Researches carried out in the last three decades has evidenced that parental/family involvement to a great extent contributes in numerous ways to improve students’ achievement about school and learning success. These studies have considerably remained unswerving even though families, as well as learning institutions, have changed over time. It has been legislated that every school has to promote partnerships that are in the offing of amassing parental and/or family participation in these learning institutions to stimulate the emotional, social, as well as academic growth of children.
Parental involvement in education, as well as its related family-school relationships, has over the years been hypothesized through a couple of disciplinary viewpoints, educational agency, and local, federal, and state policy perspectives. Parental involvement and family-school relationships are two terms, which are interchangeably used and they two denote the interactions facilitated between schools and families, “especially the communication, between families and schools of academic progress of students, academic or behavioral problems, and expectations for home engagement” (McMillan, 2000, p. 150).
Besides having been included in the school policies, this type of engagement is also evident in the federal policies, the likes of No Child Left Behind Act, which provides for the involvement of parents or family in education (Henderson & Mapp, 2002).
In a broader perspective, the role of parents in education is more often than not defined “collectively across parents within schools and school districts rather than at the family or even individual level” (McMillan, 2000, p. 14). Ordinarily, parental involvement has been understood as the “collective parental pressure on schools” or even the impression of mutual utilization of school policies such as a charter, school choice, and magnet schools and already in existence schools and district assignment favoring private schools (McMillan, 2000).
Besides, “collective parental pressure” can assume the form of good structure “parent-teacher associations or simply through concerned parents monitoring the schools” (Henderson & Mapp, 2002, p. 4). Various studies have come to a shared agreement that for students to earn considerably high grades, enroll in higher education and develop an appositive attitude towards school, the family, community, and the school has to work hand in hand.
Additionally, parental involvement in the education of their children does affect their school attendance as well as their school behavior. It is the wish and joy of every parent to have his or her child excel in school, and as a result, there is a need for these parents to have adequate information about the school for them to be good learning partners to their children, as well as the tutors. Similarly, a great percentage of the students at all learning levels want their families to not only be familiar but also be well-acquainted schooling partners.
It is for this reason that parental involvement is said to have positive impacts on the academic performance of students. This thus calls for parents and schools to establish nurture and uphold a considerably strong partnership between the learning institutions and homes (Epstein, 2009).
The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to ascertain the various ways in which parents are involved in education and their contribution to achieving academic excellence among students. The parents are for instance questioned about the expectations they have regarding the education of their children, the relationships that these parents have with the school and the school staff, and whether or not they do monitor their children when it comes to their schoolwork. Additionally, this study aims at addressing the effects that parental involvement may have on the students’ academic achievement if the parents are actively involved with the education of their children.
Parental/ Family Involvement and Learning Objectives/ Academic Outcomes
As has been noted in the introductory statements, parental involvement in schools has become a common area of study in the recent past. Undeniably, there are various reasons as to why the partnership between school, family, and community has to be developed, grown and nurtured (Epstein, 2009). Some of these reasons include such as making improvements on the school climate, improving school programs, advancing parental leadership and skills, assisting families to better connect with others in the institutions of learning as well as in the society as well as helping teachers in these schools with their mandate.
However, the principal reason as to why this partnership is to avail assistance to the students so that they can excel in academics. All the above-mentioned reasons emphasize the significance of the role that parents and family play in their children’s education and the way forward to keeping strong and positive relationships with these schools (Epstein, 2009).
Parental involvement is the most powerful influence in the education of a child (Epstein, 2009). This is because it is in the offing of having several effects, both academically and behaviorally on the student. At home, there are different ways in which parents do demonstrate their involvement. These include such as assisting their children with homework, reading for them, and having regular discussions with their children on matters about schoolwork or school. Moreover, it is of great importance for these parents to convey the academic expectations they so have from their children (Drake, 2000).
Various studies and researches have delivered bounteous evidence that parental involvement affects their children’s achievements in core subjects such as Mathematics, reading, and sciences as well as their behaviors, school attendance, and their adjustment and attitude to school (Erlendsdottir, 2010). Also, Henderson & Mapp have documented that the perception that students have on the involvement of their parents highly affects and influences the students’ educational achievement. Those students who have a feeling that their parents do support them in their education tend to have virtuous communication and are likely to carry on with their studies beyond high school (Henderson & Mapp, 2002).
Children originating from reading-oriented homes, homes in which books are readily available, and their parents are virtually avid readers, tend to score higher when it comes to reading achievement tests as compared to their counterparts from less reading-oriented homes. Moreover, reading alongside parents does affect children’s literacy skills. As a result, parents are noted to have positive impacts on the reading skills of their children and at the same time boost the children’s reading comprehension when they read with them and make these relevant books available to the students (Erlendsdottir, 2010).
Studies have indicated that parental involvement majorly affects students’ reading achievement in the early years of their schooling. Nevertheless, the same continues to positively affect both the students’ reading achievement and academic development while these scholars are in their primary, secondary, and even high schools (Hsu & Nielson, 2009). In studies carried out among students in secondary school, it was crystal clear that those students whose parents display high educational expectations from their children, convene discussions with their children regarding their school and their future academic and non-academic plans and monitor the way these children handle their homework have a tendency of scoring higher grades in English and scores high in reading achievement tests (Hsu & Nielson, 2009).
These studies avail support to the argument that parental involvement through support and reading interests remains to be a significant factor for academic achievement among young people, especially those in high school. It is, therefore, of great importance that both parents and schools have to institute and maintain good and stout relationships throughout the children’s schooling period. Parents have to read with their children, right from the early years of their schooling, as well as actively get involved in the children’s schoolwork regardless of their (the parents) socio-economic status or the education level (Hsu & Nielson, 2009).
Parental involvement also equally directly impacts the math achievement of their children, both in primary and secondary schools. Moreover, there is a high likelihood that students whose parents are actively involved in their education will further in Mathematics (Drake, 2000). Some scholars, the likes of Yan and Lin, have claimed that if parents have high expectations for the Mathematics achievement of their children, these children tend to achieve more. Besides affecting the students’ Math achievements, the home environment also affects the abilities and attitudes of the students towards math (Henderson & Mapp, 2002).
The partnership between schools and homes is imperative when it comes to Math achievement because how parents do socialize with their children is in the offing of profoundly affecting the child’s self-perception of his or her ability and achievement. Researches have evidence that a child’s self-concept of his/her math ability is closely related to the parent’s perception of the ability of the child rather than the actual grade the child so obtains (Epstein, 2009).
These psychological effects are imperative since it has been noted that self-perceptions are likely to influence the child’s career decisions in the future. Families are obliged to help and offer assistance, through their interactions, to their children when it comes to math. Schools have taken the initiative of encouraging parents to do so and refrain from the feeling that their confidence is low as regards their ability to assist children with math. Schools have also implemented various activities and other partnership programs with the parents to facilitate the above-mentioned assistance (Epstein, 2009).
Although limited research has been accorded to the impact that parental involvement has on the science achievement of the students as compared to that of reading and Mathematics, the present increase in interest in science achievement has called for more parental involvement. On the science subject, parental/family involvement has a close connection with how students do perceive science and subsequently, their attitude towards the subject (Marcon, 1999).
Parents take time to talk with their children about science, show confidence in the science ability of these children, and exhibit higher expectations that have greatly influenced the children to become more interested in the subject. Furthermore, these children are more likely to excel in the same subject at higher levels of education. By engaging in various science-related activities at home as well as taking their offspring to visit libraries and museums, these parents help their children to develop a positive attitude towards science (Gianzero, 1999).
It is worth noting that parental involvement does not solely impact the students’ academic outcomes, but also other non-academic outcomes. Some of these include such as the students, behavior, their school attendance trends as well as their attitudes towards school (Erlendsdottir, 2010). It has also been documented that those parents who are actively involved in their children’s education are likely to avail assistance to their children as they transit from one school level to the other and from one learning institution to another (Henderson & Mapp, 2002).
Schools are necessitated to make improvements on the students’ school attendance patterns since their presence in these learning institutions offers the students more learning opportunities. For quite some time, schools have not been consciously and systematically working in partnership with parents and families to cut down on student absenteeism. Nevertheless, continued cooperation and partnerships with families and parents reported in the last few years have been reported to have done a great deal in increasing students’ school attendance (McMillan, 2000). Several parental behaviors ought to be practiced to lower levels of malingering among students.
These include such as monitoring the whereabouts of the students, organizing discussions with their children concerning school, becoming active members of the parent-teacher association (PTA), and volunteering at school. Schools should also take the initiative of informing the parents of those children absenting themselves from school to improve attendance. In this way, the parents are in a position to both monitor and supervise the school attendance of their children in a more adequate manner (Gianzero, 1999).
Parent involvement also influences the behavior of the children. Both within and outside school, the behavior of a child is closely related to the home environment and family dynamics. According to some studies, some factors are extrapolative of mischievousness among minors. These factors include such as passive and neglectful parenting styles, inadequate problem-solving strategies, lax disciplinary approaches, recurrent conflicts within the home, and poor parental monitoring.
The majority of educators have realized that the family life of students greatly affects the behaviors of these students. As a result, most of the schools have focused on improving the behavior of the student by entering into partnership programs with parents (Epstein, 2009). This partnership can help improve the students’ academic performance by improving their behavior. In turn, this improved behavior significantly influences the students’ school grades. Parental involvement is held responsible for this better behavior (Epstein, 2009).
Another non-academic significance of parental involvement in the development of both emotional and social growth. Parents who are actively involved in the education of their children have meant these children to display higher motivation in school achievements. Additionally, these students from these students show higher school engagement levels. Convincingly, therefore, parental involvement affects the academic achievement of students via the impact it has on the growth of students’ attitude towards and engagement with school and the students’ perception potential (Hsu & Nielson, 2009).
There is potential evidence relating parental involvement to school success and the impacts of particular parental involvement practices and programs. Parents make important contributions to their children’s development. Therefore, both schools and communities should play a vital role in helping parents to develop upon what they are currently doing. Regardless of the evidence about the effects of parental involvement, the majority of the parents do not have satisfactory information about their children’s schools. Moreover, various educators do not know their students’ families, and several communities are not closely associated with their native schools. Consequently, the price in terms of students’ outcomes not obtained is infinite.
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