Parents Matter!

As I was brainstorming ideas for this blog post, I started to think about factors that impact student achievement. Being a parent of three school age boys myself, my mind wandered to thinking about me. How does my involvement as a parent influence their academic achievement, I wondered? We all know that parental involvement in their child’s education is important, but what impact does it really have? Are there certain qualities of parental involvement that have a higher impact than other qualities? This prompted me to do a bit of research and this is what I learned:

1. Parental involvement does in fact matter, but not all aspects of parental involvement are created equal.

2. Across meta-analyses, one of the biggest positive impacts on student achievement correlated to parental expectations.  High expectations for strong academic achievement significantly increases student achievement, regardless of how that achievement was measured (i.e. GPA, grades, standardized test results).

3. To a lesser degree than expectations, but still significant, were more time intensive parental involvement factors such as reading with and communicating with children about school.

4. Other factors or facets of parental involvement included attendance at school functions and volunteering in school programs.

Although certainly nothing earth shattering or new, it was reassuring to see that parental expectations alone have a significant impact on student achievement.  When we value education, believe that our children can learn at high levels, and consistently have high expectations for our children’s school performance, these actions matter!  These expectations, coupled with an interest in your child’s education through communicating about and taking an interest in what they are learning, are relatively easy strategies to implement to positively impact their educational outcomes.

Therefore, if you are a parent who struggles with your children over school work or simply doesn’t value education due to your own school experiences, I plead with you to have high expectations for your child(ren) regarding their education. Don’t give up on them and consistently communicate with them that effort and strategy matter.

Research used to create this post can be found at Parental Involvement & Student Achievement: A Meta-AnalysisResearch Spotlight on Parental Involvement in Education, and How Parental Involvement Affects Student Achievement.