An analysis from the National Center for Education Statistics suggests that children in elementary schools with high concentrations of minority students have heavier homework burdens in both reading and mathematics than their counterparts in schools with fewer minority students.
The policy brief draws on data from a federal longitudinal survey that is tracking children who entered kindergarten in the 1998-99 school year. In schools where 75 percent or more of students were members of minority groups, just over 54 percent of 1st grade teachers said they expected their students to spend 20 minutes or more on their math homework each night. The figure for schools in which minority students made up 10 percent or less of students was about 16 percent.
The survey also showed that the percentages of parents who reported that their children did homework five or more days a week was higher in all three grades studied—1st, 3rd, and 5th—among parents of black, Hispanic, and Asian children than it was for parents of white children. The authors advance no hypotheses to explain the differences they found.
A version of this article appeared in the December 10, 2008 edition of Education Week