Homework Over the Years

Everyone expects the amount of time they spend on homework to increase in higher grades. But how much does it actually change?

Graphic+by+Allister+McLeod

Graphic by Allister McLeod

Allister McLeod, Columnist

Homework is something almost every student is familiar with. From the start of middle school to the end of high school, it takes away free time, adds stress on already panicked students, and causes constant complaining. Younger students are warned about the hours of homework they will soon face, and older students look back at the all the extra time they used to have. The only thing that’s unclear is whether or not the increase in time spent on homework is as dramatic as people say it is. Are the complaints of high school students justified? Or do middle school students have it just as bad as they do?

I conducted a survey in which I asked seventh through eleventh grade students about their average amount of time spent on homework per night. Throughout all of the grades, the majority of answers ranged from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Only a handful of students spent over 2 hours each night, and an even smaller margin spent less than 30 minutes. When looking closely at each time range, it is possible to get a better idea of how much time each grade spends each night.

The students that spent the lowest time on homework overall were the seventh graders. The majority of students answered the question with 45 to 60 minutes or 75 to 90 minutes. Seventh grade students made up the majority of the 45 to 60 minute range, and a little less than a third of the 75 to 90 minute range. While it may be easy to say seventh grade students have it much easier than everyone else, there were still students that said they spent upwards of 2 hours, and only one of the answers in the less than 30 minutes category was from a seventh grade student. On top of that, the average for eighth grade students was incredibly close to that of seventh grade students, with only a few more eighth graders saying homework took 105 to 120 minutes.

When looking at how much time high school students spent, the answers do tend to be higher, but not by as much as some may expect. The average for ninth grade students was 75 to 90 minutes, with only one student saying they spent more than 2 hours. The answers from tenth grade students were much more spread out, with at least one in every category. The majority of answers land either in the 75 to 90 minutes or the 105 to 120 minutes categories. Tenth grade also has two outliers, with one student stating homework only took them 30 minutes, and another saying homework took them almost three hours each night. Finally, with an average time spent above all of others, was eleventh grade. While less answers were submitted for eleventh grade then any other class, every answer was in one of the two highest categories, with multiple students saying homework took them more than three hours each night. 

While students of the same grade often took different amounts of time to complete their homework, it is clear that students in higher grades take more time on average. Middle school students certainly spent large amounts of time doing homework, but it wasn’t nearly as much as what tenth and eleventh grade students spent.