A recent AP-AOL poll suggests that parents and kids disagree about what the "right" amount of homework looks like.
"Parents polled said their children spend an average of 90 minutes a night on homework. The workload grows as the students do — 78 minutes of homework a night in elementary school, 99 minutes in middle school and 105 in high school." However, "most children aged 9, 13 and 17 years say they spend less than an hour a night on homework, according to a long-term federal study. That load has held steady, if not dropped, over the past 20 years. Plenty of students say they are not assigned any homework at all."
I wonder sometimes if parents, students, and teachers are in agreement about what homework "looks like." Does it have to involve a paper and pencil task? Could it be reviewing notes or reading in the text? Is homework something that is completed alone by the student or might it involve a study group or some parental help?
Several studies have aimed to find a relationship between homework and student achievement. Some of these point to the amount assigned. Others have been focused on the quality of the assignments. I do think that practice is important for any of us faced with learning new information. Different kinds of assignments can help make new neural connections and strengthen old ones.
I admit that I don't assign a lot of homework to my students. However, I do expect them to read and revise notes on an ongoing basis. I didn't have an opportunity to take an AP class in high school, so I really don't know how my expectations compare with the real experience. I remember spending about 45 minutes a day (on average) on homework in high school. I don't think 90 minutes is such a terrible expectation---that's about 15 minutes per class per day for a student. I'd bet that many students out there would disagree.