The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
2 Points

Reduce homework, lengthen schooltime

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/30/2012 Category: Education
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,485 times Debate No: 27532
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (2)




Resolved: It would, on balance, be beneficial to reduce the amount of homework given in conjunction with an extension to the school day [see model below].

Proposal: Have a strong reduction in homework, lengthen school to a 9-5 length day.


The debate shall adhere to the following structure:

Round 1: Acceptance, Rules, Resolution / Model Outline and Definitions
Round 2: Opening Statements, No Rebuttals (see below on this)
Round 3: New Arguments and Rebuttals
Round 4: Rebuttals and Closing Statements (No new arguments)

The only rules I insists upon are the following, but I will accept any reasonable clarifications or amendments my opponent might choose to provide in Round 1, although clarification prior to acceptance is preferred.

Arguments and source citations must appear within the four rounds of this debate only. Arguments and citations may not appear in offsite links, other debates, forums, or comments.

Dropped arguments are not concessions. Arguments should be seen as whole units from opening to closing statements.

Although R2 is not to be used for rebuttals, it is possible that my opponent’s arguments may lend themselves to countering mine naturally. This is allowed as it’s not a rebuttal per se. What I don’t want to see is a line by line refutation in round 2.

All words are to take their standard definition. The only matter is what constitutes homework. A discussion of this is under the model outline section.

To voters, please judge this debate based on this debate and not upon preconceptions you may have.

Model Outline / Resolutional Matters

While R1 is not for arguing, it’s critical to discuss the resolution and precisely what we’re debating on this contentious issue. Let me outline a few things that are to be taken as given barring reasonable amendments in round 1.


This debate is not limited to the US only. Also, the debate focuses primarily on a high school context as we might make exceptions for kindergarten students for instance.


I divide homework into 2 categories:

1. Assignments / assessments / major projects
2. Worksheets, maths exercises etc.

We are discussing the elimination of type 2. Type 1 still exists, although in a perhaps reduced manner. The extended school day enables more learning (vs. homework) ; Con can dispute this if he wishes later.

Timing / School logistics

Logistics, on the school level, is not meant to be a crucial issue in this debate – bureaucrats could probably resolve this matter. However, the school day would be reworked to accommodate a 9-5. My proposal is as follows:

To accommodate the 2 hour extension to the school day an additional 20 minutes of rest / break, in the vein of lunch or morning tea, would be added. This would be added to the 20 minute morning tea and 40 minute lunch break typically found in schools (no negotiation on this – this is to be accepted) . That totals 80 minutes. Students retain their 40 minute lunch. 2 other 40 minute blocks would be scheduled into the day – one near the end of the day, one near the start. Students would choose which time block they wish to spend their free time (like choosing an elective; it’s a choice for the same duration that the same subjects are kept) in (40 minutes), and be in class for the other 40; yes, classes aside from this one retain their usual one hour length.

Why the complexity? If students choose to have their free time in the later 40 minutes block, after all other classes, then they could leave school during this break. This is to accommodate extra-curricular activities and the like. More on this in round 2.

A clarification

To clear up 2 uncertainties from my previous debate, teaching will be as normal from 9-5 as per the model outline. On the scope, I’d prefer this remain to higher years where it’s more applicable – homework reduction + school extension doesn’t work if there’s no homework to reduce, as with younger students! However, I’ll say that all students go from 9-5. However, the amount of free time would be greater for younger students because the homework reduction associated with increased school time does not exist for them; this time is transferred to free time. Let’s not get bogged down on logistics though if possible.

Weighing mechanisms

This is up for contention, to a point. One judges education reform based on what educational end (or ends) are desired. It is the debaters place to forward these ends, and have the voters judge policies as per which end they believe encapsulates the goal of education, or should encapsulate such a goal. The greatest overall good resulting from these policies is to be preferred when judging.
More in later rounds if need be.

A quick note on sourcing

Some among you will have noted that some sections of this are eerily similar to this thread’s OP Before people scream plagiarism, I am that thread’s author. This idea had it’s genesis from and I will later be borrowing on a quote from YYW in that thread (which I was a contributor to). Aside from not having to source these repeatedly, I’d recommend the audience read these threads for their own education (mind the pun) , especially the latter one.

Also, I have done a partial debate on the subject, so I'll be using my round 2 arguments from

I thank whoever my opponent may be for this debate for agreeing to debate this subject. Let’s have an intellectually rigorous debate on this subject (I myself am undecided personally) and be civil and convivial. Voters, please read the debate in full and judge appropriately; we are in your debt for taking the time to read this debate readers.


I would like to thank Logic_on_rails for the opportunity to participate in this debate.

This will be my first debate using this forum and I have only limited "formal" debate experience, but I will do my best to offer an entertaining debate.

Debate is Accepted.

I am comfortable with limiting the scope of this debate to High-School (roughly ages 15-18). I believe that the intent is clear, no need to muddy the waters and waste our time by incorporating younger age-groups that obviously won"t fit this model exactly.
International is fine, I will admit to an incredibly limited knowledge of the differences in High School education abroad, but it seems that this is a more a debate of theory than exact practice, so that shouldn"t be a major issue.

I accept your general designation of the 2 categories of Homework although I think we should clarify that we will need to debate the necessity of both Type 1 and Type 2. (Not just Type 2)

I need for you to more clearly define the terms of a "Current School Day", Hours/General Breakdown/Start-Time/ETC. before we begin so that I may make the necessary adjustments in my logic/arguments. I want us to be discussing comparable school-days. For example, When I was in High School, School Hours were 8am-3pm. A comparable lengthening of the School Day if I understand you correctly would be an 8-4 school day with a reduction in homework? Please Clarify.

Other than that I"m excited to begin my first debate.
I will attempt to be as genuine and straight-forward as possible. I will attempt to offer arguments that I believe could be supported by rational persons acting rationally.

Debate Round No. 1


My thanks to Bull_Diesel for his acceptance. I hope for an intelligent, interesting debate. Now, to clarify some matters:

The American and Australian education systems differ (clearly more than originally envisaged) , but the core idea is the same - the time spent doing homework is reduced; this is spent at school. On specifics:

Proposed school day: 9-5, 80 minutes of this are a break in effect; how these 80 minutes operate is clearly outlined in R1.

Current school day (in Australia): About 9-3 with 60 minutes break; schools may operate say 9-3:10 as mine does, but the minutae is not our concern.

Con, treat this like an extension from 8-3 to 8-4. However, part of the proposal is 9-5 because it matches up with the typical workers day. I will have to rely on assumptions like US students receiving less homework on a daily basis (more time at school daily) and a working day being 9-5 in the US.

I apologise for confusion - education systems are different. To arguments; they apply to nearly any similar extension.

Con, if problems are still present let's sort it out in the comments, not the debate.

Massed vs. Spaced Presentation

One of education’s main goals is for students to retain what they learn at school – we ought to prefer systems which result in greater retention of knowledge as it’s a goal for education. A good test score due to cramming, with the student later forgetting such knowledge is sub-optimal vs. a lower test score yet greater memory retention.

How does this relate to the resolution? Being in school encourages spaced presentation, which results in better memory retention.

This is all about the ‘spacing effect’ [1]. This effect details how humans more easily learn / remember things when studied a few times over a longer period of time (spaced presentation) as opposed to repeated study in a shorter timespan (massed presentation). However, and this is key - "the benefit of spaced presentations does not appear at short retention intervals; that is, at short retention intervals, massed presentation lead to better memory performance than spaced presentations" . SeeGreene, R.L. (1989). Spacing effects in memory: Evidence for a two-process account. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 15(3), 371-377.

School via timetabling tends to promote spaced presentation – lessons are not put back to back to back for the same subject. However, many students might do a mass of homework for a subject in one go because a) Their schedule promotes that, b) They remember as they go (ie. Ex 1. Is a prerequisite for Ex 2. And so remembering Ex 1 helps with Ex 2) along with other reasons. Essentially, students will tend to group together clumps of related homework and do them in go, which is more a form of massed presentation than spaced presentation. Ergo, school, by encouraging spaced presentation under the proposed model through putting ‘homework’ in class time in effect, is preferable.

Homework vs. Instruction

On homework briefly:

Much homework is sub-optimal, which can't be helped. Some homework is good but a student doesn't realise it. Some homework is simply beneficial. The issue in evaluating the value of homework is what students do outside of school - for some capable people homework is restrictive; many are just wasting their youth on trivialities; homework is good, no matter it's sub-optimal state, for these people.

Textbooks are instructional to a point. However, a teacher’s guidance + a textbook is superior. If a student doesn’t understand their textbook’s example (say, maths) when doing an exercise (the type of homework being restricted) then they will perform sub-optimally (ie. Very short answers to written questions), waste an inordinate amount of time doing the exercise (vs. doing the exercise then something else productive) or they’ll copy the answers. Some of those are diametrically opposite, but that reflects the student’s beliefs being different.

A student at school will seek guidance from a teacher when stuck, eliminating time wastage (‘inordinate’). They will have greater difficulty copying answers due to teacher supervision. They will be pushed to perform optimally not just by the teacher, but by peers – iron sharpens iron is just as true in education.


Streamlining students and workers to the same timetable reduces things like day care costs somewhat, debases tuition costs (private tutoring that is) and ensures maximal use of public transport on a wider basis (many buses and trains around school time are less cramped than during peak hours) .

More importantly though, parents can work for longer. There’s less concern for parents to be at home, supervising their children, if they can trust that their child is safe and productive at school, vs. potentially the converse at home.

Reduction in general mischief

It’s a fact – youth disproportionately commit crimes. “A comparison of the proportion of total offenders who were aged 10–24 in 2009–10 (48%) with the proportion of the general population who were aged 10–24 in Australia as at December 2009 (23%), clearly shows the higher proportion of young people in the offender population (graph S13.1).” [2] What do youth have that adults have? A disproportionate amount of unallocated free time, which combined with various rebellious impulses and hormones results in crimes being committed. See the graph in the link for a visual explanation of the aforementioned.

A solid school environment and a reduction in this poorly utilised free time (crime is a poor use of time with regards to the collective) will reduce crime. Furthermore, additional schooling increases the ability to get messages out to avoid drugs and the like. Government messages have been effective at reducing drug use, such as smoking [3] [4]. Education is cited as one of the main reasons for this decline in smoking. If we can combat smoking then a more effective message through a safe, controlled environment like school will also reduce illicit drug use, and legal, yet harmful drug use. Longer school hours can help achieve this through better education.

Working mindset / Lack of agrarian workforce currently

Why did the US and many other countries originally adopt a 9-3 style of schooling? Why did the, now rather ludicrous, idea of summer vacation eventuate in the US? The reason that this occurred was that the US was formerly an agrarian society – children of agrarian society left school to go work in the field at home. Now we have no such demand on our time other than school.

Let me quote YYW from the second link last round:

Children must be taught the importance of self discipline, the necessity of a strong work ethic and the importance of maximized productivity from birth. I'm not saying that kids should be pushed into the fields or factories, but rather suggesting that all the time wasted in the summer months is the opportunity cost of greater preparation for college, for grad school, for work and for life.

Granted, this debate isn’t about summer vacation, but why not have children work as their parents do? It instills the values of work, the value of free time, presents social mischief (see earlier) and gives children and teenagers a greater appreciation of their parents duties and workload, which increases familial harmony.

This mindset in beneficial for future productivity – another goal of education.


Encouraging spaced presentation, increasing available instructional assistance, reducing cost, a reduction in crime and social mischief, the development of a working mindset and familial harmony are all good reasons to extend the school day.

I eagerly await my opponent’s response.




Burden of Proof
My Burden of Proof is to prove that greatly reducing the amount of homework given [to High School students] in favor of increasing/setting the length of the school day from 9am to 5 pm does not provide sufficient increased benefit to society or the students to justify making said change.

Con Case
My case will address several factors that strongly oppose the outright reduction of homework as well as opposing the imposition of a 9 to 5 school day (increased). These are not rebuttals to Pro’s Case but arguments that in themselves oppose great reduction in homework & lengthening of school day.

School Day Length

  • Lengthening the school day will ultimately detract from the extra-curricular activities that Students can participate in, both by directly decreasing the amount of overall time available for those activities and by decreasing the viability of participating in activities.
    • § Reduced daylight hours available, shortened leisure hours available for decompression from the now lengthened school day, less time to complete homework and more importantly study for examinations, less time and less prime hours available to obtain and work an after-school job.
    • o It is important to the end of educational and social development that extra-curricular activities be a part of a student’s daily or weekly routine. Participation in extra-curricular activities yields better development social and intellectually.

Benefits of participating in extracurricular activities included having better grades, having higher standardized test scores and higher educational attainment, attending school more regularly, and having higher a higher self-concept. Participants in out-of-school activities often learned skills such as teamwork and leadership while decreasing the likelihood of alcohol use and illicit drug use and related problem behaviors. Those who participate in out-of-school activities often have higher grade point averages, a decrease in absenteeism, and an increased connectedness to the school. (Wilson, U. Wisconsin-Stout, 2009) [1]

Homework Guidelines

  • Homework is a necessary tool of education. By extension, reductions in Homework will hamper ability to fully develop and achieve the best level of education & should be seen as a failure on the part of the education system.

  • There are several components of homework that are valuable in themselves, both educationally and socially

  1. 1. Preparation

“Homework teaches pupils to take responsibility for their tasks and prepare for life after school. Homework prepares pupils for their next stage in life”.

2. Scheduling

“Homework is a way to organize time. It is also a way for teachers to organize their lessons to include appraisal of homework and testing. Homework is also part of organizing one’s free time”.

3. Control and assessment

“The teacher assesses work done by assigning tasks followed by appraisal and testing. This helps a teacher to monitor a pupil’s development”.

4. Love and care

“Homework contributes to family members helping each other.”

5. Identity and status

“Homework is a sign of a pupil’s identity and acknowledgement that a child is now “big enough” to take responsibility for one’s schoolwork. It also gives status to a particular subject. When a pupil gets homework to do in a particular subject, that subject gets more respect”.

6. Community and contact

“Homework serves to improve communication between teacher and parents”.

7. Work performance

Hellsten’s conclusion is that a pupil’s work done in school is not seen as a task carried out. (Hellsten 1997 as cited by Dennis, Malmö högskola, Lärarutbildningen, 2007) [3]

  • Homework teaches responsibility and offers a sense of achievement

“[H]omework for pupils is an integral part of the working methodology of the school. To teach pupils to take responsibility for a task suited to their individual capabilities were an important part of character building which the school is responsible to provide” (Skolöverstyrelsen, 1980 p 50). It even pointed out that homework should be used to give pupils the opportunity for revision and practice, important methods of learning that serve to secure knowledge intake of knowledge and the learning of skills. (Skolöverstyrelsen as cited by [3], 2007) [3]

  • The type of homework assigned is critical. Homework in itself as a tool or an institution cannot be held responsible for the failure of teachers or ‘the system’ to assign meaningful and useful homework.
  • Subject influences effectiveness of Homework

Homework can be assigned in several ways. Research has shown that the most effective way is to assign homework daily. In the USA, more research has been carried out than in other countries. In his book, The Battle over Homework (2001), Harris Cooper summarizes 120 studies on homework. ….Studies carried out on older children [high school] show that homework has a greater effect on their ability to learn but that ability varies depending on the subject. For example, in math, the difference in performance between those who had done their homework and those who had not, was very little, while greater differences could be seen in subjects in the areas of social science and language. The latter areas are areas that demand more factual and repetitive learning on the part of the pupil. [3]

  • Students whose parents have achieved a higher level of educational success do more homework than students with parents of less educational accomplishment. This is representative of the value of homework, those who have attained greater education require greater time spent doing homework from their offspring, an obvious endorsement of the institution.

    On an average day, 39 percent of high school students whose parent(s) had less than a bachelor’s degree did homework, compared with 52 percent of those with a parent who had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

In addition to being more likely to do homework on an average day, high school students whose parent(s) had higher educational attainment spent more time, on average, doing homework. Twenty-four percent of students with a parent holding a bachelor’s degree or higher spent 2 or more hours doing homework, compared with 13 percent of those whose parent(s) held less than a bachelor’s degree. (Allard, Monthly Labor Review, 2008) [2]

Homework: memory/motivation

  • Homework is an integral part of the process of committing learned lessons to memory.

...homework assignments [review] what has been done in the classroom is beneficial to associate what is being learned to what is already known.[when] based on things that people have already mastered, it is easier to store knowledge in one’s memory. ...assignments which are not too difficult provide better motivation and pupils feel motivated if they can manage an assignment and the risk of failure is small. [3]


A 9-5 school day will harm students by decreasing time to participate in extra-curricular activities (sports, clubs, jobs, volunteer/community work, decompression, educational leisure) that are key to students’ development.
Homework is an integral part of the educational process and offers a number of benefits to Students, Teachers, and Parents/Families. The decrease and or elimination of Homework coupled with the lengthening of the school day does not provide sufficient added benefit to students or to society to justify making a change to the current school day and education model (it in fact would be harmful to students’ education).


  1. 1.
  2. 2.
  3. 3.

Debate Round No. 2


My thanks to Bull Diesel for his response.

Before I begin rebuttals and my arguments I’d just like to remind readers of arguments that I presented in R2 that haven’t been countered. These points were cost, reduction in general mischief and my working mindset / lack of agrarian workforce points. Granted, the rules themselves disallowed direct rebuttal (!), but it’s important to note these extensions – they are all important points. Con had best rebut them this round lest they be considered dropped by myself and readers.

This leaves my other points – memory retention and homework vs. instruction somewhat up for discussion, as well as my opponent’s arguments which centre on the length of the school day, the components of homework and memory / motivation.

Let’s go to the arguments – Con’s then a focus on mine.

School day length

Con’s first point is that increasing the school day will put pressure on the time available for extracurricular activities. His second point is that reductions in homework have negative consequences. His choice of my poison makes no sense – either there’s more time allocated to homework (this is incorporated into the extra school hours) under my model and pressure is put on extracurricular activities or there’s less time spent on homework despite these hours and there’s more time for extracurricular activities. He can’t run both points simultaneously. If the net amount of homework is the same then these points both don’t apply and things stay the same.

That is... aside from all the other benefits of the scheme, particularly memory retention, which we’ll touch on later. Also, there’s actually extra time for extracurricular activities given no change in the time spent on homework, should the student organise their day appropriately. What am I talking about?

Under the current model lunch, recess and all other breaks occur at set times – they are immovable to the student; it is bad luck if you’d like to sacrifice a break at school for an equivalent amount of time outside school – you can’t. Under my model, as readers may recall, you can. Recall in R1 how we had 80 minutes of break built into the day, and how 40 was automatically set aside for lunch. That left 40 minutes which students could elect to have at the start or the end of the day. If they chose the day’s end then they could leave school at the start of that break. So, in terms of time which students can utilise freely (hint: free time) , my model provides 20 minutes extra for extracurricular activities notwithstanding any changes in the amount of homework. Of course, if Con argues for a change in homework amount (the extra time ought to cancel out the reduction) then he gets to drink the associated poison.

The value of homework

Con painstakingly lays out the case for homework and it’s benefits. It’s a formidable case. What’s the issue with it? The case applies very strongly for work done at school as well! Indeed, many points for homework are made stronger when it is done at school. Let’s take a look.

On Con’s list of 7 points:

On preparation, school also prepares students. On scheduling, school more formally schedules a student’s time than they do at home – there’s less drifting and procrastination. On control and assessment, it is far easier to assess students and control them when they are there under a teacher’s eye than at home! On love and care, homework can promote this, but it can harm as well – parents get frustrated at the school for impinging on their free time. From his 3rd article: “In the worst cases, children who fare less well in tests based on homework, get more homework to do. Peter Frost concludes that many children suffer from the effects of homework: it causes much conflict in the home” . See above for why my model grants more free time for family time. Identity and status: Con says homework promotes a subject’s importance; so does more lessons and homework done in school. On community, homework may promote contact between teacher and parent, but work at school promotes teacher-student bonds. It’s a null impact. On work performance, children may carry out other tasks they deem more important than homework in the additional free time they have.

Con then discusses how homework ought to be given out and how students whose parents have greater educational success do more homework. It’s a good educational lesson, but Con doesn’t specify how it makes homework done at home better. Then homework is given out at the same intervals, and it’s done in a spaced manner (spaced presentation is better than massed presentation) . As to educationally minded parents encouraging the completion of homework being beneficial, I couldn’t agree more. Parents without the right mindset can affect their children’s future. That’s why we need trained professionals in the field of education – teachers – to instill this mindset. Teachers also have more time, and incentive (they are getting paid) to do this as opposed to parents. Hence, my model actually encourages children from worse backgrounds to do more of their homework (and get the benefits) as per Con’s logic.

Memory retention and homework

Con is 100% right to say that homework reviews what is done in the classroom and that this review is beneficial. I couldn’t agree more, but again, Con’s points don’t argue for his model. They’re applicable to both.

Now, as to when and where this review is done in, as well as the emotional state of mind, that’s a completely different thing – there are differences between home and school.

In R2 I outlined how spaced presentation was superior to massed presentation for memory retention purposes, and how school promoted spaced presentation by virtue of the lessons being spaced out on the timetable. Indeed, school forces spaced presentation vs. the massed presentation of the home. This point was completely ignored by Con (he couldn’t rebut last round though) and is critical to my case.

But it doesn’t end there for memory retention.

I recently read Memory by Jonathan K. Foster (first published 2009), one of OUP’s fascination very short introductions. To quote one part: “Other things being equal, we tend to remember information better if we are in a similar physical context and emotional state at the time we wish to retrieve information as we were in at the time we were exposed to that information.” School is more akin to work than the home environment, so as per a more similar physical context we remember better. This is specified in the encoding specificity principle. Also, the emotional state at school is more constant than at home, more like work. This again promotes better memory retention as the retrieval cue matches memories better. This sort of logic strongly explains why we can’t remember dreams – the physical context is different, our emotional state different and our physiological state are also different.

To recap, homework done at school is done in a manner of spaced presentation. This is superior for memory retention. Furthermore, recall is strengthened by a similar emotional state and physical context, which happens when learning is conducted more strongly in a given place, such as school. Memory is strengthened tremendously by shifting homework to school time.

Homework vs. Instruction

This wasn’t considered ‘not attacked’ , but it was close to that.

As said in R2, teachers can assist if homework is moved into school time. At home a student may waste time aimlessly, not learn the content as well, or worse cheat or copy answers if they can. Teacher supervision prevents cheating, assists in learning content and reduces time wasted. Professional instruction is beneficial for students vs. self learning in many cases.


Con must refute the points of this round + those of mine unscathed of mine by his R2 (in part as per the rules). Con has much work to do.



Thanks again to Logic_on_rails.

Let’s make this short and sweet.

First point:

Pro , The Instigator of this debate, determined his resolution and the rules for this debate.

Pro has attacked me for not rebutting his arguments in my Second Round. Readers will recall the rules, as provided by Pro.

Round 1: Acceptance, Rules, Resolution / Model Outline and Definitions
Round 2: Opening Statements, No Rebuttals (see below on this)
Round 3: New Arguments and Rebuttals
Round 4: Rebuttals and Closing Statements (No new arguments)

It is my opinion that in the spirit of debate we should follow the rules set by the instigator, criticizing me for not attacking his round two arguments with my round two arguments (which is clearly outlawed by the instigator) is not very sporting and is an outright misinterpretation of his own rules. This is likely an attempt to distract readers from my argument and its merits and cast doubt among readers as to the competency and validity of my arguments.

Know this, my Burden of Proof is ONLY to prove that the Benefits of maintaining the status quo with regard to the current school day/homework model sufficiently outweigh the benefits of extending the school day and simultaneously decreasing homework assigned. I need not refute every one of pro’s arguments (

My arguments in Round Two were meant simply to show the merits of Homework and the potential consequences of adding time to the school day.

With regard to Pro’s rebuttal of my arguments:

Pro’s argument and rebuttal seems much more concerned with my inability to attack him and his policies than with stressing the merits of his own. Consider some of the guidelines written by Pro:

Dropped arguments are not concessions.

Logistics, on the school level, is not meant to be a crucial issue in this debate.

The greatest overall good resulting from these policies is to be preferred when judging.

School Day:
Pro has attacked my evidence and claims regarding length of school day. He has stated several times that logistics are not the primary concern of this debate, yet he continues to retreat to the intricately laid-out School day model, supporting his claims and attacking mine by arguing logistics.

It is not necessary to get bogged down in major details in this debate. Readers are challenged to consider the implications worldwide of imposing extra school hours, no matter how they are spent.

On Pro’s rebuttal of my ‘Merits of Homework’ argument:


It does not make sense for Pro to argue that we should reduce homework yet imply that homework can still be assigned as schoolwork. This is a waste of resources and is largely impractical. On that note, we will quickly address some additional arguments.


School Systems in many parts of the world, including the United States of America, struggle to fund their departments and their staff as is. With a nominal increase of even one hour to the School Day, we would see Teachers laid-off because School Boards could not afford to maintain their already meager budgets with an increase of roughly 5 to 6 additional man-hours paid per employee. This would send hourly employees into overtime and would add additional unpaid work hours to salaried professors’ already gruesome worked hours vs. pay ratio.

Teachers will become increasingly dis-satisfied with their work and will either voluntarily leave the workforce in favor of other jobs or will provide a lower standard of service to students or their performance will suffer because of the exhaustion of an increased workload on already poor salary.

Also: More teachers cannot be hired because of budget constraints, which means that Pro’s argument regarding the benefit of School Teachers assisting with ‘homework’ (school work) means an unreasonable student/teacher ratio in most schools. (Not Plausible)

It is my hope that readers will consider the simplicity of this debate. My burden of proof is not to disprove that school is good, it is only to prove that maintaining the status quo is better than making an unreasonable and less than pragmatic change.

Homework offers benefits as does the school day at its current length. Neither need be changed.

Debate Round No. 3


My thanks to Bull Diesel for his response. Before going to arguments I’d like to address questions regarding conduct.

It is true that I said Con had not attacked my R2 arguments; a prompt for R3 counters, as well as reminding readers that the arguments existed; the attention span of readers can be short. And, it’s not like I didn’t mention the rules! To quote last round:

Granted, the rules themselves disallowed direct rebuttal (!), but it’s important to note these extensions – they are all important points. Con had best rebut them this round lest they be considered dropped by myself and readers.

That’s not unfair conduct. Nevertheless, the reader can decide on this issue. On logistics, if Con decides to attack on the grounds of time (extracurricular activities) then I can recourse to my model to refute such attacks. I do admit that I should have defined logistics, point conceded, but I don’t think my conduct merits the loss of the conduct point. I tried to pre-empt ideas like ‘the government would have to issue a new transport policy to deal with the increased strain during peak hour, which...’, essentially, implementation issues. Just the sort that result in the US using the imperial system of measurement. I digress.

Let’s go to arguments.

School Day

Con doesn’t refute my points here. Last round I pointed out how the poisons less homework and less freetime can’t apply, giving extensive analysis as per my model; I showed how students got more free time assuming the same amount of homework given! Now, as to whether homework is terribly different from schoolwork, that’s a different matter [see below], but Con hasn’t differentiated between the 2 in terms of benefits. I have - I’ve talked about memory retention - the spacing effect, the encoding specificity principle as exemplified by state dependent and context dependent effects, teacher instruction etc. This is all improved by moving things into schooltime, as I’ve stressed this debate.

The Merits of Homework

Con says “It does not make sense for Pro to argue that we should reduce homework yet imply that homework can still be assigned as schoolwork. This is a waste of resources and is largely impractical.” That’s begging the question... it’s what this debate is about!

In R2 Con laid out reasons why homework was beneficial. I countered by noting that homework put into schooltime (hence the longer day) still retained these benefits, while adding some – teacher instruction, stronger student-teacher bonds. I talked about how homework causes familial conflict, as supported by Peter Frost. Con has not discussed how the benefits of homework are greater than the benefits of this homework in school time as ‘schoolwork’ . I have, as aforementioned and detailed last round.

Reduction in General Mischief

Extended. A solid school environment reduces the disproportionately high amount of youth crime for the reasons discussed in R2, such as empirical evidence showing how governments reduce harmful drug use, with education being cited as one of the main factors for smoking’s decline being one. Refer to R2.

Working Mindset / Lack of Agrarian Workfroce Currently

Extended. The school day was made 9-3 because societies were agrarian. They are not agrarian currently. Furthermore, instilling the values of work is important. Why isn’t adult society 9-3? Why aren’t extracurricular activities a big part of work life? There are clear reasons, and preparing children for work life is a big part of education.

Also, remember, Peter Frost talked about how homework caused familial discord. The proposal reduces this.

Feasibility / Cost

On this point Con has directly countered me. Let’s get to it.

On cost, as said in R2 and uncountered, private tuition costs are debased, public transport is used more effectively and hence a reduction in the total number of buses and trains the government must actually provide. Also, critically, “parents can work for longer. There’s less concern for parents to be at home, supervising their children, if they can trust that their child is safe and productive at school, vs. potentially the converse at home.” – R2, parents working longer hours means more money for the family and a higher standard of living; Also, remember those disproportionately high crime statistics? Parental concern is alleviated by a secure school environment as discussed in R2.

Onto Con’s rebuttals now. Remember the positive financial counterarguments mentioned above when weighing for impact.

Teacher dissatisfaction due to an increased workload is rather unlikely as per Con’s logic on homework. The additional time doesn’t have to be purely instructional in nature – the teacher may assist students, mark schoolwork etc. It doesn’t have to be a lecture. In essence, teachers are simply marking the schoolwork that would have been assigned as homework at a different hour, and crucially, will take less time to mark at school. Why? Students memory is worse for reasons already discussed, and teacher instruction is missing. That means students will have more problems to discuss, meaning the teacher has to take more time in class addressing problems than would occur if the teacher could pre-emptively address student difficulties in the classroom, through instruction. A net save of time for the teacher, plus the students get better results. The teacher workload may actually be reduced here.

On the matter of budget constraints and teachers poor pay, it certainly is an issue in some countries. In countries like Finland, renowned for it’s educational system teachers are paid quite well. In fact “Teaching is rated Finland's "most respected" profession, and primary school teaching its most sought-after career -

Teachers pay in the US is fairly poor. See this graph:

But it’s clear that many countries are capable of increasing their educational budgets or absorbing this cost. I’d like to think that it would be feasible to pay teachers more, although we’ve already discussed the minimal (if even existent) increase in workload above. Readers can decide on the feasibility given political circumstances on an international scale + the benefits mentioned in various other areas.

And, for the strongest point in my case...

Memory Retention

There has been no refutation of the spacing effect, context dependent and state dependent memory effects and how school helps use these effects to increase memory retention. School timetabling forces the spacing effect to occur, vs. massed presentation in the home environment. Better memory retention at school. Physical context is the same with school... and school vs school and the home for homework; better memory retention.

The power of these effects has been documented by psychological experiments like the one mentioned in R2. That Con has not responded to the entirety of the memory retention argument is a very, very strong point in favour of the resolution.


The points about memory retention, reduction in general mischief, working mindset / agrarian workforce have not been refuted last round, when Con had a clear chance (yes, rules allowed it) to do so. Those are key advantages for the resolution as per R2 and R3 analysis.

My model is proven to grant extra free time given the same amount of homework. Con advocates conflicting poisons of less homework and less time. Con failed to differentiate between homework at home vs. in schooltime. I did, citing teacher instruction and other points.

On feasibility I can only point to international budgets on education; the US lags behind. However, I have demonstrated how the teacher workload can be reduced.

My thanks to Bull_Diesel for an interesting debate on this topic.

Readers, please vote based on the arguments presented and not preconceptions. Thanks to all readers and voters.



Thanks to Logic_on_rails again for a great debate.
I would like to apologize to Logic_on_rails and to the readers, I have had some personal issues arise unexpectedly and have not given this debate the preparation and time it deserves.

That said, let's address the key points of this debate and my consclusions.

Burden of Proof
My Burden of Proof is to prove that greatly reducing the amount of homework given [to High School students] in favor of increasing/setting the length of the school day from 9am to 5 pm does not provide sufficient increased benefit to society or the students to justify making said change.

School Day.
I maintain that Lengthening the school day will ultimately detract from the extra-curricular activities that Students can participate in, both by directly decreasing the amount of overall time available for those activities and by decreasing the viability of participating in activities.

Pro has countered this point, I find that his endeavor to represent a lengthened school day as conducive to extra curricar activity participation and early low-skill job market participation is somewhat falacious. Homework can typically done in a broken or segmented fashion if necessary, playing baseball, rugby, or waiting tables cannot. On this point, merits of lengthening school day.

I do not feel compelled to completely counter the Spacing Effect. I will concede that spaced Learning may help some students learn more than alternative learning methods. I do not concede that all homework is conterproductive to spaced learning in school, by extension, I do not concede that spaced learning in school offers significant enough marginal benefit to justify changing the status quo.

The Merits of Homework
Homework is a necessary tool of education. By extension, reductions in Homework will hamper ability to fully develop and achieve the best level of education & should be seen as a failure on the part of the education system.

I disagree with Pro's rebuttal: Homework put into school time does not maintain the benefits of homework performed at home. I maintain that addition of either taught hours or "study hall hours" at school again does not offer sufficient benefit to justify changing status quo.

Reduction in General Mischief
On Pro's point: Extended. A solid school environment reduces the disproportionately high amount of youth crime for the reasons discussed in R2, such as empirical evidence showing how governments reduce harmful drug use, with education being cited as one of the main factors for smoking’s decline being one. Refer to R2.

I have outlined in earlier rounds the merits of extra curriculars to this end. I do not believe that extension of the school day is mutually exclusive with participation in extra curriculars with respect to reduction of mischievious behavior.
Again. No obligation to change status quo.

Working Mindset / Lack of Agrarian Workfroce Currently

On working mindset point. Extra curricular activities in my definition and as explained above include low-skill labor market jobs.

What better way is there to prepare for the working world and mindset than actual participation in the labor force?

An agrarianism. This is an international policy debate (theory).

The world still relies heavily on agriculture. It is somewhat narrow-minded to assume that it does not.

[1] Afghanistan: ½ of the GDP comes from agriculture, not including the illicit opium economy...More Button

Bangladesh: Of the 80% of the population that lives in rural areas, 54% work in agriculture... More Button

Bhutan: 1/3 of the GDP comes from agriculture, and is a key source of income, employment, and food security for mostBhutanese...More Button

India: Some 72% of the India’s 1.1 billion people live in rural areas...More Button

Maldives: Fisheries accounts for 8 percent of the country's GDP...

Nepal: The country’s challenge is to transform subsistence agriculture based on low-value cereals into a commercialeconomic activity... More Button

Pakistan: 40% of the country’s labor force works in agriculture, which accounts for 22% of the GDP...More Button

Sri Lanka: Agriculture accounts for only 17% of the GDP, yet 80% of the population lives in rural areas..

Feasibility / Cost

I maintain my earlier points on Fasibility and Cost.
Pro's rebuttals do not sufficiently disprove my points or the viability of them.

The implicit cost of a change argues for the status quo.


I have, in my opinion, fulfilled my burden of proof in that I have offered reasonable evidence and logic to support the maintenance of status quo.

The proposed change will create too great a social disruption to justify its imposition.

Readers, ask yourselves simply if we can expect the world to alter a years old educational system if the change is not 100% necessary.

Thanks again to Logic_ on_rails.

Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago

This was a fairly close debate. Pro defined the goal of education as having greater retention of the material taught. He then proceeds to show how spaced learning achieves this effect corroborating it by showing how similar physical context and emotional state helps as well.

The point about extra-curriculars is nullified because Pro is arguing for a reduction in homework and extra schooltime. Overall, the amount of remaining time a student has seems to roughly be the same so that discounts any arguments about getting jobs, and other extra-curriculars.

What we are left with is the cost. Con does show that having extra school time increases the cost to the school and teachers would have to be paid overtime. Pro counters that teachers can grade student's papers essentially doing what they would do at home at school instead.

In summary, Pro proves that the goal of greater retention in education is achieved by lengthening schooltime and reducing homework which outweighed Con's cost argument.

I think Con would have done better to show unique benefits of homework such as benefit to figuring stuff out on your own, and also elaborated on the cost argument to an extent that Con couldn't easily dismiss it while finding alternative. A discussion on how independent thinking also furthers the goal of education would have been nice if Con ran it parallel to Pro's retention due to spaced learning argument. I didn't see any meat to Con's argument. The fact that Con used almost entirely quotes was annoying to say the least although in this case, it didn't matter enough to affect the vote.

SG " I really found Con's format difficult to read. Block quotes, large parts of his arguments underlined (why underline nearly the entire argument?) and multiple indents as well as nested lists which made it difficult to follow. Pro just had an overall better presentation.
Posted by Bull_Diesel 5 years ago
You're fine man. all part of the debate.
I had a family emergency and didn't have time to fully prepare the rebuttal I wanted, so I had to be a little more direct than I would have preferred.

Thanks for letting me debate this with you, sorry that happened, would have liked to offer a more complete rebuttal.
Posted by Logic_on_rails 5 years ago
Bull_Diesel, I did not mean to attack you by stating that R2 lacked rebuttals - I made many comments stressing that the rules themselves restricted this; ie. "This point was completely ignored by Con (he couldn"t rebut last round though)" - I'm acknowledging the rules. I do admit that my R3 was probably too aggressive in it's offence, and I do apologise for that.

I'm sorry if I would appear to have been belligerent, although for reasons I'll discuss in R4 I don't think I have totally ignored my rules. Again though, my apologies if my conduct has been indecent.

Let's have a strong finish to the debate and let the readers decide.
Posted by Logic_on_rails 5 years ago
You've got 3 days for each argument Bull_Diesel. Take the time that you need - I'd love to face the best argument possible - iron sharpens iron. Remember, comments to sort out any problems with regards to things I haven't explained properly.

I look forward to your response!
Posted by Bull_Diesel 5 years ago
Not going to attempt to post an argument from my cell phone. Going to get some sleep. I'll try to get my argument put together and posted by mid-day tomorrow. (It's 1 am now) so probably about twelve hours or so. Didn't want you to wait around on my response. I remember there was something like a 16 hour time difference between NSW and East Coast U.S. when I was there.
Posted by Logic_on_rails 5 years ago
My apologies to challengers for not specifying how the Australian system of school works.

In Australia schooling is approximately 9-3:30 on average; my school has role call at 8:50 , classes begin at 9am, and the day ends at 3:10 most days. We have 4 terms of approximately 10 weeks each each year. From memory America has less school days in a year than Australia - the US has about 180 on average; Australia has about 200. There's a difference.

While I'm unsure which side I actually support, I would support a trial of this scheme. So, while this debate is theoretical in that the point is reducing homework + increasing school time, logistics are another element to consider.
Posted by Bull_Diesel 5 years ago
I've only been to Australia once and have no idea what their school system is like but I assume this is mostly theoretical. I'll give it a shot.
Posted by wrichcirw 5 years ago
All yours, Bull_Diesel. I believe the instigator is from Australia, and apparently they have a pretty short school day, lol.

Given that I have no idea what the Australian school system is like, I withdraw my request to participate in this debate.
Posted by Bull_Diesel 5 years ago
Obviously I assumed you'll give wrichirw first right of refusal on this given he messaged first.
Posted by Bull_Diesel 5 years ago
I think i'd be interested in taking this debate. I am new to this forum. I had very limited experience with Debate in High School but I think I could provide an acceptable debate.

This will be my first debate on this site.
Let me know.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by GorefordMaximillion 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: VERY CLOSE DEBATE, very good debate. sources to con for rules to make the score a little closer reflecting the closeness of the debate IMHO.