St. Patrick's Catholic School is a coeducational Catholic preparatory school located in a large northeastern city. The school serves an exclusively non-white, working-class student population who demonstrates the motivation and potential to attend and graduate from college. The school’s mission calls for its staff to be guided by cura personalis, meaning they will care for the whole person; yet, data show that the school’s students were extremely stressed out and that much of their stress was attributable to homework. This study sought to determine if reducing the amount of homework could improve students’ mental health while not negatively impacting academic performance. Across ten classrooms, teachers reduced the amount of homework they were assigning by 50% for a period of at least three months with an aim of reducing students’ self-reported levels of stress by 30% while maintaining their same academic performance. At the conclusion of the project, the number of students reporting high to moderate levels of stress decreased by nearly 30%. The next step is to expand this pilot from ten classrooms to 20, thus having every teacher reduce the homework they are assigning to more effectively measure the impact it has on both students’ mental health and their academic performance. The project this year indicated that reducing homework school-wide would relieve a significant amount of stress for St. Patrick's students while ensuring their academic performance remains steady.
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Scheb, R. (2023). Does Homework Work or Hurt? A Study on the Effects of Homework on Mental Health and Academic Performance. Journal of Catholic Education. https://doi.org/10.15365/joce.2602072023