Past studies link how committed kids are to doing their homework to students’ academic achievement. Now, new findings published in the Journal of Research in Personality suggest this industriousness can also have nonacademic benefits, such as making youngsters more conscientious, reports ScienceDaily.

For the assessment, researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany followed 2,760 students from two different school tracks in the states of Baden-Württemberg and Saxony. Scientists evaluated pupils immediately following their move from primary to secondary school in fifth grade. Then they tracked participants annually for three years between six and eight weeks subsequent to the start of each school year. Next, students disclosed the number of times they labored over their last 10 homework assignments in mathematics and German. Additionally, researchers asked how meticulous they thought they were. In addition, parents assessed their children’s conscientiousness.

Findings showed that schoolchildren between fifth and eighth grade who applied a great deal of effort to their homework also benefited in terms of their diligence. Conversely, those who admitted they were slackers were found to have a substantial decrease in that quality, and parents confirmed their offsprings’ evaluations.

“Our results show that homework is not only relevant for school performance, but also for personality development—provided that students put a lot of effort into their assignments,” said Richard Göllner, PhD, the study’s lead author.

One expert not involved in the study suggested that educators needed to define exactly what hopes they had for homework’s potential and how those expectations can be met.

Click here to learn how excluding students in school can lead to mental health issues later in their lives.