Parental involvement.

This week I have decided to discuss the topic of whether students and pupils benefit from parental involvement in education or should parents take more of a back seat when it comes to their children’s academic environment. It seems to just make sense that when parents play an active role in their children’s education there will be beneficial outcomes. 

Sacker et al (2002) examined the data from the National Child Development Study. Researchers followed 98% of all births in England, Scotland and Wales that occurred in the week that began on the 3rd of March in 1958. Furthermore 17,400 of the newborn babies were followed up when they were at the ages of 7, 11, 16, 23 and 33 years. They found that there was a significant relationship between parental involvement and positive effects on the child’s academic achievements. 

Sui-Chu and Wilms (1996) also argued that parental involvement correlated with positive academic outcomes. They conducted a study called The US National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS) that was based on a sample of 24,6000 14 year old pupils from a sample that was drawn from 1500 different schools across the USA. Moreover they also went on to suggest that there was a connection between the pupils’ socio-economic status and the amount of parental involvement that they experienced. They claimed that lower class families were much less likely to be involved with their children’s education whereas higher class families would take more of an interest.

Sui-Chu and Wilms concluded that parental involvement made a significant contribution to children’s academic achievements based on the association they found in their study between the amount of discussion that took place between children and parents and a higher level of achievement. 

Nechyba et al (1999) summarised three possible assumptions in order to provide an explanation for the association between socio-economic class and the higher tendency for parents to be more involved with the children’s education. They argued that:

1. Working class culture places less value on education.

2. That working class parents feel they as though they are not equipped with educational abilities.

3. That there are institutional barriers (working class parents find difficulty in conforming to institutional values). 

Whilst considering these positive effects that have been associated with parental involvement and education I was interested in investigating whether involvement is being promoted in order to educate and inform parents. In the UK, several measures have been established in order to boost the connections between schools and parents however there is a lack of intervention programmes that promote parental involvement behaviours. 

I believe that further research is needed in order to highlight the importance of parental involvement behaviours such as discussions between the parent and child, working together on homework and essentially creating a positive attitude towards education in general. 

Further research is needed into programs that teach parents the importance of discussions between parents and children, helping with homework and creating positive attitudes towards education. I hope to see more research in this field in the future.


Nechyba. T., McEwan. P., Older-Aguila. D. (1999). The impact of family & community resources on student outcomes: an assessment of the international literature with implications for New Zealand. Ministry Of Education. 

Sacker. A., Schoon. I., Bartley, M. (2002). Social inequality in educational achievement and psychosocial adjustment throughout childhood: magnitude and mechanisms. Social Science & Medicine. 55. 5. 863-880.

Sui-Chu. E. H., & Wilms. J. D. (1996). Efforts Of Parental Involvement on Eighth-Grade Achievement. Sociology of Education. 69. 2. 126-141.



7 thoughts on “Parental involvement.

  1. There are so many studies out there supporting a correlation between parental involvement and better achievement in school. Bogenschneider’s (1997) is one many that show more parental discussion and involvement allows children to achieve more and get better grades long term.

    However the use of correlations for all of these is troubling me, as you pointed out, a correlation between socio-economic status and achievement has been found. This is not the only variable that could be linked between parents and achievement. my first thought was that the intelligence and or qualifications of the parents must also have an effect. My parents stopped being involved when I hit GCSE level as I knew more than them, so they couldn’t be involved no matter how much encouragement they were given. The Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education Project (EPPSE) has been following children since 1997 and has found parental qualifications as the biggest predictor of achievement. They found further links with these same families and them sending children to good pre-school mobility before school.

    There is definitely more going on here than just a basic correlation between parental involvement and better achievement is schools!


    Bogenschneider, K. (1999). Parental involvement in adolescent schooling: A proximal process with transcontextual validity, Journal of Marriage and the Family


  2. I really enjoyed reading your blog and one I feel to develop more on, as I think that it is extremely important to have parental involvement in education; especially in children aged 5 to 16. As a teacher I believe that these are the years where we learn and develop our cognitive, social and behavioural functioning. By the help of our parents we can improve our mind and brain activity, they can teach us things that we may not understand from our teachers. For example, my maths skills never seemed to work as well when I used methods that my teachers taught me, but when my Dad taught me his ways I was well on my way and gained my A at GCSE. It isn’t that I am saying that MUST play a role but I feel that parents do give somewhat of an influence on our education in many ways.

    The DCSF have highlighted a lot of vital findings on parental support. The two which I feel are most significant include the result that shows how parental involvement in education from their children’s early age has a significant effect on their educational achievement, and continues to do so into adolescence and adulthood. Furthermore, family learning has also been found to provide a vast amount of benefits for parents and children including significant improvements in reading, writing and numeracy as well as greater confidence in parents helping their children at home.

    I feel it is very important however that parents know and have a clear understanding of how they can be more involved with their children’s education. Research into Parental involvement in Education (Williams, Williams and Ullman, 2002) aimed to establish several matters at hand, including;
    • the level of involvement parents have in their children’s education
    • relationship with teachers
    • involvement with homework

    It was found in the work by Williams, Williams and Ullman (2002) that most parents who want to be more involved are awaiting on teachers to tell them how and what they can do. We, as teachers, need to address this and provide parents with the information they need, maybe it will educate them and give them the initiative to help their children how they feel they should.


    DCSF : The Impact of Parental Involvement on Children’s Education,

    Williams, B., Williams, J., & Ullman, A. (2002). Parental involvement in education.

  3. Your blog is an excellent read and very interesting. I agree with you that parental involvement does have an effect on child’s academic performance. According to Chan (2005) Chinese students perceive parental expectations displayed through their involvement and the family cohesion as vital parental functions in enhancing their child’s excellence. This shows us how parental involvement benefit children in all kinds of culture. Hoover – Dempsey et al (2005) believed that parents become involved in their children’s education for 3 reasons: parent belief system, invitations and demands for involvement from child and school and thirdly parent life contexts. To conclude after looking at all the evidence I believe that parental involvement in their child’s education is important.

    Chan, D. W. (2005). Family environment and talent development of Chinese gifted students in Hong Kong. Gifted Child Quarterly, 49(3), 211-221.

    Hoover‐Dempsey, K. V., Walker, J. M., Sandler, H. M., Whetsel, D., Green, C. L., Wilkins, A. S., & Closson, K. (2005). Why do parents become involved? Research findings and implications. The Elementary School Journal, 106(2), 105-130.

  4. Not only is parental involvement is important for a student’s academic success (Shui-Chu & Wilms, 1996), but other outside-involvement is also important for children at school, such as peers (Ladd, 1990). Ladd (1990) found that friendships were beneficial for children in education as children who had friends were likely to gain school performance. Those who failed to make friends were more likely to dislike school and in consequent avoid school more, as well as achieving lower performance levels!!!!

    One of the reasons why peer involvement is favourable to children is due to academic-comparison (Goodenow & Grady, 1993) as students’ friends can influence their academic motivation (so they might work harder if their friends are), although it is important that teachers are aware in case friends can negatively motivate each other by distracting one another!!!

    Goodenow, C., & Grady, K. E. (1993). The relationship of school belonging and friends’ values to academic motivation among urban adolescent students. The journal of experimental education, 62(1), 60-71.
    Ladd, G. W. (1990). Having friends, keeping friends, making friends, and being liked by peers in the classroom: Predictors of children’s early school adjustment?. Child development, 61(4), 1081-1100.
    Sui-Chu. E. H., & Wilms. J. D. (1996). Efforts Of Parental Involvement on Eighth-Grade Achievement. Sociology of Education. 69. 2. 126-141.

  5. I really enjoyed your blog topic this week as in the past I have come across a lot of research which is similar to the one that you have discussed. You have mentioned some work which focuses on socio economic status and how it is less likely that working class see education as important. To co-incide with this statement, research by Hart and Risley (1995) found that children in the highest socio economic statuses are subjected to more words spoken to, and a wider vocabulary, up to the age of three and subjected to up to 3 million more than children in working class or lower class backgrounds. This therefore stresses the importance of parents in education, even in preschool.
    Another interesting finding by Dornsbuch et al (1987) is how parenting styles can also have an effect on a childs education. The researches identified three teaching styles, Authritarian, Permissive, Authoratitive. Their findings were that across cultures, authoritarian parents had the lowest grades and authoratitive having the highest grades. This again shows the role of the parent on the children and their education.

    Dornsbuch, Sanford, Riter, Leiderman, Roberts & Fraleigh (1987) The relationship of parenting style to adoltescent school performance. Child Development, 58 (5), 1244-1257

    Hart & Risley(1995)The Early Catostrophe: Three million word gap by age 3. Retrieved from :

  6. Ffion,
    Interesting read 🙂 From personal experience, my Dad’s help was a huge help to me through school, particularly with math’s homework! As the other comment’s have stated, it’s widely recognised that if students are to maximise their potential in terms of their schooling, they will need the full support of their parents (Desforges, Abouchaar & Britain, 2003). There is a wealth of literature showing evidence for the support of parents in their child’s education. Anxiety can be a major problem within the school setting, with student’s becoming stressed due to the pressures surrounding high achievement. It has been found that parental involvement within school-based cognitive-behavioral interventions, showed that student’s showed significantly reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety in follow up tests, compared to control groups (Gillham et al., 2006).
    However, I just also wanted to point out that although I appreciate my Dad for all those times he spent explaining maths problems to me, there were plenty of times we would definitely not see eye to eye because the methods I had been taught in the classroom were completely different to his methods of calculation, which has been highlighted by Crozier (1999).

    Desforges, C. and Abouchaar, A. (2003) The Impact of Parental Involvement, Parental Support and Family Education on Pupil Achievements and Adjustments: A Literature Review, Research Report 443. London: DfES

    Gillham JE, Hamilton J, Freres DR, Patton K, Gallop R. (2006) Preventing depression among early adolescents in the primary care setting: a randomized controlled study of the Penn Resiliency Program. J Abnorm Child Psychol.In press

    Crozier, G. (1999). Parental involvement: who wants it?. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 9(3), 219-238.

  7. From experience, parental involvement is so important at a young age; without my parents guiding and becoming involved in my own education, I wouldn’t have done it alone. It’s not that they actually helped me to complete the academic work, but it’s nice to know that they are at your side along the way. Considering this, Sacker et al (2002) and Sui Chu and Wilms’s (1996) results do not surprise me when they reported that there were significant positive effects for the child’s academic achievements with a good parental relationship. Not only does parental involvement have a great affect on academic achievement, it also has other benefits. Gonzalez-DeHass, Willems and Holbein (2005) reported that parental involvement has a great effect on self-regulation, perceived control, school engagement and their motivation to read. These will then increase the child’s motivation to learn and will enjoy school.

    You mentioned the relationship between teacher and parent. I believe this relationship is essential to ensure that the child’s learning is at its best. Teachers and parents need to make sure that they are on the same level; similar teaching techniques are put in place at school and at home. If a child will be experiencing two very different views of learning, they will get confused. It is also more likely that the child will listen to the teacher more due to them being the ‘expert’ from the child’s point of view. The parent might tell the child to complete something in a particular way, with the child responding with “but Miss told me to do this”. This can then create problems at home. The vital element in a relationship between a teacher and parent is trust (Adams & Christenson, 2000). To enhance this, sufficient communication must occur which would then affect the child’s learning positively. So after considering the effects of parental involvement, it’s essential that the relationship is there from a young age!


    Adams, K. S., & Christenson, S. L. (2000). Trust and the Family-School Relationship Examination of Parent-teacher differences in Elementary and Secondary Grades. Journal of School Psychology.
    Gonzalez-DeHass, A. R., Willems, P. P., & Holbein, M. F. D. (2005). Examining the Relationship Between Parental Involvement and Students Motivation. Educational Psychology Review, 17(2), 99-123. Doi: 10.1007/s10648-005-3949-7

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