As a retired educator who served as a teacher, a principal and an associate professor of education, I applaud the recent decision to end homework made at Henry S. West Laboratory School.
When I taught measurement and evaluation to undergraduate teacher-education students, I often shared with them the conclusions of two meta-analysis (a summary of a number of research studies) reports, both done in the United States and Canada, on the effectiveness of homework on student learning. Both summaries concluded that in elementary grades, the effect on achievement was almost non-existent.
According to educational psychologists, young children need time to play and to develop social skills, which are necessary for a healthy childhood. Hours spent on lengthy homework assignments have the possibility of preventing that development.
My hope is that the school’s initiative will spread to other schools and school districts that will follow the trail that ‘West Lab’ is blazing.