluded.

Low-achieving elementary students generally spend more time on homework than do higher-achieving pupils, according to Joyce L. Epstein, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University's Center for Research on Elementary and Middle Schools.

By the time they get to middle and high school, however, frustrated low achievers often devote much less time to homework, Ms. Epstein found.

"If more homework is assigned than can be completed, or if inappropriate homework is assigned, then home assignments may be counterproductive for student achievement," Ms. Epstein said.

Ms. Epstein's paper, "Homework Practices, Achievements, and Behaviors of Elementary School Students," report no. 26, is available for $2.50 from the center, 3505 North Charles St., Baltimore, Md. 21218.

A greater proportion of young people were working this summer than ever before, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The bls reported that 68.5 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds held jobs in July, compared with 58.8 percent in May and 67.3 percent in July 1987.

The bureau also found that the unemployment rate for the age group fell to 10.9 percent--the lowest mid-summer level in nearly 20 years.

All of the improvement in the youth-employment picture occurred among whites. The white unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent, from 9.7 percent a year before, while the unemployment rate for blacks actually increased slightly, to 25.3 percent.

Although the sexual abuse of children by teachers occurs "relatively infrequently," schools should still take preventive measures, according to a professor who conducted a national survey.

Stephen Rubin, a professor of psychology at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., found that most sexual-abuse cases involving teachers never come to the attention of state officials. Cases often are investigated locally, he said, and teachers are asked to resign quietly without going though a license-revocation hearing.

However, more than 330 cases of teacher-student abuse were reported in the nine states responding to the survey, he said. In most cases that were reported to the state, teachers lost their license and faced criminal charges.

Vol. 09, Issue 04

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