Phi Beta Cons

How Hard Do They Work

One of the enduring myths about education has it that students today are buckling under a massive overload of homework, drills, rote memorization, and college preparation. Well, here are some numbers:

  • The 2006 High School Survey of Student Engagement found that 55 percent of high school students spent less than one hour per week “Reading/studying for class.” Only 10 percent exceeded ten hours per week.
  • The 2006 National Survey of Student Engagement found that 18 percent of seniors in college logged only one to five hours per week “Preparing for class.” Twenty-six percent stood at six to ten hours per week. Professors estimate that 25 hours per week is the minimum for success.
  • The University of Michigan reported in 2004 that homework time for 15-17-year-olds reached only 24 minutes on weekend days and 50 minutes on weekends. Weekday TV time was one hour, 55 minutes.
  • The National School Boards Association reported last year that the average time per week for social networking was nine hours.
  • In 2004, the Horatio Alger Association found that 60 percent of teenagers logged five hours of homework per week or less.

No wonder that every time the Dept of Ed administers the national U.S. history test, more than half of college seniors score “Below basic” (call it an “F”).

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