Parent and Family Involvement and Pupil Success
When parents are involved, pupils achieve more, regardless of socio-economic status, ethnic or racial background, or the parents’ educational level.
The family provides the child’s primary educational environment. Therefore, we cannot look at the school and the home in isolation from one another; we must see how they interconnect with each other and with the world at large.
The more extensive the parent involvement, the higher the pupil achievement. Higher achievement is shown in grades, test scores, attendance is better and homework is completed more consistently.
Pupils exhibit more positive attitudes and behaviour.
Pupils have higher graduation rates and greater enrolment rates in post-secondary education.
Parent involvement programmes that produce the greatest gains are well-planned, inclusive and comprehensive.
Teachers expect more of pupils whose parents collaborate with the educators.
Disadvantaged pupils reach levels that are standard for middle-class children in programmes that are designed to involve parents in full partnerships. Children who are the farthest behind make the greatest gains.
The benefits of involving parents are not confined to the early years. Instead significant gains happen at all grade levels. Middle school and high school pupils, whose parents remain involved, make better transitions, maintain the quality of their work and develop plans for future education. They are far less likely to drop out of school.
The most accurate predictor of a pupil’s school achievement is not social status or income. It has to do directly with a family’s ability to create a home environment that encourages learning and the family’s involvement in their children’s education.
All kinds of parents are very interested in their children’s education. Teachers often think that low-income and single parents will not, or cannot, spend as much time helping their children at home as do middle-class parents with more education and leisure time. However, when teachers help parents to help their children, these parents can be as effective with their children as those parents with more education and leisure.
The main reason parent involvement with the schools is so important especially for at risk children is that their home and school worlds are so different. The consequence tends to be that children embrace the familiar home culture and reject the unfamiliar school culture, including its academic components and goals.
Parents with less than a high school education and very low incomes are likely to have low levels of contact with teachers and schools, but such parents are anxious to cooperate with teachers despite difficulties in doing so.
Direct parent instruction of their own children at home positively affects school achievement. But parents need specific information on how to help and what to do.
Parent and Family Involvement and School Quality/Programme Design
School programmes that involve parents outperform identical programmes without parent and family involvement.
Schools where children are failing improve dramatically when parents are enabled to become effective partners in their child’s education.
School initiated activities to help parents change the home environment can have a strong influence on children’s school performance.
The school’s practices are stronger determinants of whether parents will become involved with their children’s education than are parent education, family size, marital status and grade level.
Schools that work well with families have improved teacher morale and parents are more supportive of the teachers.
When parents are treated as partners and given relevant information, they get involved even though they have been hesitant to contribute in the past.
Parents are much more likely to become involved when educators encourage and assist parents in helping their children with their homework.
Effective programmes have strong leadership and provide instruction on parent involvement to parents and staff. This type of instruction is often lacking in educators and administrators professional training.
When parents receive frequent and effective communication from the school, their involvement increase and their attitudes towards the school are more positive.
While collaboration with families is a vital part of any reform strategy, it is not a substitute for high quality education programmes.
Parent involvement leads to feelings of ownership, resulting in increased support of schools and willingness to pay extra to support schools.
Schools tend to see the parental role as traditional, passive and home-based, whereas many parents are interested in more active roles.
Schools are often guilty of not taking the initiative to ask parents for help and of not welcoming their participation.