doubled homework time and still left education in
Harris Cooper, the leading scholar in this area,
found almost 70 correlations between time spent
on homework and achievement, a third of which
were negative (Cooper, Robinson, & Patall, 2006).
Although the average correlation across these studies
was positive, it was tiny; and it was higher for older
students than for younger ones. At the elementary
grade levels, homework appears to have no significant effect on achievement. In fact, if Johnny’s ferret
ate his homework, the ferret probably got more
benefit from it than Johnny did.
Homework? If you don’t get rid of it altogether, at
least give families a break. Stop piling it on.
Sculpt Your Own Great School
Today’s professional educators are buried under a
huge slab of rock that weighs them down with half-baked mandates and reform ideas hatched in the
minds of amateurs. Our only salvation is to take up
hammer and chisel and chip away the myths, lies,
and nonsense to reveal what truly works: teachers
with security and support; a curriculum focused on
the mental, emotional, and physical health of students—and schools dedicated to providing all students with a safe, orderly environment in which
professionals who care about them help them realize
their unique potential. EL
Authors’ note: For an expanded discussion of the five
harmful myths explored here and 45 more, see
& Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools by David C.
Berliner, Gene V Glass, and Associates (Teachers College
American Statistical Association. (2014, April 8). ASA
statement on using value-added models for educational
assessment. Alexandria, VA: Author. Retrieved from
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.
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Center, University of Colorado & Education Policy
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schooling in the U.S.: Uncertain private ventures in need
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Center, University of Colorado. Retrieved from http://
Heilig, J. V. (2012, November 8). Supporting public
schools: Are vouchers a panacea or problematic? Pt. IV
[blog post]. Retrieved from Cloaking Inequity at http://
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Lubienski, C. A., & Lubienski, S. T. (2013). The public
school advantage: Why public schools outperform private
schools. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Molnar, A., Rice, J. K., Huerta, L., Shafer, S. R., Barbour,
M. K., Miron, G., et al. (2014). Virtual schools in the
U.S. 2014: Politics, performance, policy, and research
evidence. Boulder: National Education Policy Center,
University of Colorado. Retrieved from http://nepc
Shepard, L. A., & Smith, M. L. (1989). Flunking grades:
Research and policies on grade retention. New York:
Shepard, L. A., & Smith, M. L. (1990). Synthesis of
research on grade retention. Educational Leadership, 47,
Warren, J. R., & Saliba, J. (2012). First- through eighth-grade retention rates for all 50 states: A new method
and initial results. Educational Researcher, 41( 8),
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Gene V Glass is a Regents’ Professor Emeritus at
Arizona State University, senior researcher at the
National Education Policy Center, and a research professor in the school of Education at the University of
Colorado, Boulder. David C. Berliner is an educational
psychologist and Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Education at Arizona State University.
“Research shows quite convincingly that retaining
a student in grade is almost