How Much Does Parental Involvement Affect Student Learning?

September 20th, 2012 9 Comments Other

Kids Studying

Studies aside, ask any teacher who has spent time in the “trenches” and they’ll attest:  it’s easy to identify the students with parents who are actively involved in the educational welfare of their kids.

It shows. When parents “show up” (in terms of being there for their sons and daughters), students have a sense of accountability.

It shows in their achievement. It is reflected in their self-motivation and sense of pride. These students are less inclined to have behavioral issues, or have attendance records with a lot of “cut” classes where students missed, and consequently fall through the gaps.

Actively involved parents check homework assignments, ask questions, attend meetings, and help to reinforce key concepts and competencies presented via classroom instruction.

Though involvement is difficult to “quantify” it is indeed measurable.

According to an article appearing at Center for Public Education, parental involvement expert, Joyce Epstein contends that there are six basic areas of which parental involvement can be broken down.

They are:

  • Parenting
  • Community
  • Volunteering
  • Learning at home
  • Decision Making
  • Community collaboration

Parents are typically stronger in some areas than others, due to time and availability factors. Parental involvement may also differ in terms of activities and efforts, depending upon the age and developmental needs of the child.

For today’s student, parental involvement can make all the difference; as there is great truth to the African Proverb, “It takes an entire village to raise a child.”

Do you think that parental involvement impacts the learning process?

 Image by woodleywonderworks


Saga Briggs is an author at InformED. You can follow her on Twitter@sagamilena or read more of her writing here.

9 Responses

  1. This article confirms what I have witnessed for three decades as a teacher. It is absolutely true that actively involved parents make a real difference in their child’s education. In a rushing world with so little time and so much to do, it is evident in the classroom whose parents make “time”.

  2. Karen Lange says:

    I agree. Both my parents were teachers and they often commented on this topic. I’ve also seen it in the students I know and work with; it makes a big difference. I’ve noticed too, that parental involvement can boost critical thinking and the level of common sense students bring to situations.

  3. Yasmin says:

    Great article, Jennifer. As a parent myself, I agree wholeheartedly that parental involvement is extremely important and makes a huge difference. Another plus for involvement is that you develop a good rapport with your kids’ teachers, and they will be more likely to flag any issues quickly so that you can address them. My kids also beam with pride when I volunteer to chaperone on field trips, or do poetry readings at the school library!

  4. Important article. I am an involved parent to two little ones, whose educators have commented that it is apparent how much I teach my children at home. That is one of the biggest compliments I have ever received. I consider it my job to educate my children not only as to manners, faith, proper nutrition and self-esteem, but also as to academics. As Karen mentions above, parental involvement boosts critical thinking because the child has been encouraged to learn and express his or her opinion since the earliest stages of life.

    Parents and teachers should be a team in educating children. Great article!

  5. Evelyn Cogdell says:

    Excellent article! And, I totally agree with its contents. Whether students are young children, youth, or teenagers, parental involvement definitely makes a positive impact on a student’s development. It is a well-known fact that parents who spend quality time with their children aid the chid’s learning process by helping to build up the child’s self-esteem, because these children feel that their parents love and care about them. Students who possess the proper amount of self-esteem will always mature into intelligent, responsible adults.

  6. Patricia says:

    Parental involvement is VITAL if children are to succeed in school. BUT –
    teachers see parental involvement as supporting the school system (see comments above) and while this helps children the type of parental involvement that matters is the informal teaching/learning that takes place in the home ( DeForges, 2003:Harris and Goodall 2007).

    By advising parents to get involved with school as a way of helping kids learn and ignoring what they can do at home, with little reference to what happens in school, we are doing parents a great disservice.

    Teachers should see parents for what they are – more important to their child’s success than any teacher – and help them understand the differences between the roles of parent and teacher.

    Only then will we see true collaboration between home and school. The type of collaboration that makes a difference to children’s lives.

    I am not sure that I agree with Epstein. I think she has complicated the field. I don’t think parental involvement is progressive in the way she describes it – unless you are looking at a school system.

    And as I said before looking at parental involvement in a school system is only seeing 20% of the possibilities.

    Lots of work still to do.

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