Washington, Aug 19 : When it comes to math, piling on the homework may not work for all students, say a group of researchers.
The researchers found that large pile of assignments tend to have a larger and more significant impact on test scores for high and low achievers, however in case of average achievers, it is less effective.
The joint study by researchers at Binghamton University and the University of Nevada has been published in the July issue of the Econometrics Journal.
"We found that if a teacher has a high achieving group of students, pushing them harder by giving them more homework could be beneficial," said Daniel Henderson, associate professor of economics at Binghamton University.
"Similarly, if a teacher has a low ability class, assigning more homework may help since they may not have been pushed hard enough. But for the average achieving classes, who may have been given too much homework in an attempt to equate them with the high achieving classes, educators could be better served by using other methods to improve student achievement.
"Given these students' abilities and time constraints, learning by doing may be a more effective tool for improvement," Henderson added.
According to co-author Ozkan Eren, assistant professor of economics at the University of Nevada, the study examined an area previously unexplored, namely the connection between test scores and extra homework.
"There has been an extensive amount of research examining the influences of students' achievement, but it has been primarily focused on financial inputs such as class size or teachers' credentials," said Eren.
"Our study examined the affect that additional homework has on test scores," Eren added.
While past studies suggest that nearly all students benefit from being assigned more homework Henderson and Eren discovered that only about 40 percent of the students surveyed would significantly benefit from an additional hour of homework each night.
According to Henderson, the findings should be of particular interest to schools who have responded to the increased pressures to pass state-mandated tests by forcing students to hit the books even harder.
"This does not mean that homework is unimportant for average achievers," said Henderson.
"But it does mean that this population may also benefit from other activities such as sports, art or music, rather than additional hours of math homework," Henderson added.