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Research Spotlight on Parental Involvement in Education

NEA Reviews of the Research on Best Practices in Education

Found In: teaching strategies

“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:

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