Is Parent–Teacher Cooperation in the First Year of School Associated with Children’s Academic Skills and Behavioral Functioning?

Abstract

The importance of parent engagement in children’s schooling is well documented, yet there is limited research on the quality of parent–teacher relationships specifically. In the present study, we aimed to help build knowledge in this area by investigating parent and teacher reports of home–school cooperation during children’s first year of school in Norway. Associations between parents’ and teachers’ reports of cooperation were examined as predictors of children’s academic skills and social functioning during their first year of school in Norway (N = 932). Controlling for children’s achievement and behavior prior to school entry, children whose parents and teachers both reported very good cooperation with one another were rated as having better academic skills and social skills and as having fewer negative behaviors than children whose parents and teachers did not report very good cooperation. In addition, if both parents and teachers reported very good cooperation, children’s academic skills were rated as higher than if parents and teachers disagreed such that one reported very good cooperation, but the other did not.

Résumé

L’importance de l’engagement des parents dans la scolarité des enfants est bien documentée, pourtant il y a peu de recherche spécifique sur la qualité des relations entre parents et enseignants. La présente recherche a pour objectif d’aider à développer les connaissances dans ce domaine en étudiant les bilans des parents et des enseignants sur la coopération entre l’école et la maison pendant la première année d’école des enfants en Norvège. Les associations entre les bilans de coopération des parents et ceux des enseignants ont été examinées comme prédictives des compétences scolaires et du fonctionnement social des enfants pendant leur première année d’école en Norvège (N = 932). En contrôlant la réussite et les comportements des enfants avant leur entrée à l’école, les enfants dont les parents et les instituteurs rapportaient tous deux une très bonne coopération mutuelle avaient des scores plus élevés en compétences scolaires et sociales et moindres en comportements négatifs que les enfants dont les parents et instituteurs ne rapportaient pas une très bonne coopération. De plus, si tant les parents que les enseignants indiquaient une très bonne coopération, les compétences scolaires des enfants obtenaient une note plus élevée que si les parents et les enseignants n’étaient pas d’accord, par exemple l’un rapportant une très bonne coopération et l’autre pas.

Resumen

La importancia del compromiso de padres en la escolaridad de los niños está bien documentada; sin embargo, poco ha sido investigado, específicamente, sobre la calidad de las relaciones entre padres y educadores. El presente estudio busca fortalecer el conocimiento en esta área al investigar informes de padres y educadores sobre la cooperación entre el hogar y la escuela durante el primer año escolar de niños en Noruega. Los informes de cooperación suministrados por padres y educadores arrojaron asociaciones que fueron examinadas como predictores de habilidades académicas y funcionamiento social de los niños durante su primer año escolar en Noruega (N = 932). Como factor de control de logros académicos y comportamiento de niños antes de entrar a la escuela, los niños cuyos padres y profesores reportaron muy buena cooperación mutua fueron calificados con mejores habilidades académicas y sociales y menores comportamientos negativos, en comparación con aquellos niños cuyos padres y educadores no reportaron muy buena cooperación. Adicionalmente, en los casos en que padres y educadores reportaron muy buena cooperación, las habilidades académicas de los niños fueron calificadas como mejores, en contraste con aquellos niños cuyos padres y educadores ofrecieron opiniones contrarias, es decir, cuando uno de ellos reportó muy buena cooperación pero la otra parte no reportó lo mismo.

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Acknowledgements

The study was conducted while the first author was affiliated with Boston College. This study was supported by The Norwegian Council of Research (NCR), Grant No. 212260. The second author was partially supported by NCR Grant No. 234828. The funding body played no role in the study design, collection, analysis, data interpretation or manuscript writing.

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Correspondence to Kyle DeMeo Cook.

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Cook, K.D., Dearing, E. & Zachrisson, H.D. Is Parent–Teacher Cooperation in the First Year of School Associated with Children’s Academic Skills and Behavioral Functioning?. IJEC 50, 211–226 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13158-018-0222-z

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Keywords

  • Parent–teacher cooperation
  • Family–school partnerships
  • Transition to school
  • Academic outcomes
  • Social skills
  • Externalizing behaviors