ARG-108

The data from a survey of high school math and science teachers show that in the district of Sanlee many of these teachers reported assigning daily homework, whereas in the district of Marlee, most science and math teachers reported assigning homework no more than two or three days per week. Despite receiving less frequent homework assignments, Marlee students earn better grades overall and are less likely to be required to repeat a year of school than are students in Sanlee. These results call into question the usefulness of frequent homework assignments. Most likely the Marlee students have more time to concentrate on individual assignments than do the Sanlee students who have homework every day. Therefore teachers in our high schools should assign homework no more than twice a week.


Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.


The author of this argument casts doubt on the usefulness of daily assigned homework. Data about the frequency of homework assignments and students’ academic performance in the districts of Sanlee and Marlee, serve to demonstrate daily homework’s minor contribution to a decent education. The author therefore claims that students in the high school should not be assigned homework more than twice a week. While this may be the case, close scrutiny reveals that the conclusion lacks critical support and therefore we need more evidence to help evaluate the argument.


To start off, we need to know whether the frequency in assigning homework is equal to the amount of homework, or more specifically, the time students are expected to spend on homework. Even though the data reveals that a smaller number of teachers in Marlee assign homework three to five times a week, it is imprudent to assume that students in Marlee are thereby under less pressure than those in Sanlee. It is highly likely that even though teachers in Marlee assign homework less frequently, the formidable difficulty of this homework may cost students more time; it is of equal possibility that while students in Marlee may receive modest amounts of homework from their math and science teachers, such an amount is offset by that assigned by teachers in other subjects. If either of the previous scenarios turns out to be true, then the suggestion to assign homework less frequently is unreasonable. Otherwuse, it is shored up.

Moreover, the author unfairly assumes that students in Marlee generally excel at schoolwork based on overall better grades and less likelihood to repeat a year. However, evidence concerning whether these two factors necessarily represent excellent academic performance, or, indicate a successful education system is needed. If schools in Marlee and Sanlee adopt different, even distinct standards of grading their students, it is not surprising that there would be variations in students’ scores. Additionally, Marlee district school may be attempting to prevent their academic reputation from declining by allowing students with poor academic performance to graduate. Both of these two cases serve to undermine the facts presented by the author as good indicators of students’ excellence at school. If either of these circumstances proves to be true, then there is reason to doubt the validity of students’ academic performance in Marlee. As a result, teachers in Marlee who assign less homework are not an example that we should follow.

Last, we need to know the similarity between the high schools in Marlee to those in Attra. To be more specific, do students in Attra share similar capabilities with those in Marlee? Teachers should be flexible when teaching and assigning homework and may therefore adjust the amount of daily homework, as well as the frequency of giving homework in response to their students’ performance in their homework. If high school students in Attra absorb knowledge at a relatively slow rate but have strong desire to achieve improvement, they might need and even ask for more homework themselves. In such a circumstance, the author’s proposal to assign homework no more than twice a week is not feasible, but theoretical at best. Otherwise, the author’s conclusion will be bolstered.

To draw a conclusion, we need further proof to form a better evaluation of the argument. Only after weighing all of the evidence which serves to weaken the argument as well as those supporting the argument, can we come to a decision about the soundness of this argument.



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