Between 1980 and 2002, the percentage of sophomores spending more than 10 hours per week on homework increased from 7 to 37 percent.
Homework are tasks given to students by teachers as a means to review, practice, and learn material outside of the classroom. This indicator examines 1980 and 2002 high school sophomores’ reports of how much time they spend on homework per week. In 1980 and 2002, high school sophomores were asked, “What is the average time per week you spend on homework?”1
Between 1980 and 2002, the average amount of time per week that sophomores reported spending on homework increased (see table 21-1). During this period, the percentage of sophomores who reported spending less than 1 hour per week on homework declined from 17 to 2 percent. At the same time, the percentage who reported spending less than 5 hours per week on homework decreased from 71 to 37 percent. These declines were accompanied by an increase in the percentage of sophomores who reported spending between 5 and 10 hours per week on homework (from 22 to 26 percent) and a fivefold increase in the percentage who reported spending more than 10 hours per week on homework (from 7 to 37 percent).
This general increase between 1980 and 2002 in the number of hours sophomores reported spending on homework was apparent for both males and females. The percentage of males who reported spending more than 10 hours per week on homework increased from 6 to 33 percent. For females, this percentage increased from 8 to 41 percent.
Among the 1980 and 2002 sophomores, females generally reported spending more time on homework than males. For example, 41 percent of females in 2002 compared with 33 percent of males reported spending more than 10 hours per week on homework. That same year, 19 percent of females compared with 26 percent of males reported spending 3 hours or less per week on homework. No measurable differences were detected by sex in the percentage who reported spending between 3 to 10 hours per week on homework.
1Caution must be used when interpreting the estimates reported here because the survey method used to ask about time spent on homework per week differed in 1980 and 2002. The 1980 survey asked about “homework” without differentiating between homework completed in school and out of school; it also used the categories reported here as predefined response categories. The 2002 survey asked students to report both in-school and out-of-school homework and used an open-ended response format. The 2002 responses were then grouped into the 1980 response categories. (back to text)
Note 3: Other Surveys
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