The Family Engagement Partnership: Student Outcome Evaluation

Posted by Johns Hopkins University on September 10, 2018

Family engagement helps students succeed. Previous research has established consistent and reliable connections between families’ involvement in student learning—through practices such as shared reading, homework monitoring, and volunteering at school—with attendance and academic achievement (Hill and Tyson, 2009; Poomeranz, Moorman & Litwach, 2007; Jeynes, 2005; 2012). Studies also show that family engagement matters to the success of the school as an enterprise. Bryk et al.’s (2010) study of school reform efforts across 400 Chicago schools revealed that schools with high trust levels among parents, teachers, and school leadership are more likely to experience improvement in math and reading achievement than schools where trust levels among these groups are lower.

Some family engagement practices may contribute to success more effectively than others, however. Children
whose families hold high expectations, set goals, monitor progress, and actively assist with learning at home are most likely to do better in school, with those modes of engagement appearing, in and of themselves, to be the primary driver (Hill and Tyson, 2009). In today’s education landscape, research, policy, and practice discussions no longer center on if family engagement matters, but, rather, on what types of family engagement matter and how families can be supported to play those roles, particularly in an increasingly diverse public school system. With limited time and resources and increasing pressure to demonstrate improved student outcomes, what can and should schools do to engage families?

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