unlimited access with print and download

Free

Continue searching

Listen to me! An exploration of the students' voices regarding homework

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Gladys Landing-Corretjer
Abstract:
Research on students' voices and perspectives regarding homework is absent from the literature. This qualitative case study explored the perspectives of 5th and 6th grade students and ten teachers' perceptions regarding homework completion. The literature review revealed 3 trends in homework, including support homework, support against homework, and homework reform. However, most of this research considers the adults' perspective. The researcher administered 46 questionnaires and conducted 12 in depth interviews using a stratified purposive sample and extreme case sampling. The questionnaires and interviews educed the participants' perceptions and practices regarding homework. The students represented 4 distinct groups: English language learners, general education, gifted and talented, and special education. The teachers instruct 5 th and 6th grade. The researcher analyzed the data using critical pedagogy framework, constant comparison method and a transcript based analysis. The findings of this study revealed that students do not complete their homework because they find it too hard, boring, or they do not understand it. The participants expressed liking research projects because they afford flexibility and creativity. The results also suggest no substantial difference in the students' responses from various groups. The teachers' responses revealed that 90% of the participants assign incomplete classwork as homework, disclosing a lack of training in designing homework. This study contributes to the existing literature and enhances social change initiatives by taking the students' perception into consideration and echoing their voice in the literature. Teachers and administrators can use the results of this study to develop homework practices that would increase homework completion and student learning.

Table of Contents LIST OF TABLES ……………………………………………………………….iv LIST OF FIGURES ………………………………………………………………v SECTION 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY……………………………1 Background of the study ……………………………………………………….2 Problem Statement ……………………………………………………………..3 Purpose of the Study………………………………………….………………...3 Nature of the Study……………………………………………………………..4 Research questions……………………………………………………………...5 ConceptualFramework………………………………………………………….5 Methodology……………………………………………………………………6 Definition of Terms……………………………………………………………..8 Assumptions…………………………………………………………………….8 Limitations……………………………………………………………………...9 Delimitations……………………………………………………………………9 Political Implication…………………………………………………………….9 Fiscal Implications…………………………………………………………….10 Significance of the Study……………………………………………………..10 Summary ……………………………………………………………………..11 SECTION 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ………………………………………13 History of Homework Debate ………………………………………………....14 Time Spent on Homework ………………………………………………….....16 Parental Involvement in Homework ……………….……………………………16 Homework Design ………………………………………………………………18 Students’ Voices …………………………………………………………………21 English Language Learners ……………………………………………………...23 Gifted and Talented Students …………………………………………………....24 Special Education Students ………………………………………………………25 Teachers’ Homework Practices……………………….…………………………..25 Homework and Student Achievement……………………………………………26 Theoretical Framework …………………………………………………………..29 Trends in the Literature …………….………………………………………….....31 Weaknesses in Homework Research……………………………………………...32 Summary…………………………………………………………………………33

SECTION 3: RESEARCH METHOD... …………………………………………...35

Introduction………………………………………………………………………35

iii

Research and Design Approach…………………………….............................. .35 Case Study ………………………………………………………………………..38 Research Questions ………………………………………………………………39 Context for the Study ……………………………………………………….…….39

Measures of Ethical Protection of Participants……………………………………40

The Role of the Researcher ……………………………………………………….41

Data Collection Procedures ……………………………………………………….41

Instrumentation …………………………………………………………………...42

Sampling ………….………………………………………………………………43

Data Analysis …………………………………………………………………….44

Methods to Address Validity ……………………………………………………..45

Summary ………………………………………………………………………….45 SECTION 4: RESULTS ... ………………………………………………………….....47 Introduction …………………………………………………………………….....47 Demographics ………………………………………………………………….....48 Data Collection Procedures …………………………………………………….....49 Data Analysis ……………………………………………………………………..51 Problem and Purpose of the Study ………………………………………………..52 Findings …………………………………………………………………………..52 Summary of Connections Among Responses ……………………………………..62 Emerged Themes by Question ……………………………………………………62 Summary of Themes ………………………………………………………………72 The Students’ Voices …………………………………………………………........73 Dissident Voices ………………………………………………………………......74 Quality Assurance …………………………………………………………………74 Summary ………………………………………………………………………......75

SECTION 5: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS……………..76 Overview……………………………………………………………………….….76 Summary of Findings ……………………………………………………………..76 Interpretation of Findings ………………………………………………………....81 Discussion ………………………………………………………………………...82 Research Literature and Emerged Themes from the Study ……………………….86 Limitations ……………………………………………………………………….89

iv

Implications for Social Change …………………………………………………..89 Recommendations for Action …………………………………………………….91 Recommendations for Further Study ……………………………………………..93 Reflection …………………………………………………………………………94 Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………….97 REFERENCES……………………………………………………………………………99

v

APPENDIX A: STUDENT QUESTIONNAIRE..........................................................…...108 APPENDIX B: TEACHER QUESTIONNAIRE ……………………………………….109 APPENDIX C: PARENTAL CONSENT FORM …………………………………….....112 APPENDIX D: PARENT LETTER ……………………………………………………..114 APPENDIX E: LETTER TO SUPERINTENDENT AND SCHOOL PRINCIPAL……..115 APPENDIX F: CONSENT FORM………………………………………………………117 APPENDIX G: CONSENT LETTER FORM……………………………………………119 APPENDIX H: LETTER OF COOPERATION.........................................................…. ....121 APPENDIX I: GUIDING QUESTIONS FOR STUDENT INTERVIEW ………...…….123 APPENDIX J: GUIDING QUESTIONS FOR TEACHER INTERVIEW ………..…….124 APPENDIX K: TEACHERS’ VOICES …………………………………………..…….125 APPENDIX L: STUDENTS’ VOICES………………………………………………….130 CURRICULUM VITAE …………………………………………………………..…....137

vi

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1. Students’ Reported Reasons for not Completing Their Homework …………..53

Table 2. Teachers’ Reported Reasons for Why Their Students do not Complete Their Homework………………………………………………………………………………54

Table 3.Words that come to Students’ Minds When They Hear the Word Homework……………………………………………………………………………….63

Table 4. Preferred Activities When There Is No Homework …………………………....64

Table 5. Description of Current Homework as Reported by Students …………………...66

Table 6. Preferred Types of Homework ………………………………………………….67

Table 7. Types of Homework Students Would Give if They Were Teachers …………….68

Table 8. Things That Are Easy About Homework …………………………………….…69

Table 9. Things That Are Hard About Homework ……………………………….……...70

Table 10. Reasons for Completing Their Homework ………………………….………...71

vii

LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Trends in the Research Literature………………………………………………31

SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY

Parents, teachers, researchers and students have distinct attitudes about its effectiveness in terms of quantity and design as evidenced by counteless studies. Studies have been conducted on the relationship between homework and student achievement (Cooper & Valentine 2001), some of these studies indicate this relationship remains unclear (Cooper, Robinson, & Patall 2006; Trautwein & Koller 2003). Other researchers have examined time spent on homework, its legal implications, and parental involvement (Bennett & Kalish, 2006; Kralovec & Buell, 2000). Homework research has also explored student preferences, perceptions and motivation regarding homework (Hong & Lee, 2000; Warton, 2001; Xu, 2005). However, missing from the research are the students’ voices. There is a need to learn from the students themselves why they do not complete their assigned homework. It is important for parents, teachers, and administrators to know why students adopt certain behaviors and is reasonable to believe that if students are asked why they don’t complete their homework they will provide

2

important information regarding this phenomenon. Noguera (2007), noted, “ Although no groundbreaking or previously unheard solutions are offered, the reader may be surprised to learn that students do put forward practical, commonsense insights into why certain practices are innefective, and why others should be considered”(p. 206). Chapter 1 is organized in the following manner; first is the background of the research. Since this a qualitative case study, next is the problem statement, the purpose of the study, research questions, definitions, delimitations and limitations, the significance of the study and the theoretical framework that guides the study. There is a brief section on methodology. An in-depth discussion of the methodology is the subject of chapter 3. Background of the Study This study will examine the reasons students in the fifth and sixth grade report for why they do not completed their assigned homework. The study will also explore the connection, if any, between the responses for not completing homework among different groups of students, including English Language Learners, gifted and talented students, and students in general education, and students in Special education programs in mainstream classrooms. This research study identified the reasons fifth and sixth grade students at a school on the East Coast of the United States do not complete their homework. The researcher administered a questionnaire using a stratified purposive sampling. She also conducted in-depth interviews using an extreme selection sampling with at least one student and one teacher per category. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to identify the reasons students in fifth and sixth grade offer to explain why they do not

3

complete their homework. Also the researcher sought to find if there is a connection between the reasons the students report and those that their teachers believe are true. The participants responded to a paper and pencil, open-ended questionnaire. The questions were analyzed using the constant comparison methodology as presented in Hatch (2002). From the questionnaire results the researcher selected 8 students and 4 teachers and conducted in depth interviews using an extreme sampling selection Patton (1990). The results of the study will be presented to the faculty who works with these students, and to the participating students and parents. This study has the potential to serve educators and school administrators in eastern United States and surrounding school divisions with similar populations. This study is focused on the students’ perspective on homework. The results of this research may be of interest to organizations and school districts seeking to improve learning practices regarding how to use homework effectively for all learners. The findings of the study will add depth to the scholastic investigation of the role of homework in education. It will also provide insight into what the students’ perceptions are regarding homework. Problem Statement Although there is an abundance of studies related to homework and its benefits from the adults’ perspective, there is a lack of research conducted regarding how students feel about homework, and the reasons students provide for not completing homework. This study sought to find the students’ perspectives on their teachers’ homework practices and the reasons the students give for not completing their homework.

4

Purpose of the Study The purpose of this qualitative case study was to identify the reasons students in fifth and sixth grade do not complete their homework. The researcher also explored if there was a connection between the responses for not completing their homework among different groups of students, including English language learners, gifted and talented, general education and Special Education students. The researcher sought to find a difference between students’ responses for not completing their homework and the responses of their participating teachers. Nature of the Study This qualitative research used a case study based strategy. The researcher administered a 10-item questionnaire using a stratified purposive sample. The researcher coded, analyzed, and interpreted the responses of the questionnaire using constant comparison of the data, searching for connections, and discrepancies if any, grounded in the data (Hatch, 2002). The researcher also conducted in depth interviews using an extreme sampling selection from the respondents to the questionnaire (Patton, 1990).The researcher discussed the results using the critical pedagogy framework that guided this research. Triangulation and respondent validation were used to minimize the threats to validity and quality, which will be described in depth in section 3. The objective of this research study was two-fold. The major objective was to give a voice to the students regarding homework. A secondary objective was to search for connections and differences in the responses provided by students for not completing their homework, and if the responses differ among different groups of students. The

5

researcher intends to promote discussion and reflection regarding homework practices and policies among teachers and administrators.

Research Questions 1. What are the reasons students in fifth and and sixth grade have for not completing their homework? 2. What are the reasons fifth and sixth grade teachers’ report why their students do not complete their homework? 3. What is the connection between the responses for not completing their homework among different group of students? Conceptual Framework The researcher used the lens of critical pedagogy for the study. The role of critical pedagogy is to seek action to improve learning grounded in “justice, equity and moral mandates” (Wink, 2000, p.38). This perspective serves the researcher’s goal of using the findings to take action in understanding and improving instructional practices (Creswell, 2003). Kellner (2003) proposed a theory of critical education founded on the work of John Dewey and Paolo Freire. Kellner stated that the critical education theory was vital in all reform efforts with a vision of producing, “new pedagogies, tools for learning, and social justice for the present age” (p. 64). Dewey (1916) defined education as a social process, “an education . . . which secures social changes without introducing disorder” (p. 99). The work of leaders in the field of education is to introduce, support, and sustain

6

environments conducive to social justice and equity for all learners. Marshall and Oliva (2006) strongly encouraged school leaders to “challenge the status quo, (the) traditional patterns of privileges and (the) deep assumptions about what is real and good” (p.8). In doing so, educators will be able to address the needs of all students independently of their race, gender, and/or socioeconomic status (Olivos & Quintana Valladolid, 2005). Teachers employ homework as an instructional strategy to help students learn. Therefore, it is imperative to conduct research to help the educational community understand how effective this strategy is. Wink (2005) stated that critical pedagogy “seeks to take action to improve teaching and learning in schools and life” (p. 23). The rationale for using this perspective is that it serves the researcher’s goal of using the findings of her study to take action in understanding and improving learning for all learners (Creswell, 2003; Wink, 2000). Critical pedagogy has its roots in the works of Paolo Freire and the Pedagogy of the Oppressed (2007). Critical pedagogy is a theory that reflects on the tenets of democracy and questions the praxis with the explicit purpose of improving education and social justice in the field of education. Critical pedagogy is a process of learning and relearning. It entails a sometimes painful reexamination of old practices and establishes believes of educational institutions and behaviors. Critical pedagogy causes one to make inquires about equality and justice. Sometimes these inequalities are subtle and covert. The process requires courage and patience. Courage promotes change and democracy promotes all learners equal access to power. (Wink, p.71)

The researcher’s purpose is to promote discussion and reflection to improve learning for all students.

7

Methodology This is an explorative qualitative case study. The rationale for this methodology is that it fits the purpose of the study, which was to find out the students’ reasons for not completing their homework and their teachers’ perceptions about it. Also the study intended to identify the connections between the responses among different groups of students. The researcher collected data from the students and teachers using a 10-item questionnaire during December 2008 and January 2009. The rationale for choosing this design was due to its convenience and cost effectiveness (Patten, 1998). The researcher also conducted in-depth interviews with 12 of the participants using a purposive extreme sampling selection to increase the credibility and conformity of the study. This study explored the connection, between the self-reported reasons students in fifth and sixth grade report for not completing homework and the reasons their teachers report for why their students are not completing their homework. 1. What are the reasons students in fifth and sixth grade report for not completing their homework? 2. What is the reasons fifth and sixth grade teachers report for why their students do not complete their homework? 3. What is the connection between the responses for not completing homework among different group of students? The researcher used case study as the tradition for this qualitative research. This approach was chosen for this study because there is a lack of research in the area of

8

students' perception on the topic of homework and this method provided the opportunity to explore the students’ views regarding homework from the data obtained from the participants. It also helped the researcher develop an in depth analysis of the homework phenomenon. Definition of Terms English language learners: students whose first language is not English, could have been born in the United States or in a foreign country and who live in the United States (adapted from Peregoy & Boyle, 2008) Gifted and talented students: students who give evidence of high achievement capability in intellectual, artistic, and emotional areas, and who need services to develop those capabilities. Gifted and talented students are students from diverse ethnical, economical, and social backgrounds (adapted from Porter 2005). Homework: any paper and pencil activity given by the classroom teacher that the student must complete at home. The activity or activities are not constrained to one subject or content area, but it can also be based on abstract thinking skills and requires mental effort and discipline (adapted from Cooper 2006, Corno 2000, and Taback 2005). Special Education students: students who have been identified to receive Special Education services and have an Individual Education Plan in place (adapted from Manassas City Public Schools’ website 2008). Assumptions Since the data are self-reported, it was assumed that participants (students and teachers) were honest during the data collection process. It was also assumed that

9

students and teachers did not receive any adverse effects by participating in the study. Another assumption was that there is no substantial difference between fifth and sixth grade students in an elementary school setting and fifth and sixth grade students in a fifth and sixth grade school setting. Limitations One of the limitations of this study was that the participants are fifth and sixth grade students in an urban district. Results may not apply to fifth and sixth grade students in suburban or rural school districts. One of threats to credibility of the study is the potential of lack of honesty, since the data are self-reported. In addition, the bias the researcher brings to the research has to be recognized. She is a student advocate and that fact may affect the way the data were interpreted. The researcher minimized these threats by using the following strategies: triangulation, analyzing the data from questionnaires, and interviews, and respondent validation. Delimitations This study did not attempt to determine what other exogenous variables (e.g. socio- economics, parental support, and/or homework design) might influence students to not complete their homework. Political Implications The researcher considered the political ramifications to include the nuances of a small town, traditions, and the political power of the dominant culture. The school’s mission statement is: “to engage every child in quality educational experiences in a

10

community that expects maximum personal achievement”. The researcher sought to align homework practices with the school’s mission statement.

Fiscal Implications The education field is not exempt from financial issues. Spring (2001) stated that instructional programs defined their agenda or goals depending of the source of the funding. An outsider to the education field may find comical or even plain ridiculous the issue of how many copies are made in one day. However, for a school principal is a constant struggle. The school’s budget has specific constraints to copies and ink. One factor the researcher will in her conclusion is the issue of how many copies are made for the purpose of giving homework to students. At a time when schools budgets are shrinking it would be interesting to use the fiscal implications to advance social change. Significance of the Study The results of this study have implications for practice and positive social change. One key implication for positive social change is that the researcher considered the students’ perception and gave them a voice. Previous research has not taken that into consideration. In an era of standards where practitioners are looking for practical ways to teach effectively and achieve results, this study will provide teachers and administrators with suggestions emanating from research. Homework is a topic of significance in education and has evolved over centuries, from the memorized lessons of the 1800s to the worksheets to the “web research” of the 21 st century. Some studies have revealed that at the elementary school level there is no evidence that homework affects student

11

achievement (Cooper & Valentine 2001; Kralovec & Buell 2000; Trautwein & Koller 2003). At the beginning of the last century homework was called “A sin against childhood” (Gill & Schlossman 1996, p. 1). The topic continues to be of importance today. Cooper et al. (2006) in their most recent synthesis of research suggested that homework is a complicated subject and much empirical research is still needed (p. 53). The results of this study will benefit students, teachers and parents in the elementary school community. It will provide students and teachers with a forum to share their struggles, insights and concerns about homework. It may advance positive social change by encouraging teachers, administrators and school board members to reflect on their practices and try something new. In the words of Donaldson (2006), “Learning must generate action in the form of new practices” (p. 163) and the researcher hopes this research generates “the courage to act and to learn” (p. 167). Summary Section 1 provided an introduction and background for the qualitative case study. This study sought to give a voice to students in fifth and sixth grade regarding homework, which is a gap identified by the research literature. This section also highlights the case study methodology, the homework concerns and the homework topics researched. The significance of the study will be explained using the critical pedagogy conceptual framework. The researcher will bring to other educators the students’ voices as a tool to elicit reflection in the homework practice, and encourage actions that will benefit all students. Organization of the Dissertation

12

This study comprises of five chapters. Chapter 1 provided an introduction to the problem of homework in elementary schools, and the lack of students’ voices in the research. Chapter 2 will provide a review of the research literature on homework. Chapter 3 will describe in depth the methodology for the study, including the rationale for the research design. Chapter 4 will submit the findings of the study based on the collection and analysis of the data. Chapter 5 will state the conclusions based on the findings from the study, the implications for practice and social change and recommendations for further research.

SECTION 2: LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction

This section presents an overview of the current literature on the topic of homework. The literature review consists of 58 articles and books from the last 10 years on the history of the homework debate. Key search words used for searching included homework, student achievement, elementary school, English language learners, and special education students. The majority of the scholarly articles read were from EBSCO databases (e.g. Academic Premier, ERIC, and Education Research Complete among others). This section is organized by topics after a brief history of the homework debate. The themes discussed in the literature were time spent on homework, parental involvement and homework design. Also a review about students’ voices regarding homework, including English language learners and gifted and talented students is presented; followed by the teachers’ homework practices and the relationship between homework and student achievement. The researcher also described the weaknesses in the research literature and theoretical framework that guided the study. The section ends with a graphic organizer depicting the trends of the homework research: pro homework, against it and the reformers followed by a summary. In studies about homework one key issue has been the relationship between homework and student achievement (Cooper, Jackson, Nye, & Lindsay 2001; Cooper & Valentine, 2001; Corno & Xu 2004). However, the results of some of these studies indicate that the relationship between homework and student achievement remains

14

unclear (Cooper, Robinson, & Patall 2006; Trautwein & Koller, 2003). Other researchers examined the time spent on homework and its legal implications. In many places, local school boards have the authority to provide guidelines for time spent on homework (Bennett & Kalish, 2006; Trautwein & Ludke 2006;Van Voorhis 2004). One controversial issue has been the effect of parental involvement on homework grades (Kohn, 2006). Kralovec and Buell, (2000) examined how much a parent should help, and if the parent is able/willing to help. They also examined the concept of homework as an independent activity. Despite considerable research on the topic, the effect of homework on elementary school student achievement is unclear. Questions remain on how teachers design homework, the weight that homework carries on the students’ overall grade, and what are the reasons students claim for not doing it. The History of the Homework Debate Homework is defined in research as activities given by a teacher that the student must complete at home (Cooper 2006). Research on the topic of homework is abundant but lacks coherence; researchers are divided in their “assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of homework” (Cooper, Robinson, & Patall 2006, p.4). Among the reasons for this division are the statistical analyses used to synthesize the literature and the complex issues surrounding the topic of homework. In 2004, Gill and Schlossman analyzed homework practices and issues in the United States over the last 150 years. In their study, they described the trends of homework. Some considered homework a villain, that is the anti-homework group and others considered homework a savior, those belonging to the pro-homework group. In an earlier study, Gill and Schlossman (2000),

15

considered a different trend with a different group of stakeholders: the homework reformers. While there seems to be a lot controversy and lack of consensus among researchers, there is one thing they have agreed on: homework is a complicated issue. There are many variables to be included or excluded in the topic of homework: grade level, subject, student ability, time, parental involvement and researchers own biases, to name a few. However, in recent years the amount and the time spent of homework have reached the scholarly and popular literature. It is critical, therefore, to examine some of the topics in the homework research literature. Time Spent on Homework

Time spent on homework has been considered extensively in the research literature. While some researchers argue that more homework is needed for students to achieve educational excellence (Cooper & Valentine 2001, Coutts 2004), other studies contradict this evidence. Trautwein and Ludke (2006) disagree with Cooper and Valentine, and Coutts, and argue instead that spent on homework has more to do with a student’s ability and motivation. Furthermore, Trautwein, et al. (2006) recent research has shown that time spent on homework does not promote gains in academic achievement. On the contrary, research has shown that students who spend more time on homework do not outperform their peers. They stressed that “these students lag behind their peers in terms of achievement and achievement gains (p.439). By focusing on time spent on homework Coutts overlooked deeper problems of student motivation and homework design. Trautwein and Ludke (2006) warned that time spent on homework “should not be used as a measure of students’ investment in school” (p. 1100). Simplicio

16

(2005) offered a different argument on time spent on homework. He claimed that people complain about time spent on homework because schedules are overcrowded and because teachers lack consistency in assigning homework (some give little, others give a lot). Accordingly, it is useful to examine the linkage between homework and parental involvement in the literature. Parental Involvement in Homework Educators have long assumed that parents must help with homework while at the same time implying that homework is an independent activity. According to Kralovec and Buell (2000), homework disrupts family time. For other researchers, however, homework enhances family-school connection. Cooper, Jackson, Nye, and Lindsay (2001), insisted that there is a positive correlation for parental involvement in homework and grades. However, parental involvement in homework is a complicated issue. There are many ways for parents to be involved in their student’s homework from doing the homework for him/her to providing structure and supervision (Hoover-Dempsey et al. 2001, Trautwein & Ludke 2006). Other studies have presented parental involvement in terms of socioeconomic status (Van Voorhis, 2003). Van Voorhis emphasized that students whose parents had college degrees had higher marks in their report cards than students whose parents had less than a college degree. On the other side of the spectrum, Drummond and Stipek (2004) found in their study of low-income families, that low income parents feel guilty about not being able to have the time and resources “to meet the involvement expectations” (p.198). Another source of concern for low-income parents and homework

17

is allowing their children to participate in after-school activities (e. g. soccer, piano lessons, and religious activities). Powell, Peet, and Peet (2002), studied a group of first graders from low-income families. For the purpose of their research they studied families with incomes of $30,000 or less. Their findings suggest that there is a relationship between extracurricular activities and student achievement. Students who participated in after school activities, showed an improvement in their grades. Researchers cautioned readers with a note that moderation is critical for students participating in after school activities, because they also found that students who had high participation in after school activities, experienced declining grades (p. 206). Other studies have examined parental involvement from an immigrant point of view. Garcia-Coll et al. (2002) studied three immigrant groups; Portuguese, Cambodian and Dominican and found that the understanding of parental involvement among the three cultures is very different not only within the groups students but also from mainstream America. They interviewed parents from Portuguese, Cambodian and Dominican cultural groups, teachers and administrator from the schools the students attend. They examined the parents’ beliefs regarding involvement in their child’s education at school and at home settings. The researchers found that the level of education, socioeconomics and culture are among the factors that affected the parents’ involvement. Homework is a difficult issue for so many parents. According to Buell (2004), there are many poor minority parents that believe that homework is their children’s “ticket out of the ghetto” and for other families homework is the reason many students drop out of school (p. 4).

Full document contains 149 pages
Abstract: Research on students' voices and perspectives regarding homework is absent from the literature. This qualitative case study explored the perspectives of 5th and 6th grade students and ten teachers' perceptions regarding homework completion. The literature review revealed 3 trends in homework, including support homework, support against homework, and homework reform. However, most of this research considers the adults' perspective. The researcher administered 46 questionnaires and conducted 12 in depth interviews using a stratified purposive sample and extreme case sampling. The questionnaires and interviews educed the participants' perceptions and practices regarding homework. The students represented 4 distinct groups: English language learners, general education, gifted and talented, and special education. The teachers instruct 5 th and 6th grade. The researcher analyzed the data using critical pedagogy framework, constant comparison method and a transcript based analysis. The findings of this study revealed that students do not complete their homework because they find it too hard, boring, or they do not understand it. The participants expressed liking research projects because they afford flexibility and creativity. The results also suggest no substantial difference in the students' responses from various groups. The teachers' responses revealed that 90% of the participants assign incomplete classwork as homework, disclosing a lack of training in designing homework. This study contributes to the existing literature and enhances social change initiatives by taking the students' perception into consideration and echoing their voice in the literature. Teachers and administrators can use the results of this study to develop homework practices that would increase homework completion and student learning.