Homework Behaviour Print or save as PDF

How is it defined?

Homework refers to the time invested by students learning and studying core subjects outside of school hours (Trautwein, Lüdtke, Schnyder, & Niggli, 2006). Despite concerns from parents regarding the amount of homework assigned, or concerns by teachers regarding unfinished assignments (Warton, 2001), homework has many educational benefits.

The Learning Bar’s framework on student engagement includes measures of social, institutional, and intellectual engagement. Institutional engagement is defined as students striving to meet the formal requirements of schooling (Willms, Friesen, & Milton, 2009). The Learning Bar’s institutional engagement domain includes measures of valuing schooling outcomes, school attendance, positive classroom and school behaviours, and homework and study habits.

Why is it important?

  • Homework is positively correlated with student achievement (Cooper, Robinson, & Patall, 2006).
  • Homework is believed to help students retain information, improve their study skills and demonstrate learning outside of school (Corno, 2000).
  • Students are more likely to complete and benefit from homework when it is designed to meet specific purposes and goals (Epstein & Van Voorhis, 2001).
  • After-school programs can compensate for parents who are unable to assist with homework (Cosden, Morrison, Albanese, & Macias, 2001).

How do we measure it?

In the OurSCHOOL elementary and secondary school surveys, students respond to Likert questions about their attitudes towards homework and their effort in completing it. The data is scaled on a 10-point scale, and reported as “the percentage of students with positive homework and studying behaviours”.


Cooper, H., Robinson J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987–2003. Review of Educational Research,76(1), 1-62.

Corno, L. (2000). Looking at homework differently. The Elementary School Journal,100, 529-548.

Cosden, M., Morrison, G., Albanese, A. L., & Macias, S. (2001). When homework is not home work: After-school programs for homework assistance. Educational Psychologist,36(3), 211-221.

Epstein, J. L., & Van Voorhis, F. L. (2001). More than minutes: Teachers' roles in designing homework. Educational Psychologist,36(3), 181-193.

Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., Schnyder, I., & Niggli, A. (2006). Predicting homework effort: Support for a domain-specific, multilevel homework model. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 438- 456.

Warton, P. M. (2001). The forgotten voices in homework: Views of students. Educational Psychologist,36, 155–165.

Willms, J. D., Friesen, S., & Milton, P. (2009). What did you do in school today? Transforming classrooms through social, academic, and intellectual engagement. (First National Report) Toronto: Canadian Education Association.