Students' study habits not predicated on parents’ education, US study finds

April 30, 2013

According to a new study out of the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, parents' levels of education do not directly influence whether students demonstrate behaviours associated with deep learning. 9,000 students at 80 institutions in the US were surveyed and asked how often they applied knowledge to solve practical problems, integrated information from different sources outside class, and interrogated their existing views on a subject. These and other questions were intended to reflect the extent to which students engage in higher-order, integrative, and reflective learning. Though the overall differences were small, students whose parents earned baccalaureate degrees were the least likely to engage in deep learning. The study's author found that not only did these students lag behind those whose parents held advanced degrees, but they also engaged in deep-learning behaviours less often than those whose parents had attended but not completed college, or who never went at all. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)