Alan Smithers, Professor of Education at the University of Birmingham, said “… (this) should finally silence sceptics who have argued that homework is bad for youngsters, causing stress and division in families”.
Teenagers who spent more time doing their homework scored markedly higher in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) maths tests.
The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) which organises the PISA tests said “students who spend more time doing homework tend to score higher in the PISA tests, as do the schools”.
Children who do a lot of homework probably get an extra six months of study compared with children who don’t do any.
Top of the homework table is China with pupils in Shanghai expected to do an average of 14 hours homework a week.
Russia comes next with almost 10 hours a week closely followed by Singapore. Shanghai and Singapore came 1st and 2nd in the PISA 2013 maths tests.
Here in Britain our teenagers spend about 5 hours a week on homework, which is the average across the 65 countries surveyed. And, perhaps no surprise, Britain failed to get into the top 2o country in the 2013 maths tests coming 26th.
We also have one of the biggest totals of pupils who do no homework at all and also the widest gap between pupils from wealthy and poor backgrounds. Middle class pupils did more homework than the European and Asian average.
Pupils from poorer backgrounds may have a less than ideal home situation in which to do homework but some schools are also guilty of not setting homework or provided facilities after school where their pupils can do it.
The OECD thinks that pupils should be doing 1.5 hours a night which is enough time for them to make a decent effort. And that parents should stop helping with homework if they expect their children to do well.
Click here for their blog on this survey
Mumsnet, the parenting network/pressure group, make the point that it’s schools who should be enforcing homework with parental support and it shouldn’t be left solely to parents. I agree.