Rethinking the Homework Debate with Cathy Vatterott’s New Book

Oct 18, 2018 by

Alexandria, VA—ASCD, a mission-driven nonprofit dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading, is pleased to announce the second edition of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs, by Cathy Vatterott. The original 2009 publication became pivotal in the national conversation, marrying research with classroom-based experiences.

The role of homework has historically played a large part in the culture of K-12 education in the United States. Yet, the discussion has only started to spark significant change over the last decade. Factors such as family life, the media, and academic stress have shifted the debate. In the years since the first edition was published,

  • The economic divide in the U.S. has widened, leading to increasing awareness of homework challenges for students living in poverty, often without internet access.
  • Research about the learning process has shown the importance of formative feedback, a growth mindset, and sleep and downtime.
  • There has been an increase in the number of K-12 school policies limiting or eliminating homework.
  • Many schools now implement homework policies outlining the purpose and amount, and sometimes banning weekend or holiday homework.
  • The importance of balancing work, play, downtime, and sleep is essential to ensure efficient functionality of the learning brain and mental health of students.
  • Parents are increasingly concerned about academic stress and work-life balance for students.

The homework debate shows no signs of stopping. In her new book, Vatterott puts forth a new paradigm to homework that works for all students at all levels, based on a more rounded approach.

“We have moved from blind acceptance of homework, to awareness and questioning of the practice, to understanding and advocacy for what is best for our students,” said Vatterott, an associate professor of education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “May we continue to study, learn, reflect, and improve our practice of homework.”

Cathy Vatterott is available for comment. To schedule an interview, please contact Cameron Brenchley.

Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs, 2nd edition, is available for $28.95.

To learn more about our books or to read sample chapters from these and other publications, visit For more information about ASCD, visit

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