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PISA 2022 results: The influence of parents and guardians on achievement

PISA 2022 results: The influence of parents and guardians on achievement

4 min read
  • Parents & guardians

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have just released their PISA report of insights and interpretations for 2022, investigating attainment of 15-year-olds from 81 countries.

This blog is part of a four-part series on the PISA 2022 Report. You can also read about the power of curiosity and persistencethe impact of digital distractions, and the potential of AI in education.

Parents and guardians are often considered the first educators of children. From mastering the basics like potty training to instilling early reading skills, parents and guardians play a fundamental role in their children’s initial learning and development. However, the journey of parental involvement does not end when children start school. Instead, it should evolve and continue to be a significant part of their educational journey.

So, what does the PISA report teach us about parent involvement?

Families and caregivers do matter – The key findings

According to the data provided by PISA, students who receive support at home tend to have more positive attitudes towards school and learning. This support can take various forms, from homework help to simply engaging in conversation about the school day. 

Interestingly, the OECD notes on page 47 that “higher-performing students who reported regularly eating a main meal with their family, whose family members spend time talking to them and asking about their school day, were more likely to have high test scores. They scored 16 to 28 points higher in Maths than students who reported that their family do not engage in those activities at least once or twice a week”.

This finding holds true even after considering the students’ and schools’ socio-economic profiles, suggesting that while family income and social status can affect student performance, the level of active parental support might have a decisive effect.

However, despite these findings, parental involvement in students’ learning at school has seen a worrying decline. On average across OECD countries, fewer parents independently initiate discussions about their child’s progress with teachers. Similarly, teacher-initiated talks about students’ progress have also decreased.

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How can schools increase parental involvement?

A relationship between the child, parent/guardian and teacher is key in ensuring the child’s progress. “Professional love” emphasises the importance of warm, caring relationships between the parent, child and teacher. There is an emphasis on the importance of the collaboration between parent/guardian, practitioners and the child to create the “love triangle” which ensures all parties are under the same impression and support one another in an effective way.

Creating a relationship between parents and teacher encourages parents and guardians to be proactive in their child’s education and feel as though they are in the loop with their child’s education and supporting teachers in providing a stimulating setting.

Parents and schools must work together to ensure the best possible education for students. Parents and guardians should not believe that their child’s education solely relies on teachers’ efforts. Similarly, schools should ensure consistent engagement with parents. By building stronger family-school partnerships, we can create a more comprehensive and effective learning environment.

Our previous blog on how parents can help improve grades provides a few ways to aid children with their academic attainment, including:

  1. High academic expectations – Having high academic expectations can have the biggest influence on a child’s grades. The parents’ and guardians’ attitude towards education can impact the child’s outlook as well.
  2. Regular communication – Maintaining communication with the child and providing a clear interest in their education and school life allows children to feel supported.
  3. Good reading habits – Parents and guardians are encouraged to frequently read with their child to develop a good reading habit within themselves.
  4. Homework rules – Having clear rules on how to divide homework and leisure time allow children to allocate time correctly and help them with focus later in life.

Final thoughts

The PISA findings underline the value of maintaining an easy, professional communication channel with parents and guardians, focusing on one or two key areas where they can support their child’s learning journey. When parents and teachers work together in harmony, it creates a more comprehensive and effective learning environment.

The importance of parents’ and carers’ engagement in education cannot be overstated. It plays a pivotal role in shaping students’ attitudes towards learning, influencing their academic performance, and contributing to their overall development. Both parents and schools must strive to strengthen this engagement, transforming education into a shared responsibility that yields shared success.

If you want to find out more about all the PISA 2022 data, read the 72-page document here.

You can also read our other blogs on the PISA 2022 report findings: on the power of curiosity and persistencethe impact of digital distractions, and the potential of AI in education.

About the editor

Bradley Busch

Bradley Busch

Bradley Busch is a Chartered Psychologist and a leading expert on illuminating Cognitive Science research in education. As Director at InnerDrive, his work focuses on translating complex psychological research in a way that is accessible and helpful. He has delivered thousands of workshops for educators and students, helping improve how they think, learn and perform. Bradley is also a prolific writer: he co-authored four books including Teaching & Learning Illuminated and The Science of Learning, as well as regularly featuring in publications such as The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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