Schools alerted to homework gap between rich and poor

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Advantaged students spend around 1.6 hours more a week doing homework than their disadvantaged peers, an OECD analysis has shown.

Advantaged students spend around 1.6 hours more a week doing homework than their disadvantaged peers, an OECD analysis has shown.

Across the countries within the OECD, 15-year-old students report spending almost five hours a week doing homework – one hour less than the average in 2003.

The most time spent on homework is by students in Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia and Singapore, where the average is more than seven hours a week, and in Shanghai, where the average reaches 14 hours each week.

However, in Finland and Korea, students spend less than three hours a week doing homework.

The analysis is included in the latest Pisa in Focus publication from the OECD and reveals a varying gap between poor students and their wealthier peers across all countries when it comes to homework.

On average across all OECD nations, advantaged students (aged 15) spend an average of 5.7 hours a week doing homework compared to 4.1 hours a week for their disadvantaged peers – 1.6 hours less.

This difference is highest in Italy, at four hours, and also large in Bulgaria, Romania, Shanghai-China and Chinese Taipei (at 3.5 hours or more).

In the UK, the figures show that disadvantaged students spend 3.7 hours a week doing homework, compared to 6.4 hours a week for advantaged students.

The analysis finds that the average number of hours that students spend on homework is unrelated to a country’s overall education performance. However, it does say that students who spend more time doing homework tend to score higher in the PISA mathematics test. 

It adds: “Homework is another opportunity for learning; but it may also reinforce socio-economic disparities in student achievement. 

“Schools and teachers should look for ways to encourage struggling and disadvantaged students to complete their homework. They could, for example, offer to help parents motivate their children to do their homework and provide facilities so that disadvantaged students have a quiet place to complete assigned homework if none is available in their homes.”

The four-page report is available at http://bit.ly/1xx0uiL

  


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