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We Do Have Homework- just not the traditional kind

By Justine Wilson, Elementary Principal , Pan American School of Bahia

A famous meta-analysis of research on homework, published in 2006 by Harris Cooper and colleagues, found that traditional homework in grades younger than sixth does not contribute to academic achievement. The very weak connection between traditional homework and academic achievement led PASB’s ECC and ES divisions to stop assigning traditional homework and instead encourage nightly Home Reading.

Research does show that reading nightly has a huge impact on student achievement across the curriculum, as does a parent’s interest in the child’s learning.

Reading experts, Samuels and Wu (2001), say research is clear on the benefits of daily reading, with students picking their own books, reading aloud and listening to a fluent adult reader. When reading, children’s curiosity can be peaked, imagination evoked, and vocabularies built. There is a direct correlation between how much a child reads and their academic achievement.

Some parents say that with no homework, they don’t know what is happening in their child’s class. Research suggests that asking your child specific questions about their learning. Elementary parents are also encouraged to communicate with classroom teachers.

If you, as a parent, want to assign your child traditional homework, you are welcome to ask your child’s teacher for suggestions of what might help. However, our school believes that children should have a balance of reading, playing sports, free time to play, spending time with their family, and having a set bedtime will be most beneficial to academic achievement. The Primary Years Program (PYP) approach supports student agency and building curiosity. Ask your child what they want to learn about at home and dive into the topic together.

Have fun together reading! Enjoy researching your next vacation! Children are only young once, play together and laugh. The learning will come, we promise!

Harris Cooper; Jorgianne Civey Robinson; Erika A Patall. (2006) Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, 1987-2003. Review of Educational Research; Spring 2006 (76:1) Research Library Core pg. 1-62.

Samuels, S. J. & Wu, Y. (2001) How the Amount of Time Spent on Independent Reading Affects Reading Achievement: A Response to the National Reading Panel. Minnesota: University of Minnesota.


Justine Wilson is an educator of 14 years currently pursuing her EdS in Educational Leadership. She enjoys working as an instructional leader partnering with teachers, parents and students so school can be a place of engaging learning and some fun too!

Justine can be contacted at or followed on Twitter @WilsonJustine. Her blog is where a modified version of article can be found in addition to more blog posts written about hot topics in educational leadership.


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