SES less important than child and teacher invitations in parent involvement

Teacher with two little boysSocioeconomic status (SES) was not a significant factor in how much parents participated in their child’s education, report researchers in a recent study in the Journal of Educational Psychology. The real driving force in parental involvement are interpersonal relationships with children and teachers, the study concludes.

“Given that home- and school-based involvement relied heavily on specific invitations from teachers and children, parental involvement programs might consider emphasizing in-service teacher training for parental involvement and initiatives to increase parents’ school related interactions with children at home,” the authors write.

The study of responses from 853 parents of children from grades 1-6 did not find that SES was a factor in parental involvement, although they acknowledge that it has been identified as a factor in previous research and should continue to be investigated in the future. The study considered both school-based and home-based parental involvement.

The researchers found that parental involvement decreased as children grew older. Yet at all ages, specific invitations from the child and from the teacher were vital. General invitations from the school are unlikely to have the same effect, they write.

The study tested the authors’ own model of three major sources of motivation for involvement: parents’ perceptions of invitations to involvement, life context (time, energy, knowledge and motivational beliefs (self-efficacy and their perceived roles).

“Parents’ motivations for involvement in children’s education: An empirical test of a theoretical model of parental involvement,” Christa Green, Joan Walker, et al., Journal of Educational Psychology, 2007 Aug Vol 99(3) 532-544.

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