• unlimited access with print and download
    $ 37 00
  • read full document, no print or download, expires after 72 hours
    $ 4 99
More info
Unlimited access including download and printing, plus availability for reading and annotating in your in your Udini library.
  • Access to this article in your Udini library for 72 hours from purchase.
  • The article will not be available for download or print.
  • Upgrade to the full version of this document at a reduced price.
  • Your trial access payment is credited when purchasing the full version.
Buy
Continue searching

Parent and teacher perceptions of effective parental involvement

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Tim Wright
Abstract:
Parental involvement is a key factor in the success of students, but research shows differing perceptions on the definition of parent involvement. The purpose of this descriptive cross-sectional survey study was to compare and contrast the perceptions of parents and teachers about the parent involvement strategies they find most effective. This study also sought to find differences within each population based on demographic factors. Using a researcher generated survey based on Dr. Joyce Epstein's Six Types of Parental Involvement (2002), elementary school parents and teachers of a rural Georgia school district were asked to use a rating scale to indicate the level of effectiveness of 28 parent involvement activities. Field testing was conducted to enhance face validity, and content validity was strengthened through the use of a wide variety of parent involvement strategies. The responses of parents (N=478) and teachers (N=104) were compared using an independent samples t -test, and statistically significant differences were found in six of the seven parent involvement dimensions studied. Within the parent population, ANOVA and post-hoc analyses were used and found statistically significant differences within the parent population in three of the five demographic areas studied. Within the teacher population, two demographic areas were studied, and only one statistically significant difference was found. This study suggested that parents and teachers have significant differences in their views of what defines effective parental involvement, and differences were apparent when some demographic factors were taken into consideration.

ABSTRACT Tim Wright. PARENT AND TEACHER PERCEPTIONS OF EFFECTIVE PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT. (Under the direction of Dr. Kathie C. Morgan) School of Education, April 2009. Parental involvement is a key factor in the success of students, but research shows differing perceptions on the definition of parent involvement. The purpose of this descriptive cross-sectional survey study was to compare and contrast the perceptions of parents and teachers about the parent involvement strategies they find most effective. This study also sought to find differences within each population based on demographic factors. Using a researcher generated survey based on Dr. Joyce Epstein’s Six Types of Parental Involvement (2002), elementary school parents and teachers of a rural Georgia school district were asked to use a rating scale to indicate the level of effectiveness of 28 parent involvement activities. Field testing was conducted to enhance face validity, and content validity was strengthened through the use of a wide variety of parent involvement strategies. The responses of parents (N=478) and teachers (N=104) were compared using an independent samples t-test, and statistically significant differences were found in six of the seven parent involvement dimensions studied. Within the parent population, ANOVA and post-hoc analyses were used and found statistically significant differences within the parent population in three of the five demographic areas studied. Within the teacher population, two demographic areas were studied, and only one statistically significant difference was found. This study suggested that parents and teachers have

iv

significant differences in their views of what defines effective parental involvement, and differences were apparent when some demographic factors were taken into consideration.

v

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS John 15:5 (KJV) says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” This work is the fruit of my labor, and I could have certainly not completed this undertaking without the grace given to me by my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To my wife Jennifer and our three children, Jarrod, Abby, and Kaylee, thank you for your patience and willingness to sleep with the light on. I have tried hard to make this as painless as possible to our lives, but it has not always worked out the way I planned. I love you and appreciate the sacrifices you have made for me. A big thank you is necessary to my committee chairperson, Dr. Kathie Morgan. I have appreciated you taking time out of your life to help me complete my research. With all that you have had to recently overcome in your own life, how you have had any time to deal with my worries and concerns is beyond me. Thank you. To my committee members, Dr. Ellen Lowrie Black and Dr. John Pantana, thank you for your invaluable input and positive guidance throughout the research process. Statistics are not my strong suit, and I wish to thank Dr. Michael Hayes of Lee University and Steve Mcdonald for their nudges that tipped the statistics boulder over the edge of the cliff. Thank you both for your time and assistance. Lastly, I would like to give a big thank you to my colleagues at Cohutta Elementary School and the Whitfield County School System for your advice, encouragement, and support.

vi

CONTENTS ABSTRACT……………………………………………………………………………...iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS…………………………………………………………….......v CONTENTS………………………………………………………………………………vi LIST OF TABLES………………………………………………………………………...x LIST OF FIGURES………………………………………………………………………xi CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM ……………...…...……………..1 Background of the Study………………………………………………………….1 Research Questions and Null Hypotheses………………………………………...4 Significance of the Study………………………………………………………….6 Overview of the Methodology…………………………………………………….7 Organization of the Remainder of the Study……………………………………...9 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW………………………………………………...10 Definitions of Parental Involvement……………………………………………..11 Competing Ideas of Parental Involvement……………………………….12 Epstein’s Framework for Six Types of Involvement…………………….14 Involvement Type 1: Parenting…………………………………..15 Involvement Type 2: Communicating…………………………...16 Involvement Type 3: Volunteering………………………………17 Involvement Type 4: Learning at Home…………………………17 Involvement Type 5: Decision Making………………………….19 Involvement Type 6: Collaborating with the Community……….19

vii

Parental Expectations…………………………………………………….21 Benefits of Parental Involvement………………………………………………...22 Levels of Parental Involvement………………………………………………….24 Reasons for a Lack of Involvement……………………………………………...26 Teacher and Parent Relations…………………………………………….26 Parenting Style…………………………………………………………...27 Cultural Differences……………………………………………………...28 Education Level of Parents..……………………………………………..29 Social and Economic Reasons…………………………………………...30 Improving Parent Involvement Levels………………………………………......31 School Initiated Training………………………………………………...32 Possible Barriers to School Initiated Training……………………….…..32 Parental Perceptions of Parent Involvement………………………………….….34 Schools Can Affect Parent Perceptions of Involvement…………………34 Research on Parent Perceptions of Parent Involvement…………………35 Teacher Perceptions of Parent Involvement……………………………………..37 Traditional Beliefs Affect Perceptions…………………………………..38 Research on Teacher Perceptions of Parent Involvement……………….39 Summary…………………………………………………………………………43 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY……………………………………………………….46 Research Design..………………………………………………………………...47 Research Questions and Null Hypotheses...……………………………………..49 Research Context………………………………………………………………...50

viii

Population………………………………………………………………………..51 Survey Instrument….…………………………………………………………….58 Data Analysis…………………………………………………………………….61 Summary…………………………………………………………………………63 CHAPTER 4: DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS……………………………………64 Data Preparation and Analysis…………………………………………………...64 Research Question One………………………………………………………......66 Research Question Two……………………………………………………….....73 Research Question Three………………………………………………………...81 Research Question Four………………………………………………………….84 Parent Population: Race/Ethnicity……………………………………….84 Parent Population: Marital Status………………………………………..87 Parent Population: Age of Parent………………………………………...88 Parent Population: Education Level……………………………………...88 Parent Population: Annual Income………………………………………91 Teacher Population: Years of Experience and Education Level………...93 Summary…………………………………………………………………………95 CHAPTER 5: SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION………………………………………97 Research Questions and Null Hypotheses……………………………………….97 Review of Methodology…………………………………………………………99 Summary of the Results………………………………………………………...100 Research Question One…………………………………………………101 Research Question Two………………………………………………...101

ix

Research Question Three……………………………………………….102 Research Question Four………………………………………………...103 Discussion of the Results……………………………………………………….106 Parent Perceptions of Parent Involvement……………………………...107 Teacher Perceptions of Parent Involvement……………………………109 Comparing and Contrasting Parent and Teacher Perceptions of Involvement…………………………………………………….111 Relationship of Demographics to Teacher and Parent Perceptions…….113 Parent Education Level and Parent Involvement Perceptions….113 Socioeconomic Levels and Parent Involvement Perceptions…..114 Culture and Parent Involvement Perceptions…………………...115 Teacher Demographics and Parent Involvement Perceptions….116 Limitations……………………………………………………………….……..117 Recommendations for Further Study…………………………………….……..119 Summary………………………………………………………………………..120 REFERENCES…………………………………………………………………………122 APPENDIX A: PARENT SURVEY AND COVER LETTER………………………...129 APPENDIX B: TEACHER SURVEY AND COVER LETTER………………………136 APPENDIX C: PERMISSION TO ADAPT SURVEY………………………………..142

APPENDIX D: SPANISH TRANSLATION OF PARENT SURVEY AND COVER

LETTER………………………………………………………………….……..144

APPENDIX E: PERMISSION TO CONDUCT RESEARCH………………………...150 APPENDIX F: ADDITIONAL POST-HOC ANALYSIS (LSD) TABLES…………...152

x

LIST OF TABLES Table 1- Parent Demographics: Race/Ethnicity………………………………………….52 Table 2- Parent Demographics: Marital Status…………………………………………..53 Table 3- Parent Demographics: Age of Parent…………………………………………..54 Table 4- Parent Demographics: Education Level………………………………………..56 Table 5- Parent Demographics: Income Level…………………………………………..56 Table 6- Teacher Demographics: Years of Experience………………………………….57 Table 7- Teacher Demographics: Education Level……………………………………...58 Table 8- Parent Involvement Survey Item Mappings……………………………………60 Table 9- Parent Perceptions of Parent Involvement Strategies…………………………..66 Table 10- Teacher Perceptions of Parent Involvement Strategies..……………………...74 Table 11- Parent and Teacher Descriptive Statistics by Involvement Dimension……….82 Table 12- Parent Perceptions vs Teacher Perceptions: Independent Samples t-Test Results……………………………………………………………………83 Table 13- ANOVA for Parent Demographics: Race/Ethnicity…………………………..86 Table 14- ANOVA for Parent Demographics: Marital Status…………………………...87 Table 15- ANOVA for Parent Demographics: Age of Parent…………………………...88 Table 16- ANOVA for Parent Demographics: Education Level………………………...90 Table 17- ANOVA for Parent Demographics: Annual Income Level…………………..92 Table 18- ANOVA for Teacher Demographics: Years of Experience and Education Level……………………………………………………………………..94 Table 19- Post-Hoc Analysis (LSD) for Teacher Demographics: Years of Experience...95

xi

LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1- Parent Perceptions: Parenting Dimension……………………………………..67 Figure 2- Parent Perceptions: Communicating Dimension....…………………………...68 Figure 3- Parent Perceptions: Volunteering Dimension…………………………………69 Figure 4- Parent Perceptions: Learning at Home Dimension……………………………70 Figure 5- Parent Perceptions: Decision Making Dimension……………………………..71 Figure 6- Parent Perceptions: Collaborating with the Community Dimension………….72 Figure 7- Parent Perceptions: Parent Expectations………………………………………73 Figure 8- Teacher Perceptions: Parenting Dimension…………………………………...74 Figure 9- Teacher Perceptions: Communicating Dimension……………………………76 Figure 10- Teacher Perceptions: Volunteering Dimension……………………………...77 Figure 11- Teacher Perceptions: Learning at Home Dimension………………………...78 Figure 12- Teacher Perceptions: Decision Making Dimension………………………….79 Figure 13- Teacher Perceptions: Collaborating with the Community Dimension………80 Figure 14- Teacher Perceptions: Parent Expectations…………………………………...81

1

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM

Educators and parents believe parental involvement is essential in the education of children and leads to academic gains (Baker, 1997; Barge & Loges, 2003; Maynard & Howley, 1997; U.S. Department of Education, 1994). However, due to differing definitions of parental involvement, parents and teachers often harbor competing beliefs about involvement and what involvement practices are the most effective (Miretzky, 2004). How can this belief gap be bridged? Where are parents and teachers in agreement, and how can their differences be mediated? What factors might affect the perceptions of parents and teachers? This dissertation is a report of a descriptive survey study that sought to compare and contrast the perceptions of parents and teachers and discover factors which may affect their beliefs with regards to parent involvement. Background of the Study The idea of parent involvement is not a new concept. For decades paradigms have shifted with regards to involvement, and in the 21 st century, active parents are considered to be a vital component of education by teachers and administrators alike. In the 1940s, attempts to involve parents focused on PTA attendance, homework monitoring, and signing homework and report cards to acknowledge the students had shown them to their parents. Parents were also called upon as fund raisers for the schools, helping to supplement government funding. In the mid to late 1960s, policy-makers began to turn their attention to ways to improve academic achievement, and parent involvement became a topic of concern, especially among low-achieving students. As the

2

accountability movement of the 1980s gained strength, parents were asked to help oversee not only the progress of their children but of their school as a whole (Posnick- Goodson, 2005). As schools have pushed into the 21 st century, the idea of a reciprocal relationship between school and home has been championed by researchers, educators, and parents alike (Knopf and Swick, 2007). Some researchers have studied parent involvement and its positive effects on education for many years. Joyce Epstein has championed the importance of parent involvement, but she went beyond normal ideas and discussed the premise stating involvement should go beyond school and home, inviting a partnership between homes, schools, and communities. With over 100 publications, many focusing on school and family relationships, her focus has been on schools, families, and communities partnering in reciprocal ways to raise academic achievement and student success. Her research findings led her to draw four conclusions about parental involvement: student success should drive involvement, involvement should be present throughout the entirety of a child’s education, involvement is a process, not a single event, and parent involvement is not a substitute for quality education programs offered by schools (Epstein, 1990). As researchers have struggled to definitively define the construct of parent involvement, the federal government has developed a definition as a part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). This definition was included in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) under the guidance of NCLB. In its 2004 publication, Parental Involvement: Action Guide for Parents and Communities, the federal government stated parental involvement is defined as a meaningful, two-way

3

communication involving student academic learning and other school activities including: • Assisting in their child’s learning; • Being actively involved in their child’s education at school; • Serving as full partners in their child’s education and being included, as appropriate, in decision making and on advisory committees to assist in the education of their child; and • The carrying out of other activities such as those described in section 1118 of the ESA Section 9101 (32). With these guidelines in place by the federal government, the focus has shifted to local school districts. Each district and school that receives Title I money is required to develop a written parent involvement policy. As these policies have been developed, schools have searched for ways to carry out the government’s wishes while building on already existing relationships within the school and the district. For this reason, school systems and individual schools have attempted to work closely with parents to develop strong involvement policies to help improve learning in the classroom. However, problems still remain. While the government has a definition of parental involvement and educators have developed involvement policies, there often remains a disconnect between what educators and parents believe make up the actual practices which meet the criteria for effective parental involvement. This disconnect is not new, and researchers have used qualitative and quantitative studies to develop data and opinions from teachers and parents to study ways to bridge the existing gaps between

4

parent and teacher perceptions of effective parental involvement. However, more research needs to be done comparing parent and teacher beliefs so both sides can begin to focus on what is best for students. Research Question & Null Hypotheses After years of competing definitions of parental involvement, policymakers, researchers, and educators are beginning to agree on a set definition of what entails effective involvement. With a consensus definition, application must be the next step, and the application of this knowledge comes down to a few questions. The purpose of this study is to determine: RQ1. What involvement activities do parents find most effective? RQ2. What parent involvement activities do teachers find most effective? RQ3. How do the perceptions of teachers and parents compare and contrast with regards to parent involvement activities? H 1 There is no statistically significant difference between the perceptions of parents and teachers with regards to effective parent involvement.

RQ4. Does a significant difference exist between certain demographic factors (age, race/ethnicity, income, marital status, education level, years of teaching experience, etc.) and perceptions of parent involvement within parent and teacher populations? H 2 There are no statistically significant differences between parents of differing races/ethnicities with regards to their perceptions of effective parental involvement.

5

H 3 There are no statistically significant differences between parents of differing marital statuses with regards to their perceptions of effective parental involvement. H 4 There are no statistically significant differences between parents of differing age ranges with regards to their perceptions of effective parental involvement. H 5 There are no statistically significant differences between parents of differing education levels with regards to their perceptions of effective parental involvement. H 6 There are no statistically significant differences between parents of differing annual income levels with regards to their perceptions of effective parental involvement. H 7 There are no statistically significant differences between teachers of differing years of experience with regards to their perceptions of effective parental involvement. H 8 There are no statistically significant differences between teachers of differing education levels with regards to their perceptions of effective parental involvement. The answers to these questions will allow administrators and teachers to improve their policies with regards to parent involvement, and the answers will also allow parents to have a better understanding of what schools desire from them. Parents and teachers

6

want to do what is best for children, but often it is miscommunications and misunderstandings that drive wedges between schools and homes. It is vital that parents and teachers understand each other’s points of view and use this understanding to build a more reciprocal relationship to improve parental involvement in order to help improve student achievement. Significance of the Study Parent involvement has been the topic of study for many researchers in the field of education. However, the more it is studied, the more it seems further research needs to be conducted. This paradox seems to exist due to the many different existing about parental involvement. Parent and community relationships have been inconsistently measured across various studies and research, thus not capturing a full perspective and picture of these relationships (Kohl et al, 2000). New ways need to be utilized in order to better understand the relationships existing between families and schools. The significance in this study lied in its study of the perceptions of those chiefly involved in the education of children: parents and teachers. In many cases, parents have had little say in what constitutes effective involvement because the schools have dominated the research field, and many agree that school-centered definitions do not fully express the wide variety of relationships and involvement methods considered effective (Jordan, Orozco, & Averett, 2001). This study also provided an alternative view to an issue that has mostly been studied in purely qualitative manners such as field interviews and focus groups. Once survey results are found, schools can begin making changes and opening dialogues with parents about how to strengthen parent and school relationships. The research can later be conducted again to gauge changes. This study allows for a snapshot

7

of a large, diverse population, and other schools and school systems can benefit from the obtained results. Overview of Methodology A descriptive design using a cross-sectional survey instrument was employed to collect data among two populations. The targeted populations in this study were parents of elementary school students (1-5) currently enrolled in a public school system in Georgia and elementary school classroom teachers (K-5) employed by the school system. In order to sample the parent population, random sampling was employed by using a computer program to draw the desired 20% sample of all elementary parents based on student ID numbers. This random sample represented a variety of social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. The targeted population of teachers was all elementary school teachers in the school system. This sample included a variety of teachers with varying years of experience, professional degrees, and teaching backgrounds. Both sampled populations received a survey asking for opinions on parental involvement methods. The parent population received the surveys (Appendix A) through letters sent home with their children while the teacher population (Appendix B) completed the surveys electronically via the school system’s attendance program, Infinite Campus. The survey was created with permission (Appendix C) by the researcher and was based on Dr. Joyce Epstein’s (2002) six categories of parental involvement with an additional category of parental expectations. The survey contained 28 examples of parental involvement strategies, with examples coming from each of Epstein’s defined categories, three questions regarding parental expectations, and two questions to help gauge validity. To create the survey instrument, the researcher used examples taken from

8

each of Epstein’s (2002) categories, and research was used to determine three determining behaviors and actions demonstrating high parental expectations. The examples were randomly ordered, and the participants had no knowledge of the categories from which each example is drawn. A rating scale was used to determine the perceptions of the effectiveness of each parental involvement example. The perceptions ranged from a high score of 5 (highly effective) to a low score of 1 (not effective). In addition, demographic information was included on the instrument in order to give the researcher the opportunity to further analyze the data. The instrument was field tested by parents and teachers to correct any ambiguities or other problems with the questions and the instrument as a whole. Once the surveys were returned, the researcher tallied results by reordering the questions into their corresponding categories in order to determine an effectiveness score for each category. For example, the three questions created to test perceptions of parents with regards to expectations as a form of parental involvement were regrouped, and the scores of the questions were analyzed to determine a mean score for the category. All seven categories were tallied in a similar manner in order to determine mean values for parents and teachers with regards to each involvement dimension. The mean values were then analyzed using various statistical analyses to determine trends within each population, to find whether or not significant differences were found between parents and teachers for each category, and to search for differences between demographic factors and perceptions of effective parental involvement. The validity of the instrument was improved by using field tests and maintaining the anonymity of participants in order to obtain more truthful responses. The reliability of the survey was strengthened because

9

similar concepts were gauged in different ways using different parent involvement examples. In addition, some participants are available to retake the survey if a reliability concern arises. Further details regarding the methodology and the analysis of data will be discussed in chapter three. Organization of the Remainder of the Study The remainder of this study will be organized as follows: Chapter 2 will present a review of the literature surrounding teacher and parent perceptions of parental involvement. Chapter 3 will focus on the methodology used in the study including the design of the instrument, gathering of the sample, data collection, and data analysis. Chapter 4 will be a presentation of the data, and Chapter 5 will present a summary and discussion of the results.

10

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW Parental involvement has been shown to be a key indicator of academic success, and it is essential for teachers and parents have a similar understanding of what the term parental involvement truly means. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a difference between parents’ ideas of effective parental involvement and teachers’ ideas of effective parental involvement and determine what factors may affect these perceptions. For years, the impact of parental involvement on education has been studied, and while there are differences among some researchers, most conclude parental involvement plays a pivotal role in the education of students. Parental involvement can take numerous forms and vary in degree. Helping with homework, attending P.T.A. meetings, and holding high expectations are all examples of parental involvement strategies, and each demonstrates a differing theoretical perspective of involvement. Research has shown most all families care about their children and want them to succeed. They are eager to obtain better information from schools about how to strengthen the partnership between school and home. Teachers and administrators feel the same way. They want to expand the role of parents in the education process, but they are not sure how to go about building positive and productive programs. This has created a fear of trying, thereby creating rhetoric that states educators want parental support without offering action to accomplish this goal. Students at all levels also have a desire to know more about how home and school can come together to improve the educational process. They want to see parents and teachers come together as partners, working to

11

actively communicate about school activities, homework, and school decisions (Epstein, 1995). Parents and teachers share similarities and differences when it comes to defining effective parental involvement. If parents and teachers had a better understanding of each other’s expectations for parental involvement, both groups could work better to ensure their collaboration positively influences student learning. Schools could become more responsive to the needs of parents, and parents would feel empowered, therefore more likely to take an active role in the education of their children. It is also important to understand what factors might affect these perceptions and plan ways to account for these issues and overcome them. The significance of this study lies in the need to discover how similar or dissimilar the views of parents and teachers are when it comes to the subject of how parents should be effectively involved in the educational process. Once the relationship between teacher and parent perceptions of parental involvement has been identified, educators and parents can begin working together to strengthen the relationship between the school and home, discussing misconceptions each group has about the other, and opening the door to a more collaborative process which will positively affect the education of children. Definitions of Parental Involvement Parental involvement is a conglomeration of definitions from a myriad of research, and the many definitions can make researching involvement more challenging. Parental involvement can be defined as any interaction between a parent with the child or school which enhances a child’s development (Reynolds, 1996). Abe Feuerstein (2000) defined parent involvement as activity encompassing a wide range of behaviors, ranging

12

from discussing school with children to attending parent-teacher conferences. For researchers, teachers, and parents, competing ideas of what parent involvement truly is has brought confusion, so in order to come to a consensus opinion, it is important to compare and contrast differing definitions of involvement. Competing Ideas of Parental Involvement Ralph McNeal Jr. (2001) listed four elements of parent involvement. One key element was parent-child discussion. This involved how much conversation time was spent at home discussing education issues. This is an element often focused on by researchers. Parent involvement in parent teacher organizations (PTOs) was also listed by McNeal as an element of involvement. Another element of McNeal’s model of parental involvement is monitoring. Monitoring involves parents keeping up with their child’s progress on a regular basis. This element of parent involvement often affects adolescent behavior and development. Monitoring shows a child that the parent genuinely is concerned about his well being (Coleman, 1987). Direct involvement was McNeal’s (2001) fourth element of parent involvement. This facet of parent involvement refers to the amount of time a parent spends at the school involved in activities. This aspect of parent involvement tends to be reactive due to the fact the child’s bad behavior or poor academic work is often the reason the parent becomes involved. Parent involvement can come in many forms including assisting with homework, volunteering at school, sending and replying to home-school communications about student progress, developing adult learning skills, and being involved in school government. Bracey (2001) also stated regardless of how parent involvement is defined, it is vital to a child’s success at school.

13

In 2003, the U.S. Department of Education released an updated parent involvement study which yielded notable results. When asked about volunteerism, 38% of parents with children in assigned public schools indicated they had volunteered in their child’s school. This compares to volunteerism rates of 70% and 63% respectively for parents of children in church based or non-church based private schools. Involvement rates were also tied to the level of education of the parents. With regards to attendance at school meetings, 93% of parents who had attended college, graduate schools, or professional schools indicated they had attended school meetings while only 70% of parents who had completed less than high school indicated attendance at school meetings. Of high school graduates surveyed, 84% indicated they had attended a school meeting. The 2003 report went on to discuss the types of involvement in which parents were involved. In kindergarten through grade twelve, 95% of parents responded they had assisted with homework, and 85% of the parents reported an adult in the household was responsible for checking homework when it was complete. As with attendance at school meetings, education levels of parents also correlated with homework practices. While 90% of all responses indicated they had a place set aside in their homes for homework to be completed, there was a noteworthy gap between parents with less than a high school diploma (80%) and parents with high school diplomas (90%), college degrees (89%), and graduate school degrees (92%). Sui-Chu and Willms (1996) stated student-parent discussion at home was the most powerful predictor of student academic success. They found this characteristic was not highly affected by schools, while communication, school activity attendance, and volunteerism were highly affected by schools. Kerbow and Bernhardt (1993) explained

14

schools were responsible for up to 18.5% of the variation in parent involvement, such as communications, volunteering, and PTO membership. These findings indicate schools do have the ability to improve parent involvement levels. According to the variety of definitions presented in the previous paragraphs, one can see parent involvement is a multi-dimensional construct. Epstein’s Framework for Six Types of Involvement Perhaps the most comprehensive definition is Epstein’s (1995) categories of parental involvement. She lists six types of involvement: Type 1: Parenting- Help all families establish home environments to support children as students. Type 2: Communicating- Design effective forms of school-to-home and home-to- school communications about school programs. Type 3: Volunteering- Recruit and organize parent help and support. Type 4: Learning at Home- Provide information and ideas to families about how to help students at home with homework and other curriculum-related activities, decisions, and planning. Type 5: Decision Making- Include parents in school decisions, developing parent leaders and representatives. Type 6: Collaborating with the Community- Identify and integrate resources and services from the community to strengthen school programs, family practices, and student learning and development. (p. 141)

As involvement moves from Type 1 to Type 6, the emphasis begins to shift away from communication towards multifaceted partnerships among parents, schools, and others in the community (Barge & Loges, 2003). Parents and teachers become involved as partners rather than two entities competing for influence in the lives of students. While others have offered varying models of parental involvement, Epstein’s is the only one that has undergone extensive review by the research community (Jordan, Orozco, & Averett, 2001). Her involvement model is based on an organizational method where influence overlaps between school and home. With the focus on the partnership

15

between the community, parents, and the school, Epstein’s model provides well defined and useful guidelines for others to follow. Despite its wide acceptance, Epstein’s model does have limitations. Some (Kohl, Lengua, & McMahon, 2000) have pointed out Epstein’s model places the onus on school-initiated behaviors rather than parent-initiated behaviors, however, Epstein’s work is highly regarded and cited throughout the sea of literature on parental involvement. Her Framework for Six Types of Parental Involvement have become gospel in many school systems across the country, and it is important to understand what these types of involvement are and the challenges that possibly stymie their implementation. Involvement Type 1: Parenting. Schools can have a profound effect on how parents can support education at home. Epstein’s (2002) Parenting dimension is defined as the method in which schools can help all families establish a supportive home environment. She lists sample practices such as suggestions to parents about home conditions foster improved learning, workshops, both formal and informal, addressing parenting and child rearing, implementing parent education courses, launching family support programs to aid in nutrition and health matters, and encouraging home visits at important developmental stages of a student’s life. Challenges are present when addressing this dimension of parent involvement. Cultural differences can have an effect on how parents perceive the school making parenting suggestions. Schools must also be mindful that they seek to involve all of their parents in these activities, not just those who can attend meetings at the school building. In addition, schools must make sure their intentions are clear, avoiding educational jargon that might intimidate some parents.

Full document contains 172 pages
Abstract: Parental involvement is a key factor in the success of students, but research shows differing perceptions on the definition of parent involvement. The purpose of this descriptive cross-sectional survey study was to compare and contrast the perceptions of parents and teachers about the parent involvement strategies they find most effective. This study also sought to find differences within each population based on demographic factors. Using a researcher generated survey based on Dr. Joyce Epstein's Six Types of Parental Involvement (2002), elementary school parents and teachers of a rural Georgia school district were asked to use a rating scale to indicate the level of effectiveness of 28 parent involvement activities. Field testing was conducted to enhance face validity, and content validity was strengthened through the use of a wide variety of parent involvement strategies. The responses of parents (N=478) and teachers (N=104) were compared using an independent samples t -test, and statistically significant differences were found in six of the seven parent involvement dimensions studied. Within the parent population, ANOVA and post-hoc analyses were used and found statistically significant differences within the parent population in three of the five demographic areas studied. Within the teacher population, two demographic areas were studied, and only one statistically significant difference was found. This study suggested that parents and teachers have significant differences in their views of what defines effective parental involvement, and differences were apparent when some demographic factors were taken into consideration.