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Kids Receive 3 Times the Recommended Homework Load, Study Says

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Elementary school children often receive far more homework than recommended by a leading education group, according to new research. The study, published in the American Journal of Family Therapy, found that the average first and second grader had three times the recommended homework load.

The National Education Association recommends that elementary school students receive 10-20 minutes of homework per night in first grade. That figure should grow by 10 minutes per year, the NEA recommends. The study found that teachers regularly assign homework that exceeds that recommendation.

The survey, based on an analysis of survey results from more than 500 parents in Rhode Island, suggests that the average student spends nearly 30 minutes on homework in the first grade, a number that grows steadily over the years. Time spent on homework peaks in 10th grade at 54 minutes per night, according to the study.

Researchers also found a disparity in homework patterns based on parents’ education level as well as a family’s racial background. On average, parents of Hispanic students said their children spent significantly more time on homework than their non-Hispanic counterparts in second, third and 12th grades.

For children with parents of different education levels, time spent on homework was consistent in early years. However, a sharp disparity emerges in high school, where children of parents with college degrees spent significantly more time on homework.

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Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com