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Involve parents in students’ learning

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Tom Friedman just published an interesting article on the New York Times: “How About Better Parents?” In it, Tom briefly shows how OECD‘s PISA testing results seem positively correlated to parental involvement with reading books to children. This finding doesn’t seem surprising to me, since I have always believed that family is the big influencer on children education and may well be decisive on students’ choices and schooling success.

These quotes from the study reported in Friedman’s article show it clearly:

Fifteen-year-old students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores in PISA 2009 than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all. The performance advantage among students whose parents read to them in their early school years is evident regardless of the family’s socioeconomic background. Parents’ engagement with their 15-year-olds is strongly associated with better performance in PISA.

These PISA findings were also found in a study by the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education. Director Patte Barth, in the latest issue of The American School Board Journal, says:

Monitoring homework; making sure children get to school; rewarding their efforts and talking up the idea of going to college. These parent actions are linked to better attendance, grades, test scores, and preparation for college.

“The study found that getting parents involved with their children’s learning at home is a more powerful driver of achievement than parents attending P.T.A. and school board meetings, volunteering in classrooms, participating in fund-raising, and showing up at back-to-school nights.”

Actually, this gives me the idea to include students’ parents in talks and seminars on science when, in 2012, we’ll begin, at Sagrado, the School Outreach component of our new STEMmED II: House of Science Grant work. I’ll talk soon about our Grants Project.

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