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Mendo Lake Family Life

The Great Homework Disconnect

Nov 17, 2008 12:00AM

Sylvan Learning and the National Education Association (NEA) released research results in 2008 showing attitudes about the quality and quantity of homework differ from teachers' and parents' perspectives.

The study, released as part of NEA's American Education Week, also highlights disconnects between parents and teachers about what homework ultimately accomplishes, and the role of parental involvement in homework assistance. Key findings from the study include:

  • 68% of parents say that teachers use homework to cover materials they don't have time to teach in class, while 17% of teachers say that this is their reason for assigning homework.
  • 33% of parents wish they did not have to be involved in homework as much as they are, while 62% of teachers say that parents should be more involved.
  • In two-parent households, there is a perception gap between parents regarding a father's involvement in homework assistance. 67% of fathers claim to help with their children's homework; however, mothers say fathers help approximately 36% of the time.
  • 69% of mothers say they help with homework, and fathers tend to agree, with 56% of fathers noting their wives' assistance.
  • Nearly one-third (31%) of parents said that their school did not offer any type of homework assistance, be it informal, formal, free, after school study clubs or tutoring. Only 19% of teachers noted their schools did not offer homework help.

"The survey findings reinforce the continuous need for ongoing and improved communication between parents and teachers, even in this digital age,” says Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D., senior vice president for education outreach for Sylvan Learning. "For children in need of additional study help, parents and teachers need to work collaboratively to determine the right approach for each child and the appropriate study assistance, be it additional parental involvement or access to supplemental education resources.”

The online survey was conducted among parents of children in grades 1 through 12 in the United States who attend either public or private school, and among educators that teach elementary, middle or high school. "The results of this homework study point out the continued need for, and importance of, a strong parent-teacher relationship and parental involvement in student homework,” said Dennis Van Roekel, NEA president.  "It also drives home our American Education Week theme of 'shared responsibility.'  Everyone—parents, teachers, students, community leaders—must do his or her part in making public schools great for every student.”

During NEA's American Education Week, Sylvan Learning and NEA are offering free homework tips on www.Nea.org and in the "Parent Resources” area of SylvanLearning.com.   For more information concerning American Education Week, visit www.nea.org/aew.