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Key Roles in Student Achievement and College Readiness.
Parental involvement plays a key role in student achievement. According to a recent study by The Longitudinal Evaluation of School Change and Performance in Title I Schools, an active teacher outreach to parents is as important as improved instructional practices to achieve the goals of standards-based education initiatives. This finding supports a long history of research linking parent involvement to student academic performance. It also confirms the need for more widespread teacher preparation in family involvement.
Both students and schools benefit from active participation by families in the process of educating children.
The benefits for students when parents are actively involved in schools include:
• Higher grades and test scores
• Better attendance and more homework completed
• Fewer placements in special education
• More positive attitudes and behaviors
• Higher graduation rates
• Greater enrollment in post-secondary education
Parent involvement is more than good attendance at school-sponsored events or having a strong volunteer program.
The strongest support for learning occurs at home through positive parenting styles, nightly reading, homework policies, and high expectations. Schools that measure their success in reaching out to parents by the number of volunteers and attendance at workshops and meetings could be missing valuable opportunities to connect with families who can't be there or who are not comfortable coming to school.
The need for strong family involvement starts by the time children are in preschool and continues through high school.
As students grow older, the methods and expectations for family involvement must change and continue to evolve until graduation. Patterns of communication between families and the school as children enter middle school should be altered to accommodate multiple teachers and increased independence; nonetheless, parents remain valuable allies in increasing student achievement. Schools have shown success by enlisting the support of parents in areas ranging from developing homework routines, providing after-school supervision, limiting television viewing, and helping children prepare for college and other post-secondary education.
Parent involvement is the clearest predictor of college access and career readiness.
Students' aspirations for college also increased in response to parental involvement. Educating parents about school and community resources can help students improve their grades. Advising parents on after-school tutoring programs and regular counseling sessions about their child's academic progress helps reinforced the message that having good grades and developing good study habits are necessary for students to get into and succeed in college.
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