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A comparative study of parental involvement and its effect on African-American male and overall student achievement at single gender and coeducational middle schools

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Michael W Nellums
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to determine if Parental Involvement influenced academic performance at single gender and co-educational schools. This study also compared African American male academic achievement with all students enrolled in two single gender, and one coeducational, middle school programs. Although all three schools reflected a high poverty student population, the coeducational school boasted a district funded talented and gifted program that has been in existence for almost two decades. The single gender school had no such offering. The coeducational school also had a more experienced teaching staff, with more teachers holding advanced degrees. The study examined parental involvement, specific actions and activity participation of parents, and was distributed to the parents or guardians of approximately 273 former 8th grade students who were enrolled at Middle Schools A, B, and C for three consecutive years. For the study, only the parents of 8 th grade students were surveyed. The study examined the parent's interpretation of the contribution their involvement and participation in school related homework, or academic related activities had on the academic performance of their children. The demographic makeup of the all-boys school for the year 2008-09 was 57% African American, 41% European American, and 2% Hispanic-American. The demographic makeup of the girl's single gender program was 63% African American, 36% European American, and 1% Hispanic. The student population at the co-educational middle school was 54% African American, 43% European American, and 3% Hispanic. Findings suggest that 1) 95% percent of parents surveyed expressed they felt invited to be a part of the school environment and that only 33% of the parents felt they had the necessary skill level to help their children succeed academically 2) Only 5% of all parents felt educationally proficient to help their children succeed in the school's academic environment 3) Male students outperformed female students in math and coeducational students outperformed single-sex school students in math and literacy 4) Overall, Non African-American students outperformed the African American students in both math and literacy.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgments…………………………………………… ….. ……..…… . … ……. …….i

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION…………….…………………….… …… … . …. . . ....... …. 1

Background…………………………… … ……………….… …….. … …… . .2

Statement of the Problem………………………………… ……………. …....7

Purpose of the Study………………………………………… …………. …...9

Conceptual Framework………………………………………… ………… .. ..9

Assumptions……………………………………………… ………… .… . … . .1 5

Null Hypothesis……………………………………………… ………… . . ….1 5

Alternative Hypothesis…………………………………… ………… … . … . ..16

Significance of the Study…………………………………… ……… …. …. . .1 6

Research Questions…………………………………………… ………… … .17

Delimitation s………………… . ..……………………………… ….……. … . .1 7

Definition of Terms………………………………………………… ……… . 18

Summary………………………….…………………………… … ………… 21

Chapter 2:

Literature Review… ………………………………………… ……….. … ….2 2

Parent Involvement Overview……………………………… ……….. …… . .23

History of Parent

Involvement in the United States…………… ……….. … . 2 4

Court Decisions Establishing Parental Involvement ………… ……… …….2 8

Single Sex Education…………………………………………… ………. …30

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Encouraging Parental Involvement……………………………… ………. ... 32

Addressing Cultural Barriers Affecting Par ental Involvement…… ……… .. 35

Parent Behavior Impacting Student Achievement……………… ……… ….3 9

Student Achievement…………………………………………… ………. .. .. 41

African American and Minority Parent Involvement…………… ……… . . .. 43

Literacy, Language and African American Parents……………… …… . … .. 47

Parent Involvement and School Choice…………………..……… …… . … . . 49

Family Finance and Parent Involvement………………………… …… . … ..53

Summary………………………………………………………… …… … .. . . 58

Chapter 3:

Methodology………………… …………………………………… …… .. . .. . 60

Participants…………………………………………………… …… …… . . .. 60

Procedure ……………………………………………............... ....... ........ . . . . 61

Design………………………………………………………… ……. … … . . . 6 6

Instrumentation…………………………………………………… … . …. . .. . 6 7

Data Analysis……………………………………………….….…... ... . ..... . . . 69

S ummary ………………………………………………………..… … . … … 69

Chapter 4: Results …………………………………………………….….… ….. . . . ... . . . . 71

Chapter 5: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS.... ..... .. ...103

REFERENCES ……………………………………………………………..…… …… … .111

APPENDICES …………………………………………………………..…….... ........ .. . .133

xiii

APPENDIX A SUPERINTENDENTS APPROVAL LETTER………..……..... ........ . . . . 133

APPENDIX B PARENT INVO LVEMENT QUESTIONNAIRE…………..… …… … .134

APPENDIX C IRB C ONSENT LETTER….…………………………………… …… … 1 49

APPENDIX D Letter to Students…………………………………………..… ….. … .. …15 1

xiv

List of Figures

Figure 1 . Literacy

Scores with outliers………………………………… …………………102

Figure

2 . Math Scores with

outliers……………………………………………………….. 103

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List of Tables

Table 1. Frequency of Parental Efficacy……………………………… … . ……..…….. . 73

Table 2. Parents Perception of General I nvitation to School………………………….. . 73

Table 3. Parents Self - Reported Role Beliefs………………………………………...…74

Table 4. Parents Self - Repor ted Valence…………………………………………….….74

Table 5. Parent’s Perception of Teacher Invi tation for Involvement…………………..75

Table 6. Parent’s Perception of Specific Childs Invitations for Involve ment …………75

Table 7. Parent’s Time and Energy for School Involveme nt……………………….…. 76

Table 8. Parent’s Knowledge and Skills for Involvement Activities…………….……. 77

Table 9. Parent’s Choice of Involvement……………………………………………… 77

Table 10. Parents Self - Reported use of Parent’s Modeling……………………………...78

Table 11. Parent Self - Reported us e of Encouragement…………………………………78

Table 12. Parent Self -

Reported us e of Reinforcement…………………………………79

Table 13. Parent Self - Reported us e of Instruction…………………………………… .. 79

Table 14. Parent Involvement Project Q uestionnaire Total……………………… ….….80

Table 15. Statis ti cs………………………………………………………………………82

Table 16. Descriptive Stat istics………………………………………………………....83

Table 17. Test of Nor mal ity - Race………………………………………………………85

Table 18. Test of Norm ali ty - Gender………………………………………… . …………85

Table 19. Test of Normality - School Type……………………..…………… . ……..… ...86

Table 20. Levene's Test of Equality of Error Variances……………………...…… … . ...86

Table 21. Correlations………………………………………………...……………… . . .. 87

Table 22 . NonParametric Correlations…......…………………………………………. . . 88

xvi

Table 23. Box's Test of Equality of Covariance M atrices… .. ………….……… ….. … ...89

Table 2 4 . Test of Between -

Subject Effects………….……………………..… . .…… …91

Table 2 5 . Multivariate Tes ts…………………..……………………………… … …..... ..95

xvii

Preface

Chapter 1 includes the abstract, background, problem statement, purpose of the study, conceptual framework, assumptions, null hypothesis, alternative hypothesis, significance of the study, research questions, delimitations and limitations, definitions of terms, and summary. Chap ter 2 includes a review of the literature. Chapter 3 describe s

the methodology utilized in this study; define s the research design, population, and sample, methods for data collection, instrumentation, and analysis of data. In Chapter 4, the findings are

p resented and explained. An analysis of the data include s

descriptive statistics and a MANOVA. Chapter 5 include s a summary, conclusions, implications, and recommendations. The intent of the research is to contribute to a greater understanding of the influe nce of parental involvement on the academic success of students in single gender and co - educational public schools, to examine the impact of single gender schools on African - American male academic achievement, and to add to the body of knowledge in the are a of minority parental involvement and single gender education in the public schools.

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CHAPTER 1

Development of the Problem

In the United States, high parental involvement often corresponds to student academic success. Jeynes (2003) acknowledged parental involvement as one of today’s most important educational topics. On both the state and federal levels, recent public law mand ated that schools notify parents of the school’s academic progress (United States Department of Education & United States Congress, Public Law 107 - 110, 2002) and programs to ensure parental participation (Arkansas Act 603, HB 1387, 2003). To meet federal educational standards, many schools across the nation implemented parental involvement plans in the hopes of fostering an environment that encourages parents and teachers to become active co - participants in the academic lives of their students. As a resul t, parental involvement became a mandatory part of Title I and federal legislation known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 (NCLB and ESEA Reauthorization Act, 2001).

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, is the main federal education law affecting education from pre - school through high school.

The NCLB laws are constructed on four principles which include: accountability for results, more choices for parents, greater local control and flexibility, and places an emphasis on doing what works based on scientific research United States Department of Education (2002).

Much of the legislation focuses on improving the academic achievement of the disadvantaged, and holding State Education Associations (SEA’s) directly accountable for a lack of student academic progress. Since most single gender schools in this country are either privately supported and/or sponsored

2

by church affiliated groups, this study will add to the body of knowledge c oncerning parent involvement in single gender, publicly funded school programs. This study will explore the relationship between student academic achievement and the levels of parental involvement at single gender and coeducational schools. Finally, it wil l also address the perception of parental involvement by African American parents with students in single gender and co - educational middle schools having greater than 50% free and reduced lunch participation, the standard used by state and federal governm ents to measure poverty in United States public schools.

Background

Professional educators seek to understand the close relationship between student academic success and parental involvement, especially minority student achievement. In the late 1600’s an d early 1700’s, organized public education efforts for students in the United States developed a process largely exclusive of parent input. A Massachusetts law passed in 1642 required civil authorities to ensure families educated children, servants, and ap prentices. W ith few exceptions, clergy led educational training in the early colonies. The colonists displayed a strong commitment to religious education and believed in one’s need to read the Bible and continue on the path to salvation (Gelbrich, 1999). A lthough

many of the clergy held European, aristocratic backgrounds, their educational theory and practices borrowed greatly from religious perspectives. In the early United States, the church played a dominant role in the establishment and maintenance of t he schooling system (Gelbrich, 1999). For religious institutions, schools became the mechanism for conveying specific beliefs and maintaining social control in their respective communities.

3

During the 17 th

and 18 th

century, the parents’ economic status d etermined educational opportunities for their children in the local community. While affluent parents sent their children to Latin and Prep schools, or enlisted private tutors, working families guided their children into trade and apprenticeship programs. Though public interest in formative education in the southern part of the United States was minimal, with its aptly titled, Literary Fund, Virginia was one of the first states to earmark state monies for public education (Mullins, 2001). Working class pare nts and landowners in the southern United States considered the operation and maintenance of agricultural lands a more valuable skill than public learning.

In the early 1700’s, citizens in the southeast United States established such innovations as the old field school which placed elementary educational facilities in abandoned field spaces that were no longer suitable for crop rearing (Pulliam & Patten, 1995). The community at large funded and provided upkeep of the local school program, yet the sch ools still maintained the accepted standards of the day regarding class structure in their operation. As a precursor to modern private schools, these programs funded by private entities offered some scholarships to the less well to do .

As the country began to socially progress, concerns were brought to the forefront regarding educating all students regardless of race and national origin (New York Historical Society, 2007). Because legal slavery existed, a particular exclusion is noted r egarding educating children of African American descent in America’s public schools. Though progress seemed gradual, citizen’s hoped for permanent improvement in America’s educational system.

4

The New England Area

At the turn of the 18 th

century, no nat ional system of education existed and each state bestowed support, though minimal, for their educational systems. Lacking public funding, many states again turned to religious institutions to offer charity - based education. The New England area of the Unite d States became the first region to establish school districts with community tax support. Further efforts by private citizens in the same region included the establishment of an educational program known as Sunday school. The brainchild of Robert Raikes ( Pulliam & Van Patten, 1995), this mechanism for providing basic education to the poor, served as a tool to teach children of mill and factory workers, and remove the children from a life of ignorance and sin.

Southern Educational Efforts

By relying on private tutors and church supported instructors, the south insisted on resisting societal change to educate all poor citizens in the community. Laws were passed making it a criminal offense to teach people of color, particularly African Americans, how to r ead (Sanders, 1998) .

Ignoring regional trends, this allowed the south to exclude their unusually large African American populations from participating in any form of public or private educational offerings. At the same time, the south passed laws forbiddin g slaves opportunities for education (Jeynes, 2007). Southern slave and plantation owners feared educating slaves and specifically teaching them how to write, increased the potential for rebellion (Jeynes, 2007). With these handicapping conditions, organiz ations of goodwill, often led by prominent W hite male citizens, sought to support southern schools. To ensure the education of W hite males in the South, prominent W hite citizens became actively involved in the creation and the operation of public schools. It

5

would take another major war for the south to finally come to terms with the concept of providing educational opportunities for their native sons and daughters of African American descent.

Northern Educational Efforts

By the 1830’s, northern states ass umed responsibility for addressing public education concerns, yet public financing, and specifically collecting public taxes to support the new state sponsored institutions, lagged far behind. The business community, consisting mainly of affluent parents, chose a different direction to address their educational desires for their children. Private schooling afforded parents the opportunity to maintain a proper, yet involved relationship with the school. The family commitment would be fulfilled by both studen ts and parents. This goodwill movement also led to the evaluation of public school progress by noted scholars of the day, including Horace Mann. Considered a leader in the field of American Public Education, Mann sought a sense of national unity through an

educated populace and championed a concept of parental involvement.

Mann believed parents should create a home environment that would stimulate learning (Gutek, 1995). This idea along with his advocating the Common School Movement was the fore - runner to

major parental involvement programs (Kaestle, 2008). During the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, almost all European American citizens enjoyed the benefit of governmental support and opportunity to attend public schools. This privilege did not apply to indiv iduals of African American descent. For over 100 years, African Americans and others fought a systematic battle against governmental hindrance

6

at all levels to ensure equal access and opportunity for children of color to attend government supported public schools.

In 1850, Robert Morris, an African American attorney, and Charles Sumner, a W hite abolitionist, sued the City of Boston arguing segregated schools were inferior and violated the state’s constitution (Smithsonian National Museum of American Histo ry, 2004). The court ruled at that time separate but equal was consistent with the interpretation of the laws of the land; however, the United States did show deference to students of Chinese ancestry in Tape

v. Hurley

(1885) 66 Cal. 473,

and Hispanic stud ents in Alvarez v. Lemon Grove School District, Superior Court, San Diego County, No. 66625 ,

931 (United States Government, 2004). Over the next 100 years, African American students and their parents experienced very little progress in desegregating public ly financed schools.

In 1954, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in Brown

v. Board of Education of

Topeka, 347 U.S. 483.

The court affirmed separate but equal unconstitutional, and ordered all states to dismantle the vestiges of separ ate and unequal practices in public education with all deliberate speed ( Brown

v. Board of Education of

Topeka, 1954 ) .

This court action met massive resistance and many southern states closed public schools or ignored the order altogether. Though several state and local school districts were already peacefully integrated, Orval Faubus, Governor of Arkansas, vigorously oppo sed integration and closed the public high schools in 1957 (Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 1957). President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the federal government to mobilize the State National Guard to protect nine African American students and fully integrate C entral High School later that year. Arkansas became one of

7

the few southern states to fully integrate public schools in their state capitol. Many states, including parts of Arkansas and the southeast United States, did not fully comply with court - mandated integration until 1970. Several local school districts remained under court - ordered and supervised desegregation rule.

Statement of the Problem

The purpose of this study is to determine if Parental Involvement influences academic performance at a single gender and co - educational schools. This study also compare s African American male academic achievement with all students enrolled in two single gender and one coeducational middle school programs. According to National Assessment Educational Programs

( NAEP ) data, African American students scored at substantially lower proficiency rates than non - African American students on the same standardized exams (NAEP, 2007). NAEP math data taken from 2007 indicated fourth grade African American students scored 12% pro ficient compared to 46% for W hite students. These same data also indicated eighth grade African American students scored 9% proficient compared to 31% proficiency for W hite students on the same standardized exams. The statewide Benchmark Exam from 2008 off ered similar statistics for minority student achievement (Arkansas Comprehensive Testing and Assessment Program, 2007). The 2008 State Benchmark Exam results indicated that 66% of White

male eighth grade math students were proficient or advanced compared t o 31% of male African American students (Arkansas Department of Education, 2008).

A large urban school district in this study published yearly benchmark scores for identified student groups (School District No. 1, 2008). This information provided a glimps e into overall student achievement and the below - average minority student

8

achievement for African American students at the secondary school level. According to state law, (Arkansas Department of Education, 2006) poor student academic performance on the Ark ansas

Comprehensive Testing Assessment and Accountability Program results in schools districts being sanctioned. Also known as ACTAAP, this state - wide exam requires satisfactory yearly academic progress for specific groups

(Arkansas Department of Education , 2008). As a result, school districts developed alternative educational strategies and programs to avoid such punitive actions. One such offering on the national and local level is gender specific education public school programs. No Child Left Behind (N CLB) legislation of 2001 authorized gender specific education under the development of innovative educational programs. This action amended Title IX federal education standards making separate gender schools legal (United States Government, 1997).

In 20 05, a large urban district in this study implemented the first two public school gender specific programs in a state in the Southeastern Region of the United States. These two programs consisted of sixth to eighth grade middle school students in an urban a rea of Pulaski County, Arkansas. Middle Schools A and B historically produced low Benchmark Proficiency scores and ranked among the lowest in minority student academic achievement (Pulaski County Special School District, 2005).

According to the school dist rict volunteer records, Middle Schools A and B had low parental volunteer hours documented (Pulaski County Special School District, 2008). With a history of low parental involvement Middle School A and B’s minority student population represented a majority

of the school’s student body. Middle School C traditionally had higher standardized test scores but also had a significant population of

9

free and reduced lunch students and documented low parent volunteer hours. The measurable criterion includes

student academic achievement, and parent participation in school related educational activities.

Purpose of the Study

This study quantitatively compares the perception of parents regarding parental involvement and student achievement in a three public middle scho ols. These programs represent two single gender and one co - educational public school programs in a large urban district. Data concerning African American parental involvement and minority student academic performance will provide insight for this study. Th e study investigates the effect of parental participation on student’s academic achievement in single gender and coeducational middle schools.

Conceptual Framework

Major issues that appear to affect student performance provide a constant source of discus sion in today’s educational settings. Parental involvement and the parents’ perception of how their involvement influences their children’s academic performance should be addressed. Th ree major theoretical principles

of parent involvement were utilized to

frame this study

(Blendinger & Jones, 1992; Verhoek - Miller, 1993; Henderson, Marburger & Odom, 1986; Jones, 1991; Lightfoot, 1978; Rich, 1987) .

These are :

Full document contains 169 pages
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine if Parental Involvement influenced academic performance at single gender and co-educational schools. This study also compared African American male academic achievement with all students enrolled in two single gender, and one coeducational, middle school programs. Although all three schools reflected a high poverty student population, the coeducational school boasted a district funded talented and gifted program that has been in existence for almost two decades. The single gender school had no such offering. The coeducational school also had a more experienced teaching staff, with more teachers holding advanced degrees. The study examined parental involvement, specific actions and activity participation of parents, and was distributed to the parents or guardians of approximately 273 former 8th grade students who were enrolled at Middle Schools A, B, and C for three consecutive years. For the study, only the parents of 8 th grade students were surveyed. The study examined the parent's interpretation of the contribution their involvement and participation in school related homework, or academic related activities had on the academic performance of their children. The demographic makeup of the all-boys school for the year 2008-09 was 57% African American, 41% European American, and 2% Hispanic-American. The demographic makeup of the girl's single gender program was 63% African American, 36% European American, and 1% Hispanic. The student population at the co-educational middle school was 54% African American, 43% European American, and 3% Hispanic. Findings suggest that 1) 95% percent of parents surveyed expressed they felt invited to be a part of the school environment and that only 33% of the parents felt they had the necessary skill level to help their children succeed academically 2) Only 5% of all parents felt educationally proficient to help their children succeed in the school's academic environment 3) Male students outperformed female students in math and coeducational students outperformed single-sex school students in math and literacy 4) Overall, Non African-American students outperformed the African American students in both math and literacy.