Bringing Parents to School

By Nora Carr

Despite the current trend of holding teachers and principals solely accountable for student learning, research underscores the power of parents.

In fact, most top scholars note that, while teachers have significant influence on student achievement, non-school factors outweigh those controlled by educators by a two-to-one margin.

The impact parents have on student achievement can be profound. A 2006 study of National Assessment of Educational Progress data revealed a 30-point difference in scale scores between students with involved parents and those without.

Other studies have shown that parent involvement, both at school and at home, is associated with a number of positive student outcomes, including higher levels of motivation, attendance, and homework completion as well as better grades and test scores. Children of involved parents also show more willingness to tackle tougher academic courses and have greater college aspirations and acceptance rates.

Definitions of what constitutes parent involvement may differ based on cultural perspectives and biases, but most experts now agree that engaging parents is as important to the mission of the school as instruction.

As a result, engagement efforts are focusing more on boosting the capacity of parents to support learning at home as well as at school.

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