The Role of Parental Involvement in Student Achievement
The role of parent involvement in student achievement has long been researched and documented. Of course, one cannot ignore the role of a student’s inherent drive, determination, and perseverance as a factor in success; however, more often than not, when one sees a successful lawyer, doctor, businessman, or teacher, a strong foundation of parental support has been deeply rooted. Some of the most successful ways parents can get involved is through: expressing high but realistic expectations; encouraging their child’s development and progress in school; and modeling the value of learning, discipline, and hard work (Elam, 2002).
The theory that if one sets high expectations for oneself, one will fulfill those expectations is not a new one. Studies have shown that students who have parents that have instilled high expectations into them are more successful than those than do not. Catasambis found that when parents guided their children towards classes that would enable them to successful post education programs, students were more likely to be successful. “When families knew about and guided high school students to classes that would lead to higher education, students were more likely to enroll in a higher-level program, earn credits, and score higher on tests. Regardless of family background, the issue of parent expectations had the strongest effect on grade 12 test scores in all subjects” (qtd. in Devarics & O’Brien, 2011). The higher the expectations the parents set for their children, the better their children performed.
In addition to setting high expectations, successful parental involvement requires parents to be involved in their child’s development and progress in school. The Michigan Department of Education found that 86% of the general population believes that parental support is the best way to improve schools, and lack of this involvement is the biggest problem (Elan, 2002). Parental involvement includes being present and active in the school’s PTA, familiarizing themselves with options for classes, understanding the standards that need to be met for their children, encouraging their children to meet those standards to be successful. Research has shown that when parents are involved in the schools and monitoring their children’s progress, the results are: higher grades, better school attendance, better self-esteem, and decreased use of drugs and alcohol (Elan, 2002). Along with the monitoring of students’ development and progress in school comes student success.
Parents are the first role models that children have. By modeling the value of learning, perseverance, and hard work, parents are laying the groundwork for successful students. An inner-city parent involvement program began parenting workshops where parents were given the opportunity to improve their own reading and writing skills in order to help their children. This example set by the parents, increased the students’ interest in education and learning and enhanced students’ self-esteem as reported by teachers and parents (Hara & Burke, 1998). This modeling of the value of learning, self-discipline, and hard work leads the way for a successful academic career for their children.
The success of the future generation lies with the parents of school-aged children. Parents have a responsibility to their children, in addition to the burden that society has places on our schools. Some of the most successful ways parents can get involved is through: expressing high but realistic expectations; encouraging their child’s development and progress in school; and modeling the value of learning, discipline, and hard work. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are equipped with the tools and knowledge to be able to make it in this world.
Dervarics, C., & O'Brien, E. (2011, August 30). National school boards association. Retrieved from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Public-education/Parent-Involvement/Parent-Involvement.html Elam, R. (2002). What research says about parent involvement in children’s education in relation to academic achievement. Retrieved from http://www.michigan.gov/documents/Final_Parent_Involvement_Fact_Sheet_14732_7