Homework, the bane of students since the era of one-room schoolhouses, has taken an unexpected – and unfortunate — turn with the rise of smartphones a decade ago.
The purpose of homework is to prepare students for exams. To the extent that students remember the correct answers to homework questions that are similar to exam questions, they will be better prepared for the exam. Assigning homework to prepare students for exams worked well until about 10 years ago.
Then smartphones came into wide use, destroying the value of homework as preparation for an exam. Students should know that how they use their smartphone for homework affects their retention of that work and ultimately how well they will do on an exam.
For homework to improve performance on an exam, there must be long-term retention of the homework questions and answers. If the student does not remember the