Does More Homework Lead to Better Grades?

Homework is a hot topic for many teachers, students, parents, and even just people who at one point went through the schooling system. It can be very tough for many people, and therefore it makes sense why people have such strong opinions on it.
However, there’s one question that many people try to answer without having a lot of information about it. Does more homework actually lead to better grades? With this analysis of which states have the most homework, you’ll be able to actually find out the answer.
Average Homework Across the United States
Homework amounts can vary wildly across the country. In fact, some students in the same grade may have up to twice as much homework depending exclusively on the state in which they live. However, an average number may give you an idea of the extremes of the spectrum. 

  • Elementary and Middle School: 42.4 minutes per day average
  • High School: 78 minutes per day average
  • College: 116 minutes per day average

On average, it’s true that homework gets more encompassing as students graduate. However, of course, averages don’t tell the whole story. What about the individual states?
The States With the Most Homework
These states clearly put a lot of emphasis on homework: they have the most homework out of any other state. In some states, the “most” homework can be near twice the “least” homework.

These are the top five states for elementary and middle school homework: 

  • California: 56 minutes
  • Maine: 55.7 minutes
  • Louisiana: 54 minutes
  • New Mexico: 54 minutes
  • Washington: 53.1 minutes

In high school, these numbers more than double for the top five states:

  • Vermont: 110 minutes
  • Maine: 107.2 minutes
  • West Virginia: 102 minutes
  • Louisiana: 102 minutes
  • Connecticut: 93 minutes

In college, it jumps up again with these top five states:

  • Idaho: 141.3 minutes
  • Oregon: 140 minutes
  • Nebraska: 135 minutes
  • Wisconsin: 135 minutes
  • Kentucky: 134.3 minutes

The States With the Least Homework

On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll also find states that clearly don’t put as much of an emphasis on take-home work. The difference between states stands out phenomenally when you start looking at these numbers because you can see the vast differences between the extreme ends of the spectrum.

The lowest five states for elementary and middle school are almost half the highest states: 

  • Rhode Island: 30 minutes
  • Kansas: 30 minutes
  • Nevada: 30 minutes
  • Oregon: 33 minutes
  • Arkansas: 34.3 minutes

Again, though it’s less extreme, the numbers do double for the lowest high school states:

  • Kansas: 60 minutes
  • Rhode Island: 60 minutes
  • Utah: 60 minutes
  • Iowa: 62.3 minutes
  • Oklahoma: 63.8 minutes

College numbers jump up a similar amount as they do for the highest states:

  • Delaware: 85 minutes
  • Hawaii: 88 minutes
  • New York: 90 minutes
  • Rhode Island: 90 minutes
  • Indiana: 94 minutes

Does Homework Really Matter?

This is the all-important question. There are huge differences between these numbers; Vermont, the state with the highest school homework, assigns more homework on average than 17 states assign for college homework.

However, the unfortunate truth is that when you look at SAT scores and GPAs, homework doesn’t seem to have much of an impact. It’s more busywork than anything. Essentially, it puts on a big show, but it doesn’t really significantly impact learning.

Instead, it’s important to look to time-tested solutions. For example, tutoring and online resources provably increase grades. Whether you’re a parent of a student or a student yourself, don’t rely on homework to keep your grades up. Take your grades into your own hands with resources you can use.

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