DADS who ask about the school day or talk to teachers could be the secret to boosting a child's education dreams and confidence.
Researchers from the Life Course Centre at the University of Queensland found the father figure had a significant impact.
The study asked kids, aged 12-15, how interested in their education they thought their parents were and what they expected to achieve.
A father who was perceived as showing a strong interest doubled the odds of his child expecting to gain tertiary qualifications but whether the mother showed interest had no real effect.
Co-authors Jenny Povey and Alice Campbell said the research was aimed at finding ways to change educational outcomes and break new ground by looking at the father's role.
"There is a lot of discussion about what we can do to lift education outcomes for disadvantaged students," Dr Povey said.
"You can't change genetics or your parents' prior schooling level but you can change parent engagement.
"We are starting to see that with more schools using sending photos to parents of things that were done during the day so they have a conversation point to discuss with the child."
The study applied even if fathers were living apart from their children and included adoptive and stepfathers. It didn't test whether the father was engaged, just what the child thought.
Ms Campbell said engagement didn't necessarily mean volunteering for school tuckshop or being on the P&C but was as simple as talking with kids about their day and keeping in touch with teachers. "At the end of the day it's what the child feels that had the impact."
Dad-of-three Peter Parianos said he used car journeys or shopping trips to chat to his kids as well as going to meetings with teachers as much as his wife.
"School is a big part of their life so I think it's important to be involved in as many ways as I can and take an interest in what they like and don't like doing at school. For me it's not an official sit down session. I just try to work it into the conversation," he said.