Singapore students spend third-highest amount of time on homework: study

Singapore students spend third-highest amount of time on homework: study

Friday, 26 December 2014

Media Type
Yahoo! News Singapore (Online)

Fifteen-year-old students in Singapore said they spent an average of 9.4 hours a week on homework, according to the results of a survey by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

This puts the country at number three out of the 65 countries involved in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) study. The results were released on 1 December.

Shanghai-China came out on top with 13.8 hours a week and Russia with 9.7 hours.

Meanwhile, students in Korea and Finland spent fewer than three hours on homework, which is below the global average of five hours.

The study was conducted with around 510,000 students, who were also asked questions about their families and attitudes about the subjects they learn.

Students who spend more time on homework tend to perform better in their studies, according to the study.

“When comparing students of similar socio-economic backgrounds who attend similarly resourced schools, those who attend schools where students spend more time doing homework perform better in mathematics than those who attend schools whose students devote less time to homework," according to the study.

Time spent on homework also varies among students depending on their socio-economic background.

“In every country and economy that participated in PISA 2012, socio-economically advantaged students spend more time doing homework or other study required by their teachers than disadvantaged students.”

However, the amount of time spent on homework is not linked to the school system’s overall performance. 

“This implies that other factors, such as the quality of instruction and how schools are organised, have a greater impact on a school system’s overall performance,” they said.

9.4 hours is ‘reasonable’

A Ministry of Education spokesperson reportedly said that the average of 9.4 hours Singapore students spend on homework is “fairly reasonable for upper-secondary students, who would be preparing for the national examinations”.

Associate Professor Jason Tan from the National Institute of Education (NIE) said that the number of hours is not “overwhelming” considering the number of subjects students in the country are taking.

“The 9.4 hours do not seem that overwhelming, when students are taking six to nine subjects in Secondary 3… but (the report) also doesn't give any indication of the subjects the time is spent on, or the nature of homework, so it's hard to draw any conclusions from this,” he was quoted by The Straits Times as saying.

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Source: Yahoo! News Singapore (Online)