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Homework makes the grade

Class performance slipped for physics students who copied

A detailed study of college-level physics courses confirms students’ deepest fears: Homework really is important. Students who regularly copied problem sets earned lower grades and were three times as likely to fail the class, the study found.

“Homework copying is severely impeding students’ learning, and teachers don’t take it seriously enough,” says study coauthor David Pritchard, a physicist at MIT. “It’s a killer for the grades and a killer for the students.” The study appeared March 18 in Physical Review Special Topics–Physics Education Research.

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