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ERIC Number: EJ809128
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1881
Do Parents Know They Matter? Engaging All Parents in Learning
Harris, Alma; Goodall, Janet
Educational Research, v50 n3 p277-289 Sep 2008
Background: This paper outlines the findings from a research project carried out in the UK that explored the relationship between parental engagement and student achievement. Purpose: The 12-month research project was commissioned to explore the relationship between innovative work with parents and the subsequent impact upon student achievement. A main aim of the research project was to capture the views and voices of parents, students and teachers and to explore the barriers to parental engagement and the respective benefits to learning. Programme description: The study was qualitative in design and collected in-depth case-study data from 20 schools and 314 respondents. In addition a range of documentary evidence plus performance data were collected at each case-study site. Sample: A sample of schools in England was selected on two main criteria: firstly, the type of development, and secondly, the particular focus of parental engagement. Schools in the sample were selected to ensure that there was a broad geographical spread and a mix of urban and rural schools. Other factors were also taken into account to ensure a diverse range of schools (e.g. number on roll, socio-economic status (SES) and black minority ethnic (BME) percentages). Design and methods: Case-study methodology was used as the prime method of data collection in the study. In addition, school data sets relating to student performance, behaviour and attendance were analysed. These data sets allowed patterns and trends to be identified. This analysis formed the basis of the more detailed interrogation of the case-study evidence at each of the 20 sites. Results: The research findings highlight a number of barriers facing certain parents in supporting their children's learning. It is clear that powerful social and economic factors still prevent many parents from fully participating in schooling. The research showed that schools rather than parents are often "hard to reach". The research also found that while parents, teachers and pupils tend to agree that parental engagement is a "good thing", they also hold very different views about the purpose of engaging parents. It is also clear that there is a major difference between involving parents in schooling and engaging parents in learning. While involving parents in school activities has an important social and community function, it is only the engagement of parents in learning in "the home" that is most likely to result in a positive difference to learning outcomes. Conclusions: Parental engagement in children's learning "in the home" makes the greatest difference to student achievement. Most schools are involving parents in "school-based" activities in a variety of ways but the evidence shows but this has little, if any, impact on subsequent learning and achievement of young people. (Contains 2 tables and 7 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)