Saturday, November 21, 2009

Parental involvement in middle school

Thought I’d pass this study along. It analyzes 50 other studies on parental involvement in middle school to find out what kinds of involvement have the strongest association with academic achievement. Turns out, helping with the homework doesn’t help with achievement (which is the opposite of what I would have guessed). But just about every other kind of involvement does. What is especially useful is involvement that reflected academic socialization, which includes setting expectations, relating assignments to current events, encouraging planning for future academic and career paths, etc. Basically, talking to kids about goals and discussing how current activities relate to those goals.

I can imagine that this is where much of the benefits or drawbacks of social class come into play. Mark is going to raise River telling him its good to get a Ph.D. Some kids are never even told they can or should go to college. My parents used to discuss with me plans to become a lawyer, but a Ph.D. was never mentioned and so it wasn’t until well after college that it really appeared to me as a potential option. I was able to look beyond my parents expectation that I attend a community college due to high school guidance counselors that encouraged other options. But others aren’t so lucky. I have a friend who grew up in a rural community, where her parents didn’t ever encourage college and her guidance counselors never mentioned that she could go out of state. It took her a long time to get out of the rut that those low expectations put her in. But I have a lot of respect for the people who come from atmospheres of such little encouragement and go on to build successful lives for themselves.

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