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Parenting, Not Schools, Drives Academic Success

Parenting, Not Schools, Drives Academic Success Parental involvement is a more significant factor in a child’s academic performance than the school itself, according to new research.

“Our study shows that parents need to be aware of how important they are, and invest time in their children — checking homework, attending school events and letting kids know school is important,” said Dr. Toby Parcel, a professor of sociology at North Carolina State University and co-author of the new study. “That’s where the payoff is.”

The researchers evaluated data from a national study that collected information from more than 10,000 students, as well as their parents, teachers and school administrators.

The researchers looked at how “family social capital” and “school social capital” affected academic achievement. Family social capital can be described as the bonds between parents and children, such as trust, open lines of communication and active engagement in a child’s academic life.

School social capital is a school’s ability to serve as a positive environment for learning, including measures such as student involvement in extracurricular activities, teacher morale and the ability of teachers to address the needs of individual students.

The researchers found that students with high levels of family social capital and low levels of school social capital performed better academically than students with high levels of school social capital but low family social capital.

“In other words, while both school and family involvement are important, the role of family involvement is stronger when it comes to academic success,” Parcel says.

The study was published online in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.

Source: North Carolina State University

Parenting, Not Schools, Drives Academic Success

Janice Wood

Janice Wood is a long-time writer and editor who began working at a daily newspaper before graduating from college. She has worked at a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites, covering everything from aviation to finance to healthcare.

APA Reference
Wood, J. (2015). Parenting, Not Schools, Drives Academic Success. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 18, 2018, from


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Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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