“When schools, families, and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more.” That’s the conclusion of A New Wave of Evidence, a report from Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (2002).

The report, a synthesis of research on parent involvement over the past decade, also found that, regardless of family income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to:

Earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs
Be promoted, pass their classes, and earn credits
Attend school regularly
Have better social skills, show improved behavior, and adapt well to school
Graduate and go on to postsecondary education (see A New Wave of Evidence, Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 2002 – in references below).
The school plays an important role in determining the levels of parental involvement in school. Specifically, schools can outline their expectations of parents and regularly communicate with parents about what children are learning. Also, schools can provide opportunities for parents to talk with school personnel about parents’ role in their children’s education through home visits, family nights, and well-planned parent-teacher conferences and open houses. In addition, the National PTA recommends that parent/family involvement programs welcome parents as volunteer partners in schools and that these programs invite parents to act as full partners in making school decisions that affect children and families.

When parents talk to their children about school, expect them to do well, make sure that out-of-school activities are constructive, and help them plan for college, their children perform better in school.

When schools engage families in ways that improve learning and support parent involvement at home and school, students make greater gains. When schools build partnerships with families that respond to parent concerns, honor their contributions, and share decision-making responsibilities, they are able to sustain connections that are aimed at improving student achievement.

Here are some related articles and research on parental involvement:

Parent Involvement
Current research on parent involvement and the outcomes. (National Middle School Association, 2006)
Parent Involvement in Education
Research brief addressing such questions as Is parent involvement a valuable resource for schools struggling to provide state-of-the-art instruction with diminishing funds? Does it instill pride and interest in schooling? K. Cotton & K. R. Wikelund (Northwest Regional Education Lab, 2001).
National Standards for Parent/Family Involvement Programs
Standards for effective parent and family involvement programs including activities addressed by six standards. (PTA, 1997)
What Research Says About Parent Involvement in Children’s Education (PDF icon PDF, 252 KB, 4 pgs.)
Highlights the relationship between parent involvement and academic achievement and references Joyce L. Epstein’s six types of parent involvement. (Michigan Department of Education, 2002)
A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement (PDF icon PDF, 1.2 MB, 241 pgs.) A. T. Henderson & K. L. Mapp. (Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 2002) Report Conclusion. (PDF , 87 KB, 5pp)
Summary of Research on Parent Engagement
Lists the benefits of parent engagement. The full report, A New Generation of Evidence: The Family is Critical to Student Achievement, covers 66 studies, reviews, reports, analyses, and books. Offers concrete reasons “why” and “how” educators should involve parents in their student’s education. (Center for Law and Education, 1996)

Content originally appeared on NEA webiste. http://www.nea.org/tools/17360.htm

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