Assigning homework to English learners


Research summary

Research shows homework positively impacts student achievement at certain grade levels, but not all. In a recent blog post, Dr. Timothy Shanahan shared research findings that indicate homework for students in grades 3-12 has a positive impact on reading achievement, if some conditions are in place.

For example, homework assignments need to be clear. Students should have a clear understanding of what needs to be done and how to do it. For younger students, written directions are helpful so an adult can assist.

He suggests homework may be assigned at about 10 minutes per grade level. In other words, for a student in third grade, about 30 minutes is appropriate, fourth grade 40 minutes, etc. For high school students, research indicates that students’ learning benefits if they do an hour or more of homework, but less than that at the high school level does not provide as much benefit.

For students at the primary levels, research indicates that homework does not provide significant learning benefits. That said, all students can be provided opportunities to have discussions with family members, read to or with family members, and practice skills they are learning in school.

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