Masters Thesis

Formal and Informal Parental Involvement and Children's Academic Achievement

Researchers have found that parental involvement plays an important role in children’s learning and development. Students generally score higher on educational achievement tests, have better attendance at school, and are more likely to continue their postsecondary education when parents are actively involved in their schooling (Martinez, 2004). However, parental involvement requires the investment of time, and some parents are unable to be present at the school to attend PTA meetings or volunteer during a class. Parents who are busy during the day may only be involved with the child at home by helping with homework, discussing important academic concepts, and reading to the child. This study examines the relationship between children’s academic achievement and two types of parental involvement: in-school (formal) and at-home (informal). This study used data from the national Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), which included a sample of approximately 18,200 kindergarteners and their parents. This study examined whether both formal and informal parental involvement were positively related to students’ academic outcomes in math, reading, and science. Results of the study partially supported hypotheses. in addition, the current study examined whether parental involvement in both contexts, formal and informal, was better for students’ academic achievement than if the parent was only involved in one context. Results of the study did not support this hypothesis.

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