An effective homework programme helps to raise achievement and improves pupil motivation, says a report published by the Office for Standards (OFSTED) today.
Homework: Learning from Practice, which informed the Department for Education and Employment guidelines on homework published in November examines the purpose and status of homework and highlights good practice in primary and secondary schools.
The report draws on a range of evidence, including a review of research literature, case studies in 19 primary and 10 secondary schools, and a telephone survey of 227 primary and 141 secondary schools, showing the impact of homework on pupils, parents and teachers. It shows that homework is widely regarded as an essential and valuable element of learning.
However, research also shows that the term homework covers a broad range of activity and is used to serve a variety of purposes. Schools therefore need to be clear about the purposes of homework and plans to maximise its potential.
In addition to its traditional function of practice and reinforcement of classroom learning, homework is seen to offer opportunities to develop skills such as information retrieval, planning, analysis and time management.
Case study schools were convinced that an effective homework programme paid off in improved pupil motivation and a better work ethic, and was a key factor in raising achievement. Some primary schools had test score evidence this claim. In effective secondary schools, homework was at the centre of a range of initiatives to develop independent learning, seen as the key to examination success.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Homework: Learning From Practice (ISBN 0-11-350104-8) is available from The Stationery Office (TSO), price #11.95.
2. The author is Penelope Weston. She is an experienced educational researcher now working freelance after fourteen years with the National Foundation for Educational Research.
3. OFSTED is a non-ministerial government department established under the Education (Schools) Act 1992 to take responsibility for the inspection of all schools in England. Its staff include Her Majesty''s Inspectors (HMI), who draw on inspection evidence to report on a good practice in schools and on a wide range of educational issues. # = pounds sterling