Parents Tried Their Hands at Kids’ Homework – More Than Half Didn’t Make the Grade

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 27, 2000 — If you had to repeat 5th grade today, how well would you do? A recent quiz given to parents of grade-school children by Market Facts Inc. and Microsoft® Encarta® multimedia encyclopedia revealed that many parents could not correctly answer questions on history, geography, the arts, science and mathematics — the very subjects in which their kids most often need homework help.

Each parent was asked 12 multiple-choice questions corresponding to his or her child’s grade level. Questions ranged from
“What is a scalene triangle?”
for parents of elementary-school students to
“What is a newton?”
for high school parents. Based on current 4th through 12th grade curricula, the
stumped parents more than half the time, demonstrating that having great educational resources at home can aid parents in helping their children with homework.

“Today’s students are simply studying subjects earlier or learning information their parents were never taught,”
said Merle Marsh, head of the middle school, Worcester Preparatory School, Berlin, Md.
“To help them understand brand-new subject matter, parents need to be able to easily access reliable, up-to-date information through reference tools such as Encarta Reference Suite 2000 and Encarta Online Deluxe.”

Middle-School Parents Won

Parents with middle-school children (6th through 8th grades) received the highest grades (an average of 63 percent correct answers). Surprisingly, though, the younger the children (4th and 5th grades), the worse the parents’ overall score (48 percent correct). Parents of high-school students scored an average of 52 percent correct.

“You would think that parents of elementary-school students, because they traditionally have been more involved with homework help, would know more,”
Marsh said.
“But it could be simply that they learned the information too long ago, or that they can’t keep up with what their kids are studying.”

Using Technology Can Help Parents and Students

According to Marsh, computers and the Internet have made it much easier for today’s students and their parents to connect with information and experts. Parents can also use technology tools, such as the best-selling Encarta Reference Suite 2000 or the any time, anywhere access of Encarta Online Deluxe at , to field tough homework questions.

Encarta Reference Suite 2000 was recently named the No. 1 reference product in schools in Education Market Research’s independent survey* of K-12 teachers and school technology coordinators. The suite includes Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 2000, Encarta Interactive World Atlas, a free** one-year subscription to Encarta Online Deluxe, and the new Encarta World English Dictionary.

“Parents and students can have information at their fingertips that they can research quickly and easily from home and at school with Encarta reference products,”
said Susan Kittleson, product manager in Microsoft’s Learning Business Unit.
“Information is always current, thanks to online updates of new articles and other content in the Encarta Yearbook.”

The Encarta Reference Suite 2000 CD-ROM is $99 before a $35 mail-in rebate*** and runs on the Microsoft Windows® 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT® 4.0 or later operating system. The DVD version is $99 before a $35 mail-in rebate***. Encarta Encyclopedia is $39 before a $25 mail-in rebate***; Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe is $69.95 before a $30 mail-in rebate***; Encarta World English Dictionary is $39.95 before a $20 mail-in rebate***; and Encarta Interactive World Atlas is $54 before a $20 mail-in rebate***. Encarta Online Deluxe is $49.95 per year, can be accessed through most Internet connections and runs on the same versions of Windows listed above.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

SURVEY SOURCE: Market Facts Inc., November 1999. The survey was conducted among 1,068 people, with a confidence level of +/- 2.5 percent (or 90 percent).

*SOURCE: Education Market Research,
“Best School Software: Most Frequently Used Products by Subject, Grade and Platform.”
Oct. 19-Nov. 12, 1999. The survey was conducted to 4,000 people.

**Offer valid through Dec. 31, 2000. Access to and use of the Internet may require payment of a separate fee to an Internet service provider. Connect-time charges may apply. Offer valid in the 50 United States, District of Columbia and Canada only.

***Prices are estimated retail prices. Actual retail prices may vary. Rebates are valid with qualifying proofs of purchase in the 50 United States, District of Columbia and Canada only. Offers expire Aug. 31, 2000, or 30 days after product is acquired, whichever comes first. Limit one rebate per household per title.

Microsoft, Encarta, Windows and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

How Well Would You Do?

Test your knowledge with this quick sample of questions aimed at the 4th- through 12th-grade level. Answers can be found at the bottom of the page.

  1. Where is Machu Picchu? (elementary school)

  2. What was one effect of geography on the strategy of Northern military forces during the Civil War? (elementary school)

  3. What are the two main forms of the sonnet? (high school)

  4. What are fractals used for in computer modeling? (middle school)

  5. What is the full name of DNA? (high school)

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