Blog - Family Involvement in The Educational Tasks

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Family Involvement in The Educational Tasks

Research on the effect of family involvement on educational outcomes has a centuries-old tradition. In 1916 EC Brooks published in The Elementary School Journal an article that could be considered the empirical work that opens the study of the association between family support and school performance. Despite its tradition, or precisely because of it, the subject still has great interest to judge, not because of the volume of research carried out, but because of the dozens of reviews, meta-analyses and research synthesis published since the beginning of the current century. Seen as a whole, the vast production allows us to affirm that the positive association between family involvement in the educational task and school results is a universal fact that has been replicated in different contexts, ages, ethnic groups, regions and cultures.

However, when the detail is analyzed, the variety of meanings of the term "family involvement", together with the diversity of research approaches and methodologies, makes the universality of the previous statement uncertain, and there is evidence that is sometimes directly contradictory.

By dint of synthesizing, educational research has distinguished at least three different meanings of the term "family involvement": academic socialization, participation in school and involvement at the home.

The academic socialization refers to expectations, value and usefulness that families give to education and the meaning are certainly better connected to school results. The school participation focuses on aspects such as attending interviews and meetings, collaboration in centre activities or participation in management and governance. Its connection with school results is more controversial; In general, studies on school effectiveness show a positive association with performance, although there are works that have not found significant effects. Finally, the involvement at the home covers cultural support and opportunities, communication about school subjects and direct help with school tasks, and is the most controversial and where the judgment is best reflected that in family involvement "more is not always better".

The present work focuses on the role played by the involvement in the home in academic performance. Its purpose is to study the effect that two styles of family involvement in the home (one more directive and controlling and another more distal and communicative) have on the results in Language, Mathematics, Science and Civic Education.

The work proposes two specific objectives:

  • Analyze the effect that the styles of family involvement at the home have on the results of the EGD. It is expected that children whose parents show a more controlling style present lower results than those whose families show support of a more indirect nature.
  • Analyze if the level of family communication has effects on the distribution of results within the centre. To this end, a hypothesis not explored until now was put to the test: those centres that, on average, have family profiles of more distal or indirect support have fewer differences in the results of their students.

In order to respond to these objectives, a hierarchical-linear analysis of three levels (student, school and autonomous community) was carried out for each of the evaluated subjects. The results show that the effects of the styles of parental involvement on performance are greater in the case of mothers than in fathers. In addition, and as expected, the controlling style (e.g., supervision and homework help) is negatively correlated with academic performance, while communicative style (e.g., support distal to study and communication about school subjects) is positively related to the results.

Now, these parental styles are not independent but are highly correlated. Students who indicate that their parents show greater controlling behaviours also recognize having greater family communication about school subjects. These results suggest the need to find an adequate balance between the amount of direct help offered to the children, and the support and promotion of their autonomy. The results also show that the centres whose families have a highly communicative involvement style have less variability in the results of their students.

In conclusion, promoting a style of distal and communicative family involvement from schools could improve student performance and reduce differences among students within the school. The results of this research have clear implications for the policy of schools, families and teachers.

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