PowerSchool Blog

Why Parent Engagement is Important to Student Success

By: Oliver Wreford | | No Comments |

Ben Franklin is credited with stating that life’s two certainties are death and taxes. Less daunting, but still certain and true, is the fact that parent involvement in their children’s education leads to student success. Active, engaged parents translate to active, engaged students who complete their schoolwork, go to class, and gain a better education.

To dive a bit deeper, parents will have a significant impact on their child’s learning and educational experience when they take an active role in monitoring the student’s progress, assignments, attendance, activities, and events. Parent involvement helps keep students on track – from better attendance and fewer missed assignments to improved test scores and increased grade point averages.

“The evidence that parent involvement can make a significant difference in student achievement is beyond question,” says John H. Wherry, Ed.D., President of The Parent Institute®.

When parents are involved, students take more responsibility for their learning and accountability is heightened. Communication improves within the family when children reach out for help. Engagement can strengthen the parent-student relationship: knowing your student’s grades and assignments is an easy starting point to open dialogue for discussing progress, offering advice, working on projects together, or, hopefully, giving congratulations.

For further evidence of the impact parent involvement can have on student success, consider the following:

  • Students with parents who are involved in their school have fewer behavioral problems and better academic performance, and are more likely to complete high school than students whose parents are not involved in their school. 1

  • Students with involved parents, no matter what their income or background, are more likely to earn higher grades and test scores, enroll in higher-level programs, be promoted, pass their classes, earn credits, attend school regularly, have better social skills, show improved behavior, and graduate and go on to postsecondary education2

The results of parent involvement are undeniable; but how do we improve it? Thankfully, in today’s technically advanced education space, there are multiple channels allowing parents to stay involved in their student’s progress beyond the traditional methods of phone calls, parent-teacher meetings, and mailed report cards.

Now, with the welcome creation of the innovative 21st century digital classroom, parents can stay intimately connected through mobile apps directly tied into the school’s student information system. Parents are able to receive emails straight from teachers, push notifications to their mobile device, and access online parent portals updated in real time and available at their own convenience. And the best part is that the communication doesn’t just flow one way; instead, it’s a genuinely collaborative process with symmetrical two-way, back-and-forth communication between teachers and parents, along with students and administrators. Parents can respond and ask teachers questions specific to their student’s education and receive personalized feedback.

In a recent study, 62% of parents say that being updated daily on their child’s homework assignments, projects, and upcoming tests is an important feature that they can use to help their children succeed in school3.

Today’s forward-thinking schools and districts are taking an active role in improving parent engagement through education tech tools that facilitate communication via digital channels. Another certainty to add to Mr. Franklin’s list is educators’ agreement that technology has helped improve parent engagement and, subsequently, student success. According to a recent survey, 76% of teachers and administrators feel technology is absolutely important in engaging parents and families to help them understand their child’s performance and help them succeed. Furthermore, 71% of these same teachers and administrators think that a personalized mobile learning app that could track a child’s educational data would be helpful for parents of students who are struggling.

Mary Latella, Student Information Analyst at Ontario’s London District Catholic School Board, which is using a modern student information system, says: “One of the aspects we like is that teachers are able to do attendance in the classroom on mobile devices in real time and parents are able to see that attendance immediately.” Another school administrator, Sunda Cramer, Student Information System Manager at the Archdiocese of Baltimore, says, “Parents are a lot more informed and engaged, which has made our students take more responsibility for their grades.”

And finally, according to California’s Ramona Unified School District’s Director of Information Systems, Keith Wright, “Being able to allow our parents to see what their students are doing in real time takes a lot of concern away from me and how we communicate with parents. It’s done right away.”

It’s not a new concept that parents who are involved can affect their children’s educational success. It’s a certainty backed by teachers and administrators throughout the U.S. who see the results firsthand. With the right collaborative educational tools, including modern student information systems, teacher’s digital gradebooks, and learning management systems, teachers, parents, and students are able to effectively communicate and collaborate.

Want to learn more about parent engagement? Check out the Top 10 Reasons the PowerSchool Parent Portal and Mobile App are Great for Parents.

1A new generation of evidence: The family is critical to student achievement. Washington, DC: National Committee for Citizens in Education. A.T. Henderson and N. Berla (1994).

2A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement. Annual Synthesis 2002. National Center for Family & Community Connections with Schools. Anne T. Henderson and Karen L. Mapp

3Survey by Speak Up, a national initiative of Project Tomorrow, of 42,267 parents, and others in fall 2010 to determine the benefits of certain types and uses of technology for teaching and learning.