HHS students find homework stressful

Kaitlyn Kelley, Reporter

Dread easily settles into the hearts and minds of students at the idea of homework.

Hershey High School students are busy on their average days. They are involved in sports, music, clubs, and other extracurriculars. But they all have one thing in common: homework. Students struggle to complete their daily homework load, especially with extra curricular activities. Both teachers and students agree that the workload is much.

“A student should have no more than ten minutes of homework per grade level. For example, a student in tenth grade should have no more than 100 minutes a night,” Kimberly Brown, HHS English teacher, said.

Brown teaches English at the honors and AP level. She rarely gives homework, but if she does, it is in preparation of class for the next day. She believes students at the high school level are given too much homework already on a daily basis.

An anonymous HHS sophomore girl treks through her usual workload on September 18, 2016 from her house in Hershey, Pennsylvania. She was thankful for less homework than last weekend.

Like Brown, an anonymous HHS sophomore girl believes that students are receiving too much homework. The anonymous HHS sophomore girl finds herself spending anywhere from two to four hours every night on homework, beginning only after she arrives home late from extracurricular activities.

For example, the anonymous HHS sophomore girl came from from a field hockey game around nine o’clock. This is a typcial night for her. “I can plan on only getting five hours of sleep because I must get all of my homework handed in on time, eat dinner, shower, and relax for five minutes,” an anonymous HHS sophomore girl said.

Similarly, although HHS freshman Clare Canavan finds herself to be having only an hour or two of homework a night, she still finds it to be stressing her out, especially with graded homework. Graded homework takes Canavan longer because she feels the need to do her very best work.

Both Brown and an anonymous HHS sophomore girl believe that homework should not be incorporated into a student’s grade.

“Homework is practice, and practice should not be graded,” Brown said.

Brown believes that if a student does not understand concepts well enough, practicing them incorrectly can reinforce bad habits and misunderstandings. A student’s grade should not be punished because they simply do not understand homework on a certain concept.

From her house in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, September 18, 2016, Clare Canavan hides her face in disgust from the amount of homework she has yet to complete. This was a typical night for Canavan.

“Grades are the only thing that matter at the end of the day,” an anonymous HHS sophomore girl said.

School and college culture has taught students all over that grades are more important than the learning that is needed to receive those high level grades. Therefore, most students do not care about the quality of their work as long as it looks to be completed and they still receive an A or other high level grade.

Though students may boost their grade with homework completion, studies have proven that homework does not necessarily impact a student’s academic performance on tests. Richard Walker, an Educational Psychologist at Sydney University, has found data that shows that in countries where students spend more time on homework, schools actually score lower on standardized tests.

Brown agrees with Walker that homework does not help a student do better on a test. This is because most students do not take homework seriously and they just do it for the sake of receiving completion points.

Canavan disagrees with the thought that homework is not helpful. She takes completing her homework seriously because it helps her prepare for tests.

Although Canavan believes homework can be beneficial, completing homework is time consuming. Canavan believes that homework affects the amount of time she gets to spend with her family. ”It does [affect time] a lot more than you think it would,” Canavan said.

An anonymous HHS sophomore girl agrees that homework takes up a lot of time. According to her, she does not spend a lot of time with her family during the school year, even during the holidays.

“[It’s hard] when our homework is to read five textbooks, write eleven essays, make four presentations, and develop a cure for cancer,” an anonymous HHS sophomore girl said hyperbolically.

An anonymous HHS sophomore girl, Canavan, and Brown are not alone. Homework leaves many HHS students with feelings of dread and stress. Is homework really necessary?


Advisors note: This article was edited from the original at the behest of one of the students interviewed several months after publication.  She has been replaced with “an anonymous HHS sophomore girl.”  Publications normally do not edit articles after they have been published except to update them or correct a factual error.  Neither was the case here.

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