College, High School and Homework

College, High School and Homework

I guess I am currently sensitive to the ‘homework” issue.  I wanted to share with you a post by Scott McLeod, Homework Authoritarianism and Student Choice.  I was particularly struck by the section regarding college vs high school work expectations.

Here in MA schools must provide a minimum of 990 hrs of structured instruction over a 180 day school year.  That works out to be about 27.5 hrs a week of structured instruction, this is exclusive of study, lunch, homeroom and passing time. So a typical HS student is in an academic class for 27.5 hrs a week.  If schools assign 2-3 hrs of homework at night then using 2.5 as an average that is 12.5 hrs of homework a week. Therefore a typical HS student is doing a full 40 hr work (school) week .  It is hard to believe there is even a movement to extend the day.

Looking over my daughter’s college schedule and through various colleges’ typical course load as shown on their websites, college students are in class about. 13.5 hrs a week.  This means the typical college student has 14 less hours in class then a HS student and therefor 14 more hours to get their work done.

These are are my rough calculations.


180 days/yr, 990 hr/yr of instruction, 27.5 hrs/week of class


130 days/yr, 25o hr/yr of instruction, 13.5 hrs/week of class



2 thoughts on “College, High School and Homework

  1. I don’t think the problem is how much time is spent in school.

    I think the problem is how much time is wasted in school.

    How many times is the learning interrupted each day?
    + 5 min class changes. 6-7 times a day
    + lunch in the middle of a period
    + calling roll for each period
    + Substitutes in a class
    + Class pictures
    + School Assemblies

    To me, it is not the amount of time at school but the amount of time wasted at school.

  2. That was good research and I agree. I think alot of time is wasted in schools and alot of information gets left out of teaching. I think that alot of distractions happen at school that prevent from learning as well.

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