MILLBURN, NJ - Are students really that stressed out? Do they feel as if they just do busy work when they get home? And how many of them admit to cheating?

These questions and more were answered by Jon Kleiman, School Program Director at Challenge Sucess. Klieman presented his findings to the board based on a survey of Millburn High School and Middle School parents and students taken this past winter.

Millburn Middle and High Schools were two of over 180 schools to complete the survey, and the results that Kleiman showed were eye-opening to some.

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One of the key revelations from the survey is that homework takes an average of three hours to complete at the high school level and 2 hours to complete at the middle school level. Both numbers are about average for their categories. However, over 50 percent of students surveyed looked at most of their homework as busy work. 

On top of their responsibilities for homework, 85 percent of students surveyed participate in at least one extracurricular. This leads to an average of approximately six hours per week at the middle school and seven at the high school spent on out-of-school activities.

A major issue among student that came up in the survey was sleep. Kleiman noted that middle school students reported getting 7.5 hours of sleep per night, and high schoolers got on average, 6.4 hours per night. Kleiman said that sleep deprivation in young adults can lead to lapses in memory, concentration and focus.

On the subject of cheating, 81 percent of middle school students and 86% of high school students reported cheating in the past month. However, the number may be misleading, as 70 percent of students admitted to working in groups on solo projects and assignments, something they did not view as cheating.

From the results of the survey, Kleiman and the Challenge Sucess team found that like many other students, those in Millburn Middle and High School are stressed, not getting enough sleep, and having trouble with work/life balance. To that end, he suggested three things to allow students to improve their wellbeing - PDF - or Playtime, Downtime, Family Time.

Playtime, as Kleiman explained, allows for unstructured moments in a child's day. Downtime gives them the opportunity to chill, rest and rejuvenate and family time gives them a centering and protective element in their lives.

Taking those factors into account Kleiman said, would allow for healthier, happier and more relaxed students.