Homework: Is It Really Worth It?


Lizzie Quinlivan

The homework assignments for an average week fill this Hingham High School Sophomore’s agenda book.

Lizzie Quinlivan, Contributing Writer

Students at Hingham High School constantly feel overwhelmed by the challenges that come with the extensive hours of homework given by teachers, especially when some of this homework is not effective, and, in some cases, completely unnecessary.

While students find themselves concerned with completing the stacks of daily assignments in time for their due dates, many also come to question the value of these assignments.

Hingham High School students are often busy with hours of daily homework which makes them question how many of their assignments actually better their understanding of class materials.

Freshman Danielle Harris is enrolled in all honors classes this school year, and with the extensive hours of homework these classes call for, she believes that “some of the homework we get is helpful, for example, taking notes in book pages.”

However, she feels that some of the assignments she receives do not further her knowledge of the subject. She explains, “There are worksheets that I get that are so irrelevant and they confuse me more than help me.” In fact, Harris also says, “I never even look at most worksheets after I do them.”

Many of Harris’ classmates share the same opinion. In a survey of 57 Hingham High School students, 28 students said that barely any of their homework helped their understanding of class topics.

In terms of grades, however, students think that homework greatly contributes to their overall performance in a class.

Sophomore Mary Maffei believes that the technique used by Hingham High School teachers for grading homework contributes to boosting students’ final grades. She says, “Most teachers at the high school grade homework based on completion.”

Maffei considers this to positively affect final grades because “those who complete their homework get an automatic 100% in the grade books, which, in most classes, accounts for a significant percentage of a final grade.”

However, Maffei suggests that this grading system “makes homework less effective in a way because someone can put minimal effort into their homework and still get off with a 100% in their homework slot. If they don’t put as much effort into their homework, however, than it is less effective to them because they do not learn anything from it.”

For some people, the combination of homework and studying negatively affects habits, one of the more notable ones being sleep. In the survey of 57 students, 27 students, or 47.4%, answered that they only received four to six hours of sleep every night.

The American Medical Association suggests that teenagers should get between eight and ten hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately, the stacks of homework assigned prevent students from getting these recommended sleep hours.

In the survey, the majority of students said that they normally had two to four hours of homework each night.

Additionally, nearly every single one of these students participates in seasonal after school activities. Of these students, about 75% of them said that these activities negatively impacted their homework time, along with the quality of work that they complete. This leads to a change in sleep habits for many students.

One of these students, sophomore Alexandra Lannon, participates in five honors courses and one AP course, and also spends her Fall and Spring sports seasons on the crew team. Considering her hours of commitment to crew, she says. “There is far too much homework.”

She also thinks that the work is “way too much to handle, and it negatively affects how many hours of sleep I get every night and how awake I am in school the next day.”

Lannon is not alone. In fact, Junior John Lindner agrees. “There isn’t anyone at Hingham High School that I can think of who has any free time, and homework is a huge part of that,” he shares.

Sophomore Schuyler Bordeau seconds Lannon’s statement. She adds, “There are so many unnecessary assignments that have to be done on top of studying for tests and quizzes, completing projects, and writing essays.”

As Bordeau points out, homework takes away from the time needed for studying, doing projects, and writing essays. Many teachers assign homework on top of studying for quizzes and tests. This creates less time to study for quizzes and tests or complete projects and essays, leading to worse performances on both homework and tests.

However, some students believe that homework in general is necessary and effective. Senior Aidan Pierce expresses that he thinks “homework is needed for our education.”

With that being said, he also affirms, “Teachers need to understand that one hour of homework from their class doesn’t mean one hour of homework for that night. Their homework is added to every other assignment, making it more difficult to complete effectively.”

Overall, many students at Hingham High School believe that the large amounts of homework negatively affect their effort, freetime, and understanding of class materials. In order to make homework more effective in terms of understanding subjects, Maffei suggests, “Homework should be graded based on effort, rather than on completion. This would motivate more people to effectively complete their homework, and would help them understand class materials better.”

On the contrary, many students object to  this solution due to the extra time that would need to be put in to get a good grade on homework. Lannon strongly belives that “the amount of homework should be limited, because stacking assignments up on top of each other leads students to put less effort into individual assignments, therefore making them have a harder time understanding the topic.”

Bordeau adds to this, as she says, “The homework assigned takes up so much time that students should be given more credit for completing homework because of the hard work it takes every night, and the small impact it has on final grades in comparison to tests, quizzes, and projects.”

In general, homework is effective to a certain extent before it becomes detrimental to students’ free time. It is not as effective towards helping students’ understanding of class materials and final grades.

Senior Aidan Pierce concludes, “Even though there is a lot of homework assigned that may not be as effective as some people would like, people complain about it way too much.”