Book (Monograph)

"Homework has been a popular topic among education critics and would-be school reformers in recent years. Comparisons of American schooling practices with those of Europe or Japan frequently conclude that American students do not do enough homework, and calls for more homework commonly appear in the literature of the back-to-basics movement and the school improvement movement, as well as in the school reform guidelines issued by various commissions and governmental agencies. Seldom do the writers of these documents cite any research in support of their policy recommendations, let alone review the research base in detail. In effect, they take it for granted that the purposes of homework are clear, that its effectiveness is well established, and that teachers will know what homework to assign and how to ensure that the work is appropriately checked and followed up. The reality is much different. As Harris Cooper shows in this comprehensive review, only a modest body of scholarly work on the topic of homework has been completed to date, and the knowledge base that it has produced, although useful, does not support the unqualified enthusiasm for homework that typifies current policy advocacy. Cooper's comprehensive analysis and synthesis of the scholarly literature on homework in this volume have several features worth noting. First, this study is methodologically sophisticated. Second, the material is interesting and informative. Readers who were under the impression that the currently popular thinking about homework has always been the conventional wisdom will be surprised to find that views about the purposes and value of homework have been sharply different in different historical eras, and have even included the view that homework is counterproductive and should be avoided. Finally, although the review shows that the database on homework is limited and that more research is needed (in particular, on what kinds of homework to assign and how to manage checking and follow-up procedures), it also indicates that the existing research base does support a variety of conclusions about how much and what kinds of homework assignments should be made, for what purposes, and to what kinds of students"

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cooper, HM

Published Date

  • February 1989

Published By


  • 218

International Standard Book Number 10 (ISBN-10)

  • 0801302080

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780801302084