Spending time with children is key to how well they do at school, a new study suggests.
Researchers analysed data from almost 700,000 young people in Israel, including 22,000 who had lost a parent through death before the age of 18, and looked at how they fared in an exam required to attend college.
The educational attainment of the remaining parent had more of an impact on the child’s academic success than that of the missing parent, they found.
Co-author Professor Bruce Weinberg, from the Ohio State University, said the research suggests genetics are not the only major factor contributing to academic success.
“We found that if a mother dies, her education becomes less important for whether her child passes the test, while at the same time the father’s education becomes more important,” he said.
“If a father dies, the reverse happens.”
The research, published in the Journal of Labour Economics, found similar results in children whose parents had divorced.
“Student success is not coming just from smart parents having smart kids,” co-author Professor Eric Gould, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said.