There is robust research about the different factors that influence student achievement. While teacher skill and communication is important, there are a number of influential factors for student success that happen outside of school. In fact, research shows that supportive behavior from parents or guardians correlates with student achievement.

The link between parental support and student achievement is so robust that districts often have policies to encourage it, and various funding sources for schools have been tied to it, but there are some activities that move the needle on student achievement further than others.  

The different kinds of parental involvement sit along a spectrum — from simply being interested in your child’s education to activities like volunteering in the classroom or to chaperone field trips. The good news is that general measures of achievement like GPA are correlated with all kinds of involvement, and that result has been seen across all age and income levels. While there are many ways for parents to engage at school, the top four most impactful parent behaviors are:

Parent tutoring
Supporting homework
Communicating expectations about learning
Academic socialization

Parent Tutoring

For the youngest learners in K-3, research into reading acquisition has shown some interesting results. A 2008 analysis found that training parents to teach their children to read was far more effective than either teaching parents to listen to their children read aloud or having parents read aloud to their children. An earlier study in 2006 showed similar results for every content area and age level. Parent tutoring increased student achievement on both criterion and norm-referenced tests, no matter how long the tutoring sessions were or what kind of instruction or modeling was provided to the parents.

Supporting Homework

The effect of parent involvement in homework has been more mixed. One research report analyzing this topic found a strong link between increased achievement on

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