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Mathematical Model Reveals Importance Of Parental Involvement In Education

Update Date: Feb 02, 2017 06:47 PM EST

Statistical reports show that in the year 2012, more than three million students in the United States dropped out of high school. If this trend continues, by 2022, more than 30 million Americans would be without a high school degree, most of them coming from the Hispanic and African-American minorities.

In order to understand this alarming trend, researchers developed a mathematical model that revealed the importance of parental involvement in education to prevent more students from quitting school.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical, and Engineering Science, found the exact statistical point wherein parental influences on a student's academic performance are found positive in preventing students from quitting school. However, beyond this tipping point, parental involvement could hurt children's academic performance when negative peer influences come into play and could push students from dropping out of high school.

The data collected from a 2013 survey with 125 student participants from a particular school in Chicago was analyzed and used to develop the data-driven mathematical model. Risk factors or the reasons why students drop out of school like the effectiveness of teaching methods, the role of school demographics, the impact of peer pressure, the effects of parental involvement in education, and the student's academic performance were measured.

According to the researchers from Arizona State University, Northeastern Illinois University, and the University of Texas at Arlington, the mathematical model revealed the positive effects of parental involvement on a student's academic performance but only to a certain point.

As the mathematical model points out, the negative peer influences increases, around the 0.8 on the horizontal axis, thus increasing the possibility of the student in getting low grades and eventually dropping out of school. This result is similar even when there were lower parental influences on students' academic performance (around 0.4 on the horizontal axis).

The study also emphasizes that when the student reaches the point where academic performance is affected by both or either of peer influences or parental influences, there is a limited time to prevent the possibility of the student from quitting school. The researchers reveal that once the performance of the student hits a certain point, no matter how strong the positive parental involvement is, it would not prevent the students from dropping out of school.

Worst of all, the strong positive parental involvement at the point in the student's life could be one of the reasons why students drop out of high school.

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