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The Facts on Education: How does parent involvement in education affect children's learning?

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Parents’ involvement in children’s education has several forms. Parents who are behaviourally involved participate in activities such as attending school functions and volunteering at the school. Parents who are cognitively involved expose their children to stimulating activities and materials, such as reading books or visiting cultural institutions.  Parents who are personally involved communicate positively with their children about school matters. They convey that they value school and expect their children to as well.

Many studies report on the effects of parent involvement on children’s standardized achievement test scores, school grades, and school-based behaviour. What is the effect of parent involvement on children’s learning? Answers depend on the type of parent involvement, type of learning outcome, and characteristics of families. 

As a whole, research suggests parents can have a positive effect on children’s learning by being involved in their schooling. However,   

  • Parent involvement has a greater impact on elementary students than on secondary students.
  • Involvement of minority parents has more impact than the involvement of parents from the cultural/ethnic majority.
  • Involvement of parents of low socioeconomic status has greater impact than involvement of parents of high socioeconomic status.
  • Parent involvement has a greater impact on school grades than on standardized achievement test scores.
  • Parents’ personal involvement has more impact on children’s academic outcomes than parents’ behavioural involvement.
  • Although parents’ behavioural involvement has little effect on children’s academic achievement it helps prevent behaviour problems.

Canadian educators and policy makers should continue to encourage and support parent involvement in education with particular attention to minority and low-income parents. All stakeholders, including parents, should be aware that the most effective form of involvement for supporting children’s learning is personal involvement; that is, parents communicating positively with children about school to convey that they value education and expect their children to as well.

For online resources as well as the research references that inform this issue, please visit:

www.cea-ace.ca/facts-on-education 


The Facts on Education Series is produced by the Canadian Education Association and Simon Fraser University with a generous sponsorship from the Canadian School Boards Association.


This blog post is part of CEA’s focus on The New School Community, which is also connected to Education Canada Magazine’s The New School Community theme issue and a Facts on Education fact sheet How does parent involvement in education affect children’s learning?  Please contact info@cea-ace.ca if you would like to contribute a blog post to this series.

It is natural that we can

It is natural that we can interfere in our children's activities especially in their education. Due to lack of experience and knowledge our kids are unable to take good decision; therefore we parents are involved in their different activities. But in reality sometime over involvement in our kid's activities may bring some irritation in their behavior and in terms of their education system it may directly affect very badly; so it is better to leave them free to take their own decision.