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The Pacer

Workload overload

Rmhs students experience heavy amount of stress during school

Adam Schwartz, Staff Writer

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There are seven hours and twenty minutes in the average school day. However, when you add up all the hours spent doing homework, studying and writing outside of school, the school day extends another one to five hours depending on the night.

The workload students are getting is increasing, along with their stress. Homework, essays, exams and high stake testing all pile up on a student’s plate. The workload is becoming extreme, and something needs to change for the benefit of students health.

A lot of students face stressful amounts of homework every night. In a study conducted by Stanford University, 70 percent of students said they were stressed out by homework, with 56 percent listing homework as the primary source of stress.

The stress can cause severe problems. The stress from schoolwork causes 30 percent of teens to have at least one episode of severe depression, as well as 50 to 75 percent of adolescents with anxiety, impulse control, and hyperactivity disorders, develop them during the teenage years. These problems can follow teens out of adolescence and into adulthood if these problems go untreated.

It’s not just the homework that is troubling teens, but it is also the increasing amount of high stakes testing that students are facing in high school. In some cases, it can be worse for the mental health of adolescents than regular schoolwork.

   In a study done at Cornell University, students who were facing the pressure of a high-stakes exam were tested against those who weren’t. They found that the students facing the exam performed worse on the cognitive tasks compared to the control group. MRI scans revealed that the students studying for the exam experienced reduced cooperation between the parts of the brain responsible for thinking and reasoning. The stress from the exam caused their brains to become overwhelmed.

   While homework certainly causes stress in teens, this is not to say that homework and tests do not benefit students at all. Homework helps students develop responsibility, time management, perseverance, and self-esteem, which are all qualities that will help teenagers later on in life.

   Not only does homework help build important life skills, but students who regularly complete homework assignments typically achieve higher test scores than students who don’t. There are a lot of benefits to giving homework, and homework should not be removed fully, but rather we adjust the workload given to students.

   Where the line gets blurred is the quality of homework that is given to students. In the same Stanford study, students mentioned that some of the homework they were given was seen as pointless or mindless. The purpose of homework should be to advance students learning, not to give the busy work. We should make a conscious effort to improve the quality of our homework.

   Another problem is the among the teachers. Many students face the problem of getting many hours of homework from different classes, as well as many big tests in the same week or day. With more communication between teachers on coordinating tests and coursework, the work could be more evenly distributed so there is less stress on the students. This might not be easy to do, but the convenience of the teachers should not come at the expense of the student’s well-being.

The work facing students is increasing, with most students trying to figure out how to handle their coursework along with extracurricular activities and activities outside of school. It’s time we see a change before the work starts to affect the health of students.

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The online edition of the award-winning student newspaper at Rolling Meadows High School
Workload overload