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EDUCATION INDICATORS: An International Perspective


Indicator 25: Time Spent on Homework

Since homework is a form of practice, most educators postulate that it improves student achievement, and, in fact, most of the empirical studies conducted on the subject suggest that the amount of time spent on homework is positively related to student achievement. However, this relationship is influenced by such factors as differences in students' grade level. Although statistics concerning the average number of hours spent on homework provide one indication of the role of homework, they do not address the quality of the homework assigned, the degrees to which students actually complete homework, or the effort and care students take in completing it.

  • Overall, it appears that in 1991, 9- and 13-year-olds in the United States were more likely to spend 1 hour or less on homework each day than their counterparts in many of the other countries studied. About 20 percent of 9-year-old students and 10 percent of 13-year-old students in the United States did no homework at all each day. The corresponding percentages were much lower in all the other countries reported, except in Canada and Scotland at ages 9 and 13 and in Spain at age 9.

  • Whereas the majority of students in all the countries reported having completed no more than 1 hour of homework a day at age 9, by age 13 the majority of students in about half these countries completed at least 2 hours of homework daily. In the United States, however, the majority of students still continued to complete no more than 1 hour of homework a day at age 13.

  • Nine-year-old students in almost every country studied spent more time on mathematics homework than science homework each week. The same was true for 13-year-olds, with the exception of those in the former Soviet Union, Jordan, and Hungary.


Table 25a: Percentage of students reporting number of hours spent on homework daily,1 by age and country: 1991


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
	
						Age 9 						Age 13
					-----------------------				-----------------------
					1 hour 		2 hours				1 hour		2 hours
Country			None		or less 	or more		None		or less		or more
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
G-72
Canada			29 (1.2)	58 (1.1)	13 (0.6)	8 (0.6)		65 (0.9)	27 (1.0)
France			    -		   -		   -		0 (0.2)		44 (1.6)	55 (1.6)
United States           20 (1.8)        59 (2.0)        20 (1.2)       10 (1.2)         61 (1.7)        29 (1.8)
Other
Hungary                  2 (0.5)        72 (1.4)        25 (1.4)        0 (0.1)         42 (1.3)        58 (1.3)
Ireland                  2 (0.4)        80 (1.7)        18 (1.5)        1 (0.5)         35 (1.8)        63 (1.9)
Israel                   4 (0.7)        60 (1.6)        35 (1.5)        1 (0.2)         49 (1.9)        50 (1.9)
Jordan			   -   		   -		   -		3 (0.5)		40 (1.9)	56 (2.0)
Korea                    2 (0.4)        77 (1.1)        22 (1.1)        3 (0.5)         56 (1.6)        41 (1.7)
Scotland                18 (2.8)        78 (3.0)         4 (0.6)       16 (1.4)         70 (1.2)        14 (1.1)
Slovenia                 4 (0.7)        81 (1.2)        15 (1.1)        1 (0.2)         70 (1.6)        28 (1.7)
Soviet Union (former)    2 (0.3)        68 (1.4)        31 (1.3)        0 (0.2)         47 (1.6)        52 (1.6)
Spain			15 (1.6)	55 (1.9)	29 (1.8)	1 (0.4)		33 (1.5)	64 (1.5)
Switzerland		   -		   -		   -		1 (0.2)		79 (1.3)	20 (1.3)
Taiwan                   2 (0.5)        67 (1.3)        31 (1.2)        4 (0.6)         55 (1.1)        41 (1.3)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-Not available.
1/ All standard errors are in parentheses.
2/ No data available for Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

NOTE: See supplemental note to Indicator 25 for details on indicator calculation for Canada, Israel, Scotland, the former Soviet Union, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States.

SOURCE: Educational Testing Service, International Assessment of Educational Progress, Learning Mathematics, 1992.


Table 25b: Percentage of students reporting number of hours spent weekly on mathematics and science homework,1 by age and country: 1991

	                      					Age 9						                      					Age 13	
			---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------		-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
					Mathematics					Science						Mathematics					Science
			---------------------------------------		---------------------------------------		-----------------------------------------	-----------------------------------------
			0-1		2-3		4 hours		0-1		2-3		4 hours		0-1		2-3		4 hours		0-1		2-3		4 hours
Country	hours		hours		or more		hours		hours		or more		hours		hours		or more		hours		hours		or more
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
G-72
Canada			72 (0.9)	19 (0.8)	10 (0.6)	80 (0.9)	14 (0.7)	6 (0.5)		58 (1.1)	27 (0.9)	15 (0.8)	83 (0.8)	13 (0.8)	4 (0.3)
France			    -		    -		    -		   -		    -		   -		45 (1.5)	38 (1.4)	17 (1.3)	88 (0.8)	12 (0.7)	1 (0.2)
United States           65 (1.7)        20 (1.1)        14 (1.1)        78 (1.4)        15 (1.3)        7 (0.8)         63 (2.1)        22 (1.5)        15 (1.3)        76 (1.7)        17 (1.2)        7 (0.8)
Other											
Hungary                 49 (1.8)        27 (1.4)        23 (1.6)        62 (1.6)        26 (1.2)        12 (1.1)        68 (1.3)        21 (1.2)        11 (0.7)        55 (1.3)        32 (1.4)       13 (0.8)
Ireland                 63 (2.1)        22 (1.5)        15 (1.6)        82 (1.5)        12 (1.2)         6 (0.9)        48 (1.6)        35 (1.4)        17 (1.3)        74 (1.6)        21 (1.2)        5 (0.7)
Israel                  55 (1.4)        26 (1.2)        19 (1.0)        70 (1.3)        23 (1.1)         7 (0.6)        41 (1.4)        42 (1.3)        17 (1.1)        72 (1.6)        23 (1.3)        4 (0.5)
Jordan                     -                -              -               -               -               -            57 (1.5)        29 (1.2)        14 (1.0)        60 (1.6)        28 (1.3)       12 (1.0)
Korea                   51 (1.6)        32 (1.2)        17 (1.0)        69 (1.5)        24 (1.0)         7 (0.9)        29 (1.2)        38 (1.1)        33 (1.1)        56 (1.8)        34 (1.6)        9 (1.0)
						
Scotland                84 (1.4)        12 (1.3)         4 (0.7)        92 (1.2)         5 (0.8)         3 (0.6)        75 (1.6)        21 (1.4)         4 (0.6)        90 (1.2)         8 (1.1)        2 (0.4)
Slovenia		61 (1.7)	24 (1.4)	16 (1.1)	68 (1.7)	21 (1.2)	11 (1.0)	54 (1.5)	32 (1.4)	15 (0.9)	63 (1.3)	30 (1.2)	7 (0.7)
Soviet Union (former)   52 (2.9)        23 (1.4)        25 (2.3)        75 (1.5)        19 (1.3)         6 (0.5)        39 (1.9)        28 (1.0)        33 (1.5)         3 (0.7)        37 (0.8)       59 (0.8)
Spain                   46 (2.0)        29 (1.5)        25 (1.6)        51 (2.0)        29 (1.5)        20 (1.6)        52 (1.9)        26 (1.4)        22 (1.3)        58 (1.6)        30 (1.3)       12 (0.9)
Switzerland                -                -               -              -               -               -            51 (1.7)        34 (1.3)        15 (1.2)        89 (1.2)         9 (1.0)        1 (0.4)
Taiwan                  50 (1.6)        35 (1.2)        15 (1.3)        58 (1.4)        32 (1.1)         9 (1.0)        47 (1.3)        29 (1.3)        24 (1.2)        64 (1.1)        25 (1.1)       10 (0.8)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-Not available.
1/ All standard errors are in parentheses.
2/No data available for Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

NOTE: See supplemental note to Indicator 25 for details on indicator calculation for Canada, Israel, Scotland, the former Soviet Union, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States.

SOURCE: Educational Testing Service, International Assessment of Educational Progress, Learning Mathematics, 1992; Learning Science, 1992.


Figure 25a: Percentage of 9- and 13-year-old students who reported doing 2 or more hours of homework per day, by selected country:* 1991

Figure 25a

*Countries are sorted in descending order by the percentage of 13-year-olds who reported doing 2 or more hours of homework per day.

SOURCE: Educational Testing Service, International Assessment of Educational Progress, Learning Mathematics, 1992.


Figure 25b: Percentage of 9- and 13-year-olds who reported doing at least 4 hours of mathematics or science homework weekly, by selected country:* 1991

*Countries are sorted in descending order by the percentage of 9- and 13-year-olds who reported doing at least 4 hours of mathematics homework weekly.

SOURCE: Educational Testing Service, International Assessment of Educational Progress, Learning Mathematics, 1992.

Notes on Figures and Tables

In some cases, countries limited assessments to particular geographic areas or language groups. A description of these limitations follows.

Canada, Israel, Scotland, the former Soviet Union, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States

See supplemental notes for Indicator 8.


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