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Education


Researcher: Parental involvement in education may be overrated
Duke University professor Angel Harris and his team set out to answer two questions about parental involvement
Story by AMY HANSEN


 
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It's a commonly held thought: The more involved a parent is with their child's education, the better they'll perform. But not so fast, says one researcher. He says parental involvement, like helping with homework or volunteering at schools, may be overrated. StateImpact Ohio's Amy Hansen has more.
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Duke University professor Angel Harris and his team set out to answer two questions about parental involvement:

“One was whether or not there were racial and social class differences in how parents are involved. And two, whether or not parents who were involved have children who had higher achievement than parents who were not involved,” Harris said

And after analyzing more than 30 years of data from thousands of families, his results may be surprising.

“This research is suggesting that parents don’t have all the answers, and in some cases when they try to be involved, it can actually lead to declines in achievement,” Harris said

Harris talked about his findings on WCPN’s Sound of Ideas. 

Of 60 kinds of parental involvement the researchers looked at, only 20 percent was found to be positive, while roughly 30 percent actually had a negative effect, and 50 percent made no difference. And, Harris said, parental involvement affects students’ achievement differently, depending on their race.

“For white students, regularly talking about school experiences is associated with increases in reading, but not in math or grades," Harris said. "For Hispanic students, it’s not associated with reading, math, or grades.”

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