Does homework perpetuate inequities in education?
OECD. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
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Mention the word “homework” and most students’ eyes roll and shoulders slump. Parents, too, have their own problems with homework – notably, how to encourage their children to finish it before going out with their friends or surfing the web. There are very solid reasons why teachers assign after-school work, from helping struggling or underachieving students to learn the material covered in class, to ensuring that the material is stored in students’ long-term memory, to providing additional stimulation for high performers. But homework can be particularly burdensome for disadvantaged students. They may not have a quiet place to study at home or as much time to do homework due to family and work responsabilities; their parents may not feel as capable of guiding, motivating and supporting their children as they do their homework because of work obligations, a lack of resources and other factors. Homework may then have the unintended consequence of widening the performance gap between students from different socio-economic backgrounds.