Time Spent on Homework

How is it defined?

Homework is intended to give students opportunities to review work, practise skills taught in class, study for tests, and prepare for upcoming lessons (Epstein & Van Voorhis, 2001). Homework is a daily activity for up to 13 years of education that requires effort from parents, families, and students. A combination of factors affect homework efforts, including individual attitudes, the nature and design of assignments, and parental support (Epstein & Van Voorhis, 2001).

The Learning Bar’s Parent Survey is based on a framework developed by Joyce Epstein designed to foster positive relations between school and community (Epstein et al., 2002). The survey covers parents’ perceptions of their children’s experiences at home and school, as well as the extent to which parents feel the school supports learning and positive behaviour and promotes a safe and inclusive environment.

Why is it important?

  • Research demonstrates a positive association between homework time and achievement (Cooper, Robinson, & Patall, 2006).
  • When designed and implemented properly, homework can reinforce learning (Schrat Carr, 2013).
  • Effective homework should be constructed on five fundamental characteristics: purpose, efficiency, ownership, competence, and aesthetic appeal (Vatterott, 2010).
  • Younger students tend to receive greater parental involvement and support in relation to homework than students in secondary school (Hoover-Dempsey et al., 2001).
  • The amount of time spent on homework is more closely associated with achievement in secondary than elementary grades (Cooper & Valentine, 2001).
  • Parental involvement in homework can influence student success by supporting the attitudes, knowledge and behaviours associated with achievement (Hoover-Dempsey, et al., 2001).

How do we measure it?

In OurSCHOOL, parents are asked about the time their children spend doing homework each week and respond on an eight-point scale which is scored as follows: 0 (Never or hardly ever does homework), 1 (Less than 2 hours), 2 (More than 2 hours but less than 4), 3 (More than 4 hours but less than 7), 4 (More than 7 hours but less than 11), 5 (More than 11 hours but less than 14), 6 (More than 14 hours but less than 21), and 7 (More than 21 hours). The distribution of responses is reported.

Parents are also asked about the time they would like to see their children spend on homework as well as how much time they spend helping their children do homework and respond on an eight-point scale which is scored as follows: 0 (None), 1 (Less than 30 minutes), 2 (Less than 2 hours), 3 (More than 2 hours but less than 4), 4 (More than 4 hours but less than 7), 5 (More than 7 hours but less than 11), 6 (More than 11 hours but less than 14) and 7 (More than 14 hours but less than 21). The distribution of responses concerning time spent helping children do homework are reported.

An additional distribution reflects the difference between parents’ expectations for homework time versus the actual amount of homework time.



Cooper, H., & Valentine, J. C. (2001). Using research to answer practical questions about homework. Educational Psychologist, 36(3), 143-153.

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.

Epstein, J. L., Sanders, M. G., Simon, B. S., Salinas, K. C., Jansorn, N. R., & Van Voorhis, F. L. (2002). School, family, and community partnerships: Your handbook for action (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

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

Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., Battiato, A. C., Walker, J. M., Reed, R. P., DeJong, J. M., & Jones, K. P. (2001). Parental involvement in homework. Educational Psychologist, 36(3), 195-209.

Schrat Carr, N. (2013). Increasing the effectiveness of homework for all learners in the inclusive classroom. School Community Journal, 23(1), 169-182.

Vatterott, C. (2010). Five hallmarks of good homework. Educational Leadership, 68(1), 10-15.