Sorry, Kids: Homework Is Good for You, According to New Research

Homework could be affecting kids' personalities—in a good way. Abid Katib/Getty

The dog just ate all your excuses: A new study shows that homework may make students become better people.

Kids who do their homework diligently tend to be more conscientious than their peers, according to researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany. After-school assignments don't just have academic effects—they also are linked to kids' motivation to do the right thing and work hard.

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"Our results show that homework is not only relevant for school performance, but also for personality development—provided that students put a lot of effort into their assignments," study author Richard Göllner said in a news release.

Researchers drew their conclusions after examining roughly 2,800 students between fifth and eighth grades. At the beginning of every school year, the kids answered questions about whether they gave their best effort on their past 10 homework assignments in math and German. They then reported on how neat and diligent they believed themselves to be.

The study found that kids who said they took their homework seriously were more conscientious, and vice versa.

But how much homework teachers should give students is an age-old debate that's not letting up anytime soon. A Texas teacher went viral in 2016 after sending home a note to parents saying kids should spend their time after school playing outside or eating family dinner, not completing formal assignments. This past July, a superintendent in Marion County, Florida, announced that she was banning homework for all 20,000 elementary school students in her district and instead instructing kids to read for 20 minutes.

Expert conclusions on the subject vary. A 2006 study from Duke University found that older students who did their homework performed better on tests, but a 2014 analysis from Stanford University revealed that kids with too much homework were stressed and sleep-deprived.

"The jury is still out," Mollie Galloway, an associate professor of educational leadership at Lewis and Clark College, recently told the Monitor on Psychology. "There's a focus on assigning homework because [teachers] think it has these positive outcomes for study skills and habits. But we don't know for sure that's the case."

The results from Tübingen will likely only add fuel to the homework discussion. In the meantime, you might want to get out the flash cards.