Summer assignments are up for debate


Blot graphic by Lauren Tarigo

To get their child through the school year, some parents are forced to rely on donations from classmates and teachers.

Sally Ehlers

Summer work, whether it be reading a book or solving endless math questions, is a nuisance for many students. But with both benefits and drawbacks, the importance of summer assignments is up for debate.

Some people believe that without continuous practice, students will lose knowledge during the summer. Others, however, argue that summer should provide a break from the daily routine and stress of going to school everyday. 

Homework is commonplace in the education system. Its purpose is to reinforce content and material taught in class. 

In fact, Duke University researchers reviewed over 60 studies on homework between 1987 and 2003, and concluded that homework positively affects student achievement, especially in grades seven through twelve. 

“With only rare exception[s], the relationship between the amount of homework students do and their achievement outcomes was found to be positive and statistically significant,” the  researchers reported in the spring 2006 edition of “Review of Educational Research.”

But, Harris Cooper, a professor of psychology and director of Duke’s Program in Education, also explains that the analysis showed that too much homework can be counterproductive, according to Duke Today. Stress and negative health effects are among the consequences of overworking students. 

Some, including Math teacher Justine Lane, believe that summer is the perfect time for a break.

“I generally don’t think there is any need for summer work. I think we all need a break in the summer,” Lane said.

Lane only assigns summer work to students taking AP Calculus to allocate more time during the school year for learning and mastering new topics before the AP exam.

“It’s a difficult exam, so students’ fundamental skills are really important. Having plenty of time to learn and practice the new material is also important. That’s why there is summer work,” Lane said. “However, I cut the work in half this year, because I do believe that we all need to rest and recharge over the summer.”