For students at competitive high schools in upper-middle-class areas, homework may be a double-edged sword, according to a study published in the peer-refereed Journal of Experimental Education.
The authors conclude that, on the one hand, heavy homework loads and associated pressure to achieve in these schools are providing the students with skills to “get ahead in a competitive, achievement-focused society.” On the other hand, students who devoted more time to homework also experienced more academic stress and physical health problems, and had less time for family and friends.
Participants reported spending an average of 3.11 hours per weeknight on homework. The study was based on multiple-choice and open-ended survey responses from 4,317 students at ten Northern California public and private high schools serving areas with median household incomes higher than $90,000 per year.
A version of this article appeared in the March 26, 2014 edition of Education Week as Homework