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Parents Involvement In School And Academic Performance Education Essay

According to James S. Coleman (1997) every family has three capitals which influence the family members and those are economic, human and social capital. He termed financial resources and assets available to family members as economic capital. It provides the physical resources that can be achieved for example a particular place for studying in home, study materials, financial resources that help the family to run smoothly. According to him Human capital is a term measured by parent’s education and it provides the child a cognitive learning environment in home. Social capital refers to the relationships between the family members. And it is through these relationships among the family members that child gain access to the economic, human, and cultural resources of their family.

Coleman says that Human capital possessed by parents affects children very strongly but it can be irrelevant to outcomes for the child if parents are not an important part of child’s life since parents use majority of their human capital at their work or outside home somewhere else. He also says that if the human capital is not complemented by the social capital embodied in family relations, it is of no use or irrelevant to child’s academic or educational growth. He states that social capital inside the family that gives access to human capital depends both on the physical presence of adults in the family members and on the attention given by the adults. Coleman states the term “structural deficiency” in family social capital which means the physical absence of adult family member which can be seen in nuclear families where one or both parents work outside the home which can also be called structural deficiency and because of which lack of social capital can be seen among such nuclear family. So whatever human capital in such circumstances is present is of no use and doesn’t help the child because the social capital of the family is missing. And the lacking of social capital in family can affect the academic performance of the child and can also lead to school dropout. Human capital that is produced in the schools and the person who invests such human capital enjoys its benefits in the form of high paying jobs, more satisfying or high paid jobs or even pleasure of greater understanding of the surrounding world etc.

In the article Coleman sites an example of one public school in United States where text books were usually purchased by childs family and they discovered that Asian immigrant families purchased two copies of each textbook needed by the child. On further investigation it was revealed that one copy was for the child itself and other was for the child’s mother so that she herself could study the subject well and help her child in his/her studies to score good marks. Here Coleman says that in this example although Human capital is found to be low but because the Social capital is extremely high that it helps in the acdemic performance of the child. Coleman (1988) illustrates the importance of social capital within the family for a child's intellectual development by showing how social capital gives children access to their parents' human capital. He states that if parents are absent or not involved with their children, then strong relations between parents and children will be neither created nor maintained. If social capital is lacking, then the level of human capital that parents possess is an irrelevant resource for the child because the mechanism of transferring human capital intergenerationally does not function

Bronfenbrenner emphasized that human development must be studied in actual life settings, with each context consisting of a microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem. The most immediate systems influencing the individual are the microsystem, consisting of patterned face-to-face interactions (e.g., parent-child), and the mesosystem, defined as the linkages among microsystems (e.g., family and school). Bronfenbrenner (1 979) asserted that the manner in which the environment is experienced and perceived, or its phenomenological meaning, is critical, and that environmental influences (activities, roles, and relationships) acquire greater meaning to the degree that they are experienced and perceived similarly across multiple contexts.

“Epstein's (1992) model of overlapping spheres of influence emphasizes the combined influence of the family and educational institutions on the lives of children. This model recognizes that educational systems and families conduct many activities separately, but they conduct some activities jointly. Homework can be an example of a joint activity in that teachers develop and grade homework assignments, students are expected to complete them, and parents or other family members may need to monitor, discuss, or help with the assignments”

Clemens and Oelke (1967) and Emeke (1984) have attributed the cause of poor academic performance to a combination of personal and institutional factors. Personal factors relate to the individual’s intelligence, knowledge and ability. While institutional factors are family or parental influences, societal influences, institutional influences and school related factors- student/lecturer rapport, teacher related factors, accommodation and living conditions

Parents involvement in school and acdemic performance

According to S. Jody Heymann and Alison Earle parental involvement in a child's education can come in a number of forms. Epstein (1995) posits that parents can be involved in their children's education in at least six different ways: developing and using skills to support effective learning; engaging in home-to-school communication about student progress; volunteering at school; assisting their children with homework; becoming involved in school governance issues and decisions; and coordinating and integrating community services that will enhance the learning experience. Other conceptions of parental involvement include parents serving as policymakers and employed resources (Berger, 1991), parents teaching their own children( Gordon& Breivogel,1 976),parenting style (Lamborn, Mounts, Steinberg,& Dornbusch,1 991;Fletcher,Darling,Steinberg, & Dornbusch,1 995), parental expectations and aspirations ( Astone& Mc Lanahan, 1991;Singh et al., 1995;M adigan,1 994), and strong social networks (Coleman, 1988).

Numerous studies have shown that regardless of how it is defined, parental involvement is important to children's success at school (Finn, 1998; Ryan, Adams, Gullotta, Weissberg, & Hampton, 1998; Snow, Barnes, Chandler, Goodman, & Hemphill, 1991; Clark, 1993; Kurdek, Fine, & Sinclair,1 995;Eccles & Harold,1 993;Singhe t al., 1995;Gonzalez & Blanco, 1991; Stevenson & Baker, 1987; Baker, 1996; Henderson & Berla, 1994; Stein & Thorkildsen, 1999). Whether success is measured by school records (Zellman & Waterman, 1998; Ho & Willms, 1996) or parent reports (Hick-man, Greenwood, & Miller, 1995; Otto & Atkinson, 1997; Bradley, Rock, Caldwell, Harris, & Hamrick, 1987), it is clear that parents' active participation in their children's education makes an enormous difference

When parents are more involved in their children's education, children achieve more in elementary school (Hara & Burke, 1998), junior high school (Keith et al., 1993), and high school (Fehrmann, Keith, & Reimers, 1987; Hickman et al., 1995; Otto and Atkinson 1997). Parental involvement has been shown to influence achievement in language and mathematics, academic persistence, behavior problems, and the likelihood that a child drops out of school (Amato & Rivera, 1999; McNeal, 1999; Christenson, Rounds,& Gorney,1 992;F antuzzo,D avis, & Ginsburg,1 995;Griffith, 1996; Miller & Kelley, 1991; Reynolds, 1992). Parental involvement in the form of participation in classroom pro-grams, school events, and meetings is important both to the parent's own children and to the quality of education for all children within a school (Comer& Haynes, 1 991; Griffith, 1996; Reynolds, Mavrogenes, Vezruczko, & Hagemann, 1996)

According to Grolnick and Slowiaczek (1994) parents’ involvement in children’s schooling cn be defined as parents’ commitment of resources to the academic arena of children’s lives. According to Eva M. Pomerantz, Elizabeth A. Moorman and Scott D. Litwack s school-based involvement represents practices on the part of parents that require their making actual contact with schools. Practices meant being present at general school meetings, talking with teachers (e.g., attending parent-teacher conferences, initiating contact with teachers), attending school events (e.g., open houses, science fairs), and volunteering at school. It may also include involvement at a higher level, such as being a member of the school board and attending school board meetings. Parental engagement in children's homework is an example of the most direct, face-to-face form of parental involvement in children's lives, communicating affection, nurturance, and support for children and facilitating their overall sense of well-being (Acock & Demo, 1994; Lamb, Pleck, Chernov, & Levine, 1987; LaRossa, 1988).

“Home-based involvement represents parents’ practices related to school that take place outside of school, usually, though not always, in the home. Such practices can be directly related to school, including assisting children with school related tasks, such as homework (e.g., creating a quiet place for children to study, helping children in completing homework) and course selection, responding to children’s academic endeavors (e.g., choices about the topic of a school project, performance on a test), and talking with children about academic issues (e.g., what happened in school, the value of doing well in school)”( Eva M. Pomerantz, Elizabeth A. Moorman and Scott D. Litwack)

Parents’ home-based involvement can also be said as engaging children in intellectual activities (e.g., reading books with children, taking them to museums) is labeled as cognitive-intellectual involvement. (Grolnick and Slowiaczek (1994). Even parents may sometimes use knowledge gained at parent-teacher conferences in assisting children with homework. Parents’ involvement on both the school and home fronts has been said to enhance children’s academic achievement in school (Epstein, 1983; Grolnick, Kurowski, & Gurland, 1999; Hill & Taylor, 2004; Hoover-Dempsey et al., 2001; Pomerantz et al., 2005).

“There are a number of reasons why parents’ involvement may enhance such skills among children. First, when parents are involved in children’s academic lives, they may gain useful information about how and what children are learning in school; such information may aid them in helping children build cognitive and meta cognitive skills (see Baker & Stevenson, 1986). Second, when parents are involved in children’s academic lives, parents may gain accurate information about children’s abilities. Holding such information may enable parents to assist children at a level that fosters maximal skill development among children (see Connors & Epstein, 1995; Epstein, 1987). Third, even when parents do not have such knowledge, their home-based involvement may provide children with opportunities to learn from practice and instruction (see Senechal & LeFevre, 2002). Fourth, Epstein and Becker (1982) suggested that parents’ involvement on the school front is valuable because when teachers see parents as involved, they give the children of these parents heightened attention toward developing their skills” ( Eva M. Pomerantz, Elizabeth A. Moorman and Scott D. Litwack)

Grolnick and Slowiaczek (1994) linked parents’ involvement on the school and home (i.e., cognitive-intellectual involvement) fronts to heightened positive perceptions of competence among children, which accounted in part for the link between parents’ involvement on these fronts and children’s heightened achievement. Indeed, on the basis of the interviews with a socioeconomically and ethnically diverse sample of mothers of elementary school children, Reay (2000) described mothers as providing encouragement and empathy to children in the context of their involvement in children’s schooling.

“Parents’ involvement enhances children’s achievement because it provides children with a variety of motivational resources (e.g., intrinsic reasons for pursuing academics, a sense of control over academic performance, positive perceptions of academic competence) that foster children’s engagement in school. First, when parents are involved in their children’s academic lives, they highlight the value of school to children, which allows children themselves to view school as valuable (e.g., Epstein, 1988; Hill & Taylor, 2004). Second, parents’ involvement in children’s schooling represents an active strategy for dealing with school and the challenges it presents. Third, when parents are involved in children’s academic lives, they may make children more familiar with school tasks, which may lead children to see themselves as competent in the academic arena (Grolnick & Slowiaczek, 1994)”

Higher parental involvement in preschool programs was associated with increased academic outcomes for at-risk students (Reynolds et al., 1996). Parents’ involvement in children’s schooling can also enhance children’s social functioning; that is, it may improve their behavioral conduct (e.g., following the rules in school, refraining from aggressive behavior) and relationships with their peers. For one, the skills and motivation that children develop when their parents are positively involved in their academic lives, along with the ensuing enhanced achievement, may place children in a leadership role in which they take positive initiative in the classroom with their peers, refraining from violating classroom norms.

Grolnick and Slowiaczek (1994) took a more in-depth look at parental involvement. These authors suggested that parental involvement has its effects not by building skills per se (e.g. math skills) but by facilitating the motivational resources children need to achieve. According to the results founded by Wendy S. Grolnick indicated that for mothers school and cognitive/intellectual involvement were uniquely related to school grades through their relations with perceived competence and control understanding. For fathers, school and intellectual/ cognitive involvement were associated with children’s perceived competence, which was then associated with grades

One study, based on the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 and involving survey data gathered from nearly 22,000 eighth graders and their parents, suggested that parent

involvement had a substantial effect on eighth graders’ achievement test scores.

According to Sandra J. Balli, David H. Demo, and John F. Wedman most educators agree that children do better in school when parents are involved. Types of involvement vary widely and include attending a parent-teacher conference, volunteering at school, helping with homework, or simply encouraging student achievement

According to Sandra J. Balli,** David H. Demo, and John F. Wedman children's academic performance is of great important, as parents of high-achieving students may feel less need to monitor and assist in homework than parents of average or below-average students.

Socio-economic status and academic performance

According to Eva M. Pomerantz, Elizabeth A. Moorman and Scott D. Litwack s involvement of parents in schools is higher among parents with heightened socioeconomic status and educational attainment. Other forms of involvement also increase with socioeconomic status and educational attainment.

“In a study of low-income, ethnically diverse families, mothers’ reports of their involvement on the school front (e.g., presence at parent-teacher conferences, volunteering in the classroom) when children were in kindergarten predicted heightened literacy skills among children during the elementary school years, adjusting for children’s literacy skills during kindergarten (Dearing, Kreider, Simpkins, & Weiss, 2006)”

“In their study of mainly middle-class families of European descent, Grolnick and Slowiaczek (1994) found that such involvement (e.g., reading the newspaper with children, taking children to the library) as reported by early adolescents were positively associated with their grades.”

Studies indicate that parents' socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with parent involvement in homework (Revicki, 1981) and student achievement (Acock & Demo, 1994; Coleman et al., 1966; Dornbusch, 1986; Kinard & Reinherz, 1986)

According to Eleanor D. Brown “Low-income children show lagged development in certain cognitive domains and their ideas about self-worth may not be well enough developed to bear meaningful prediction of challenge responses in the preschool years. Even if conceptions of achievement and self-worth are well enough developed, these ideas will only predict responses to challenge if children possess the ability to regulate attention and behavior in the service of persistence.”

Lower socioeconomic status relates to diminished mastery beliefs in children (Bandura et al., 1996; Battle and Rotter, 1963). Thus, implicit ideas about achievement and self-worth may be important predictors of low-income children’s persistence in the face of academic challenge. Exposure to poverty risks may compromise children’s attention and behavioral regulation in the face of academic challenge. Barocas et al. (1991) demonstrate relations between cumulative risk and difficulties with attentional and inhibitory control for preschool children. Additionally, Evans (2003) links cumulative risk exposure to early childhood difficulties with self-regulation, as measured by a delay of gratification task, and learned helplessness, as measured by an impossible puzzle task. The instability and chaos associated with poverty increase allostatic load, or tax on physiological systems that respond to stress (2003).

A number of qualitative studies have documented that low-income working parents would like to be more involved in their children's education, but that time and scheduling constraints, and the lack of autonomy and flexibility at their job made it difficult( Finders& Lewis,1 994; Baker, 1996; Education Commission of the States, 1988; Heymann, 2000; Seefeldt, 1985).

Parental support and academic performance

According to Wendy S. Grolnick parents can support their children’s need for autonomy by listening and respecting children’s perspectives and viewpoints, allowing children choices, and supporting their initiatives and problem solving attempts. Such practices would help children to experience themselves as active agents in their school and other endeavors

“With regard to school outcomes, more autonomy supportive interactions between mothers and their preschool children have been associated with greater school readiness (Hess et al., 1984) and better adjustment at the transition to school (Barth and Parke, 1993)”.

According to Grolnick and Ryan (1989) Parental autonomy support can be positively associated with children’s autonomous regulation of their school behaviors, perceived competence, grades, and achievement test scores. Grolnick et al. (1991) showed that relations between parental autonomy support and involvement and children’s school performance were mediated by children’s motivational resources of self-regulation, perceived competence, and perceived control.

Home environment and academic performance

Environments that provide structure in the forms of clear rules, expectations, and guidelines help to facilitate the experience of competence. Thus, when rules, guidelines, and contingences are spelled out, and clear feedback is provided for behavior, children are most likely to understand how to achieve success and avoid failure in school (i.e. have a sense of perceived control), which is crucial to motivation (Skinner et al., 1990).

The home has a great influence on the students’ psychological, emotional, social and economic state. In the view of Ajila and Olutola (2007), the state of the home affects the individual since the parents are the first socializing agents in an individual’s life. This is because the family background and context of a child affect his reaction to life situations and his level of performance. Although, the school is responsible for the experiences that make up the individual’s life during school periods, yet parents and the individual’s experiences at home play tremendous roles in building the personality of the child and making the child what he is.

Family structure and academic performance

Several studies indicate that biological parents in two-parent households spend more time than

other parents engaged with children in homework activities. Astone and McLanahan (1991) analyzed data from the High School and Beyond study and found that, compared to children who live with both biological parents, those who live with single parents or stepparents report less monitoring of schoolwork by both mothers and fathers. Revicki (1981), who found that the greater the number of children in a family the less likely parents were to be involved in each child's education. Likewise, Blake (1989) argued that larger family size tends to dilute resources among many children and that children who have no siblings generally do better in school than children who have one or more siblings. Two-parent families are more likely to help with homework than are single-parent families (Bronstein, Clauson, Stoll, & Abrams, 1993; Furstenberg& Nord, 1985).

Theoretical approaches from both the biological and social sciences propose that family structure should have an impact on the ways in which fathers interact with their co resident children.

Riesman (1987) articulates this perspective and proposes that single fathers will adopt parental behavior more closely resembling that of women who mother than that of married fathers

“Results from Hall, Walker, and Acock's (1995) comparison of the time that single mothers and fathers spent with their children and in household tasks also demonstrate that fathers increase their levels of involvement when mothers are not present. Taken together, these theoretical perspectives alert us to the potential role that family structure can play in determining the amount of time that fathers spend with their children. They also highlight the importance of delineating family structure to take into account different dimensions of achieved versus ascribed status and the presence or absence of other significant actors in the household.”

“Thomson and her colleagues also found lower levels of parental support in families with stepfathers or where the mother had a cohabitating partner, which appeared to contribute to children's behavior problems. Downey (1994) also found eighth graders from single-mother households fared worse at school than children from two-parent families. Downey's results suggest that in single-father households lower levels of interpersonal parental resources (such as a father spending time with his children, being involved in their schooling, and knowing their friends) may be more important in explaining these differences in educational performance.”

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