Dads are often criticized for their lack of involvement and knowledge about their children’s lives.

With Father’s Day approaching, in June, Intelligent.com sought to find out just how much dads know about their kids’ education. We surveyed 408 fathers with at least one school-age child, from kindergarten through higher education.

Despite common perceptions that fathers are less involved in school-related activities, the majority report being engaged – in particular, fathers of younger children. However, some fathers do seem to lack basic, yet important, information about their children’s schooling.

Key findings:

  • 1 in 13 dads don’t know what college their kid attends
  • 1 in 5 don’t know how much tuition costs, and 28% don’t know if their child has student loans
  • 1 in 5 dads don’t know their high schooler’s GPA
  • Majority of dads with K-8 children attend parent-teacher conferences, assist with homework

1 in 13 Dads Have No Idea Which College Their Kid Attends

The study highlights gaps in fathers’ knowledge about their child’s higher education. Of dads with college-aged children, 27% are unaware of their child’s major, and 25% do not know any of the courses they are taking this term. Additionally, 8% do not know which school their child is attending.

Regarding financial matters, 30% do not know whether their child has student loans, and 18% are uninformed about the tuition costs. Of fathers, 39% are unfamiliar with any of their child’s professors’ names, and 28% do not know any of their college friends.

When it comes to academic performance and extracurricular activities, 25% do not know their child’s GPA, and 21% are unaware of their child’s involvement in college organizations or extracurricular activities.

1 in 5 Fathers Don’t Know Their High Schooler’s GPA

When asked about their children’s high school teachers, 13% of dads do not know any of their names, and 57% only know some. Six percent of dads are completely unaware of their high schooler’s social circles, while 66% only know some of their friends’ names.

Additionally, 8% of dads never help their children with their homework, and 25% do not help very often. For parent-teacher conferences, 4% never attend, and 16% do so infrequently.

Some dads are not well-informed about their child’s academics, with 31% not knowing if their child is taking or has taken advanced placement (AP) classes, and 19% being unaware of their child’s GPA. Additionally, 13% do not know their child’s extracurricular activities.

Regarding standardized testing, 7% of parents are unsure if their child took the SAT or ACT, and 18% know that their child did not take these tests. Among those whose children took these exams, 9% do not know their child’s scores.

Majority of Dads With Young School-Aged Children Attend Parent Teacher Conferences, Help With Homework

Conversely, many dads report that they are engaged in their children’s education across elementary and middle school. In elementary school (K-5), 65% always attend parent-teacher conferences, and 23% attend them sometimes.

Over half (54%) know all their child’s teachers’ names, and 36% know some of their names. The same percentage (54%) of dads frequently help their elementary school children with homework, and 38% sometimes help. On the other hand, 7% rarely assist with homework, and 1% never do. Almost all dads (94%) are familiar with some or all of their child’s friends’ names.

For dads with middle schoolers, 63% always attend parent-teacher conferences, and 27% sometimes attend. Similarly, 43% know all their child’s middle school teachers’ names, and 53% know some of them.
Among fathers with middle school children, 39% frequently help their kid with homework, and 45% sometimes assist. In contrast, 15% rarely (14%) or never (1%) help with homework. Almost all dads (97%) are familiar with some or all of their child’s friends’ names.

Methodology

All data in this report derives from a survey commissioned by Intelligent.com in June 2024 via Pollfish. In total, 408 U.S. men with at least one school-aged child, from kindergarten through higher education were surveyed.

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