Just the Facts: Parents and Student Achievement

Published May 1, 2003
Figure 1: Parent Education and Student Achievement
Figure 2: Poverty Level and Student Achievement
Figure 3: Discussing School Work at Home and Student Achievement

According to a study by Brian D. Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, students taught by parents who have not finished high school score significantly higher on achievement tests than students in traditional school settings. For students in the latter environment, the educational level of parents has a profound effect on student performance, as does poverty.

Regardless of their own education, parents can have a positive effect on their child’s education simply by taking an interest in it.

Using data for twelfth-graders from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the charts below illustrate:

  • Student achievement increases as the level of the parents’ education increases.
  • Student achievement decreases with the incidence of poverty, as measured by eligibility for the federal free and reduced price lunch program, a commonly used indicator of poverty.
  • Student achievement increases with the frequency that parents talk to their children about school work.