Boarding scholars have set time periods, in which they have to work, if not, they are punished. Day scholars on the other hand do not have these strict rules when it comes to working. Day scholars also have many distractions to face. At boarding school the teachers know that the students have this dedicated time to work and therefore set a decent amount of work for these students. At day school the teachers are more lenient with the work load placed on the students. At home the students are more likely to get help from their parents or siblings meaning they do not work as hard as the boarding student who cannot ask questions during these strict homework times. I speak from experience when saying this (8 years as a day scholar and 4 as a boarding student).
I have attended boarding school and day school; I believe that day scholars work just as hard as boarding scholars, if not harder. In my experience, boarding school allowed for a specific time for studies to be done; but all other time was of our own free choice. Many students became involved in sports and productions, the time required for these were allowed to be taken from the study time, I saw this is day school as well. However, students at day school have many more obligations outside of their education. I am speaking specifically about teenagers who may have jobs, volunteer, sports, night school, church activities and other activities. These students are required to set their own schedules and learn to manage their time effectively to ensure their school work is done well. Boarding school students have set schedules that they do not manage themselves, they do not gain the ability to manage their time as effectively and do not have to work around events or activities.
Yes, there may be a few kids who can manage their out of school activities with their school work to end up working harder. But is rare. Now speaking from personal experience, when I was a day scholar to start off with the teachers did not set nearly as much homework because we had less time to work due to these out of school factors. Our working times were not regulated, some students had sport then karate and then music lessons leaving no time for school work. The teachers then set homework accordingly to busiest persons schedule, meaning the person who didn't have all the extra-curriculum activities never lifted a finger. Whereas at boarding school the daily schedules of each individual allow for a strict working time (in my case 6:15-9:30 including small breaks), this then forces the students to work for these allotted hours. The teachers also then know that that have to full up these hours with work and therefore set a lot of homework.
Now onto the quality of work: When I was in day school the quality of work that we produced was not up to par, mainly because of distractions (i.e TV and cellphones). Due to that the work would be rushed and often not done. The excuses to the teachers would flow freely(because they would have no idea if it was the truth or not) whereas at boarding school the working time is working time! If one was caught on their cellphone or talking it is punishable.
Another factor which influences this is: parents, siblings and friends doing the work for them resulting in less of the work sinking in! Boarding school demands you to try think it through and solve the problem yourself before consulting a friend or teacher, resulting in more work being done.
It is not a teachers responsibility to set homework based on a students out of school schedule; teachers set homework they deem appropriate for their classes and the subjects. If a student has many activities outside of school, the teacher does not always know this. Just because a student has a set schedule they must in does not mean they are working any harder or they are producing better quality work. It simply demonstrates that they have a set routine; while students who do not have that set routine can do the exact same quality of work in a shorter amount of time.
In my experience of boarding school and day school, there was no difference in the amount of work being set or us, it was whatever we had not finished in class in addition to a poster project, an essay, etc. It was not mountains of work. It was a matter of how long it took you. The amount of work set does not equal how hard you are working. Day scholars and boarding scholars submit work to the best quality they can. If two students are submitting the exact same assignment, the quality of one that was worked on for 12 hours can be a lot worse than the quality of the one that was worked on for two hours. Does that demonstrate that one student worked any harder than the other? Not at all, it simply shows that quality is not dependent on how much time is spent working on a project.
Having the parents and friends available as a resource is valuable to many students; these resources provide a source to learn from and work through an assignment, they allow a student to develop extra skills regarding team work and knowing when to ask for help. Having the ability to work independently is important, but knowing when you need help and seeking the appropriate help is more important as life is not about being an island of one.