Study reveals parents’ perceptions of New Zealand education

SND20-wk2-Parent studyThe aspirations New Zealand parents have for their own children’s education is the strongest driver in their academic success, and 94 per cent agree higher education is important for their child, reveals a new study from ASG and Monash University.

Released on Friday, the first edition of the ASG Parents Report Card investigates the state of education in New Zealand from parents’ perspectives, New Zealand-wide.

Undertaken by the Faculty of Education at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, the report reveals parental aspirations are the strongest factor in their child achieving academic success, and that the strongest educational resource available to New Zealand children is cultural expectations, closely followed by access to physical resources.

“Parents hold incredibly important, often intangible resources in contributing to their child’s educational success. The ASG Parents Report Card has found that parental aspirations for their children’s education is the glue that holds everything together—
aspirations optimise and underpin all other resources and influences that support their children’s educational needs,” CEO of ASG John Velegrinis says.

“Regular communication with children about the importance of education and the aspirations for their future from an early age, helps children to feel supported and achieve their learning potential,” Mr Velegrinis says.

“The findings of the ASG Parents Report Card show that, generally speaking, New Zealand parents have an acute focus on, and understanding of, their child’s knowledge, skills and ability. This demonstrates the importance of schools, teachers and policy makers working together to model a more holistic approach to communicating with parents.
“There is an opportunity, and a desire, for ongoing discussion on the nature of learning that occurs in schools and the approach to homework, to lead to better educational outcomes for New Zealand children,” he says.

The ASG Parents Report Card also found that 83 per cent of parents would like more money to support their child’s education, with 44 per cent of parents revealing they could not afford after-school tutorials and almost 20 per cent needed to work two jobs to support their children’s learning.

Further analysis shows that families with lower household incomes are likely to struggle even more. Only 33 per cent of families earning less than $48,000 each year agreed they had enough money for all their child’s educational needs, in comparison to 45 per cent of families earning between $48,000 and $96,000. Agreement stands at 63 per cent for families earning more than $96,000 per annum.

According to Dr Shane Phillipson, associate professor in the Faculty of Education at Monash University and co-author of the report, the ASG Parents Report Card also highlights parents want to better understand school curriculum and teaching methods, but are generally positive about the quality of teaching.

“Parents generally hold teachers in high regard, with 89 per cent agreeing their children’s teachers are very capable and 85 per cent believing the school curriculum will help their child with their future careers. Seventy nine per cent of New Zealand parents also believe the school’s curriculum suits their child’s learning needs.

“The education system has procedures in place to ensure parents and teachers are communicating on both behavioural and performance progress. However, there is a call from parents to be educated about the teaching methodology, so they can ensure they’re supporting their child’s education in the home setting,” Dr Phillipson says.
While over 80 per cent of parents would like more money to support their children’s education, there are other significant drivers that contribute to the quality of their education.

“Strong support ensures a child can always ask for assistance when they need help with their homework at home, and that they have everything they need in order to achieve academically at school.

“Cultural expectations are also influential, with parents agreeing that they make significant decisions about their children’s education based on their families’ value systems, traditions, beliefs and the social support they have around them,” Dr Phillipson says.

The ASG Parents Report Card found that while parents generally agree their children want to do well at school, the strength of agreement was significantly higher among parents with daughters.

“Two thirds (70 per cent) of parents with sons say they have to remind their children to study, compared to only 49 per cent of parents with daughters. And half of all parents of daughters agree their child will not stop until their homework is complete, versus only 35 per cent of parents with boys,” Dr Phillipson says.

In addition, the research reveals 76 per cent of fathers perceive their child to be high achievers, compared with 69 per cent of mothers.

“The research found that dads may be wearing rose-tinted glasses when it comes to their perception of their child’s ability, versus mothers more ‘realistic’ views of their offspring’s scholastic performance.

“Fathers were also stronger in their belief that their children have more knowledge compared to other children the same age (73 per cent) versus mothers (60 per cent),” Dr Phillipson says.

Rosie Clarke

Rosie is the managing editor here at Multimedia Pty Ltd, working across School News New Zealand and School News Australia. She has spent 10+ years in B2B journalism, and has spent some time over the last couple of years teaching as a sessional academic. Feel free to contact her at any time with editorial or magazine content enquiries.
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