Impact of Family Structure on Student Performance

Impact of Family Structure on Student Performance


History: Image result for férias com os filhos

  • In the 1960’s, only 9% of students lived in single parent households

  • Compare that to today where 34% of students are living in a single parent household

  • Half of children born in the last decade will spend some time in a single parent household before age 18

How Family Structure Impacts CHild development:

  • Children living in non-intact families aren’t exposed to consistent parenting styles and have less social control than those children with intact families.

  • Helpful parental involvement includes the holding of high aspirations and expectations. Parental expectations and aspirations are undermined when the student does not feel close to the parent.

  • Inadequate parental assistance may lead to a child feeling overwhelmed. This ultimately may led to them withdrawing from school.

  • Time is a huge factor in child development and school achievement. Many single parents lack the time needed to properly involve themselves in the students development and school work.

  • Family structure and school-related parenting practices affect early disengagement from school.


  • Children that are able to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty do so on the basis of parent effort. In these cases, parents emphasize discipline in the household and good study habits.

How parental educational attainment affects student:

  • “For example, the average numeracy score for U.S. millennials who reported that neither parent had attained an upper secondary degree (i.e., the most disadvantaged) is 212—thirty-eight points lower than millennials who indicated that at least one parent had attained a high school degree (or equivalent). Moreover, there is a 61-point difference in the average score of millennials whose parents had the lowest and highest levels of educational attainment (that is, the gap in scores between the least and most advantaged millennials).”

  • Parental educational attainment statistics hold true across the world. The more educational attainment a parent has, the higher educational attainment the child is more likely to reach.

Effects of a single parent household on the student:

  • Students in single parent households tend to have lower income therefore a lower standard of living. The low income typically lands them in poorer school districts that don’t always have the resources to adequately teach students.

  • Students living in single parent households tend to lack social resources such as the ability to get to social events.

  • Many students living in single parent households have also witnessed the events that caused the disruption in the family structure. Negatively impacting their future relationships with the gender that left the family.

  • The “intactness” of a family also strongly correlates to high school graduation rates.

  • In the 1980’s the attainment gap between students in a single parent household and an intact household was 8% for those students living an intact family. The gap has widened according to 2009 data to 17%.

  • The educational attainment of the mother is the single most influencing factor of how long a child remains in school.

  • Children in single-parent household recieve less encouragement from the parental fiure that those in an intact family. This lack of encouragement also correlates to lower educational expectations.

  • Growing up in a step-parent family has similar negative consequences as growing up in a single-parent household when related to educational attainment.

Comparing single parent households and “typical” households: