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Supported by Research

International research supports that Parental Engagement impacts student achievement. More specifically, current research underlines the effectiveness of the ‘3-a-day’ strategies GEMS directs parents to do consistently with their children – talk, share, encourage.

Parents need to set high aspirations and help develop their children as learners

Professor John Hattie, Auckland University, New Zealand, conducted a 15-year analysis (published 2008) of 50,000 studies involving 83 million students to see what worked in education.

  • He found a combination of parental encouragement and high parental expectations was the critical elements in parenting support
  • The effect of ‘Parent Engagement’ over a student’s school career amounted to adding an extra two to three years education to the student

This parent engagement includes setting goals, displaying enthusiasm for learning, encouraging good study habits, valuing enquiry, experimentation and learning new things, and the enjoyment of reading.

When parents actively engage, examination results go up

One of the most influential literature reviews, carried out was by Professor Charles Desforges (2003)

  • Desforges concluded that parental engagement matters even more than schools in shaping the achievement of young people
  • He determined that the more parents and children talk about meaningful subjects, the better students achieve

Desforges’ review led to the development of the ‘Every Child Matters’ policy in Britain.

Parent support can make every teacher more effective

Every three years, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests 15-year-olds in the world’s leading industrialized nations on their reading comprehension and ability to use what they’ve learned in math and science to solve real problems — the most important skills for succeeding in college and life.

Looking beyond the classrooms to better understand why some students thrive taking the PISA tests while others do not, the PISA team interviewed the parents of 5,000 students about how they raised their kids and then compared responses with student test results. The PISA team made three profound discoveries:

  • Fifteen year-old students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores in PISA 2009 than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all. (On average, the score difference is 25 points, the equivalent of well over half a school year)
  • The performance advantage among students whose parents read to them in their early school years is evident regardless of the family’s socioeconomic background
  • Parents’ engagement with their 15-year-olds is strongly associated with better performance in PISA

Parent surveys started with four countries in 2006, and grew to an additional 14 in 2009 and reported the findings above in 2011. PISA is conducted by The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The kind of parental engagement matters, as well

The PISA team also discovered that simply talking to and asking your child how their school day was, and showing genuine interest in their learning can have the same impact as hours of private tutoring.

  • The team determined this was something every parent could do, no matter what their education level or social background
  • The PISA study also noted that on average, the score point difference in reading that is associated with parental involvement is largest when parents read a book with their child, when they talk about things they have done during the day, and when they tell stories to their children. The score point difference is smallest when parental involvement takes the form of simply playing with their children.
  • At fifteen years old engagement was based on talking to the child about current events in the news, or discussing books, movies, and media

Many forms of involvement, but only few relate to higher student performance

In an article called “Back to School” for The American School Board Journal, November 2011, Patte Barth, Director of the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education, reported that parent involvement affects student achievement, and found somewhat surprising results:

  • Parent involvement can take many forms, but only a few of them relate to higher student performance. Of those that work, parental actions that support children’s learning at home are most likely to have an impact on academic achievement
  • Monitoring homework, making sure children get to school, rewarding their efforts, and talking up the idea of going to college are linked to better attendance, grades, test scores, and preparation for college
  • Getting parents involved with their children’s learning at home is a more powerful driver of achievement than parents attending P.T.A. and school board meetings, volunteering in classrooms, participating in fund-raising or back-to-school nights

Click here to view research documents

 

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