The Effect Of Relations Between The Different Types Of Homework Assistance On Children's Task Persistence

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A child’s motivation in school context may be affected by many environmental factor’s, however, it is well known that the role a mother play’s may be crucial. The study conducted by Viljaranta et al. (2018) observes the longitudinal relation between a mother’s assistance with schoolwork and the child’s motivation, or in other words in terms of schoolwork, task persistence as well as the indirect relation between homework assistance and a child’s math and writing abilities, as a result of their level of motivation. The aim of these researchers was to determine if the relations between the different types of homework assistance affected children’s task persistency. Within this study there were three research questions along with coexisting hypotheses. The first research question aimed at determining if a mother’s homework assistance predicted a child’s motivation or task persistence. It was hypothesized that as different types of assistance were implemented, they would individually affect a child’s motivation in different aspects. It was also further questioned whether there was a reciprocal relationship in that a child’s motivation could affect homework assistant behavior. It was hypothesized that mothers would indeed make an adjustment to their assistance behavior in relation to their child’s persistence. A final question within this research was to determine whether the child’s motivation and task persistence would thereby affect their academic performance, which was predicted as having indirect effects.

To test this, 365 students (176 girls, 189 boys) were randomly sampled for this longitudinal study. This study spanned from grade 2 until grade 4 and data was collected at the end of each year. Mother’s homework assistance was determined with the use of questionnaires and was analyzed on three levels; help, monitoring, and autonomy granting. Children’s motivation and task persistence was determined through questionnaires given to their teachers in each grade. Children’s academic performance was tested at the end of each grade which included reading, tested by a standardized national reading achievement test battery, as well as math performance, using The Basic Arithmetic Test.

The results indicated that in terms of maternal homework assistance, autonomy was a positive predictor of a child’s motivation and task persistence, while help was a negative predictor of lower levels of motivation. Mother’s monitoring was found not to be a predictor. The results of the second research question were in line with the hypothesis in that a child’s task persistency contributed positively to their mother’s assistance provided in terms of autonomy. The results of the third question determined that an indirect relationship was found between homework assistance and academics. While this research claims that student’s academic motivation was indeed positively predicted by mother’s homework assistance the means in which they determined so may have had some flaws. Methods of research to determine a child’s task persistence was determined by a teacher’s subjective experience. The teacher’s determination of the child’s motivation may not be accurate when represented on the questionnaire data, for example, the teacher’s likeness for said child may have a great impact on how they represent them within the questionnaire.

Another flaw within determining the children’s task persistency may also be confounding factors. It would be difficult to determine that all of a child’s task persistent behavior comes directly from a mother’s homework assistance. To draw cause and effect data it would be necessary to control for certain confounding variables while running an experimental study.

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