The Impact of Parental Involvement, Parental Support and Family Education on Pupil Achievements and Adjustment

Charles Desforges‘ Literature Review entitled The Impact of Parental Involvement, Parental Support and Family Education on Pupil Achievements and Adjustment, published in 2003 is still an important resource for those trying to show policy makers and professional educators the importance of parental involvement and the need to support parents for successful involvement.

The report says:

“The most important finding … is that parental involvement in the form of ‘at-home good parenting’ has a significant positive effect on children’s achievement and adjustment even after all other factors shaping attainment have been taken out of the equation. In the primary age range the impact caused by different levels of parental involvement is much bigger than differences
associated with variations in the quality of schools. The scale of the
impact is evident across all social classes and all ethnic groups.”

Key finding of the review (quoted from the executive summary):

  • Parental involvement takes many forms including good parenting in the home, including the provision of a secure and stable environment, intellectual stimulation, parent-child discussion, good models of constructive social and educational values and high aspirations relating to personal fulfilment and good citizenship; contact with schools to share information; participation in school events; participation in the work of the school; and participation in school governance.
  • The extent and form of parental involvement is strongly influenced by family social class, maternal level of education, material deprivation, maternal psycho-social health and single parent status and, to a lesser degree, by family ethnicity.
  • The extent of parental involvement diminishes as the child gets older and is strongly influenced at all ages by the child characteristically taking a very active mediating role.
  • Parental involvement is strongly positively influenced by the child’s level of attainment: the higher the level of attainment, the more parents get involved.
  • The most important finding from the point of view of this review is that parental involvement in the form of ‘at-home good parenting’ has a significant positive effect on children’s achievement and adjustment even after all other factors shaping attainment have been taken out of the equation. In the primary age range the impact caused by different levels of parental involvement is much bigger than differences
    associated with variations in the quality of schools. The scale of the
    impact is evident across all social classes and all ethnic groups.
  • Other forms of parental involvement do not appear to contribute to the scale of the impact of ‘at-home’ parenting.
  • Differences between parents in their level of involvement are associated with social class, poverty, health, and also with parental perception of their role and their levels of confidence in fulfilling it.Some parents are put off by feeling put down by schools and teachers.
  • Research affords a clear model of how parental involvement works.
    This model is described in the report. In essence parenting has its
    influence indirectly through shaping the child’s self concept as a
    learner and through setting high aspirations.
  • Research on interventions to promote parental involvement reveals a large
    number of approaches ranging from parent training programmes, through
    initiatives to enhance home school links and on to programmes of family
    and community education.
  • Evaluations of this very extensive activity reveal:
  • There is a perceived increased need and an evident increase in demand for such support
  • High levels of creativity and commitment are evident amongst
    providers and high levels of appreciation are recorded by clients.

The full report can be downloaded from here


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