By Sid Samel
School administrations often wonder how much homework their students receive on a day-to-day basis. The obvious way to find out would be homework surveys for each student to fill out each day. However, is that really the most effective method?
Homework surveys definitely have their benefits. They allow the school to find out how much homework students typically receive, so they can adjust the homework load accordingly. They also give important information about teachers, such as who overburdens their students and who could benefit from assigning more homework.
These surveys still have many flaws, however. Many external factors can skew the results and show an inaccurate representation of the average student workload. For instance, the time of year can drastically change the outcome. For example, if it occurs shortly after a break, teachers are more likely to assign less homework as students are gradually getting back into the swing of things.
Additionally, if it takes place during a major project, it will likely show the teacher as assigning massive amounts of homework. Alternatively, if it happens after a project, it will show the teacher as assigning less homework than they typically do.
Finally, homework surveys are just generally inaccurate. Students working on homework usually are not concerned with checking the time or timing themselves doing homework. This means that the times reported will often be less of an exact measurement and more of an approximation. It is also very easy to get distracted while doing homework. The amount of time one might enter for a certain assignment will also often include any time they spent doing something else in the middle of the assignment.
Essentially, while homework surveys do have their benefits, they are weighed down by the many, mostly unavoidable, confounding factors.