Type 2 Research Brief

High School Partnership Programs Increase Family Involvement and Student Success

Although researchers have conducted many studies to understand school, family, and community partnerships in the elementary and middle grades, less is known about partnerships in high school. What do high school, family, and community partnerships look like? How do partnerships influence high school student success? Can high schools reach out to involve families? To address these questions, this study looked at longitudinal data from over 11,000 high school students, their parents, and more than 1,000 high school principals in the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988. Partnership activities from the six types of involvement were analyzed.

Partnerships Affect Academic and Behavioral Results

The bottom line in most education reform is student achievement. We all want to know: How do partnerships affect student success?

This study showed that, after taking into account teens’ socioeconomic status, family structure, gender, race/ethnicity, and the powerful influence of students’ prior achievement, various parenting, volunteering, learning at home, and decision making activities positively influenced students’ English and math report card grades, course credits completed, attendance, good behavior, and how well-prepared students were when they came to class.

When parents attended college-planning workshops or when parents and teens talked about college, teens earned higher grades and completed more course credits. When parents attended school activities with their teens, students had better attendance and behavior. Additionally, the more time that parents and teens spent together, the better behaved students were and the more prepared students were for class.

High School Outreach Increases Family Involvement

This study also tested how high schools’ outreach influenced fourteen different family-school partnership indicators. According to parents of high school seniors, when high schools reached out, parents were more involved. For example:

High schools have the capacity to change the way that families support teens’ school success. When high schools reach out to involve families, families are more likely to be involved in ways that support teens’ success through the last year of high school.

From: Simon, B. S. (2000). Predictors of high school and family partnerships and the influence of partnerships on student success. Dissertation in Sociology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.