Homework Effort in Grades 5-9

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Trautwein, Ulrich, Oliver Lüdtke, and Claudia Kastens. "Effort on Homework in Grades
5-9: Development, Motivational Antecedents, and the Association with Effort on
Classwork." Child Development 77 (2006): 1094-1111. EBSCO.

The article “Effort on Homework in Grades 5-9: Development, Motivational Antecedents, and the Association with Effort on Classwork” discusses not only the authors current research on the subject but also previous research and beliefs. The article states previous homework research focused almost exclusively on time spent on homework rather than the actual active time the student spent on the homework. The authors are collectively concerned with the fact that previous homework research has been centered on time spent on homework rather than the amount of effort students put into their homework. The article goes on to explain the patterns of homework behavior as a theoretical framework among students. This section evaluates the expectancy-value theory, or the expectancies of success defined by individuals’ beliefs about how well they will perform on a given task. The next issue addressed in the article is the association between effort on homework and the effort on classwork.

To better evaluate the expectancy-value theory and the correlation between homework and classwork effort two studies were conducted. In the first study 2,712 students form 11 schools in a large German city across grades 5, 7, and 9 for differences in children’s homework behavior and motivational antecedents. The authors used a large sample of students to study age-related differences in homework behavior, and to gauge the power of homework expectancy, homework value, and conscientiousness to predict homework behavior. Math was selected as the core subject to use in the study due to the fact that most students claim to believe math will be vital in their future. To determine homework effort a 4-point Likert-type scale was used and internal consistency was satisfactory. To determine expectancy and value components established German inventories were used. Expectancy of success in math was measured by a math self-concept of ability scale and a five item scale was used to assess the intrinsic value of mathematics and both have proved to have significant predictability in achievement gains and academic choices like course selection. Conscientiousness was assessed through a questionnaire with seven useful questions that provided satisfactory results for the study.

The results to this study supported the hypothesis that homework effort and the expectancy and value components of motivation will be lower in older students than in younger students. Homework effort was highest in grade 5 and lowest in grade 9. However the pattern of reported homework time increased significantly between grades 5 and 7, but not between grades 7 and 9. The second hypothesis stating that expectancy, intrinsic value, and conscientiousness will positively predict homework effort. To test this hypothesis the authors specified a multigroup model with homework effort as the dependent variable and expectancy, intrinsic interest, conscientiousness and student gender as the predictor variables. Homework effort was significantly predicted by the expectancy component in grades 5 and 7, but not in grade 9. The results supported the hypothesis that a decrease in the motivational antecedents of homework coupled with and increase in conflicting motivations, outside of school, are likely to have a negative impact on homework effort.

The second study applies the same framework as that of study one, but goes beyond in two respects. First the homework framework was extended that besides expectancy, value, and conscientiousness; characteristics of homework assignments, stable person characteristics and characteristics of the home environment were also considered. Second, similarities and differences in the prediction of students’ homework and classwork behaviors were...
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