Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Parents of Middle Schoolers Should Emphasize Future Relevance

A new study reports that parents can best help middle school students by linking school work to future goals and instilling the value of education, instead of emphasizing homework help. According to Dr. Nancy Hill, the lead researcher on the Harvard University Study: "Although they may want to make their own decisions, they need guidance
from parents to help provide the link between school and their
aspirations for future work." While instilling the value of academic work had a positive effect, helping with homework produced mixed results.

This finding is not surprising - more help on school work is not as valuable as connecting to the wider world. The finding is specific to parent involvement, but it probably applies to after-school providers as well. Those providers often act as proxies for busy or absent parents. This finding should provide evidence in opposition to the reality that after-school programs for at-risk youth often emphasize homework help over enrichment. Those receiving federal and state funds feel pressure to increase test scores - a short term outcome - as opposed to supporting career interest - which is more closely linked to future achievement. This finding is one of many that should move after-school back to a focus on youth development and academic enrichment and away from tutoring and repetition of the school day.

Science Daily Report on Harvard Study

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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