Guest Blogger: An Eighth Grader’s Lament

Middle and high school students have been sending me essays they’ve written about homework. On occasion, I will be posting them here. (If you are a student and want me to consider your paper, email me.)

Today’s guest blog entry is by Courtney, an eighth grader who goes to a middle school in the Central Valley of California. Courtney told me that she and her friends “all complain to each other but are too afraid to say anything to the teacher.” When she had to write a persuasive essay for an English class, she decided that was the place to express her feelings about too much homework. Courtney told me that when she isn’t doing homework, I “love to play soccer, softball, volleyball, basketball, and tennis. With all of these sports I get hurt almost constantly (hahaha).” (I have posted Courtney’s essay exactly as she sent it to me.)

Homework Overload
by Courtney, 8th grade student, Central Valley, California

Have you ever seen the amount of homework that students get each night? I think that there is too much homework each night, and it should be decreased. Having the amount of homework that is assigned each night creates too much stress. Also the amount of homework does not allow them time to be involved in extra curricular activities or spend time with friends. Family time is decreased because of the volume of assignments each night. Even with the amount of homework that students get, America has an interesting percentage of college students who cannot do the work or are not taking the classes that an average eighth grader is taking.

Homework overload just causes too much stress because the students worry more about quantity rather than quality. When a student sees that they have 2 pages in their math book, 1 essay to write, 2 workbook pages for science, 4 activities for Spanish, a project due in history, an assignment and study guide for P.E., they are not thinking about how to do it well, but how to get it done as fast as possible. The students do not care how well they do as long as they get it done. When the students realize that their math was harder than they expected, they end up staying up way later than planned. That leaves them restless and stressed out from not finishing everything. When they are tired and restless and still did not finish their homework, they may feel as if they have no choice but to cheat on it. According to a study in 2005, consisting of 18,000 students, more than 65% of the students said that they cheated in some way. Some students get so stressed and overwhelmed by the amount of homework they receive that they feel as if there is no way out other than to cheat.

Where is the time for spending time with friends, extra curricular activities, and family time? After students get home they may go sit in front of the television just to get a break after their 6-8 hour school day. When they start their homework it is still light and beautiful outside but by the time they are done it is late and dark. Students sometimes work through dinner depending on the amount of assigned work for the night. When is the family supposed to spend time together? Many parents who begin to feel that this is partially their responsibility may start to take over some of the work trying to lighten the load. Even if the student stays focused they will be working for hours. If the student participates in a sport, they need to plan around that activity while still leaving enough time for dinner and homework without staying up to late. The truth is that half of the time they are up till 11 o’clock at night or later finishing the work for the next day just so their grade doesn’t drop. The next day when students arrive at school many are restless and not willing or able to learn. This can be caused from the stress of just from needing to stay up late to finishing the assigned assignments from the night before.

However there are people who believe that the amount of homework is not a problem. However the time spent on homework has gone up 51% since 1981. When people say that this is just the right amount of homework, why is it that in the countries that scholastically outperform the U.S. (such as Japan, Denmark, and the Czech Republic) in achievement tests. The teachers in those countries are assigning less homework than the teachers in the U.S.? The homework that we have each night does reinforce the material learned in class. Homework helps you because the teachers have a limited time to work with the material in class. As homework reinforces lessons learned in class it can load so much extra work on the students. Many students can only learn so much each day and may need a slower pace to actually understand and remember the information presented. Some students have a problem with homework and may spend too much time on one area that is hard for them to comprehend. This causes students to get overwhelmed and stressed about what they are learning, studying, and reading. Lessons learned in school are designed to help you later in life. Although, if theses lessons are supposed to help you so much then why is it that about 40% of college students don’t take courses in English or American literature, and 31% of students have never taken a math course. Also more than 56% of the students can’t calculate the change from $3 after buying a pencil for 60 cents and a binder for $1.95. In addition, many college students are not able to read or understand a simple set of directions. I know that the teachers only have a limited amount of time, but I think that they should limit the amount of homework given. Doing so may assist the student in actually understanding the material.

In conclusion, I think that there is too much homework each night, and it should be decreased. The homework each night causes stress and does not give the student enough time for extra curricular activities. There is no time to spend with friends or family. I think the percentage of college students who can not do the work or are not taking the classes that an average eighth grader is taking speaks for itself. Could you deal with the ever-growing increase of homework every night?

50 Comments on “Guest Blogger: An Eighth Grader’s Lament”

  1. Pinky says:

    I agree with Courtney. We have to stop the sea of homework we get.

    April 9th, 2007 at 3:04 pm
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  2. HWN says:

    I agree with Courtney as well. I have so much homework over spring break and I feel so overwhelmed.

    April 9th, 2007 at 5:41 pm
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  3. Kim says:

    I completely agree! I am in year 11 over in Australia and we are exactly the same situation. We realise that the homework is going to take way longer than expected and done get it all done or stay up till midnight doing a dodgy job of it.

    I think homework should be stop asap.

    April 11th, 2007 at 4:09 am
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  4. Dr. Kate McReynolds says:

    Courtney’s essay is very convincing! Young people have too much homework and it is disrupting their lives in just the ways she describes. I would only add that children also don’t have enough time to dream and wonder, to think deeply about topics that interest them, to gaze at the stars and contemplate the universe, to wander freely in nature, to imagine their futures, to relax and do nothing at all. These activitites, and others like them, are every bit as important as math and science.

    April 13th, 2007 at 6:00 pm
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  5. Anonymous says:

    stop homework

    April 17th, 2007 at 1:57 pm
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  6. Catherine says:

    I also agree. Homework can be very distrubtive to children. I found this article on google and I too am writing a persuasive essay about it.

    April 17th, 2007 at 11:21 pm
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  7. Sara Bennett says:

    Don’t forget to send me a copy of your essay if you want me to consider posting it. And, you’re right, homework can be very disruptive.

    April 18th, 2007 at 10:15 am
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  8. Ohh Poo! says:

    Courtney is right!
    Ive been so stressed lately, trying out for cheer for 2 hours a day with all that homework that courtney stated to do after practice.

    its hard. im sore and i dont want to start toing geometry, i want to sleep or practice! we get in trouble for sleeping in class but its not our fault we were up all night doing homework! and then the teachers complain about correcting the homework! At least they didnt have to do it.

    April 22nd, 2007 at 12:23 am
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  9. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR says:

    TEACHERS YOU BETTER BE READING THIS! AND I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THE GIRL ABOVE ME! SHE SHOULD WRITE AN ESSAY TOOOO!!! WE ALL SHOULD!!!!!!! hah

    April 22nd, 2007 at 12:24 am
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  10. Corinne says:

    I’m writing a persuasive essay on homework during spring/winter break also I think the more we write and complain more about it, the load might acually stop. Great job!

    May 3rd, 2007 at 9:07 pm
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  11. robert says:

    hi all.

    June 14th, 2007 at 3:36 pm
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  12. A present 8th grader says:

    well, i am an 8th grader now, going into high school. I agree with what you are saying here, but I actually think that an excessive amount of homework is part of graduating in school. Homework will continue to pile up and extracurricular activities such as the sports that you do will become harder to excell at. So at this point of age, you can either drop school and continue with extracurricular activities, or you can drop your extra curricular activites and continue with school. That’s why I believe that high school is optional; so you can have the option either to do sports or school. It’s the student’s choice, not the authorities or anyone else.

    July 18th, 2007 at 2:58 am
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  13. Moz says:

    I totally agree i live in australia and i get way to much homework im in 8th grade also and i have a full on schedual with afterschool school activities and the teachers ecpect us to just do our homework anyway? I am late home everyday after school and i dont get anytime to do homework and i always get yelled at.
    not only by my teachers but my mum too.. i think DOWN WITH HOMEWORK

    August 5th, 2007 at 4:05 am
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  14. kitty4princess says:

    Im sorry Courtney, but if you cant handle the homework in high school, you cant handle it in college. I know from first hand experience, I got straight As in high school, and dropped to a C average when i got to college, which is overwhelmingly different than highschool. If you cant even handle it at a high school level, youll die in college. You bring up excellent points in your essay, but teachers cant go soft on you if you expect to make it in life, because the real world is hard. And if you decide to go to college, youll miss high school/middle school work, ALOT.

    August 16th, 2007 at 9:58 am
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  15. Anonymous says:

    I so agree, I don’t even have time to be a kid . I feel that if we learn the material in class, don’t give us 5 work sheets just give us 1 or 2 !!!!! Its horrible and I’m tired of it !!!

    September 4th, 2007 at 9:30 pm
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  16. Anonymous says:

    I think you all have some great ideas, and because I’m sure you are all quality parents and people the children in you lives are getting that enrichment that they need. I am a teacher and I think assigning homework is horrible, but I have students who would never talk to another person once they got home if I didn’t make them do the family involvement activity for math, or the 20 minutes of reading every night with another human. It is sad that without a prompt from my homework packet, parents would never think to go over their child’s spelling words or ask them questions about their math lessons or what they did in PE. I hate homework but I think that for some children and some families it is the only time they spend together.

    September 21st, 2007 at 1:11 pm
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  17. horsegirl94 says:

    I totally agree with you. the teachers at my school had me doing homework, and i was so stressed because my mom was checking it and watching for correctness, that i lied to her and that landed me in serious trouble with my grades and my mother. if i had done it in the first place then i wouldnt be grounded right now and studying and doing homework as long as i can keep my grades up. (which means actually doing my homework.) =-(

    December 8th, 2007 at 12:07 pm
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  18. DamionKutaeff says:

    Hello everybody, my name is Damion, and I’m glad to join your conmunity,
    and wish to assit as far as possible.

    March 22nd, 2008 at 4:25 pm
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  19. Ownedd....Lol. says:

    Omg. Homework should be stoppd. I’m doin a debate on it at school…And yeah it should be stopdd! lol. I’m in need of information on it. and it looks like i found my essay for info. thanks:P

    Pplz from canada:P

    May 12th, 2008 at 2:20 pm
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  20. puppyluver101 says:

    OMG i am like up to my neck in homework today, GRRRRR! i am in eighth grade and ugh too much Homework!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i am fed up w/ teachers saying oh these math problems will only take you a minute, and then they hand you a sheet w/ like 60 problems on it. Geez give us a break teachers. WE HAVE LIVES 2! well i should be doing my homework, but whatever. Back myspace now. <<<3 bye bye.

    August 10th, 2008 at 5:05 pm
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  21. Anonymous says:

    I am a middle school student. My teachers believe that students should be spending a maximum amount of one hour per subject. My classes are: English, Science, Math and History. That can lead up to four hours of homework!!

    November 13th, 2008 at 1:47 am
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  22. A new eighth grader entering a new school..... says:

    I am an eighth grader and I hate spending time on Homework, especially when my teachers think that we should have a lot of homework to understand more concepts of that particular subject. What I hate the most is that they believe that every subject (not including elective or P.E.) should be and hour per subject, which leaves us 4 hours to spend of homework a night. ;(.

    November 13th, 2008 at 1:57 am
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  23. MJ says:

    Not being able to balance my homework time with my downtime was my problem. I strived to be an over achiever, which caused me to stress even more. I spent most of my time on math and sometimes that would result in me spending at least 6 hours on homework.

    I discussed this with my teachers and my parents and we have decided that my teachers can give modifications if necessary.

    Just remember that if you believe that you have too much homework teachers are always willing to help…after all that’s what they’re there for.

    November 13th, 2008 at 2:03 am
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  24. Doing an Essay.. says:

    I’m doing an essay about the amount of homework teachers give us kids everyday. It is kind of ironic. I believe there is to much homework given to highschoolers and middleschoolers. It’s rediculous! Do they not take into account that you have other teachers to get homework from too? I have to get off. My class is over.. It was a pleasure.

    February 12th, 2009 at 12:37 pm
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  25. Sara Bennett says:

    Dear Doing an Essay,

    Good luck. If you send me your essay when it’s finished, I’ll consider posting it so others can see what you have to say.

    February 12th, 2009 at 3:43 pm
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  26. Doing an Essay says:

    Thank you. I’ll consider posting it myself maybe but i’m not sure.

    February 13th, 2009 at 11:56 am
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  27. Lauren says:

    I abso-tootly agree to what Courtney had to say. Something that I thought was quite funny is that right now, in my 8th grade Language Arts class, we are writing a persuasive essay about a list of topics. One of these topics was “Too Much Homework”. The required paragraph amount given to us was 5 paragraphs. I chose to write about that topic. I just think that these two assignments are very alike. Courtney lives in California…I live in Michigan! That is like totally accross the country, but the assignments are the exact same thing…well almost, I think. Cya!

    March 17th, 2009 at 6:50 pm
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  28. Lauren says:

    Do you think that by any chance I could send you my essay…? It is about the “Too Much Homework” thing I talked about above (Right now…I am working on my essay!!!) Thanks! Bye

    March 17th, 2009 at 6:52 pm
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  29. Sara Bennett says:

    Good luck on your essay. And yes, please send me a copy.

    March 17th, 2009 at 7:15 pm
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  30. Beck says:

    great i agree with her idea because home work is nothing but creates stress

    April 14th, 2009 at 9:37 am
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  31. Michelle says:

    Although I understand the author’s dislike of homework due to conflicts with family, friends and extra-curricular activities I have to disagree that the amount of homework being assigned is too much. As someone who teaches at college I find it discouraging that half of my students fail their freshman level math course. It’s not because they lack intelligence but because of their philosophy of homework. Full-time students (4 or more classes per semester) should spend about 30-40 hours a week OUTSIDE of their classes studying and doing homework if they want to succeed. This means a good 7-10 hours/week in my class alone. I find that many students spend less than 10 hours a week on all classes combined. For those people who want to go to college and do well yet complaining about the amount of homework in middle/high school you’ll have a rude awakening once you get to college. I won’t lie and say it’s all fun and games…it’s hard, but the end result is very rewarding.

    April 30th, 2009 at 10:09 am
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  32. bob says:

    i h8 homework

    September 17th, 2009 at 6:57 pm
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  33. rv says:

    i am a junior at hilltop highh & i agreee .. i play a sport at school and i have soo much homework that i get stressed out ! :/ we should have less homework !!

    September 22nd, 2009 at 11:37 pm
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  34. Xavier Kasbar says:

    This essay is very funny.

    December 6th, 2009 at 1:00 am
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  35. Nihaarika says:

    I completely agree.Middle Schoolers get WAY too much homework. I am in fact having to do an essay right now and my topic is that Kid’s shouldn’t have homework.Thanks so much for all your facts!!

    December 9th, 2009 at 7:03 am
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  36. Anonymous says:

    I agree im also writing a persasive essay on homework for my language class and im only 11 years old! Teachers are going crazy abot giving homework and there is no time to spend to have fun and be a kid. When i grow up all i’ll remember is sitting at my kitchen table doing homework!

    December 10th, 2009 at 4:52 pm
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  37. Anonymous says:

    i agree homework needs to be stoped it is not right. work is ment to be done at school not home it is crazy that we are spending 5-6 hours doing this crap and you know what it is only gonna increase from here. when we are all adults all were going to rember is siting at the kitchen table or desk doing countless amounts of homework. its bad enough we have to go to school for 8 hours but then haveing all that homework when we get home is just plain stupid!! BAN HOMEWORK!!

    December 16th, 2009 at 11:53 am
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  38. Homework sucks says:

    You won’t believe how much homework i got last nite. I didn’t even go to sleep trying to finish my homework and i still didn’t finish it. Today the teacher didn’t collect all of the homework so there was like no use doin it.

    February 9th, 2010 at 11:04 pm
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  39. anonymus says:

    last week i had to stay up till 1:00 in the morning writing an essay about getting less hwk

    March 3rd, 2010 at 11:54 pm
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  40. Isaiah says:

    Very convincing Courtney. Homework is an overload thses days. My kids barely have anytime to spend with me.

    December 11th, 2010 at 11:45 am
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  41. Anonymous says:

    i believe students should have 1 hour of homework a day and no more

    June 23rd, 2011 at 5:07 pm
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  42. TMK says:

    I think that homework is too overwhelming and needs to be stopped so that other kids can have their own life out of school and they also would get to go on more vacations and spend more time with friends.

    May 14th, 2012 at 1:34 pm
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  43. TMK says:

    istead of being bombarded w/homework they could enjoy themselves.
    thnx for listening

    May 14th, 2012 at 1:35 pm
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  44. KCK says:

    I’m a parent and a college professor, and I agree wholeheartedly!

    October 21st, 2014 at 9:11 pm
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  45. Some Child says:

    No Homework: The Solution For Student’s Problems
    Diego Espinosa
    5/17/2016

    Children are the future for our world. You want them to be as smart and well educated as they can be to make our world better in the future. The way to get them to have the best life until they become our future is to make their homework less. We spend 7 hours a day drilling into our brains with knowledge tools. We might as well just live at school because home is not the same with homework all the time. After-school is our time to just spend time with our families and have our brains rest. Thus it was called AFTER-school not EXTRA-school. We must get less homework (or preferably no homework) to be the best that we can.

    My first reason is that after-school is for resting and being with family not continuing our lessons further. Your ideal afternoon is to be with family reading a story, watching a movie, eating dinner together, or play board games not filling out pages of work we already did at school. Homework causes stress among the students and stress among the families who barely see their children who are in their turtle shells of insane useless knowledge.

    My second reason is that, most people think that homework leads to better grades and test scores. This isn’t exactly true. In fact, in most cases more homework can lead to lower scores and a hatred of school. The reason this is, is because a person can only take so much homework before they completely stop trying. If they stop trying, they will stop caring and I think we all know that this leads to low scores. Now don’t think that if you have one sheet of homework, you’re going to fail your next test. All this means is that homework does not help all the much that you thought.

    My third reason is that most homework isn’t much working it is just drills and memorization which I think I already memorized while thinking about it for a couple days stressed out about the lesson. Students will forget these lessons by next year and what percent will we actually remember once we graduate college. Studies have shown that the percentage of individual lessons we remember by college graduation is less than 23%. We repeat those lessons after-school with homework but we still don’t remember that many lessons so homework is useless.

    My fourth reason is that all nations with no homework are more advanced than the U.S., by advanced I mean a higher learning level such as 5th graders in Denmark are doing 6th-7th grade work. Japan and Denmark have the most advanced leveled schools and most schools there give no homework. Finland has no homework and students only take one standardised test for all of high school and it is taken in 10th or 11th grade. America collectively takes 100 million tests per year. Finland only takes 600,000 collectively each year.

    My fifth reason is the countries with less homework have an immensely higher graduation rate. In Canada the graduation rate is 78% and in the U.S. it is 73%. In Finland where they have very little to no homework their graduation rate is 95%. Japan has less homework, in average, than Canada and it has 95% graduation rate. China has around 14 hours of homework a week and their graduation rate is 64%.

    My sixth reason is that with no homework, kids have time to be kids and play with others. With homework they have to be in quiet places and without interaction for hours. For one example, I have Mini Falcons basketball every sundays and wednesday. My coach last year is an eleventh grade student whose passion is basketball and he could not coach again this year because he has way too much homework and didn’t want to be stressed. That is a sign that too much homework stops you from pursuing your passions and achieving your dreams. Without homework, children have time to walk around and embrace the world and not embrace the packets and notebooks of homework they get each night. Children also don’t have enough time to dream and wonder, to think deeply about topics that interest them, to gaze at the stars and contemplate the universe, to wander freely in nature, to imagine their futures, to relax and do nothing at all. These activities, and others like them, are every bit as important as math and science.

    May 17th, 2016 at 5:10 am
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  46. cait says:

    isn’t it weird how some college students can’t even calculate how much change they are supposed to get yet they managed to pass the test in entering the college?

    November 13th, 2016 at 10:01 am
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  47. hellooooo says:

    courtney’s speech is really convincing. go courtney!

    November 13th, 2016 at 10:02 am
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  48. hellooooo says:

    courtney’s speech is really convincing. go courtney! lololol

    November 13th, 2016 at 10:02 am
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  49. Ravishing says:

    I completely agree with Courtney and her essay was simply amazing.

    December 17th, 2016 at 2:14 am
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  50. Moo says:

    I agree

    August 13th, 2017 at 2:45 am
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