The Impact of Parental Involvement on Children s Education

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1 The Impact of Parenta Invovement on Chidren s Education

2 2 The Impact of Parenta Invovement on Chidren s Education The Impact of Parenta Invovement on Chidren s Education Key findings Parenta invovement in chidren s education from an eary age has a significant effect on educationa achievement, and continues to do so into adoescence and aduthood. 1 The quaity and content of fathers invovement matter more for chidren s outcomes than the quantity of time fathers spend with their chidren. 2 Famiy earning can aso provide a range of benefits for parents and chidren incuding improvements in reading, writing and numeracy as we as greater parenta confidence in heping their chid at home. 3 The attitudes and aspirations of parents and of chidren themseves predict ater educationa achievement. Internationa evidence suggests that parents with high aspirations are aso more invoved in their chidren s education. 4 In 2007, around haf of parents surveyed said that they fet very invoved in their chid s schoo ife. Two thirds of parents said that they woud ike to get more invoved in their chid s schoo ife (with work commitments being a commony cited barrier to greater invovement). 5 Leves of parenta invovement vary among parents, for exampe, mothers, parents of young chidren, Back/Back British parents, parents of chidren with a statement of Specia Educationa Needs are a more ikey than average to be very invoved in their chid s education. 5

3 The Impact of Parenta Invovement on Chidren s Education 3 This document draws together evidence on the impact of parenta invovement on chidren s education, the stages at which it is known to have an impact on chidren, and the types of activities that are shown to be infuentia. Because of the restricted focus of this document on educationa outcomes, it does not examine how parenta invovement may affect the other four Every Chid Matters outcomes for chidren (i.e. be heathy, stay safe, make a positive contribution and achieve economic we-being ). Overa, research has consistenty shown that parenta invovement in chidren s education does make a positive difference to pupis achievement. The Chidren s Pan pubished by the Department for Chidren, Schoos and Famiies (DCSF) in 2007 aso highights the importance of partnership between parents and schoos to support chidren in their earning, and how greater support wi be provided for parents to invove them in their chid s education (in the eary years and throughout schoo). What is parenta invovement? Most chidren have two main educators in their ives their parents and their teachers. Parents are the prime educators unti the chid attends an eary years setting or starts schoo and they remain a major infuence on their chidren s earning throughout schoo and beyond. The schoo and parents both have crucia roes to pay. There is no universa agreement on what parenta invovement is, it can take many forms, from invovement at the schoo (as a governor, heping in the cassroom or during unch breaks) through to reading to the chid at home, teaching songs or nursery rhymes and assisting with homework. This can be categorised into two broad strands: Parents invovement in the ife of the schoo. Their invovement in support of the individua chid at home. This document is focused on the second of these, as there is consistent evidence of the educationa benefits of invoving parents in their chid s earning at home. 6 Because of the compex interaction between a number of factors (and ony some of which have been taken into account in the anaysis) it is difficut to prove that one causes the other, the research instead demonstrates that a reationship exists between parenta invovement and achievement. How many parents get invoved and what do they do? The vast majority (92%) of parents surveyed in 2007 reported that they fet at east fairy invoved in their chid s schoo ife. Around haf fet very invoved, which has increased from 2001, when 29% fet very invoved. 5 Women, parents with young chidren, parents who eft fu-time education ater (i.e. those who eft at age 21 or over) those from Back

4 4 The Impact of Parenta Invovement on Chidren s Education or Back British backgrounds and parents of a chid with a statement of Specia Educationa Needs are a more ikey to fee very invoved (compared to men; parents who eft education at a younger age; and parents from White or Asian backgrounds respectivey). Lone parents and non-resident parents are both ess ikey than average to fee very invoved. Parents are more ikey to see a chid s education as mainy or whoy their responsibiity (28%) in 2007 compared to previous years, and neary haf (45%) of parents beieved that they had equa responsibiity with the schoo. Parents aso now participate in a wider range of activities with their chidren. These incude: Research suggests fathers are invoved (more often than mothers) in specific types of activities in their chidren s out of schoo earning: such as buiding and repairing, hobbies, IT, maths and physica pay. 2 A survey of parents in 2007 found that fathers hep ess often with homework than mothers, however amongst parents working fu time there was no gender difference. 5 Evidence suggests that the quaity and content of fathers invovement matter more for chidren s outcomes than the quantity of time fathers spend with their chidren. 2 doing schoo projects together (83%) making things (81%), paying sport (80%) and reading (79%). Leves of fathers invovement in their chidren s education Studies suggest that fathers invovement has increased since the 1970s, particuary with chidren under the age of 5. 7 There is evidence, however, of great variation in eves of fathers invovement, so that even though eves have increased on average, a substantia proportion of fathers recorded no daiy direct interaction time with their chidren. 8 This is ikey to refect, in part, changing famiy structures. When surveyed in 2007, mothers are more ikey than fathers to say that they fet very invoved in their chid s education (53% compared to 45%). 5 Neary 70% of fathers want to be more invoved in their chid s education and even higher proportions of non resident parents (81%), who are predominanty mae, are aso keen for greater invovement. 5 Why is parenta invovement important? Improvements in cognitive and socia deveopment eary years education Parenta invovement with chidren from an eary age has been found to equate with better outcomes (particuary in terms of cognitive deveopment). What parents do is more important than who they are for chidren s eary deveopment i.e. home earning activities undertaken by parents is more important for chidren s inteectua and socia deveopment than parenta occupation, education or income 1.

5 The Impact of Parenta Invovement on Chidren s Education 5 The Effective Provision of Pre-Schoo Education (EPPE) project is a arge-scae ongitudina study of 3,000 chidren, which has foowed the progress of these chidren from the age of three. Parents invovement in home earning activities makes an important difference to chidren s attainment (and socia behaviour) at age three pus through to the age of 10, when the infuence of other background factors have been taken into account (such as famiy socio-economic status, mothers education, income and ethnicity). 9 The EPPE research has found that a range of activities are associated with positive outcomes at age 3 and 7 incuding 1 : paying with etters and numbers, emphasising the aphabet, reading with the chid teaching songs and nursery rhymes, painting and drawing, and visiting the ibrary. This study aso found significant differences in the types of home earning activities that parents undertake with boys compared to girs. Significanty more girs parents reported activities such as reading, teaching songs and nursery rhymes etc. Differences in this aspect of parenting may account for some of the variation in cognitive and socia behavioura outcomes of boys and girs when they enter primary schoo. 1 pubic exams) found that very high parenta interest is associated with better exam resuts compared to chidren whose parents show no interest. Parenta invovement has a positive effect on chidren s achievement even when the infuence of background factors such as socia cass and famiy size have been taken into account. 10. Parenta behaviour has a bigger effect than schoo quaity on pupis attainment at Key Stage However this research aso found that a chid s abiity on entry to schoo is the most important factor in predicting Key Stage 2 attainment across subjects (foowed by socio-economic background factors incuding income and parenta education). Evidence suggests that for boys parenta behaviour and famiy reationships has a greater infuence on attainment for a Key Stage 2 subjects, whereas for girs parenta education and socia and economic background has a greater infuence on attainment in Engish and Maths at Key Stage The impact of parenta invovement for schoo age chidren Evidence indicates that parenta invovement continues to have a significant effect on achievement into adoescence and even aduthood. Research using data from the Nationa Chid Deveopment Study (NCDS) to expore the effect of parents invovement on achievement at 16 in Engish and Maths (and average grades across a

6 6 The Impact of Parenta Invovement on Chidren s Education The specific impact of fathers invovement in their chidren s education Fathers have a critica roe to pay in ensuring positive outcomes for their chidren. There is consistent evidence that fathers interest and invovement in their chidren s earning (which was measured in terms of interest in education, outings and reading to the chid) is statisticay associated with better educationa outcomes (controing for a wide variety of other infuencing factors). These outcomes incuded: better exam resuts, a higher eve of educationa quaifications, greater progress at schoo, higher educationa expectations more positive attitudes (e.g. enjoyment) and better behaviour (e.g. reduced risk of suspension or expusion) at schoo. 2 These positive associations exist across different famiy types, incuding two-parent famiies, singeparent famiies and chidren with non-resident fathers. However, the specific outcomes and strength of effect can vary across famiy type. Research indicates that fathers invovement is important not ony when a chid is in primary schoo but aso when they are in secondary schoo and regardess of the chid s gender (i.e. for sons as we as daughters). 2 Educationa attainment into aduthood Other studies invoving further anaysis of the NCDS data have found that fathers and mothers invovement in their chid s education at age 7 independenty predicted educationa attainment at age 20 in both sons and daughters 12. Parenta invovement in the study was measured in terms of the number outings with the chid, parents interest in education and reading to the chid and the study aso controed for a wide range of other infuences on educationa attainment. Further research has examined the effect of parenta interest on educationa outcomes at age 26 (which again controed for key factors such as birth weight, socia cass and mother s educationa abiity). It found that athough mothers interest predicted educationa attainment in both sons and daughters, fathers interest at age 10 predicted ony ater educationa attainment in daughters. It found that fathers interest affected sons educationa attainment via its effect on mothers interest. 13 Parenta invovement in homework and reading Homework Neary three-quarters of parents surveyed in 2007 said that they fet that it was extremey important to hep with their chid s homework. 5 Neary 60% of parents said that they frequenty heped their chid with their homework (i.e. they did so every time or most times ); approximatey one third did so occasionay. How often a parent heps with homework is strongy tied to the schoo year of the chid; parents of younger chidren heped more frequenty than those in ater schoo years. 5 Research shows that pupis tend to hod positive views about homework, seeing it as important in heping them to do we at schoo 14 Studies suggest that particuary for secondary schoo pupis there is a positive reationship between time spent on homework and achievement. 14 Evidence for primary schoos is inconcusive. This does not necessariy mean however that the more time on homework the higher the achievement; as some internationa studies suggest that pupis doing a great dea of homework and aso those who did very itte tended to perform ess we at schoo. 14

7 The Impact of Parenta Invovement on Chidren s Education 7 The frequency with which parents reported reading to the chid. This is associated with higher scores for pre-reading, anguage and eary number attainment. Frequency of aphabet earning. This made a bigger difference on pre-reading attainment than the mothers highest quaification. Frequency of ibrary visits. This showed a smaer but significant positive impact on the above outcomes. The impact on achievement There is mixed evidence about whether or not parenta invovement in homework affects pupis achievement at schoo. Some research suggests that the type (and amount) of parenta invovement may be important in increasing pupis achievement. A study from the United States has expored the effects of different types of parenta invovement in homework and found that different forms of support (e.g. support for chidren s autonomy) are associated with higher test scores, whereas others (e.g. direct invovement) are associated with ower test scores. 14 Beyond simpy eiminating distractions, parents can hep to create an effective earning environment for their chidren, as internationa studies have found that chidren can have distinct preferences for different earning environments 14 and it may be usefu for study environments to be based on chidren s individua earning styes. 15 The impact of parenta invovement in reading on achievement The EPPE research project has examined the reationship between chidren s home earning environment and their reading attainment (for 3 to 5 year ods) 9. Factors that positivey infuenced attainment incuded: The impact of famiy earning on chidren s achievement The benefit of earning across the famiy is now we documented. Famiy earning broady refers to approaches which engage parents and chidren jointy in earning. This can incude famiy iteracy and numeracy programmes to improve the basic skis of parents and the eary iteracy of chidren and may incude joint parent/chid sessions to support eary reading skis. An evauation of iteracy and numeracy programmes, which examined achievement before and after the courses found: Significant improvement in the reading and writing of parents and chidren foowing the programme, which was sustained 9 months ater. 3 Simiar improvements were aso found for the numeracy schemes. Teachers fet that the chidren who had taken part in famiy iteracy programmes had better cassroom behaviour and better support from their famiies compared to their peers 3. They were rated equa to their peers in their motivation and achievement. Communications between parents and chidren were aso found to improve markedy, and parents aso reported being more confident in heping their chid at home and communicating with the teacher at schoo.

8 8 The Impact of Parenta Invovement on Chidren s Education Ofsted research 16 aso supports the findings above in terms of the positive outcomes for parents and chidren from successfu programmes of famiy earning. In addition the research reported the foowing outcomes for parents: Benefits in terms of progression for over 50% of participants to Further Education or training or a better job. And improved parenting and better reationships with chidren. Do parents want to get more invoved? Despite the fact that the vast majority of parents surveyed in 2007 said that they fet at east fairy invoved in their chid s education, 5 some parents face particuar chaenges to becoming invoved. Two-thirds of parents (66%) agree that they woud ike to get more invoved in their chid s schoo ife. Parents who fet ess invoved are aso those who wanted to get more invoved; particuary non-resident parents and those who eft fu time education by 16. However, many parents who aready fet very invoved in their chid s education aso expressed a desire for greater invovement (especiay those in non-white ethnic groups and those whose first anguage was not Engish). What are the chaenges to becoming more invoved? Work commitments are the most commony cited barrier by parents (44%) from getting more invoved in their chid s schoo ife. Aongside this it shoud be noted however, that there are aso many benefits for famiies from working. 17 Other barriers cited by parents incuded chidcare issues/the demands of other chidren (7%) and ack of time generay (6%). 5 Difficuties with basic iteracy and numeracy skis can aso be a barrier to parents being invoved in their chid s education. Anaysis of ongitudina data on aduts (using the British Cohort Study and the Nationa Chid Deveopment Study) has ooked at how parents iteracy and numeracy eves can affect chidren. 18 This study indicated that chidren of parents with the poorest grasp of iteracy and numeracy are at a substantia disadvantage in reation to their own reading and maths deveopment compared to chidren who have parents with good iteracy/numeracy. Does parenta invovement vary among different groups of parents? Ethnicity and parenta invovement A survey of parents in 2007 has found variation in eves of parenta invovement among different ethnic groups. For exampe, Back parents are more than twice as ikey as White parents to say they fet very invoved in their chid s education. 5 Parents from non-white ethnic backgrounds are aso more invoved in their chid s schoo activities (incuding homework). Parents from non-white backgrounds are aso ess ikey to say that a chid s education is the schoo s responsibiity rather than the parent s (17% of Back and Asian parents compared to 27% of White parents said that it was the schoo s responsibiity). Research on the views of parents from different ethnic communities in Engand found that Back and Asian parents paced an extremey high importance on the vaue of education and expressed a great dea of concern about the future of their chidren. 19 Good education was viewed as very important to combat racia discrimination and disadvantage and to prevent socia excusion.

9 The Impact of Parenta Invovement on Chidren s Education 9 Parents perceptions of their chid s skis and abiity aso infuence their aspirations for them. 4 U.S. studies have found that parents with high aspirations are more invoved in their chidren s education. 4 Lone parent famiies and parenta invovement Research has found that one parents (aong with non-resident parents) are ess ikey than average to fee very invoved in their chidren s education 5. Lone parents are aso ess ikey than others to say that they fet very confident in taking to teachers at their chid s schoo (two-thirds of parents said that they fet very confident compared to 60% of one parents). Impact of parenta attitudes and aspirations There is evidence that the attitudes and aspirations of parents (and of chidren themseves) predict chidren s educationa achievement. However this association between parenta aspirations and a chid s attainment is compex and affected by interreationships. Internationa studies indicate that parenta education infuences expectations, in that having higher parenta education is significanty reated to having higher expectations of chidren s achievement. 20 However, it is aso ikey that parents with higher education have higher attaining chidren for whom they have higher expectations. A iterature review by Gutman and Akerman 4 found that: Most parents have high aspirations for their young chidren; however these aspirations are ikey to change as chidren grow oder because of economic constraints, chidren s abiities and the avaiabiity of opportunities. Athough aspirations significanty predict attainment, regardess of socio-economic background, they may be stronger predictors of achievement for young peope from more advantaged (socio-economic) backgrounds. There is evidence that some groups (in particuar femaes, those from ower socioeconomic backgrounds and some ethnic minorities) may be more ikey than others to experience an aspiration-achievement gap ; which is the difference between their aspirations and educationa achievement. Whist high parenta and pupi aspirations may essen the effects of ow socio-economic background, the effects vary amongst different ethnic groups. For exampe Back Caribbean young peope have poor progress (even when a broad number of socioeconomic variabes were incuded in the anaysis) despite high educationa aspirations of parents and pupis. This suggests the need to ensure that practica and attitudina obstaces are aso addressed aongside measures which support aspirations.

10 10 The Impact of Parenta Invovement on Chidren s Education References 1 Syva, K Mehuish, E, Sammons, P Siraj-Batchford, I and Taggart, B (2004) Effective Pre-Schoo Education. Fina Report. DfES. London: Institute of Education. 2 Godman, R (2005). Fathers Invovement in their Chidren s Education. London: Nationa Famiy and Parenting Institute. 3 Brookes, G., Gorman, T., Harman, J., Hutchinson, D., Kinder, K., Moor,H., and Wikin, A. (1997). Famiy Literacy Lasts, cited in Desforges, C and Abouchaar, A. (2003). The Impact of Parenta Invovement, Parenta Support and Famiy Education on Pupi Achievement and Adjustment: A Literature Review. DfES Research Report Gutman, L.M. and Akerman, R. (2008). Determinants of Aspirations. Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning Research Report 27. London. Institute of Education. 5 Peters, M., Seeds, K., Godstein, A. and Coeman, N. (2008) Parenta Invovement in Chidren s Education Research Report. DCSF RR Harris, A. and Gooda, J (2007). Engaging Parents in Raising Achievement Do Parents Know they Matter? DCSF Research Report. RW O Brien, M. and Shemit, I (2003). Working fathers: Earning and caring. Manchester: Equa Opportunities Commission. 8 Fisher,K., McCuoch, A., and Gershuny, J. (1999) British Fathers and Chidren working paper. Essex. Institute for Socia and Economic Research cited in O Brien and Shemit (2003) Working fathers: Earning and caring. Manchester: Equa Opportunities Commission. 9 Sammons (2007) EPPE 3-11 Infuences on chidren s deveopment and progress in Key Stage 2: Socia/behavioura outcomes in Year 5. Research Report RR Desforges,C. and Abouchaar, A. (2003) The Impact of Parenta Invovement, Parenta Support and Famiy Education on Pupi Achievement and Adjustment: A Literature Review. DfES Research Report Duckworth, K. (2008) Infuences on attainment in primary schoo interactions between chid, famiy and schoo contexts. DCSF Research Brief RB Fouri, E. and Buchanan, A. (2004) Eary father s and mother s invovement and chid s ater educationa outcomes. British Journa of Educationa Psychoogy,

11 References Fouri, E. (2006). Parenta interest in chidren s education, chidren s sef-esteem and ocus of contro, and ater educationa attainment: Twenty-six year foow-up of the 1970 British birth cohort. British Journa of Educationa Psychoogy, 76, Sharp, C., Keys, W. & Benefied, P. (2001) Homework: A review of recent research. Sough: NFER. 15 Geiser, W.F. (1999) Effects of earning-stye-responsive versus traditiona study strategies on achievement, study, and attitudes of suburban eighth grade mathematics students, in: Research in Midde Leve Education Quartery, 22:2 pp OFSTED (2000) Famiy earning: A survey of current practice, London: Ofsted. 17 Farre (2003), C. et a, Low income famiies and househod spending, DWP Research Report Series No Bynner, J. and Parsons, S. (2006). New Light on Literacy and Numeracy. Research Report. Nationa Research Deveopment Centre for adut iteracy and numeracy. London: Institute of Education. 19 Barn, R., Ladino, C. and Rogers, B. (2006) Parenting in muti-racia Britain. Parenting in Practice series Nationa Chidren s Bureau. 20 Davis-Kean and Schnabe, K. U. (2001) The impact of socio-economic characteristics on chid outcomes: The mediating roe of parents beiefs and behaviors. Chid Deveopment, Under review, in Feinstein, L. Duckworth, K, and Sabates, R (2004) A Mode of the Intergenerationa Transmission of Educationa Success. Wider Benefits of Learning Research Report 10. London: Institute of Education.

12 You can downoad this pubication or order copies onine at Search using ref: DCSF BKT-EN Copies of this pubication can be obtained from: DCSF Pubications PO Box 5050 Sherwood Park Annesey Nottingham NG15 0DJ Te: Fax: Textphone: Pease quote the ref: DCSF ISBN: PP978/D16(7978)/1108/52 Crown copyright 2008 Extracts from this document may be reproduced for non-commercia research, education or training purposes on the condition that the source is acknowedged. For any other use pease contact

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