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Predicting Homework Distraction at the Secondary School Level: A Multilevel Analysis

by Jianzhong Xu - 2010

Background: Students continue to struggle with homework distraction well into the secondary school years. Recently, the concern over homework distraction has been growing, as new electronic media have offered diverse and nearly ubiquitous forms of diversion to students while they are doing homework. It is surprising to note, however, that a systematic examination of a broad spectrum of factors that contribute to homework distraction is noticeably absent from much contemporary literature. Thus, there is a critical need to examine a range of variables that may influence homework distraction and, consequently, what implications might be drawn from this line of research to help students better handle homework distraction.

Purpose: The aim of the present study is to propose and test empirical models of variables posited to predict homework distraction at the secondary school level, with the models informed by (a) relevant theoretical approaches (e.g., volitional control) and (b) findings from homework research that alluded to a number of factors that may influence homework distraction.

Research Design: The study reported here used cross-sectional survey data.

Participants: The participants were 1,800 students from 97 classes in the southeastern United States: 969 eighth graders from 52 classes, and 831 eleventh graders from 45 classes.

Results: Results from the multilevel analyses revealed that most of the variance in homework distraction occurred at the student level, with grade level as the only significant predictor at the class level. Findings further revealed that at the student level, the variation in homework distraction was influenced by gender, self-reported grades, the context of doing homework at home, and student attitudes toward homework.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 112 Number 7, 2010, p. 1937-1970
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15921, Date Accessed: 3/3/2021 10:07:44 AM

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About the Author
  • Jianzhong Xu
    Mississippi State University
    E-mail Author
    JIANZHONG XU is a professor in the Department of Leadership and Foundations at Mississippi State University. His research interests focus on teaching and learning in the school and home setting, in home–school relationships, and in partnerships with culturally diverse families. Recent publications include “Models of Secondary School Students’ Interest in Homework: A Multilevel Analysis” in American Educational Research Journal and “Validation of Scores on the Homework Management Scale for Middle School Students” in Elementary School Journal.
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