There is understandably a lot of interest in identifying an accurate predictor of student success. Google “most important factor in academic achievement” and you will find countless articles on the topic. Some of the most popular guesses include parent education level, socioeconomic status, early academic achievement, reading to children, and even number of books in a household.

It’s unclear whether there is a determinant factor, but it is clear that all of them play a role. And there is a growing body of evidence that parent engagement is a critical piece of the puzzle. Research shows that desirable educational outcomes like consistent attendance and higher grades and test scores are positively correlated with parent engagement. When parents help their children with homework or volunteer for school activities, when teachers reach out to parents as partners in students’ academic and personal development, children understand that learning is important, and everyone benefits.

Schools and teachers that engage families are more likely to

  • Have higher morale and job satisfaction
  • Cultivate more respect for educators and education
  • Develop higher quality programs
  • Build a stronger reputation in the community and experience better community support
  • Create a positive, welcoming environment that includes families with diverse backgrounds

Parents who are engaged in schools are more likely to

  • Better comprehend their children’s developmental progress and emotional and intellectual needs
  • Build more confidence in their parenting abilities
  • Understand the curriculum
  • Have higher opinions of schools

Have higher opinions of schools

  • Complete homework
  • Have good attendance and appropriate classroom behavior
  • Get better grades and higher test scores
  • Take challenging classes
  • Graduate from high school and continue their education
  • Feel better about themselves and school
  • Be more motivated in the classroom