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L.A. School District Decides To Go Easier On Homework

Two brothers doing their homework in a photo from around 1960. i i

Two brothers doing their homework in a photo from around 1960. Carsten/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Carsten/Getty Images
Two brothers doing their homework in a photo from around 1960.

Two brothers doing their homework in a photo from around 1960.

Carsten/Getty Images

After banning flavored milk, the Los Angeles Unified School District is doing something kids all over will cheer about: They issued a decree that homework can only count for only 10 percent of a student's grade. The policy goes into effect July 1.

The idea behind the new rule is that it will level the playing field for students who don't have educational support at home. Also, Los Angeles isn't alone in this new approach. The Los Angeles Times reports:

In many districts, limits are being placed on the amount of homework so students can spend more time with their families or pursue extracurricular activities like sports or hobbies. The competition to get into top colleges has left students anxious and exhausted, with little free time, parents complain.

In Davis, [Calif.] a policy that took effect this year specifies homework maximums, with some exceptions for advanced courses. And it prohibits assigning homework over weekends and holidays while also addressing the quality of the assignments.

That effort, and others, aligns with national trends and widely accepted research.

Time Magazine digs into some of the research. They report that one study found students ages 6 to 8 were doing more than twice the amount of homework in 1997 than they did in 1981:

Yet another study, although admittedly less scientific as it was conducted by the Associated Press and AOL, found elementary school students averaged 78 minutes of homework a night. Meaning a third grader, who should only be hitting the books for about 30 minutes a night, may be grappling with much more homework than they can reasonably handle.

Additionally, an exhaustive review by Duke's [Harris] Cooper found no correlation between the amount of time spent on homework and achievement among elementary school students. He did, however, find a moderate correlation between homework and achievement in middle school students.

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