Impact of parental involvement on students’ academic achievement
Education has a vital role in the sustainable economic prosperity of any nation. However, this prosperity is dependent upon the academic success of the students, where academic success means the ability of the students to apply the skills and knowledge learnt at school. Academicians and education researchers have long been researching the ways and factors affecting the academic achievement. Since majority of school students spend most of their time at home with their parents and family, therefore parents and family may have a significant role in the academic achievement of school students. A volume of research has been focusing the role of parental involvement in the academic achievement of students. Assuming social cognitive theory about the role of parents in shaping behaviors and attitudes of youngsters towards socially accepted goals, it can be hypothesized that parents have the potential to help their kids build positive attitudes and behaviors towards schools and learning. Thus parental involvement can play an important role in enhancing their academic achievement. This research is a review of literature to investigate the impact of parental involvement on students’ academic performance.
This literature review is significant because it will provide an understanding into the role of parents and parental involvement in enhancing the academic performance of their kids. This review will provide a basis for schools to promote positive involvement of parents in order to produce better quality and academically successful students. This research is even more important to suggest the school administration to advice and train parents to show their positive involvement and thus contribute to the academic success of their children.
Parental involvement is an independent variable and can be defined in terms of their active interest in helping and participating in their children’s homework and schoolwork activities. When parents take active interest and help and participate in their children’s homework, it will influence their kids’ attitudes towards school and studies and hence will affect their academic performance. Thus, academic performance or achievement is a dependent variable.
This research will investigate available primary and secondary literature to find answers to the following questions:
- Does parental involvement affect students’ academic achievement at school?
- What are the effects of parental involvement on students’ academic achievement?
- Is parental involvement different in case of a male or female child?
- What are the current practices of parental involvement in academic activities of their children?
- What are the best practices of parental involvement to enhance students’ academic achievement?
The purpose of this research is to investigate the role of parental involvement in enhancing students’ academic achievement. This review will also try to find the current practices of parental involvement in their children’s academic activities. In addition, best practices in the light of available literature will be presented to inform the education researchers, educators, and parents in order to make the best of out these practices.
Extensive research has been conducted to find the effectiveness of parental involvement on the overall academic achievement of their children. In the following discussion, I will focus on finding answers to the questions that I have raised in the introduction to this paper.
Parental involvement and academic achievement
The primary question is if parent’s involvement really effects theirs children’s academic achievement? Research has been supporting this notion. There has been an enormous amount of research done on this topic. Epstein (2001) has found as a result of his research that there is a significant effect of parental involvement on their child’s academic achievement. Epstein (2001) conducted parent’s interview and teacher’s response interviews to find the correlation between the parental involvement and its effect on student’s achievement based on teacher’s feedback. The teachers reported in this study that students whose parents are actively involved in their academic activities are more likely to participate in the class than those students whose parents are not actively involved with their children.
Jaynes (2005) conducted a study to investigate the effects of parental involvement on children’s academic achievement and found that the effect was significant in the case of elementary school students. Jaynes (2005) did a meta-analysis of 41 prior studies to determine the impact of overall parental involvement. Parental involvement positively correlated with their children’s academic achievement in all variables of academic achievement.
In another study conducted by Jeynes (2007) has found a positive correlation between parental involvement and academic performance of the students. The study analyzed 52 studies to investigate the impact of parental involvement on the academic achievement of their children. Four measures of assessment of students’ performance including grades, standardized tests, teacher’s rating scale and academic attitude and behavioral indices are used. A significant impact of the parental involvement was found for secondary school children.
Fantuzzo, McWayne, Perry and Childs (2004) did a multidimensional study involving 144 urban head start children to examine the various dimensions of family involvement in early childhood education and classroom outcomes. The study was conducted with the use of a multidimensional survey questionnaire to collect data from parents on family involvement. The study found that home-based involvement alone was stronger predictor of low conduct problems and better achievement scores and learning motivation.
Effects of parental involvement on student’s academic achievement
Parental involvement has been found to affect their children’s academic achievement on various levels. Henderson (1987) conducted did a literature review study based on the findings of 49 prior researches. The results from these studies suggested that parental involvement in their children’s academic activities not only improves their academic test performance but also their language skills and school behavior.
In their research, conducted on 144 head start children, Fantuzzo et al. (2004) to investigate the relationship of various dimensions of family involvement in relation to end of year results, learning approaches, conduct problems and receptive vocabulary. The results of the study suggested that home-based involvement alone was a strong predictor of low conduct problems, better scores and learning motivation. The study also investigated the impact of home-based involvement simultaneously with school-based involvement on various dimensions of students’ outcomes. There was not significant relationship in the latter case.
Most of the studies conducted in to find relation between parental involvement and student’s academic achievement are cross-sectional in nature (Izzo, Weissberg, Kasprow and Fendrich, 1999). There has always been a greater need to conduct longitudinal research to assess the results that have been so far provided by cross-sectional studies. Izzo, Weissberg, Kasprow and Fendrich, (1999) conducted a study involving 1205 urban kindergarten students and following them for three years till 3rd grade. This longitudinal study was based on a qualitative response provided by teachers based on four variables of parental involvement namely parent teacher contact, quality of parent teacher interactions, participation of parents in educational activities at home and their participation in school activities. All four variables were correlated to school performance. The outcome of the research suggests that enhanced parental involvement in children education can significantly improve their academic performance.
Senechal and LeFevre (2002) conducted a 5 years longitudinal research following 93 (41 girls, 52 boys) Kindergarten children. These children were randomly selected from schools in Ottawa, Ontorio in Canada. The analysis were based in the parental reports of the frequency they taught their children on a 5 point scale (1-never, 5-very often). The results of the study suggested that parental involvement with their children in assisting them to read and write was significantly related to the development of early skills.
The research conducted to assess the importance of parent’s involvement in their children’s academics and its impact is suggesting that the academic and social performance of the children whose parents take an active part in their development is far better than those whose parents are not of much help in this regard.
School achievement and gender differences
There is a growing evidence that the involvement of parents to assist their children in school related activities is significantly related to the academic achievement of school going children. There has been a number of researches carried out on school going children in many countries. Rogers, Theule, Ryan, Adams and Keating (2009) conducted a research to assess the perception level of school going children about their parents and its relation to the involvement by their parents in the educational activities, the personal qualities of the children and their academic achievement at schools. They used an Ecological Model that consisted of Ecological theories (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). The ecological model states that the achievement regarding the schools results of school going students is affected by layers of factors in a contextual hierarchy.
110 grade 5 student participated in the study of whom 47 were boys and 63 were girls. The participants also consisted to 121 grade 6 students with 63 boys and 58 girls. These students were selected on random from a Canadian school. The results of this study suggested that there is negative effect of the father’s academic pressure. Fathers were found to be less supportive in comparison to mothers. Mother’s continuous guidance and reinforcement resulted in the school going children academic achievement in respect to their academic competence. The study also suggested that parental behavior was different towards male and female children. Both parents were applying more pressure on their son for an academic achievement while in the case of their daughter they were more patient and supportive.
Current Practices in parental involvement in student’s achievement
Parents involve in different ways in the activities related to their children. Some parents take a keen interest in their children school activities and pay regular visits to their school to follow up their progress. Other parents might be more involved with their children at their homes and helping them with their homework, story reading, academic reading and more. While there could be children who try to play a broader role in their children academic achievement and both involved at home and at schools meeting with their children’s teachers on regular basis. These meetings inform parent about the current status of their children.
Steinberg, Lamborn, Dornbusch and Darling (1992) conducted on the attitudes of parents while assisting them in their academic activities. The study consisted of 6400 American adolescent age 14-18 years. This was a cross sectional study aimed at finding the effects of the authoritativeness of parents on their children’s academic achievement. The sample of the participating was ethnically and socio-economically heterogeneous. Data on various aspects of on adolescents’ school engagement and school achievement were collected for analysis at one point of time. Authoritative parenting predicted better school performance and stronger school engagement among adolescents. Non-authoritative parenting showed attenuation in the beneficial impacts on adolescents’ achievement and engagement at school. The study supports several previous sources to strengthen the argument in addition to providing an analysis of some new dimensions. These new dimensions can be further explored with the help of researches conducted in regards to parent’s involvement in their children’s academic activities at schools and at home.
Parents should be involved in how their children are educated at schools. In addition to providing education to children on a collective basis, there are also some programs they focus on preparing an individual plan for the children school and personal development (Will, 1986). It is pertinent to involve the parent of these children in developing these plans that assist the children in developing as a productive part of the society. Will (1986) Suggests that to enhance the home environment that is helping children in terms of academic achievement has witnessed an increase in supervised homework and hence an improvement in academic achievement. Further suggest that parent-child communication about academics, the importance of reading and other daily life activities can be used to promote academic achievement. Reading culture can be developed at homes by reducing TV hours and providing the children with new and interesting books to read. Children should be offered rewards for each book they read so that they can be attracted to the habit of reading.
Best practices of parental involvement in student’s academic achievement
Research provides us with evidence that parental involvement is one of the most significant factor in student achieving higher achievement. Epstein (2001) had done extensive research on the involvement of parents in their children’s school activities and has come up with six types of involvement that are useful when there is a higher degree of involvement by schools, teachers and communities.
Parents must be in a regular contact with the teachers to know about the progress of their children and be guided to assist their children at home. Izzo et al. (1999) suggested as a result of his research that there must be a quality into the communication that takes place between the parents and children. The results of the research further suggested that the parents must participate at home with their children and should visit their schools from time to time to be well aware of the progress of their children. The manner parents involves with their children at both homes and schools is of utmost significance (Izzo et al. 1999).
Henderson, (1987) conducted research to investigate the importance of the parental importance in the academic life of their child. It was suggested as a result of the study that the parents should strive to provide their children with a positive and encouraging environment at home so that they can focus on their study without psychological stresses. The research also concluded that there must be school-based program that are aimed at training the parents to get an awareness of the importance of their involvement with their children on various levels. These programs should be aimed at providing the necessary skills and training to the parents so that they can assist their children to improve their children language skills, test performance and school behavior.
Steinberg et al. (1992) found from his research that authoritative parents have been more helpful in their children getting better grades at schools compared to less authoritative ones. The children of authoritative students were regular at school and were engaged at school. Non-authoritative parenting showed attenuation in the beneficial impact on their children of adolescent age. The study might be pointing to the fact that parents should be able to influence their children in some ways and the children must not be left absolutely free to make all their decisions. In fact they must be guided in their life decisions and their academic related decision in particular. There is indeed a greater need to engage with the children to understand their need in a better ways and try and fulfill those need. But having said that, I is of utmost importance to let the child know of the limitations the parents have in fulfilling all their needs. The children must be let to experience legitimate suffering to learn that the life is not always easy and there are challenges in the school and in other walks of life that the child has to find solutions to.
Parent are an important part of a child’s life. They should be equally involved in their child’s academic activities. As we can conclude from the discussion in this literature review that the academic achievement of the children is directly related to their parent’s involvement in their schools and at home. Parent must find time to pay visits to their children’s school and meet their teachers to find out about their child’s academic achievement and conduct at school.
Parents should ensure that they provide their children with an optimal environment at their home that encourages creativity and lets their children develop an interest in their academic activities. Parents should engage in a behavior with their children that is not aggressive at all. Instead they should encourage logic and reason with healthy discussions and proper communication. Parents should be able to engage in age related academic activities with their children. They can help their children learn word at early school ages. Parents should encourage an environment at their home that provides opportunities to develop habits of reading and writing.
There should be programs by the authorities to provide parents with an opportunity to learn new skills to deal with their children. These programs should be based on latest researches conducted. This way parents can embrace modern techniques to provide their children with opportunities to be better at school and home and become a better person.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Epstein, J. L. (2001). School, family, and community partnerships: Preparing educators and improving schools. Westview Press, 5500 Central Avenue, Boulder, CO 80301.
Fantuzzo, J., McWayne, C., Perry, M. A., & Childs, S. (2004). Multiple dimensions of family involvement and their relations to behavioral and learning competencies for urban, low-income children. School Psychology Review,33(4), 467-480.
Izzo, C. V., Weissberg, R. P., Kasprow, W. J., & Fendrich, M. (1999). A longitudinal assessment of teacher perceptions of parent involvement in children’s education and school performance. American journal of community psychology, 27(6), 817-839.
Jeynes, W. H. (2007). The relationship between parental involvement and urban secondary school student academic achievement a meta-analysis. Urban education, 42(1), 82- 110.
Jeynes, W. H. (2005). A meta-analysis of the relation of parental involvement to urban elementary school student academic achievement. Urban education,40(3), 237-269.
Rogers, M. A., Theule, J., Ryan, B. A., Adams, G. R., & Keating, L. (2009). Parental involvement and children’s school achievement: Evidence for mediating processes. Canadian Journal of School Psychology.
Senechal, M., & LeFevre, J. (2002). Parental Involvement in the Development of Children’s Reading Skill: A Five-Year Longitudinal Study. Child Development. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.00417
Steinberg, L., Lamborn, S. D., Dornbusch, S. M., & Darling, N. (1992). Impact of parenting practices on adolescent achievement: Authoritative parenting, school involvement, and encouragement to succeed. Child development, 63(5), 1266-1281.
Will, M. C. (1986). Educating children with learning problems: A shared responsibility. Exceptional children, 52(5), 411-415.
All over the world, education is viewed as a good investment for national development. Since the rest of the educational system is built upon primary education, the primary school level is the key to success or failure of the whole educational system (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004). Therefore, children's education is not expected to be left in the hands of school administrators and teachers alone but also in the hands of everyone, most especially the parents and the child's immediate family members. In line with this belief, the idea that parents can positively influence their children's education should be investigated.
Parents' involvement in children's education can be seen as the act of engaging parents in instructional matters, predominantly in the home and also in the school. Rockwell, Andre and Hawley (2008) opined that parental involvement is the practice of any activity that empowers parents and family to participate in the educational process at home, at school and/or in any other programme settings. Generally, parent involvement in children's education includes several forms of participation in education and with the schools. Parents can support their children's schooling by attending school functions and responding to school obligations such as Parent–Teacher Association/Conferences. They can become more involved in helping their children improve their schoolwork by providing encouragement, arranging for appropriate study time and space, modeling desired behaviour (such as reading for pleasure), monitoring homework and actively tutoring their children at home.
Children spend more time at home than they do at school (Olatoye and Ogunkola, 2008); so parents have the opportunity for a number of interactions with their children in one-on-one situation. When parents teach their own children, they impact new skills in children and build the children's feelings of competence. This in turn motivates the child to perform better, setting a cycle of success reinforcement in motion (Henderson, 2009). When parents are involved in the education of their children, they usually have the opportunity to know their children's behavioural and intellectual needs better and such children in turn feel free to discuss their challenges with their parents.
Parental involvement and children's academic achievement
The effects of parent involvement on students have been measured largely in terms of student achievement based on grades or standardised test scores. McLaughlin and Shield (1987) reported that students, including those from low socio-economic status (SES), whose parents were involved in their education do better academically than students whose parents are not involved. Comer (2001) also noted that parents who are involved in their children's education learn in terms of acquiring new skills, gaining confidence and improving employment opportunities. He noted further that when parents are involved in schools, it improves school climate and reduces the possibilities of stereotyping particular children and families.
The relationship between parental involvement and educational outcomes was also examined by Stevenson and Baker (1987)