While homework horror stories of children drowning in worksheets and essays proliferate the media, a new study indicates that parents’ concerns about an increase in school assignments is actually overblown. In fact, the report released Tuesday indicates that American students’ homework load is substantially the same as it was 30 years ago.
The Brown Center Report on American Education, which is sponsored by think tank the Brookings Institution, says that while 27% of 17-year-olds said they had one to two hours of homework on an average school night in 1984, only 23% of 17-year-olds said they had that much work in 2012. The percentage who said they spent longer than two hours a night on homework remained unchanged at 13%.
“When you look at the history of complaints over homework, you have this idea of kids who are crushed,” researcher and former public school math teacher Tom Loveless told the Huffington Post. But since numbers have remained steady since the 1980s, the number of overworked kids is small. A different University of California-Los Angeles study says that the number of college freshmen across the country who claimed to have had more than six hours of homework a week during senior year of high school dropped from 50% in 1986 to 38% in 2012.
Although the Brookings report states that 9-years olds have seen an increased workload since 1984, Loveless attributes that to fewer students having no homework every night.