Guest Post – Follow-Up on Homework in Elementary Schools

After I published the post called “What About Homework” I got an e-mail from a friend who is a principal in Washington County in southeastern Utah. With his permission, I am posting his e-mail here, with emphasis added where needed.

“Very interesting that you should bring up the homework controversy as I read Visible Learning for Teachers by John Hattie (maybe you’re familiar with his work?) and he does list homework in his compilation of research.  If you’ve read him, you’ll know that his studies include an estimated 240 million students, but in order to reach “effect sizes” he uses over 161 studies of 100,000 students or more (so his results are quite believable).  So… an “effect size” of 0.40 is considered “worthwhile” (whether it’s an intervention or a program, etc.) and anything above 0.40 is even more worthwhile.  It’s a very interesting read to see all of our practices and how “effective” his analysis of research shows they are.  It’s been fascinating, actually.

Ok… that being said… you’d be interested to know how homework rates?  In high school the effect size is 0.50…. so it’s worthwhile, actually pretty good.  But in elementary…not so good.  The effect size is -0.08…. That’s negative 8 hundredths!   That means it does more harm than even close to being good.  That made me wonder.  We haven’t changed much at our school, but we’ve discussed this research including the homework. Homework Monster

I just thought I’d pass that along.

Kelly Mitchell
Principal, Washington Elementary”

Thanks, Kelly. That ought to give us something to think about.

Homework Monster downloaded from

About MathDavidUtah

Husband of 1 gorgeous woman. Father to four intelligent boys. Father in law to three. Grampy to 7 (Charlie, Meili, Camden, Grayson, Marick, Diem, Remi)! Ham radio callsign K7CMG. Educational Leadership Specialist at the Utah State Board of Education.
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1 Response to Guest Post – Follow-Up on Homework in Elementary Schools

  1. Dan Meyer’s blog on NOT assigning math homework is definitely worth the read. The commentary in response to his post is also very thought provoking. I’m still not sure where I stand as a math educator.


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