How can homework be described from students’ point of view? What is the relation between students’ approaches to homework and study success? How does the students’ approach to homework and study results in terms of grades interplay with their social background?
The empirical study is based on interviews with 40 students (age 13-16) in Swedish Compulsory School (grade 7-9). The interview questions concerned how the students perceive and handle their homework, which meaning and purpose they ascribe to it, and if they have any suggestions about how to improve the practice of homework. The interviews were transcribed and analysed within a phenomenographic framework . The analysis resulted in five qualitatively different approaches to homework, the a) deliberative, b) achievement oriented, c) voluntarily, d) un-reflected and e) ambivalent approach (Österlind, 2001).
As part of a follow-up study with the same students during their last semester of upper secondary school (age 18-19), data about social background was collected and completed with information about the students’ final grades. These data are used to complete the results from the previous study, in order to explore the relationship between approach to homework (choice of study programme), final grades and social background.