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Svyatoslav Stepanov
Svyatoslav Stepanov

Homework In America Vs Other Countries

Overall, it appears that in 1991, 9- and 13-year-olds in the UnitedStates were more likely to spend 1 hour or less on homework each day than theircounterparts in many of the other countries studied. About 20 percent of9-year-old students and 10 percent of 13-year-old students in the United Statesdid no homework at all each day. The corresponding percentages were much lowerin all the other countries reported, except in Canada and Scotland at ages 9and 13 and in Spain at age 9.

homework in america vs other countries

Whereas the majority of students in all the countries reported havingcompleted no more than 1 hour of homework a day at age 9, by age 13 themajority of students in about half these countries completed at least 2 hoursof homework daily. In the United States, however, the majority of studentsstill continued to complete no more than 1 hour of homework a day at age 13.

For the last 10 years, my colleagues and I have been investigating international patterns in homework using databases like the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). If we step back from the heated debates about homework and look at how homework is used around the world, we find the highest homework loads are associated with countries that have lower incomes and higher social inequality.

Undoubtedly, homework is a global phenomenon; students from all 59 countries that participated in the 2007 Trends in Math and Science Study (TIMSS) reported getting homework. Worldwide, only less than 7 percent of fourth graders said they did no homework.

But for elementary school students, even 30 minutes of homework a night, if combined with other sources of academic stress, can have a negative impact. Researchers in China have linked homework of two or more hours per night with sleep disruption.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an intergovernmental organization. With headquarters in Paris, the organization was formed for the purpose of stimulating global trade and economic progress among member states. In 2009, the OECD conducted a detailed study to establish the number of hours allocated for doing homework by students around the world and conducted the research in 38 member countries. The test subjects for the study were 15 year old high school students in countries that used PISA exams in their education systems. The results showed that in Shanghai, China the students had the highest number of hours of homework with 13.8 hours per week. Russia followed, where students had an average of 9.7 hours of homework per week. Finland had the least amount of homework hours with 2.8 hours per week, followed closely by South Korea with 2.9 hours. Among all the countries tested, the average homework time was 4.9 hours per week.

Although students from Finland spent the least amount of hours on their homework per week, they performed relatively well on tests which discredits the notion of correlation between the number of hours spent on homework with exam performance. Shanghai teenagers who spent the highest number of hours doing their homework also produced excellent performances in the school tests, while students from some regions such as Macao, Japan, and Singapore increased the score by 17 points per additional hour of homework. The data showed a close relation between the economic backgrounds of students and the number of hours they invested in their homework. Students from affluent backgrounds spent fewer hours doing homework when compared to their less privileged counterparts, most likely due to access to private tutors and homeschooling. In some countries such as Singapore, students from wealthy families invested more time doing their homework than less privileged students and received better results in exams.

Buckley also noted that American high schools can be drastically different from one another. He cited an international student achievement study called PISA which last year ranked the US 25th out of 50 participating countries, below Canada, Britain and Poland. While the average math score for the entire country was 470, the wealthiest schools scored 530, similar to Japan and Finland, while the poorest schools scored 427, on par with Chile and United Arab Emirates.

More than 100 years later, homework remains a contentious issue, and the debate over its value rages on, with scholars coming down on both sides of the argument. Homework skeptic Alfie Kohn has questioned the benefit of homework, arguing that its positive effects are mythical, and in fact, it can disrupt the family dynamic.4 He questions why teachers continue to assign homework given its mixed research base. Taking the opposite view, researchers Robert Marzano and Debra Pickering have voiced their support for purposeful homework that reinforces learning outside of school hours but still leaves time for other activities.5

The analysis is a snapshot of homework and, therefore, does not allow the authors to determine if homework over the course of a year covered all required standards. In other words, it is difficult to say how many of the standards for a given grade are covered across a full school year, simply because of the limited sample of assignments.

Homework should be a focus of curriculum reform, and states and districts should consider how textbooks or other instructional materials can provide resources or examples to help teachers assign meaningful homework that will complement regular classroom instruction.

If education were simply a matter of attending classes, Latin America and the Caribbean would have already done its homework. Most regional countries have made enormous progress towards achieving universal access to basic education. There is also clear progress at the secondary and tertiary levels.

A new study, however, found that American students are not alone in their workload. An OECD survey compared the homework loads of 15-year-old students in all member countries and found the average to be about 4.9 hours a week. In the US, the average was 6 hours a week, not too far above the international average. Teens in Russia, by comparison, average 10 hours a week.

During the era of slavery, religions from West Africa were combined with Christianity to produce syncretic, or blended, belief systems. Centuries later, many Brazilians still practice Umbanda and Candomblé, which are similar to the Santería religion of Cuba and voodoo of Haiti. Many other traditional and syncretic religions are also practiced. For example, it is common to see Quechua- or Aymara-speaking miners receiving blessings from Catholic priests as well as shamans. Non-Christian religions are also legally protected in most countries. Guyana and Suriname have large numbers of Hindus and Muslims, and limited numbers of Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Buddhists are found throughout other parts of South America.

Indigenous and mestizo populations make up a large part of the Andes, especially in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. The Southern Cone is home to more people of European origin, chiefly Spanish and Italian, as well as German and Portuguese. Blacks are more numerous in northeastern Brazil and in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking coastal areas, where slave-based plantations were once concentrated. In most other countries, whites are roughly one tenth of the population, but in recent decades, government censuses seem to have been inflating the numbers counted as whites. People tracing their recent ancestry to South Asia are concentrated in Guyana and Suriname. Smaller minorities in Brazil, Peru, and elsewhere have Japanese and Chinese ancestry, and Jews, Arabs, and Roma (Gypsies), among others, are scattered throughout the continent.

Although literacy levels have improved greatly in recent decades, many of the poor are unable to complete secondary school. Most countries have large public school systems, but wealthier families tend to send their children to expensive private schools, where they are guaranteed to associate with others of their own status. The youth attending most schools are required to wear uniforms, such as buttoned, white shirts and dark gray pants or skirts.

Unlike the system in the United States, where only two political parties hold nearly all power, the South American political spectrum is broad and varied. It includes right-wing candidates who resemble ultra-conservatives in other countries, as well as conservative and centrist candidates who resemble the U.S. Democratic Party in many ways. But South America differs greatly from the United States in having a number of viable left-wing parties as well, which range from reform-minded socialist and populist parties to communist parties. In many places, between 5 and 15 political parties hold at least some of the seats in the national legislatures. In order to win elections, parties may form coalitions of rightwing, centrist, or leftwing candidates.

In the late 1800s, people and goods began to move between South America, Europe, and the United States at unprecedented levels. These interactions included cattle and wheat from Argentina, coffee from Colombia and Brazil, copper from Chile, and nitrates from the Pacific coast. After slavery was outlawed, landowners encouraged the immigration of low-wage workers from Europe and Asia. The Guianas changed demographically as plantation owners refused to pay high wages to freed slaves and instead brought in South Asian contract workers, who lived like indentured servants. As a result, Hinduism, Islam, and South Asian languages were established in Guyana and Suriname. From 1880 to 1920, several countries welcomed Italian, German, and other European immigrants. In addition, many Japanese went to Peru and Brazil, especially around São Paulo. Significant numbers also came from France, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Korea, and China.

It might be intuitive to conclude that homework is failing students. But non-Western cultures have a different approach, rooted in a collectivist social philosophy, that may make parental involvement in homework more effective overall. Perhaps this is why the most disadvantaged students who took PISA in Macao, China, and Vietnam outperformed the most advantaged students from 20 other countries. 350c69d7ab




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