Historically, homework was frowned upon in American culture . With few students interested in higher education , and due to the necessity to complete daily chores, homework was discouraged not only by parents, but also by school districts. In 1901, the California legislature passed an act that effectively abolished homework for those who attended kindergarten through the eighth grade. But, in the 1950s, with increasing pressure on the United States to stay ahead in the Cold War , homework made a resurgence, and children were encouraged to keep up with their Russian counterparts. By the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the consensus in American education was overwhelmingly in favor of issuing homework to students of all grade levels. 
The last, and most common, way of measuring achievement is to use standardized test scores. Purely because they’re standardized, these tests are widely regarded as objective instruments for assessing children’s academic performance. But as I’ve argued elsewhere at some length, there is considerable reason to believe that standardized tests are a poor measure of intellectual proficiency. They are, however, excellent indicators of two things. The first is affluence: Up to 90 percent of the difference in scores among schools, communities, or even states can be accounted for, statistically speaking, without knowing anything about what happened inside the classrooms. All you need are some facts about the average income and education levels of the students’ parents. The second phenomenon that standardized tests measure is how skillful a particular group of students is at taking standardized tests – and, increasingly, how much class time has been given over to preparing them to do just that.