Saturday, January 30, 2010

Involved Parents = Successful Students?

We've been told for years that the more active parents are in their student's academics the better the student will do in school. Is this true?

It seems reasonable to me, but now there is research to substantiate this statement. The Harvard Family Research Project studied 77 projects with over 300,000 students in grades K-12.

Here are some of their findings:

1. How does the academic achievement of students whose parents are actively involved in their education compare to that of their counterparts whose parents are not involved?

The results of the meta-analysis indicate that parental involvement is associated with higher student achievement outcomes. These findings emerged consistently whether the outcome measures were grades, standardized test scores, or a variety of other measures, including teacher ratings. This trend holds not only for parental involvement overall but for most components of parental involvement that were examined in the meta-analysis. Moreover, the pattern holds not only for the overall student population but for minority students as well. For the overall population of students, on average, the achievement scores of children with highly involved parents was higher than children with less involved parents. This academic advantage for those parents who were highly involved in their education averaged about .5– .6 of a standard deviation for overall educational outcomes, grades, and academic achievement. In other words, the academic achievement score distribution or range of scores for children whose parents were highly involved in their education was substantially higher than that of their counterparts whose parents were less involved

2. What is the particular influence of specific aspects of parental involvement?

One of the most vital aspects of this study was its examination of specific components of parental involvement to see which aspects influenced student achievement. Two of the patterns that emerged from the findings were that the facets of parental involvement that required a large investment of time, such as reading and communicating with one's child, and the more subtle aspects of parental involvement, such as parental style and expectations, had a greater impact on student educational outcomes than some of the more demonstrative aspects of parental involvement, such as having household rules, and parental attendance and participation at school functions.

3. Which aspect of parental involvement has the greatest impact on academic achievement?

The largest effect sizes emerged for parental expectations. The effect sizes for parental style and reading with one's child were smaller than for either parental expectations, but they also had very consistent influences across the studies. Parent involvement programs also influenced educational outcomes, although to a lesser degree than preexisting expressions of parental support.

4. Do the effects of parental involvement hold for racial minority children?

The results for studies examining 100% minority students and mostly minority students were also close to about .5 of a standard deviation. The effects of parental involvement tended to be larger for African American and Latino children than they were for Asian American children. However, the effect sizes were statistically significant for all three of these minority groups. The results highlight the consistency of the impact of parental involvement across racial and ethnic groups.

5. Do parental involvement programs work?

The results indicate that, on average, parental involvement programs work. As expected, the influence of these programs is not as large as the impact of parental involvement as a whole. This is because parents already enthusiastic about supporting the educational progress of their children will, on average, tend to help their children more than parents whose participation is fostered by the presence of a particular program.

You can learn more about The Harvard Family Research Project at

Friday, January 8, 2010

Study Habits of Successful Students

It may a new year, but school is only half over. Students in K-12 are entering the 2nd semester while college students are starting all new courses. No matter where your student is in their academic calendar, it may be time to re-evaluate their study habits. The holiday break leaves many students weary and unmotivated; add that to a half-hearted attempt to be diligent in their studies and the results can be a negative impact on grades. Taking a few steps now can help ward off some of those spiralling alphabet blues.

The Ten Study Habits of Successful Students (

Successful students have good study habits. They apply these habits to all of their classes. Read about each study habit. Work to develop any study habit you do not have.
Successful students:

Try not to do too much studying at one time. If you try to do too much studying at one time, you will tire and your studying will not be very effective. Space the work you have to do over shorter periods of time. Taking short breaks will restore your mental energy.

Plan specific times for studying. Study time is any time you are doing something related to schoolwork. It can be completing assigned reading, working on a paper or project, or studying for a test. Schedule specific times throughout the week for your study time.

Try to study at the same times each day. Studying at the same times each day establishes a routine that becomes a regular part of your life, just like sleeping and eating. When a scheduled study time comes up during the day, you will be mentally prepared to begin studying.

Set specific goals for their study times. Goals will help you stay focused and monitor your progress. Simply sitting down to study has little value. You must be very clear about what you want to accomplish during your study times.

Start studying when planned. You may delay starting your studying because you don't like an assignment or think it is too hard. A delay in studying is called "procrastination." If you procrastinate for any reason, you will find it difficult to get everything done when you need to. You may rush to make up the time you wasted getting started, resulting in careless work and errors.

Work on the assignment they find most difficult first. Your most difficult assignment will require the most effort. Start with your most difficult assignment since this is when you have the most mental energy.

Review their notes before beginning an assignment. Reviewing your notes can help you make sure you are doing an assignment correctly. Also, your notes may include information that will help you complete an assignment.

Tell their friends not to call them during their study times. Two study problems can occur if your friends call you during your study times. First, your work is interrupted. It is not that easy to get back to what you were doing. Second, your friends may talk about things that will distract you from what you need to do. Here's a simple idea - turn off your cell phone during your study times.

Call another student when they have difficulty with an assignment. This is a case where "two heads may be better than one."

Review their schoolwork over the weekend. Yes, weekends should be fun time. But there is also time to do some review. This will help you be ready to go on Monday morning when another school week begins.

These ten study habits can help you throughout your education. Make sure they are your study habits.

For professional assistance from a personal tutor, please contact Advanced Learners for a personal approach to find the the right tutor for your student's needs.
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