University of Latvia (LATVIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 116-123
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.1027
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
The learning process aims to improve student knowledge and competencies to prepare them for independent living, but learning is a step-by-step process, which facilitates the development of metacognitive processes when students independently are able to seek information, analyse it and construct new knowledge. Along with changes in the educational paradigm, the transition from a teacher-centred to a student-centred learning process has taken place, and the role of homework is changing as well. At present, homework is necessary so that students develop self-directed learning skills. Many myths and much confusion remain about the place and role of homework in learning, and these uncertainties are multidimensional. Is homework necessary at all? Does it contribute to the growth of knowledge? How much homework is needed? Should homework be assessed or is it the responsibility of the students themselves to be prepared for lessons, making assessment unnecessary? What is the role of homework in the development of self-directed learning skills? Does homework affect the quality of education?

There have been situations where homework was used for propaganda purposes, such as during the Cold War between the United States and the USSR. When Sputnik launched in 1957, the US claimed that its school homework had contributed to the USSR’s advancement (Vatterott 2009). The 2015 Michael Moore film “Where to Invade Next?” claimed that there is no homework in Finland, citing this as one of the reasons for the high quality of education in that country.

Discussions about homework and its significance have started in many countries striving for higher levels of education quality. In Latvia, these discussions have resulted in 10 schools in Riga uniting for the “Meaningful homework” project with the goal of developing and testing in practice the role of homework in a meaningful learning process, promoting the development of a wide range of competencies and improving learning achievements.

This goal was broken down into two tasks:
1. Identify the existing practice of assigning and grading homework and improve it in accordance with the latest pedagogical findings regarding self-directed learning.
2. Develop and put into practice meaningful homework strategies that promote active student participation in the construction of knowledge.

This paper summarises and compares the views of pupils (N = 862) and teachers (N = 233) on the time spent preparing homework, the type of homework most often assigned, the subjects with the most homework, how students prepare the assigned homework and whether the help of parents or other people is necessary to complete homework. Original partially structured surveys for students, teachers, and parents were prepared. Quantitative data were processed using SPSS software, while qualitative data were analyzed using the principles of content analysis.
Homework assignments, the amount of homework assignment, self-directed learning.