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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Homework: a cross-cultural examination.

  • Author(s): Chen, CS
  • Stevenson, HW
  • et al.

Cultural differences in the amount of time spent on homework and in beliefs and attitudes about homework were investigated through interviews with more than 3,500 elementary school children, their mothers, and their teachers. The children lived in 5 cities: Beijing, Chicago, Minneapolis, Sendai (Japan), and Taipei. Chinese children were assigned more homework and spent more time on homework than Japanese children, who in turn were assigned more and spent more time on homework than American children. Chinese children also received more help from family members with their homework than American and Japanese children. Chinese children were found to have more positive attitudes about homework than American children; Japanese children's attitudes were between those of the Chinese and American children. Relations between amount of time spent on homework by children, amount of time parents spent assisting their children with homework, and children's achievement were also explored. The views of both parents and teachers about the value of homework are discussed.

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