Place a classified ad
Place a display ad
Posted legal notices
Posted classified ads
   Current Week Issue

Issue #53
Issue #52
About Us


Santa Monica Observer Newspaper

1844 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Tel: (310) 452-9900
Fax: (310) 388-1235

SMMUSD Parents Say Too Much Homework for Tweens
By Alyssa Erdley

A survey of parent opinions on homework conducted by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District this April shows a marked difference in satisfaction between elementary school and the higher grades.

More than half of elementary school parents said they are satisfied with the amount of homework their child is receiving. In contrast, less than thirty percent of middle and high school parents are happy with the amount of work coming home.
Most unhappy are middle school parents, with 52.1 percent reporting their child has too much homework.
956 parents responded to the survey, which represents less than 10 percent of the district. This may be a reflection of the haphazard manner in which parents were notified of the survey, via small notes tucked into PTA announcements, or simply by word of mouth. Samohi reported the highest response, at 18 percent, followed closely by Lincoln (16.3 percent) and Roosevelt (16.2 percent). Malibu High School gave no responses at all.

The district has not revised its homework policy since 1989. At that time, the school board recommended the following time allotments for homework for students above elementary school:

Grade 6: 15 to 20 minutes per class or about 1 hour total
Grade 7: 20 to 30 minutes per class or about 1 hour, 30 minutes total.
Grade 8: 30 to 40 minutes per class or about 2 hours total.
Grades 9-12: two or three hours daily.

In reality, middle schoolers are receiving, on average, much more. Official policy at Lincoln can nearly double district policy for 6th grade, up to 2 hours per night. Many middle school parents report children receiving 3 hours of homework per night. At a recent orientation at John Adams Middle School, parents were advised not to allow their child to participate in more than one activity outside of school because of the projected homework load.

The dissatisfaction of parents with excessive homework in the higher grades appears to be a common-sense reflection of a truth being borne out by recent research at Duke University.

Harris Cooper, PhD, director of the education program at Duke, finds that homework is beneficial to test scores, but only to a limit. 6th- to 9th-graders who limit homework to 90 minutes per night will actually do better on tests than those who study longer. For high schoolers, the break-off point is 2 hours.
Dr. Sally Chou, Chief Academic Officer of the district admits that the meta-analysis research on the subject of excessive hours of homework shows that, "there's some gain [in test scores], but for the most part it really isn't a huge gain."
Cooper suggests teachers follow a rule of 10 minutes of homework per night per grade. A 6th grader, in this case, should receive 1 hour of homework per night. This time rule, Cooper claims, is optimum for learning.
The district's parent survey shows that nearly a third of middle schoolers are actually receiving more than 2 hours of homework per night.
Maureen Bradford, director of Educational Services, who administered and recorded the results of the survey, says the survey was for informational purposes only, and no action is necessarily going to be taken based on the results.

David Ganezer

Thank you for your interest in The Santa Monica Observer Newspaper, a legally adjudicated newspaper of general circulation in the City of Santa Monica, County of Los Angeles. See Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. SS009444 (West District).

    DISCLAIMER: Nothing herein is intended as legal advice. We are a newspaper, not a law firm.
                            If you need legal advice, consult with an attorney.
designed by plume  Plume Website
All material on this website is Santa Monica Media Company, LLC. 2008, all rights reserved.
The Observer Newspaper is a legally adjudicated newspaper of general circulation in Santa Monica, California.