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Mollie Galloway brings fresh perspective to debate on homework overload

April 08, 2014

  • Copyright, Steve Hambuchen

Since the early 1900s, school reformers have responded to complaints about homework overload by calling for more or fewer assignments. In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education, Assistant Professor Mollie Galloway and her colleagues refocused the age-old debate by examining students attending competitive schools in affluent areas. A blog post from Education Week reported the findings this month, summarizing that for the students the researchers studied, “homework may be a double-edged sword.”

The study was based on multiple-choice and open-ended responses from 4,317 students at ten Northern California public and private high schools in areas with a median household income of more than $90,000 per year. The researchers found that students spend an average of 3.11 hours each night on homework. The assignments prepare students for a competitive career environment, but also take away from time with family and friends. “Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good,” Galloway told Education Week.

Galloway’s past research has focused on leadership and equity for social justice, human development, and the effects of privilege in schools. In another study published in 2012, she found that over 93 percent of high school students had cheated in at least one way in their academic work. She noted that ingrained cheating behavior seems high among students from privileged schools.

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Caleb Diehl ’16 contributed to this article


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