Involve parents in students’ learning

Tom Friedman just published an interesting article on the New York Times: “How About Better Parents?” In it, Tom briefly shows how OECD‘s PISA testing results seem positively correlated to parental involvement with reading books to children. This finding doesn’t seem surprising to me, since I have always believed that family is the big influencer on children education and may well be decisive on students’ choices and schooling success.

These quotes from the study reported in Friedman’s article show it clearly:

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. 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.

These PISA findings were also found in a study by the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education. Director Patte Barth, in the latest issue of The American School Board Journal, says:

Monitoring homework; making sure children get to school; rewarding their efforts and talking up the idea of going to college. These parent actions are linked to better attendance, grades, test scores, and preparation for college.

“The study found that 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, and showing up at back-to-school nights.”

Actually, this gives me the idea to include students’ parents in talks and seminars on science when, in 2012, we’ll begin, at Sagrado, the School Outreach component of our new STEMmED II: House of Science Grant work. I’ll talk soon about our Grants Project.

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About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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One Response to Involve parents in students’ learning

  1. Kevin says:

    Dr. Vantaggiato,

    Mr. Friedman’s question, “How About Better Parents?” is spot on. As a nation, we’ve become heavily reliant on deferring the responsibilities of education to just teachers and administrators. I think a lot of people have forgotten that, although students do indeed spend a lot of time in the classroom with various teachers, a lot of motivation and drive come from within the familial household. A parent asking as simple a question like, “How was your day?” can nurture bonds and relationships a school simply cannot.

    Another interesting note about the study is the fact that not all forms of parental engagement are equal. The researchers found that in many countries, parents helping students with their homework may actually prove detrimental to test score success. This phenomenon may stem from the fact that the methods parents employ at home are not aligned with the methods in the classroom, causing a discrepancy in the learning experience for the student.

    One of the sites I help manage produced an infographic that highlights some more findings. I hope you and your users will find it helpfu, Dr. Vantaggiato!

    – Best wishes

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