Parents let kids skip exams for sports

Report: "Parents usually don't know their place in the course of their child's career development"

Three-quarters of parents of young athletes prefer that their child forego a school exam for an important match, a new study conducted at the University of Haifa has found. In comparison, only 47 percent of parents of young musicians will allow their child to choose a performance over an exam. "Parents usually don't know their place in the course of their child's career development, and cross the line between involvement and intervention," the study's authors said. The study, conducted by Sharon Yaniv, Prof. Ron Lidor and Prof. Avigdor Klingman, examined 203 students from seventh to 12th grade in four different schools in the North who participate in high school sports leagues. Some of the students were on their school all-star teams (basketball, volleyball and athletics); others were active in various sports leagues (basketball, soccer and athletics); and the rest were musicians. In addition, 70 parents, six coaches, four team managers, 10 educational counselors and five school principals took part in the study. Among the findings was that participation in sports causes all-star athletes more disappointment - 70% of all-star athletes compared to 60% of league players and 28% of musicians. The study also reinforced the accepted assumption among high school students that the athletes who represent the school receive preferential treatment: 63% of all-star athletes responded that the school gave them special consideration, compared to 52% of musicians and 41% of those in leagues. In addition, 66% of all-star athletes reported that their school helped them in extending deadlines for assignments and exams, compared to 44% of musicians and 30% of those in sports leagues. Also, 63% of the all-star athletes said their school helped them with tutoring sessions, compared to 11% of those in leagues and 8% of musicians. "For young athletes - those that are active in sports leagues, and principally those that represent their school - there are unique needs that require special handling. Given that, the focus on athletic achievements and the honor they bring the school could harm other educational values that students should receive within the framework of their studies," the researchers summarized.