Tips and Ideas / Jul 20, 2016

ClassTag Survey Shows Parent/Teacher Disconnect


According to our parent engagement survey, 40% of teachers rated “a supportive family” as the top factor in student success, but just a quarter of surveyed teachers have taken “significant” steps to improve family engagement over last year. What’s the reason for this disconnect and what can we do about it? 

Our latest survey shows that even though teachers understand the premium value of strong family and home support for learning, they find themselves getting discouraged by the lack of family support and engagement. Not only are they discontent – few have taken significant steps to do something about it.

The results of the survey speak for themselves:

  • 40% of  teachers ranked “a supportive family” as “the number one factor in achieving student success.”
  • “Supportive family” ranked higher than “teacher skill” (33%) and “school supplies/resources” (12%) as the leading success factors.
  • Teachers estimated that more than half of their students’ parents (56%) were not fully engaged in classroom activities and progress.
  • A majority of teachers (53%) reported negative feelings such as “sad” or “frustrated” or “extremely discouraged” by the lack of parent engagement in their classrooms.
  • 70% of responding teachers reported that the biggest factor in their expectations of parent support is “experience with parents over the years.”
  • Nonetheless, 58% of teachers reported that they are either “very satisfied” or “quite satisfied” with the “level of parent engagement they currently achieve.”
  • And just a quarter of teachers reported taking “significant steps” to improve family support. Another quarter told ClassTag that their “parent engagement strategy has remained unchanged.”

“There’s clearly a big disconnect between what teachers say is most important to student success, how they feel about it and what they have done to improve it,” believes our founder and CEO, Vlada Lotkina.

“It’s pretty clear that, even though they know how important a supportive out-of-class environment is, teachers have been frustrated by past experience, lowered their expectations and aren’t doing a whole lot to make the situation better.”

One teacher summed up the frustration by responding, “It is difficult to move forward if a parent is not responding. I feel frustrated that their child’s progress is hindered by a lack of home-school connection. I am not sure what else I could do.”

Teachers aren’t alone in identifying parent support as essential to academic success. In fact, they’ve experienced first-hand what has been demonstrated in plentiful studies. Academic research consistently confirms that parent engagement in education is the most important predictor of a child’s academic success. As stated in “Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family–School Partnerships”, published by SEDL in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education:

“Over 50 years of research links the various roles that families play in a child’s education—as supporters of learning, encouragers of grit and determination, models of lifelong learning, and advocates of proper programming and placements for their child—with indicators of student achievement including student grades, achievement test scores, lower drop-out rates, students’ sense of personal competence and efficacy for learning, and students’ beliefs about the importance of education.”

We commissioned the survey in part to demonstrate a new approach and new tools for teachers and parents to stay connected with the classroom. The ClassTag approach was co-developed by teachers, families and parent engagement experts to specifically increase parent engagement based on research-based practices and is an opinionated platform that early results show helps teachers leap over parent engagement barriers and turn parents into partners.

We hope that with ClassTag, teachers can regain confidence that maintaining meaningful and timely communication with a vast majority, if not all of their parents, is possible.

How exactly does ClassTag help teachers?

  • Setting and manage high and clear expectations with parents
  • Moving from transactional engagement to relationship-building activities
  • Creating simple and meaningful ways for parents to support learning
  • Reducing amount of effort required with automation and consistent system
  • Getting meaningful statistics, decoding the level and type of family engagement

Our goal is to demonstrate that a holistic approach to parent engagement can yield unprecedented results. In fact, by providing a combination of tools, best practices and strong leadership, we have already seen a staggering rate of parent participation on the platform – over 90%. This could really be a game changer for what teachers expect, how they adjust their strategies and, most importantly, an amplifier for student success.

Parent/Teacher connection

Parent/Teacher connection

The research was conducted 03/29/16 – 6/13/16 via a web survey and included 196 responses of classroom teachers in grades K-8.

What do you think about these statistics? What is the most surprising to you when it comes to Parent/Teacher connection? Let us know in the comments.

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