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Parental involvement: Including fathers in the picture

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A new meta-analysis from Harvard University explores the relative strength of the association between educational involvement of fathers versus mothers and the achievement of their children. The research suggested that parents have an equal academic impact on children regardless of their gender, although fathers’ mean levels of involvement were lower.

In general, research on parental involvement in education does not distinguish between fathers and mothers, and where the focus is on one parent this is most likely to be the mother. In contrast, this meta-analysis sought to put fathers in the picture. The authors included 52 empirical studies representing 390 correlations for the relation between parental involvement (mothers or fathers) and achievement. They found that parental involvement was positively associated with pupil achievement, and the relation between involvement and achievement was equally strong for fathers and mothers. Child gender did not moderate this relation.

The authors do note some limitations to their analysis, namely a lack of longitudinal studies and wide variability in the way parental involvement and achievement had been measured across the studies.

Source: Including Fathers in the Picture: A Meta-Analysis of Parental Involvement and Students’ Academic Achievement (2015), Journal of Educational Psychology.

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