St Josephs Catholic Primary School

Does Homework Cause Good Academic Results?

For hundreds of years, Native Americans – after a long summer – would perform their traditional ‘rain dance’. Needless to say, before too long,  the rains would come and the people would believe that it was their dance that CAUSED this to happen. Obviously, we know that their dancing did not cause it to rain – they just danced at the time of year it was most likely to rain. It was a CORRELATION.

Why have I opened this letter to you about homework with this story? Well, it’s because lots of parents love homework and believe that it makes a huge difference to pupil learning and other parents hate it and think it’s pointless – but everybody has an opinion on homework.

At St Joseph’s, we are not interested in opinions, we look at the research evidence. We want to know what causes good academic results so our children make great progress and achieve fantastically well.

Lots of people think that homework causes good academic results – however, the research from the Educational Endowment Fund (an independent organisation that looks at ‘what works’ in education ) points out that this is not the case – please see the summary attached.

What makes a difference is parental involvement in a child’s learning – not the homework. The homework correlates with involved parents, but the homework itself doesn’t cause children to learn more. Having said that, reading daily with your children is vital, between 10 and 20 minutes a day is ideal.

If we are going to have teachers putting effort into teaching, then we want them putting effort into the techniques that bring about the biggest results. Consequently, we are going to change our approach to homework based on the research into what makes a difference.

We are desperate for our children to perform to the highest level possible – that is why we are encouraging parental involvement in learning and freeing teachers up to focus on teaching.


Dr J. Lane