Thursday, December 11, 2014



IWS Documented News Service


Institute for Workplace Studies-----------------Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor--------------------Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau


This service is supported, in part, by donations. Please consider making a donation by following the instructions at


Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)


Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)


[read online, 4 pages]


Across OECD countries in 2012, 15-year-old students reported that they spend almost five hours per week doing homework, one hour less per week than the average reported in 2003. Most time spent on homework is in Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Romania, the Russian Federation and Singapore, where students reported that they spend seven hours or more per week, on average, while in Shanghai-China, students reported that they spend 14 hours per week, on average. By contrast, students in Finland and Korea reported that they spend less than three hours per week doing homework.

Socioeconomic gap

In every country and economy that took part in PISA 2012, socio-economically advantaged students spend more time doing homework or other study required by their teachers than disadvantaged students. In OECD countries, an advantaged student typically spends 1.6 more hours a week doing homework than a disadvantaged student: advantaged students spend an average of 5.7 hours per week, while disadvantaged students spend an average of 4.1 hours per week. The difference in homework time between advantaged and disadvantaged students is highest in Italy at 4 hours, and also large, at 3.5 hours or more, in Bulgaria, Romania, Shanghai-China and Chinese Taipei. (This data in Excel via the Statlink under the graphic on page 2 entitled “Advantaged students spend more time doing homework”)

According to OECD Education Director Andreas Schleicher, all of this has an impact on student performance. Students who spend more time doing homework tend to score higher in the PISA mathematics test. In fact, PISA results show that the net payoff in mathematics performance from attending a school where more homework is assigned, in general, is particularly large – 17 score points (the equivalent of nearly 6 months of schooling) or more per extra hour of homework – in Hong Kong-China, Japan, Macao-China and Singapore.

The report says that one way to make sure that homework doesn’t perpetuate differences in performance that are related to students’ socio-economic status is for schools and teachers to encourage struggling and disadvantaged students to complete their homework. This could involve providing facilities at school so that disadvantaged students have a quiet, comfortable place to work, and/or offering to help parents motivate their children to finish their homework before going out with friends or surfing the web.

The 4-page report is available at

If you want to speak to someone on this, do contact Francesca Borgonovi of the PISA team at

A good way to keep informed about the monthly release of PISA in Focus and all the other OECD reports and data on education is to follow the dedicated twitter channel at



This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.










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