The Homework Debate: A Brief Summary

Kylie Bradfield, Mark Priestley

Research output: Book/ReportOther ReportOther


Homework is generally agreed to be tasks “assigned to students by school teachers that are meant to be carried our during non-school hours”(Cooper, 1989, p. 7). The simplicity of this definition obscures the complexity of both the concept and implications of homework. There are also been extensive debates generated in educational contexts. Indeed, arguments surrounding the efficacy of homework have continued in an almost cyclical measure for decades (Gill & Schlossman, 2000). While the early 20th century brought arguments that the employment of homework built disciplined minds, mid-century attitudes were concerned that homework was an interference with time spent outside of schooling. Soon after this, attention once again focused on a supposed lapse in rigour within education, with homework seen as part of the solution. In the 1980s, concerns returned to homework and the potential damage to students’ mental wellbeing. Since then, debates about homework have continued, with arguments detailing both specific and generic concerns. There is also concern that policymakers and researchers “make generalized and frequently polemical statements about what it is and what it should achieve”(Warton, 2001, p. 155).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationScotland UK
PublisherScottish Greens
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Cite this