Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Students need help and homework is the answer

If I was asked whether I wanted another assignment in my course, my answer might surprise other college students. 

Assignments, especially the reading and homework students are asked to complete, are the dread of many college students. No one jumps at the chance to read a 10-page PDF of Socrates’ writings or to complete three hours’ worth of online math equations a week. 

I’ve never heard anyone say, “Please tell me we’ll be writing another lengthy research paper this week!”

Despite this, homework and out-of-class assignments should be given more.

Homework is difficult. Most of the time, we’d rather be hanging out with friends or catching up on sleep. Hardly anyone would deny that they would rather not have anything to do — even someone who loves their job. 

It’s only natural that college students, who are supposed to be living out the best years of their lives, feel the same when their instructor posts a new assignment to Canvas.

Something I’ve come to realize, though, is college students need more work and assignments, both in and out of the classroom.

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln study found that student retention of course content increased if the professor administered consistent assignments rather than a more flexible assignment schedule.

Nearly everyone has experienced that class where the instructor only gives a midterm and final. You spend the semester worrying that you’ll flunk the exams. When you study, you have no idea what to expect or how the instructor grades. At the end of the day, there’s nothing else you can do to bring your grade up.

No one wants to be caught in that situation.

Students need more grades. They need to practice course material, and the classroom only allows students to meet and do so for a few hours a week. 

It’s not nearly enough time to learn, and actually remember, everything. 

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

I remember when I started to learn Italian last semester in ITL 101. I expected to show up to class and learn a few phrases or vocabulary words a day and have them mastered. When I took the first exam a few weeks into the class, I learned a hard truth: I needed to put in more effort to pass.

Thankfully, my professor assigned readings with review activities for each class. Students in the class practiced writing sentences to read aloud. We recorded ourselves speaking Italian to get pointers on pronunciation and grammar.

At the end of the semester, I felt confident in my study habits and the concepts of the course, and I found myself with an “A” on the final. It’s because of that class and its heavier workload that I no longer view assignments as a hassle. I see them as an opportunity to improve my knowledge and boost my confidence in what I’m learning. 

Michael Luke, a visiting assistant professor of political science, believes students can benefit from a healthy amount of homework.

“The assignments serve a purpose and people are getting something out of it that they can’t get out of doing the reading,” Luke said. “Making assignments that are more creative and critical in their thinking can help push students.”

We need more learning. We need more growth outside of the classroom and the chance to explore the content in depth. 

Not only can additional assignments bolster our grades, but they can also bolster our self-confidence and our ability to succeed at Miami and beyond.

Riley Crabtree is a sophomore double-majoring in journalism and political science. She’s from Jackson, Ohio, and has been with The Miami Student for two years.