"We thought they were making the wrong suggestion, but we really wanted to provide some scientific evidence to prove they are wrong.
So we started this project and found something really interesting – they were dead wrong." The takeaway for educators, policymakers, and parents, Li says, is that one size does not fit all students when it comes to parents helping with homework.
Recent studies have demonstrated that parental homework involvement may not always foster students’ desired school outcomes.
Such studies have also concluded that the quality of parental homework involvement matters, rather than the quantity.
Li will present their research at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) this week in New York City.
The earlier study out of the University of Texas-Austin and Duke University, was the largest ever at the time on how parental involvement affects student achievement."We knew that with scientific studies, correlation is not causation," Li explains."We looked at it from a different angle, employing different quantitative methods, trying to disentangle why these things happen." Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Li and Hamlin conducted their research on a nationwide sample of 11,471 students.It was the subject of several stories and opinion pieces in news outlets in the U. and Canada, including The Atlantic and New York Times.Li and Hamlin challenged those findings by adding another, more rigorous layer of analysis that showed the impact of parental involvement in homework is more nuanced than the earlier study suggests and can actually be beneficial among economically disadvantaged African-American and Hispanic students.The aim of the present study is to examine the link between an effective family-school communication (EFSC) – as one aspect of FSP – and the quality of parental homework involvement in the German context.For this purpose, we developed a new measure of EFSC.These educational improvement initiatives of the second Bush and Obama administration respectively, both call for increased levels of parental involvement. "But we're now seeing that for disadvantaged families, we still need to encourage them to be involved, because it can be really beneficial to their kids."There is all this debate over parenting and how American parents spend too much energy on their children's education. "We talked about those articles that encouraged parents not to help their kids," Li continues.They used parental help with homework in the first grade as a predictor of student achievement in the third grade, applying controls for student background and prior achievement.Variables such as the student's gender, race, ethnicity, the age of their parents, and the number of siblings were also considered, as were the socioeconomic status of parents in relation to education, income, and occupation.