A New Generation of Evidence
Anne Henderson and Nancy Berla published the first in a series of Evidence reports in 1981. In that first report, Henderson and Berla reviewed thirty-five studies that documented positive relationships between some form of parental involvement in a child's education and measurable benefits for children, their families, and schools. In this third installment of their ongoing literature review on parental involvement, the authors state: "The evidence is now beyond dispute. When schools work together with families to support learning, children tend to succeed not just in school, but throughout life" (p. 1).
This most recent edition highlights a collection of sixty-six studies, mostly empirical in nature. The research cited includes longitudinal studies of the effects of early intervention programs with comprehensive parental components on student achievement and attainment. The authors also describe studies exploring the impact of different kinds of parental and family involvement on outcomes such as student achievement, attainment, and parents' attitudes about school. In addition, Henderson and Berla examine studies that investigate the impact of family behaviors and background on student achievement.
The authors furnish several useful ways to negotiate the text. First, an index is provided in the beginning of the book that organizes the studies, by author, into three categories: programs and interventions, family processes, and school policies. Second, the introduction includes an in-depth summation of the findings by theme, and provides a listing of the studies that deal with these topics. The format of the text is well organized and easy to navigate. Henderson and Berla provide one- to two-page summaries for each study, describing its methodology, findings, and conclusions, and include pertinent reference information such as the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) source number. This text is an important and must-have resource guide for anyone interested in or researching the topic of parental and family involvement in education.