Parental Education as a Factor in Academic Achievement

Many factors influence a child's academic achievement beyond a child's innate ability. The neighborhoods children live in, the qualities of the school, and parents' occupations and economic status all have an effect. The level of parental education is a proven factor in predicting the academic achievement of their children 1.

Early Learning

Children who are read to as babies and infants generally develop language skills earlier than other children. Being read to early helps children become proficient readers and is a factor in their academic achievement. Jacquelynne S. Eccles and Pamela E. Davis-Keane, in "The London Review of Education," say that well-educated parents speak to and read to their children more than their less-educated peers 1. Better-educated parents are more likely to use complex language and a wider vocabulary with their young children. Therefore, the children develop language skills, vocabulary, and cognitive skills earlier. This primes the children for academic success.


In an executive summary for Fullerton University titled "Identifying and Removing Barriers to Student Achievement," the authors mention expectations of students several times as a critical factor in children's academic achievement. Expectations for school success are placed on children in school and in the home. Parents with lower levels of education are less likely to have high expectations for the children's academic careers. While teacher expectations of students are extremely important, even more important are the children's expectations of themselves. When parents do not have high expectations for children's academic achievement, the children are unlikely to have expectations for themselves.


According to a review of research for the University of Minnesota Extension, the nature of parents' attitudes toward and involvement in their children's educations is critical. Parental involvement in education is a factor in student success. Parents with more education are more likely to get involved in the school. Better-educated parents are familiar with how schools work and are likely comfortable with school structure. Children are aware of their parents' comfort levels with education and it is reflected in their grades.

Neighborhoods and Schools

The article in "The London Review of Education" points out why children's neighborhoods are connected to parent's level of education and the children's academic achievement 1. Parent's level of education is a factor in what type of occupation they have. The more education they have, the higher their income-earning potential. People with more money can afford to live in more expensive neighborhoods with better schools. Children who attend better schools have access to higher-quality educational opportunities. Being in a better school gives children a better chance at academic success and achievement.

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