Too much homework reduces student success rates: Turkish Education Ministry
The finding was one of a series of conclusions reached by the ministry study titled “Monitoring and Evaluation of Academic Skills” (ABİDE), undertaken to improve “education policies,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Nov. 30.
As part of the project, last year a total of 38,000 eight grade students in 1,299 schools across Turkey answered multiple-choice and open-ended questions in four subject areas: Turkish, mathematics, sciences and technology, and social sciences.
In order to determine how environment affects academic success, the survey also asked students circumstantial questions, including one about time allocated for homework. The results showed that students who spent a “reasonable amount of time” on homework were more successful than those who spent “excessive amounts of time” on homework.
Another important conclusion reached by the report was that family pressure had a negative impact on the student’s academic success. Meanwhile, those parents who provided emotional support to their children also improved their studies, the report showed.
Teachers’ experience level also affected student success, according to the study. The number of years a teacher spent working at a specific school was directly proportional to the success of their students. Teacher commitment levels increase in relation to the amount time they spend at the school, the study showed.
Student success levels were also shown to correlate with their socioeconomic situation, their mothers’ education levels, the number of books in their houses, their interest in school, and their level of self-sufficiency as well as their self-confidence in accomplishing their courses.
The number of students per classroom also affected success levels, as classes with more than 30 students exhibited lower levels of academic achievement.
The ministry plans to hold the second stage of the ABİDE study in March 2018, with the participation of 50,000 students. The results of the new survey will be compared with those of 2016, with the education ministry aiming to determine whether progress or regression has been experienced in any particular course subject.
In the 2016 ABİDE survey, every course topic included 51 questions, with authorities determining five “levels of competence” (advanced, above average, average, basic, below basic) based on the results.
In the Turkish test, 3.6 percent of the students achieved “below basic” level, 22.4 percent “basic,” 44.6 percent “average,” 23 percent “above average,” and 6.4 percent “advanced level.”
In the Mathematics test, 26.4 percent of the students achieved “below basic” level, 33.6 percent “basic,” 28.7 percent “average,” 8.2 percent “above average,” and 3.1 percent “advanced level.”
In the Science and Technologies test, 17.9 percent of the students achieved “below basic” level; 34.4 percent “basic,” 33.3 percent “average,” 10.3 percent “above average,” and 4.1 percent “advanced level.”
In the Social Sciences test, 6.3 percent of the students achieved “below basic” level, 25.7 percent “basic,” 40.9 percent “average,” 16.8 percent “above average,” and 10.3 percent “advanced level.”
These success levels correlated with the Turkish students’ performance in the influential international student assessment PISA 2015 key findings.