Skip Navigation

REL Central Ask A REL Response

Math, Literacy

August 2018


What is the impact of homework on student achievement?


Following an established REL Central research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles to help answer the question. The resources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic databases, and general Internet search engines. (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

References are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. We have not evaluated the quality of the references provided in this response, and we offer them only for your information. Also, we compiled the references from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant sources may exist.

Research References

Baş, G., Şentürk, C., & Ciğerci, F. M. (2017). Homework and academic achievement: A meta-analystic review of research. Issues in Educational Research 27(1), 31–50. Retrieved from
Full text available

From the abstract:

“The main purpose of this study was to determine the effect of homework assignments on students’ academic achievement. This meta-analysis sought an answer to the research question: ‘What kind of effect does homework assignment have on students’ academic achievement levels?’ In this research, meta-analysis was adopted to determine the effect of homework assignments on students’ academic achievement. The effect sizes of the studies included in the meta-analysis were compared with regard to their methodological characteristics (research design, sample size, and publication bias) and substantive characteristics (course type, grade level, duration of implementation, instructional level, socioeconomic status, and setting). At the end of the research, it was revealed that homework assignments had a small effect size (d = 0.229) on students’ academic achievement levels. Lastly, it was seen that there was not a significant difference with regard to the effect sizes of the studies with respect to all variables, except the course type variable in the research.”

Canadian Council on Learning. (2009). A systematic review of literature examining the impact of homework on academic achievement. Ottawa, Canada: Author. Retrieved from

From the introduction:

“This review addresses the question, ‘is there an academic benefit to homework for students enrolled in the K–12 school system?’ The homework debate has increased in prominence as a result of Cooper’s (2006) review of evidence, the SCAL 2007 report, and several books that argue against homework published over the last four years. This review seeks to understand first, the latest empirical evidence regarding the possible academic benefits of K–12 homework, and second, the popular nature of this issue.”

Cheema, J. R., & Sheridan, K. (2015). Time spent on homework, mathematics anxiety and mathematics achievement: Evidence from a US sample. Issues in Educational Research, 25(3), 246–259. Retrieved from
Full text available

From the abstract:

“This study investigated the effect of time spent on homework and mathematics anxiety on mathematics achievement. Data from a nationally representative US sample consisting of 4,978 cases was used to predict mathematics achievement from time spent on homework and mathematics anxiety while controlling for demographic differences such as gender, grade, race, and socioeconomic status. Multiple regression results showed that both maths anxiety and time spent on homework had a significant effect on maths achievement. The implications are discussed.”

Galloway, M., Conner, J., & Pope, D. (2013). Nonacademic effects of homework in privileged, high-performing high schools. The Journal of Experimental Education, 81(4), 490–510. Retrieved from
Full text available

From the abstract:

“This study used survey data to examine relations among homework, student well-being, and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper middle class communities. Results indicated that students in these schools average more than 3 hr of homework per night. Students who did more hours of homework experienced greater behavioral engagement in school but also more academic stress, physical health problems, and lack of balance in their lives. To better understand the role homework played as a stressor in students’ lives, the authors explored students’ qualitative descriptions of their experiences with homework. The discussion addresses how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students’ advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement, and well-being.”

Kalenkoski, C. M., & Pabilona, S. W. (2015). Does high school homework increase academic achievement? (BLS Working Paper 483). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Productivity and Technology. Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“Although previous research has shown that homework improves students’ academic achievement, the majority of these studies use data on students’ homework time from retrospective questionnaires, which may be less accurate than time-diary data. We use data from the combined Child Development Supplement (CDS) and the Transition to Adulthood Survey (TA) of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to explore the effects of time spent on homework while attending high school on two measures of academic achievement: high school GPA and college attendance by age 20. We find that homework time has no effect on these measures of academic achievement.”

Rønning, M. (2008). Who benefits from homework assignments? (Discussion Papers No. 566). Oslo, Norway: Statistics Norway, Research Department. Retrieved from
Full text available

From the abstract:

“Using Dutch data on pupils in elementary school this paper is the first empirical study to analyze whether assigning homework has a heterogeneous impact on pupil achievement. Addressing potential biases by using a difference-in-difference approach, I find that the test score gap is larger in classes where everybody gets homework than in classes where nobody gets homework. More precisely pupils belonging to the upper part of the socioeconomic scale perform better when homework is given, whereas pupils from the lowest part are unaffected. At the same time more disadvantaged children get less help from their parents with their homework. Homework can therefore amplify existing inequalities through complementarities with home inputs.”

Roschelle, J., Feng, M., Murphy, R. F., & Mason, C. A. (2016). Online mathematics homework increases student achievement. AERA Open, 2(4). Retrieved from

From the abstract:

“In a randomized field trial with 2,850 seventh-grade mathematics students, we evaluated whether an educational technology intervention increased mathematics learning. Assigning homework is common yet sometimes controversial. Building on prior research on formative assessment and adaptive teaching, we predicted that combining an online homework tool with teacher training could increase learning. The online tool ASSISTments (a) provides timely feedback and hints to students as they do homework and (b) gives teachers timely, organized information about students’ work. To test this prediction, we analyzed data from 43 schools that participated in a random assignment experiment in Maine, a state that provides every seventh-grade student with a laptop to take home. Results showed that the intervention significantly increased student scores on an end-of-the-year standardized mathematics assessment as compared with a control group that continued with existing homework practices. Students with low prior mathematics achievement benefited most. The intervention has potential for wider adoption.”


Keywords and Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • homework and achievement
  • homework AND “student achievement”

Databases and Resources

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and Google.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the Publication: References and resources published between 2008 and 2018 were included in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority was given to ERIC, followed by Google Scholar and Google.
  • Methodology: The following methodological priorities/considerations were used in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types–randomized control trials, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive analyses, literature reviews; and (b) target population and sample.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Central Region (Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Central at Marzano Research. This memorandum was prepared by REL Central under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0005, administered by Marzano Research. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.