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L.A. Schools Cut Homework Requirement to 10 Percent
June 28, 2011

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Students in the nation's second-largest school district will soon have less homework to do.

A new policy adopted by the Los Angeles Unified School District will require a student's homework assignments to make up no more than 10 percent of that student's final grade. That 10 percent is a far cry from what some students have been racking up. General wisdom has it that students spend, on a daily average, 10 minutes for each grade level they are in school. Many schools are finding that those projected numbers are lower than what students are doing.

A landmark study in 1981 found that middle school students were doing an average of 52 minutes of homework a week. That number more than doubled, to 128, in a followup study done in 1997. Further, a study of elementary school students found that homework time exceeded the expected norm.

A large 2004 study found that students were spending 51 percent more time on homework than that recorded in the 1981 study.

In response to these results, many schools have cut down on the amount of homework assigned to students, preferring to focus more on in-class assignments and, of course, tests.

Long a hot-button issue, homework has come under increasing amounts of fire in recent years as schools come under more and more pressure to meet testing targets in order to maintain levels of government funding. Still, many education professionals point to studies that show students doing more homework also scoring higher on tests.

The L.A. school district, whose policy comes into effect on July 1, is certainly not the only district to implement such a policy. Similar policies are in place around the U.S., as school officials hope to help students focus more of their extracurricular time on families, hobbies, and sports.

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