For children with ADHD, a brief, school-based program can help dramatically with homework problems, study finds

December 5, 2017

boy doing homework

Most children diagnosed with ADHD experience significant difficulties completing homework. They frequently forget to complete assignments, lose papers, procrastinate and have difficulty focusing while completing work. These problems prevent students with ADHD from reaching their full academic potential. In a new article published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Joshua Langberg, Ph.D., associate professor of clinical psychology, presented the results of a school-based intervention study focused on improving the homework, organization and planning problems of middle students with ADHD.  

Importantly, the interventions tested in the study were brief and feasible for school counselors to implement during the school day. The study evaluated the impact of the Homework, Organization and Planning Skills (HOPS) intervention as compared to the Completing Homework by Improving Efficiency and Focus (CHIEF) intervention. The interventions were delivered to 280 middle school students with ADHD and both led to significant and meaningful improvements in homework problems according to parents. The HOPS intervention was more effective than CHIEF according to teacher ratings of organizational skills and was more effective than CHIEF on all outcomes for students with severe behavioral problems. 

The study is important because frequently research-developed interventions are too time intensive and complex to be feasible to implement in typical school settings. Both HOPS and CHIEF require only 16 meetings, each lasting 20 minutes. In the study, the interventions were delivered as intended by school counselors, with more than 90% of students receiving all 16 intervention meetings. These findings increase the likelihood that schools will be able to use and sustain these types of services.


Langberg, J. M., Dvorsky, M. R., Molitor, S. J., Bourchtein, E., Eddy, L. E., Smith, Z. R., Oddo, L. E., & Eadeh, H. M. (2017). Overcoming the research-to-practice gap: A randomized trial with two brief homework and organization interventions for students with ADHD as implemented by school mental health providersJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/ccp0000265