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A correlational study: Parental involvement to student achievement in public education

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Brian Ray Wilson
Abstract:
The significance of parental involvement in their children's education, according to literature, is unquestionable. In this study the author examined the correlation between student achievement and parental involvement in public education in grade levels two through twelve. The following research will present varied aspects of obstacles that stakeholders must hurdle in an attempt to overcome these barriers in their quest for student success. Additional focus will present quality models of parental involvement as stakeholders attempt to increase and sustain student achievement in this new era of accountability in education.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Declaration of Originality.................................i Acknowledgements..........................................ii Abstract.................................................iii Copyright.................................................iv Table of Figures.........................................vii CHAPTER I Introduction.....................................1 Introduction ............................................1 Statement of the Problem ................................6 Rationale for the Study .................................7 Independent and Dependent Variables .....................7 Null Hypothesis .........................................9 Limitations to the Study...............................10 Definition of Terms ....................................11 CHAPTER II Review of Literature...........................15 Introduction ...........................................15 Historical Perspective .................................16 Parental Involvement ...................................20 Models of Involvement ..................................28 Programs ...............................................36 Benefits to Involvement ................................41 Obstacles to Involvement ...............................52 Constraints to Parent Involvement ......................60 Differences in Parent Involvement ......................63

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Needed Support .........................................66 Children's Achievement .................................69 Goals to Achievement ...................................72 Discussion .............................................78 Conclusion .............................................83 CHAPTER III Methodology...................................86 Introduction to Research ...............................86 Participants in Research ...............................88 Instruments in Research ................................89 Procedures Ensued ......................................92 CHAPTER IV Results.......................................100 Introduction ..........................................100 Figures ...............................................101 CHAPTER V Summary........................................124 Introduction ..........................................124 Summary ...............................................124 Conclusion ............................................128 Recommendations .......................................130 References...............................................132 Appendix A Missouri School Improvement Program..........137 Appendix B Advanced Questionnaire for MSIP..............140 Appendix C Missouri Assessment Program Data.............143 Appendix D Vita'........................................144

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Table of Figures

Figure 1 – Example of database utilized in the research comparing gender, grade span, G.P.A., and parental involvement..........94

Figure 2 – Example of database utilized in the research comparing proficient scores in Communication Arts/Mathematics on the MAP and parent involvement............97

Figure 3 – Comparison of parents which attended parent/teacher conferences in 2005 through 2008.............................102

Figure 4 – Comparison of G.P.A. among high school students in 2005 through 2008............104

Figure 5 – Relationship between G.P.A.and parent involvement at the high school level for students in 2005 through 2008............106

Figure 6 – Comparison of G.P.A. among middle school students in 2005 through 2008............107

Figure 7 – Relationship between G.P.A. and parent involvement at the middle school level for students in 2005 through 2008............109

Figure 8 – Comparison of G.P.A. among elementary School students in 2005 through 2008.....................................110

Figure 9 – Relationship between G.P.A. and parent involvement at the elementary school level for students in 2005 through 2008........112

Figure 10 – Comparison of G.P.A. among all students in grades 2-12: years 2005 through 2008.....................................113

Figure 11 – Relationship between G.P.A. and parent involvement for all students in grades 2-12: years 2005 through 2008..................115

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Figure 12 – Proficient students in Mathematics and Communication Arts on the MAP test expressed in percentages.................116

Figure 13 - Comparison of the percentage of parents reportedly attending parent/teacher conferences through the 4 th cycle MSIP advanced parent questionnaire............117

Figure 14 – Relationship of students proficient in Communication Arts/Mathematics on the MAP test and parental involvement at all grade levels for 2007 and 2008.......119

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

A Correlation-Comparative Study: Student Academic Achievement to Parental Involvement at the Secondary Level Introduction Academic achievement among school-aged students is a multidimensional facet in public education. Educators constantly engage in educational research to examine the correlation between variables that impact student performance (Hountenville, 2008). Parental involvement could be the indispensable link in educational leaders’ quest to leave no child behind and ensure an optimistic future for the children of America. As it is known, children are one-hundred percent of the future. Therefore, educating children must remain a priority for all stakeholders involved in this colossal task. Parental involvement itself involves very specific behaviors, i.e., attending parent-teacher conferences, although it is not entirely clear that simply increasing these behaviors would produce the desired effects in

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student achievement. Even though research consistently shows parent school involvement is important to student achievement, it is not operationalized in terms of behaviors such as obtaining tutoring or doing homework with the child. The positive influence of parental involvement may simply be the message it sends to children. By attending school functions, activities, and meetings at school, parents involved in school may very well indicate the significance of school to their children and what is important to their identity (Oyserman, 2007). In this way, parent school involvement may be associated with better school outcomes because of its proximal effects on a child’s sense of who he/she could become. Indeed, parent- school involvement often co-occurs with factors that also contribute to positive school outcomes, such as positive parental outlooks on education (Oyserman, 2007). According to the National Center for Education Statistics (Parent, 2000), ―Parental involvement for students in middle and high schools tends to be lower than those in elementary schools. This report showed that in 1996 and 1999, 86% of elementary school parents had at least one meeting with their children’s teachers, while 50% of parents of high school children had one visit with a teacher.‖

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Another parental involvement report completed in 2002-03 by the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (Parent, 2005) showed that over 90% of parents of kindergarten through fifth grade students were involved in their children’s school work compared with 75% of middle school parents and 59% of the ninth through tenth grade parents were involved. In addition, only 53% of the parents of the eleventh and twelve grade students were involved (2005). The examination of parental involvement has been a mainstay for educationalists as researchers have studied the correlational effects of parental involvement on student achievement. Almost four decades ago a federal document was printed that discussed the effectiveness of American education. The paper was financed by the United States Office of Education and was written by James Coleman, a notorious educational analyst at the time. The paper, known as the Coleman Report , stated that public education did significantly impact the ability of students to reach their potential. The Coleman Report also sited family environment as the substantial factor for the successful academic achievement among those children. James Coleman concluded that children who lacked support or a value of education in their homes were at a disadvantage

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and could not learn at the same rate as those students emerging from wealthier families valuing educational instruction (Coleman, 1966). Since the materialization of the Coleman Report , educators began to reanalyze the data and research evidence concerning how home variables impact student learning and success. Subsequent to 1966, numerous studies have examined the strong correlation comparing parental involvement and an increase in academic achievement. As early as 1972, researchers supported the Coleman Report

with evidence that between 50% and 67% of all variance in student achievement could be reflected on those variables within the home rather than those within the school (Mosteller, 1972). Research has continued to support the theory of parental involvement’s being one significant aspect of student success. Throughout the past forty years, parents and educators have worked to target those specific factors to enhance the success in academia for students. Parents have a desire for their progeny to triumph in life. While educators also care about the success of their students, they understand the high stakes in education today and the pressures put upon districts to improve student performance. To ensure a successful academic performance, students, parents, and

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educators must work together to achieve a common bond. Without such a relationship, student success may be hindered or, even worse, a student might fall into complete failure. It is at the secondary grade level that parental involvement begins to diminish, compared to that of lower grade levels. Particular students begin to struggle academically at this level, when they might not have struggled at lower grade levels (Hountenville, 2008). This result could be influenced by a decline in parental engagement at the secondary echelon for students; therefore, it is imperative to understand the significance of parents and their participation, the involvement effect on student performance, and at what particular grade level parent involvement is essential to student success. Stakeholders should comprehend the impacts of parental involvement and unite work efforts in utilizing positive interventions to engage students in education and enhance student performance. Current research indicates that students whose parents are connected with the curriculum, in addition to the school, are more likely to perform better and remain engaged in school (Hountenville, 2008).

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Statement of the Problem The purpose of this study is to determine the specific impact parental involvement has on student academic achievement at all levels. The assumption, at the high school level may lead parents to leave the edification of their child in the hands of the student and educator(s), taking a more passive role, as compared to their involvement at the elementary level (Hountenville, 2008). Preceding research has determined the magnitude of parents’ impact on their child’s education and future success. Nevertheless, this prior research tends to focus on particular grade levels or grade spans with a restricted view of a comprehensive school district. With inadequate funding, more stringent guidelines, and increased accountability, public educators are in pursuit of methods to increase student performance. Therefore, identifying the most influential ages impacted by parental involvement should allow school districts to better focus on those specific areas of needed improvement. Consequently, it is crucial that educators strive to see the correlation that parental involvement has on student achievement at all levels of education, so the stakeholders can collaborate in an effort to enhance the educational process for all students.

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Rationale for the Study The ultimate goal for educators is to increase student performance and achievement. Goals 2000 was established by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to enhance ties between parents and school districts in hopes that these partnerships would promote the social, emotional, and academic growth of children (Baker, 2000). Goals 2000, along with No Child Left Behind, has increased accountability and high stakes testing for all school districts. For instance, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education evaluates those districts in the state of Missouri based on student performance. Districts are accredited according to the performance of their student population; therefore, any leverage in increasing student achievement should be examined (DESE, 2008). The utilization of funds to create, promote, and maintain district parental involvement programs should be based on relevant, data-driven decisions to reinforce the hypothesis that parental involvement enhances student performance at the secondary school level. Independent Variable The independent variable in this study is the involvement of parents or guardians as this participation should enable students to better meet their educational

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needs. This variable which changes over time will potentially affect outcomes of the dependent variable. For this correlational study, parental involvement will be direct contact with the educators responsible for their child’s education through a scheduled parent teacher conference. Dependent Variable The dependent variable is the student achievement scores. Achievement scores will be measured through both grade point averages and the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP). The MAP test is a criterion based test given to students in the state of Missouri and monitored by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The grade point average will be figured as all class grades are averaged together. Students will be enrolled in either six or seven classes per semester. These grade averages will be based on an eleven-point scale to better help pinpoint discrepancies. The MAP, the standardized performance test in Missouri, will utilize an index score in both Communication Arts and Mathematics, which compiles the assessed test results of those students who were engaged.

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Null Hypothesis There will be no significant, positive correlation between parental involvement through parent-teacher conferences and the grade point averages of students, grades 2-12 in selected Missouri Public Schools. The mean of student performance, measured by grade points averages, will not significantly differ according to gender with equivalent parental involvement. The mean of student performance, measured by grade point average in grades second through twelfth will not significantly vary among students with equivalent parental involvement. There will be no significant, positive correlation between districts that have completed the 4 th cycle MSIP review in Missouri, parental involvement and students who are proficient in Communication Arts, according to the standardized MAP assessment. There will be no significant, positive correlation between districts that have completed the 4 th cycle MSIP review in Missouri, parental involvement and students who are proficient in Mathematics, according to the standardized MAP assessment.

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Limitations of the Study Parental involvement. Parental involvement in regards to education at home will not be evaluated in this study. Only the active participation at school in the form of a parent-teacher conference will be examined. The length of the conference, intensity, and participation may vary from parent to parent. In addition, a parent questionnaire prepared and compiled by DESE will be utilized to compare the district-student achievement scores with the MAP. One assumption about the questionnaire that is it completed accurately and honestly by the parent/guardian. Student Achievement. Student achievement scores in regard to grade point average will be examined at the end of the first semester. These grades are given subsequent to parent/teacher conferences conducted in the fall. MAP tests are administered during the spring, and grades three through eleventh are the only grade levels in Missouri selected for the MAP test. Student Participation. Class scheduling, intrinsic factors, and extrinsic factors may influence student achievement and may or may not be reflected in the grade point average.

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Student Population. Approximately six hundred students per year will be selected for this study. Students will be chosen from rural school districts in southwest Missouri where the school district population does not exceed one thousand pupils in grades kindergarten through twelve. This population is taken from the district’s September enrollment count as reported to the DESE in Missouri. Teacher Participation. The replacement of existing educators from year one to year two will not be able to be factored into the study. All replacements are certified by the state of Missouri in those content areas in which they are employed to teach. However, the personnel will vary from district to district. Years. The data gathered will include that from the 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 school years. Only schools which have completed the fourth-cycle Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) parent questionnaire by January 1, 2008, will be utilized for MAP data. Definition of Terms Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This organization is in charge of overseeing school districts in the state of Missouri (DESE, 2008).

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Elementary Level. This educational level is represented by students who are enrolled in the second through fifth grade levels. Students are placed in grade levels according to age and completion of prior coursework. Goals 2000. Also known as the Educate America Act, this is the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Act which has made parental involvement in a child’s education a national priority. School districts are asked to re- examine their parent involvement policies, programs, and practices (Baker, 2000). Grade point average. Averages are a numerical representation of a student’s performance in a given area. For the purpose of this study, the grade point average will be based on an eleven-point scale as zero will represent the lowest and eleven will represent the highest attainable level. An eleven-point scale as compared to a four-point scale will allow for a better view of inconsistencies. Middle School Level. This educational level is represented by students who are enrolled in the sixth through eighth grade level. Students are placed in grade levels according to age and completion of prior coursework. Missouri Assessment Program. This is a standardized test given to students in Missouri public schools in grades three through eleventh. This particular criterion-based

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test meets the requirement of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (DESE, 2008). Missouri School Improvement Program. This is a program put into place by the Missouri State Board of Education to evaluate the public school districts in Missouri, based on classification standards as outlined by Senate Bill 380 and the State Board Rule (DESE, 2008). No Child Left Behind Act, 2001. This act is a federal regulation that requires school districts to show adequate yearly progress in the areas of Communication Arts and Mathematics. It supports the idea all students can learn. All students are required to show progress regardless of subgroups; such subgroups are gender, limited English speaking skills, socioeconomic status, and special needs (DESE, 2008). Parental Involvement. Involvement is defined by Reynolds as ―any interaction between a parent and child that may contribute to the child’s development or direct parent participation with a child’s school in the interest of the child‖ (Reynolds, 1992). For the purpose of this study, parental involvement will include the physical presence of the parent(s) at a parent-teacher conference at the school with focus on academic performance. Parent- teacher conferences, grade reviews with teachers, and other

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conferences with classroom teachers in regard to student achievement are some examples of said involvement. Parents will sign in at the parent/teacher conference to confirm attendance at the meeting as parental involvement is correlated to grade point averages. Parent-Teacher Conferences. These are organized meetings between the parents and teachers to discuss students’ academic performance in a specific area. Secondary Level. This educational level is represented by students who are enrolled in the ninth through the twelfth grades. Students are placed in grade levels according to age and units of credits gained toward graduation. Significant. Significance level is the probability level utilized in proving the hypothesis. The Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient (Pearson r) will be used in this study. In the Pearson correlation, a correlation above .8 is considered strong while anything below .5 is considered weak. The common significance levels are .05. Socioeconomic Status. Socioeconomic status has been defined by family income and size, and is adjusted yearly, based on the poverty level as determined by the federal government (Anderson & Togneri, 2003).

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CHAPTER II - REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Introduction Parental involvement plays an integral part in educating students for tomorrow’s society. The keys to success necessary to prepare students for the challenges ahead lie in the hands of parents and educators alike. The future success of student performance relies upon the combined efforts of educators and parents. Districts must explore unique avenues to find the keys to unlock doors which separate parents from total involvement and collaboration with the school system. Only then will the perceptions of students, educators, and parents be transformed, and student success becomes a reality. Einstein was quoted as saying, ―The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were when the obstacle was created‖ (Phipps, 1989). Collaboration between home and school has always been an existing obstacle, but the current trends tend to see the gap changing. Parental involvement at the

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secondary level is decreasing while accountability for educators is at an all-time high. This dilemma of parental involvement is imminent and cannot be avoided. Districts must span the gap between home and school, as expectations for them have been increased by federal regulations, for instance No Child Left Behind and Goals 2000. Therefore, family involvement in public schools must be a priority. Historical Perspective Prior to the 1900’s, public education was nonexistent in the United States. Children received education at home from parents and other family members as this educational process met the modest needs of society. Later in the early 1900’s, a revolution in the domain of education was brought about by an ever-growing society. This system demanded the need for skilled trainers who could educate America’s children. The growth in the educational system brought awareness to the public with regard to the importance of the public educator. During this critical time, teachers emerged as respected professionals. They were viewed as specialists who were in charge of students’ academic achievement in the classroom, and they were expected to prepare all students for performance outside of school (Stien and Thorkildsen, 1999). This job description still remains true in the 21 st century. Teachers are valued

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and respected by society for their knowledge and expertise; consequently, the expectation for educating students remains as a heavy burden on the shoulders of professionals in education. As professionals, educators gained parental trust and confidence through goodwill and positive recognition in the early 1900’s. Soon after this, educators began to work closely with parents in developing organizations to benefit students throughout the 1900’s. Case in point, parents and teachers formed the National Congress and the Parent- Teacher Association Foundation, two of the predominant organizations formed early in that era. These organizations accelerated the bond between home and school and focused on improving the educational setting for students (Stein and Thorkildsen, 1999). These types of organizations seemed to proliferate in the 1970’s and 1980’s. For example, in 1973 fifty parents established a National Coalition of Title I, also known as Chapter I Parents. Three years later the Coalition established the National Parent Center. This organization, a resource for caretakers who desired to be involved in education, assisted parents in becoming aggressively engaged in their children’s education with the focus primarily on disadvantaged students (Stein and Thorkildsen,

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1999). Furthermore, the Parents as Teachers Program was initiated in 1981, and it is a program that allowed public school districts to help parents effectively nurture their children from before birth until school age. The program once was implemented state-wide in Missouri during the 1985-86 school year. Forty-four other states duplicated the program modeled by Missouri (Cookson, 1996). The 1970’s and 1980’s were a time of emerging support from organizations that linked school and home. Throughout the past two decades parents have been adamant in regards to their rights to engage with districts in support of their children’s education (Cookson, 1996). It had been documented that as high as 40 percent of all parents had volunteered in their local school district in 1992. In addition, in 2003 the National Center of Educational Statistics reported that 80 percent of parents with school-aged children participated in a minimum of one conference throughout the school year with their children’s educators while 60 percent of those parents attended a school function outside of the regular school day (Parent, 2005). However, these statistics are on a steady decline. In 2001 the percent of parents participating in meetings with their child’s teachers had fallen below 75% with the majority of the parental visits at the elementary level

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rather than the secondary level. Researchers report the number of parent/school organizations is substantial, but the parental percentage energetically involved in their children’s educational process is decreasing (Weis, 2003). Organizational direction of these types of assistance groups is beginning to change in the 21 st century as legislators at both state and national levels are becoming actively interested in the parental involvement aspect of public education. Case in point, Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act have established parental involvement as a priority. Seeing this result of Goals 2000, in order to receive federal education funds for Title I, school districts must provide proof that one percent of all funds are earmarked for programs that promote parental involvement in schools (Baker, 2000). Schools were asked to re-evaluate their current policies, programs, and practices. Goals 2000 was designed to alleviate the tension between schools and parents. Legislation was based on theories and studies by researchers and educators that parental involvement will enhance a child’s success (Baker, 2000). The transfer of focus from parental or educator initiated programs has become an agenda concern of both federal and state legislators.

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Even through 2006, school districts in Missouri are facing legislative mandates forcing school districts to adopt policies in regard to parental involvement. Districts are expected to develop policy at the local level, implementing programs that continue to integrate volunteers and parents into their schools. Currently, this is another mandated regulation for districts. With regard to correlating parental involvement and student achievement, past research indicates equal and active efforts on the part of parents and educators alike. They have attempted to work together in efforts not only to meet state and federal mandates but to constantly strive to provide better education for today’s children. The percentage of organizations which strive to accomplish the goal of joint efforts between the home and school is expected to increase as districts must recognize that parents are a vital element of the academic process. Parental Involvement Ballantine was quoted, ―Parents are critical to children’s success during the school years‖ (1999). Parental involvement is presented as a unified concept; typologies of parental involvement, parental roles, and nature of partnership have all been identified, illustrating the diversity of its practice and

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interpretation. These interpretations are also variously acceptable or unacceptable to the key actors, depending upon their different constituencies and varying situations (Crozier 2000). Teachers usually want to see parents come to school, but a parent’s participation in the educational process of his/her child, particularly in deprived areas, is typically at low levels. Hornby said, ―The minimal parental involvement in schools is an international phenomenon, with the majority of parents worldwide having little contact with schools their children attend‖ (2000). Teachers want parents to do the following: (1) be open with them about their children’s special needs or health problems; (2) tell them about any home circumstances which could affect pupils; (3) cooperate in reinforcing school discipline and school programs at home by supervising homework or listening to their children read; (4) teach their child what is expected of them at school and have realistic expectations of what their children are capable of doing; (5) regularly attend Parent-Teacher meetings and discuss their children’s progress with them; (6) read and acknowledge reports and letters sent home, and make sure the school has up-to-date address and phone details in case they need to be contacted during the day; (7) keep their

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children home if they are not well; and (8) volunteer to help out in various ways in school (Hornby, 2000). However, parents also have some expectations regarding teachers, as they expect them to do the following: (1) consult parents more frequently and listen to their point of view; (2) have a more open or approachable attitude, and be willing to admit if they do not know something; (3) treat their children with respect; (4) and, more importantly, contact them if they suspect their children have a problem of any kind. In Denmark, for instance, parents are more satisfied with their communication with teachers, teacher’s proficiency, and attention to individual children as compared to their counterparts in the United States. They expect to see better cohesion between day-care centers, schools and recreational arrangements, more opportunities for parental involvement, more attention given to the abilities and needs of individual children, and better books and teaching materials (Instance, 2006). Apparently, differences in expectations between parents and teachers are prevalent, but many similarities and complementary expectations are ubiquitous. For instance, teachers would like parents to be more open with them, and parents want teachers to listen to them and

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consult them more frequently. In addition, teachers want parents to do more volunteer work in schools, and parents say they are willing to do this. In addition, parents and teachers both reinforce the importance of parent-teacher conferences and PTA meetings. These meetings are valuable as they help to clarify expectations on both sides. In most professional development workshops on parental involvement, there is a genuine surprise in the minds of many teachers and parents regarding the expectations placed on them. This indicates the necessity for more consideration to be given to the relationship between teachers and parents since it seems that assumptions are made on both sides without these being made explicit. This raises the issue: How should parents and teachers relate to each other? In order to solve this, various approaches to parent-teacher relationships should be discussed (Instance, 2006). Types of Parental Involvement Parental Involvement is understood to be one of the vaguest terms utilized throughout the public education sector as it can fluctuate in meaning. Parental involvement is interchangeable with parental participation along with numerous other descriptions; there are an endless number of behaviors that could be substituted for

Full document contains 156 pages
Abstract: The significance of parental involvement in their children's education, according to literature, is unquestionable. In this study the author examined the correlation between student achievement and parental involvement in public education in grade levels two through twelve. The following research will present varied aspects of obstacles that stakeholders must hurdle in an attempt to overcome these barriers in their quest for student success. Additional focus will present quality models of parental involvement as stakeholders attempt to increase and sustain student achievement in this new era of accountability in education.