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How parental involvement affects student achievement

March 28, 2013

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While student success largely relies on factors like study habits, school attendance, test-taking abilities and more, research is showing that parental involvement also has a large impact on student achievement in the classroom. In fact, according to the Academic Development Institute, parents who get involved with their child's education tend to demonstrate good parenting skills, volunteer their time in the school, communicate with faculty and take an active role in school-related decision-making.

The Harvard Family Research Project concluded that parental involvement is associated with higher student achievement. They found that student success was higher in a variety of areas including standardized test scores, grades and teacher ratings. Students are also more likely to enroll in higher-level programs, pass their classes, attend school regularly, have better social skills and move onto post-secondary education. The types of parental involvement that had the greatest impact on student success were reading and communicating with one's child, as well as holding parental expectations.

How to get parents involved in education

Communicate regularly
It's important to keep a clear line of communication with parents regarding their child's progress. If parents don't know how their child is doing, they may be less likely to get involved. According to IowaParents.org, teachers who regularly communicate with parents generally see a positive effect on students' test scores. Send home weekly newsletters with the students that share information regarding classroom success, what the students are working on and contact information for teachers and the school.

Provide volunteer opportunities
This could range from offering parents the opportunity to come visit their child's school to finding ways to get them to help out, whether in the classroom or on a school field trip.

Interactive homework assignments
Create homework assignments that are going to bring parent and child together. This could involve a worksheet asking parents to describe their child's work or to share their understanding of educational concepts. According to the Center for Public Education, teachers who involve parents in school work saw a boost in student scores in both writing and science.

Teachers and parents alike are seeing success with blended learning approaches that can be incorporated both in and out of the classroom. Encourage parents to create a home environment that promotes learning and reinforces what is being taught at school. This may help students to foster the life skills they need to carry with them outside of the classroom.

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