Setting home learning can have a positive impact on student progress in secondary schools (Hattie, 2009). However, this is only the case where the right kind of tasks are set and while a key objective of home learning is to build capacity for independent learning, it all too often builds that capacity for those who already have it and undermines confidence for those who do not (Donald Hirsch/Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2007). In other words, while home learning has the potential to accelerate and sustain the progress of all students, it can also exacerbate educational and social disadvantage (also see EEF research in home learning/homework).
Home learning should facilitate ever increasing degrees of independence and self-direction. Through enhanced choice home learning becomes more authentic and personalised. When accountability for the completion of and the quality of home learning rests with the students and with their peers evidence suggests this results in increased buy in as a result of positive social-indebtedness. This shift in accountability also benefits teacher workload with the bulk of assessment, both formative and summative, moving to the students themselves.