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1. How did Robin measure the amount of homework students had to do?
1) By the level of difficulty of the homework.
2) By the amount of materials they were given.
3) By how long it took them to do it.
2. Sixteen per cent of primary schoolchildren …
1) had no homework.
2) spent an hour on homework.
3) spent more than an hour on homework.
3. What percentage of secondary schoolchildren took half an hour to do their homework?
4. Concerning the amount of homework students actually did, Robin noticed …
1) they did more reading than they were asked to do.
2) they often didn’t do their maths.
3) they did much less homework than they were given.
5. What did students complain about concerning homework?
1) They were always given too much.
2) It took a long time to get it marked.
3) Teachers would give too much feedback.
6. The relationship between school attitudes and homework involvement was …
1) very surprising.
2) not recorded.
3) fairly predictable.
7. What did Robin discover about group work?
1) Groups of three perform better than other group sizes.
2) High achievers greatly excel in group work.
3) The larger the group, the better the result.
1 – 3
2 – 2
3 – 2
4 – 3
5 – 2
6 – 3
7 – 1
Presenter: Hi everyone and welcome to our programme, School Talk. Our guest today is education specialist Robin Collins. She’s here to talk about a study involving kids’ attitudes towards homework. Thanks for being here, Robin.
Speaker: My pleasure.
Presenter: So tell us a little bit about your study.
Speaker: One focus of the study was to gather information about the amount of homework students in the UK were given throughout the school year. We measured it by how much time students spent doing the homework. We found quite a few variations between the level of education and the amount of homework. Naturally, as the level of education increases, so does the amount of homework.
Presenter: What results did you find from that?
Speaker: Well, we found that among primary schoolchildren, about 43% of them were not given any homework at all. A quarter of them – 25% – were given homework that took them half an hour to do. About 16% spent a full hour doing their homework, and about 10% spent more than an hour. The numbers changed quite a bit when looking at secondary schoolchildren.
Presenter: And how did they differ?
Speaker: Firstly, we found that all children received some form of homework. So, there was no category in which children were not given any homework at all, as with primary children. About 20% of them said it took half an hour to do their homework, and about 40% needed an hour. Twenty per cent needed an hour and a half, and 13% needed two hours. We compared all of this data to data that had been gathered in other countries, and we found that English schoolchildren, in general, are given less homework.
Presenter: Interesting. Do they get more homework in one subject than others?
Speaker: Yes, we found that students were given reading assignments the most often, more than once a week. That was at the primary education level. At the same level, we saw maths homework given only once a week, and nothing given in science. We also saw that there was a big gap between the amount of homework assigned, and the amount that was actually done.
Presenter: So, there are a lot of students who don’t complete their homework?
Speaker: That seems to be the case. We looked further into the issue by asking students what they thought of homework. It seems that students felt that their homework often didn’t relate well to what they were doing in class. They also felt that it wasn’t being marked and returned to them quickly enough. Often they didn’t feel that the teacher was giving them enough feedback. But, in cases where teachers were more consistent with setting daily homework assignments, students viewed the situation more favourably.
Presenter: So it seems they appreciate structure in the classroom.
Speaker: Exactly, and that was quite interesting to note. Also interesting – and perhaps a hit obvious – is the relationship between a pupil’s general attitude toward school and their involvement in homework. If they were happy with their school life, they viewed homework more positively.
Presenter: I see. How do you think homework could be improved?
Speaker: Well, we found that many students actually prefer doing assignments in groups. We even studied which size of group works best. Groups of three seemed to excel at organising and completing homework, less so with groups of two, four and five. We did find that high-achievers preferred doing their work independently. But it seems that group work can benefit many students, so perhaps should be given more thought…