Would a homework ban raise test scores?


This week, French President François Hollande suggested something that many American children could only dream about: banning homework forever. Some educational pros say he may on to something. Students are better off without homework, studies stretching back over the last 20 years around the world show. It disrupts family life and overburdens children, says Etta Kralovec, co-author of “The End of Homework .” The most recent major study, “Trends In International Mathematics and Science Study,” which compared 425,000 students in 59 countries, found that in nations where students are required to do excessive amounts of homework (four hours or more) performance on math tests is often below average. But “Hollande is making a serious mistake if he is seriously considering banning homework for all students,” says Gerald Le Tendre, head of Education Policy Studies at Pennsylvania State University. Here’s how 12 nations scored (ranked from heaviest homework load to lightest):