New Study Says Students’ Assignments Lack Rigor, Favor Lower-Level Skills

In the article published in ‘Big Picture’ series, a double dose of bad news for kids more keen on playing Fortnite than analyzing text: Not only is homework worthwhile, but much of the take-home exercises students receive today is too easy, according to a new study from the Center for American Progress.

These latest findings are based on an analysis of nearly 200 homework assignments submitted by parents across the country. The researchers evaluated the assignments to determine whether students are being asked to demonstrate knowledge and skills in line with academic standards for their respective grade levels. While assignments largely aligned to Common Core State Standards, they tended to focus on lower-level skills, not the ones students will need to demonstrate mastery.

“Most of the assignments were fairly rote and often did not require students to demonstrate the full depth of knowledge required of the content standards,” the report states. “There was clear emphasis on procedural knowledge, and an even stronger emphasis on memorization and recall in language arts. Common Core content standards, on the other hand, require students to demonstrate deeper knowledge skills, such as the ability to analyze, conceptualize, or generate.”

Meg Benner, a senior consultant at the progressive Center for American Progress, co-authored the study with Ulrich Boser, a senior fellow at the Center, and John Smithson, a researcher emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“The goal is not necessarily to push a child to their limit, but more just push a child to think critically in the work that they’re doing rather than just breeze through a math worksheet for five minutes, circling the greater number,” Benner said. “We’re not recommending homework be harder for harder’s sake or longer for longer’s sake. We really think that it should just be aligned so that the homework students are working on with their parents is valuable and provides kids an opportunity to have more exposure to grade-level content, which we know from other studies is critically important.”

Article: “Is Homework Too Easy? With Half of Parents Expressing Concerns, New Study Says Students’ Assignments Lack Rigor, Favor Lower-Level Skills”


Source: ‘Big Picture’ series  series, bringing American education into sharper focus through new research and data.

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