Parental Engagement: Research Says It’s Important
Parental engagement has a huge impact on student’s academic achievement.
Students whose parents are engaged in their education tend to do well. Study after study affirms that parental involvement is beneficial and even essential when it comes to student academic achievement. For example, one such study, entitled Parent Involvement in Early Intervention for Disadvantaged Children: Does It Matter?, found that even after controlling for family background, the number of activities which parents participated in preschool and kindergarten was significantly associated with higher reading achievement.
An annotated bibliography citing 49 studies of effects of parent involvement on children’s academic achievement and the performance of schools reached some interesting conclusions. The bibliography reported that “the bulk of the research finds that a positive learning environment at home has a powerful impact on student achievement.” In addition, it was noted that parental involvement significantly improved language skills, test performance, and school behavior, as well as important effects on the general educational process such as educational aspirations.
According to Henderson and Berla (1994), “the most accurate predictor of a student’s achievement in school is not income or social status but the extent to which that student’s family is able to:
Create a home environment that encourages learning
Express high (but not unrealistic) expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers
Become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community.”
Of course, the research is merely affirming what is commonly known: parents have a profound effect on their children. Parents can influence their children in very positive ways: whether it’s helping their children develop self-confidence, expanding their vocabulary through healthy conversation, or inspiring them to reach for the stars through reading and learning.
All this research can be summed up rather eloquently in the insightful words of Rachel Carson:
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder…he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in ”
Part two of a four part series on parental engagement.