Comparing the relative effects of homework on high aptitude VS average aptitude students
Shaan Bhandarkar, John Leddo, Meghna Banerjee
Previous research on homework has produced mixed results regarding its effectiveness in boosting student performance. One factor that may be mediating these results is that homework may have different effects on students based on their aptitude. High aptitude students may grasp concepts when they are initially taught and may derive little benefit from reinforcing what they already know through homework. Average or lower aptitude students may not initially fully grasp what they have been taught and may benefit from the additional practice that homework provides. This predicts an interaction effect between aptitude and homework on student achievement. This hypothesis was tested with 38 middle school students who were taught trigonometric concepts. Students were divided into high and average aptitude groups based on an initial assessment. They were then taught the concepts and tested to measure their performance. Students were then assigned homework, which was reviewed with them. Students then took a post-test to measure final performance. Analysis of the data showed main effects for group and homework as well as an interaction effect showing that homework benefitted average aptitude students more than it did high aptitude students. Results suggest that schools may need consider departing from the standard practice of giving the same assignments to each student in a given class and find more creative ways to insure that each student receives the type of homework that will greatly boost the student’s educational achievement.