Death, Taxes, and Homework

Owen Belt '23, Editor

For Priory students, nothing is certain except death, taxes, and homework. Over the past few years, I’ve experienced Priory’s academic onslaught at nearly its fullest. From sleepless nights preparing for exams or writing trivial essays to nights that feel like I should have something to do but don’t, life outside of Priory is often a seesaw between extreme stress and uneasy relaxation. As a senior, I can proudly say that I’ve worked harder than ever over the past few years. Countless hours of studying with seemingly redundant assignments have turned me into an academic weapon, but can these achievements be attributed to Priory’s workload or dumb luck?

For a school aiming to be one of the most prestigious schools in St. Louis, Priory must walk a fine line between assigning too much or too little homework. As many students would agree, homework generally improves academic performance; however, excessive work outside of school causes overbearing amounts of stress in some students. Priory’s task as an educational institution is to prepare students to succeed as adults. While homework can help improve study habits and skills outside the classroom, it can also lead to academic dishonesty and cheating. 

It’s hard to blame Priory teachers for assigning too much work, but for the sake of students’ well-being, these problems need to be addressed. In a school-wide survey taken in Oct. of 2022, students of each grade were asked questions about their extracurricular activities and ability to manage their course load. The results found that the majority of high school students spend on average one hour on homework each night. The junior class in particular was 5 times more likely to answer over 3 hours of homework per night compared to other forms. Among upperclassmen and sophomore students, the majority of students stated that an overabundance of homework is the leading cause of work being turned in late. 70% of the junior class corroborated this claim. The survey results about extracurricular activities, part-time jobs outside of school, and device usage in the evenings do not indicate why most students feel overwhelmed by their workload. 

 Since the survey, who knows how these results could have changed? A major constraint of the survey is the fact that it was taken at the start of the school year, a time when students are still adjusting to new, harder classes. Students could have also been stratified by GPA or classes taken. Regardless, what the Priory faculty plan to do with the survey results is unknown and the future of homework remains to be seen.