When parents are involved in education, children do better in school, and schools get better. According to a new review of recent research published by the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (2002), 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 more regularly
- Have better social skills, show improved behavior and adapt well to school
- Graduate and go on to post-secondary education
Other key findings in the research offer more compelling evidence for nurturing parent involvement in schools.
Families of all racial and economic backgrounds are involved in their children’s learning at home. This finding also crossed all education level and cultural barriers. White, middle-class families, however tend to be more involved at school.
Programs and special efforts to engage families make a difference. Teacher outreach to parents and parent workshops on helping children learn at home result in strong, consistent gains in reading and math. Schools with highly rated Partnership programs make greater gains than schools with lower rated programs. Effective outreach practices include meeting face to face, sending learning materials home, and keeping touch about progress.
Higher-Performing Schools effectively involve families and community. These schools build trusting, collaborative relationships among teachers, families and community members. They recognize, respect and address family’s needs as well as differences and they embrace a philosophy of shared power and responsibility.
These findings should be in the forefront of guiding effective school practices.
Excerpted from A New Generation of Evidence: The Family is Critical to Student Achievement, by Anne T. Henderson and Nancy Berla (Washington, DC: Center for Law and Education, 1994) and A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement, by Anne T. Henderson and Karen L. Mapp (Austion, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 2002 – in press).