Family-School Relationships: Three Papers Addressing Limitations in Parent Involvement Theory and Research Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Tucker, Jenna
    • Affiliation: School of Social Work
  • Parent involvement in education is believed by many to be an important determinant of academic achievement. Although the literature on the topic has grown a great deal over the past several decades, it continues to suffer from several limitations. First, the research tends to focus on educator expectations for parent involvement, rather than parent perspectives on their own involvement. A related issue is the fact that much parent involvement research treats parent involvement as discrete activities for which parents are wholly responsible, while ignoring the influence of school variables, particularly family-school relationships. Second, the majority of parent involvement research uses elementary school samples, so that much less is known about parent involvement in education during adolescence. This dissertation addresses these limitations with a series of three papers. The first paper is a review of parent involvement literature. In particular, the review calls attention to the small body of research that addresses parent perspectives on involvement and provides recommendations for integrating findings from this literature into future research. The second paper describes a qualitative study of a sample of African American and Hispanic parents, which found that parents of color had specific goals when engaging in parent involvement and that family-school relationships suffered when schools were not responsive to these goals. The studies also illustrate how social exchange theory might be applied to address these questions. The final study used hierarchical linear modeling to explore home-based parent involvement among a sample of students at 11 middle schools students. Among the types of parent involvement studied, only parents' academic expectations had significant and positive effects on student school engagement. A supportive school climate was also significantly positively related to student school engagement. The two variables (academic expectations and school climate) had roughly equal effect sizes. Taken together, the studies demonstrate the importance of considering parent perspectives and family-school relationships in parent involvement research and interventions. The papers also call attention to the limited information about what forms of parent involvement are relevant for middle school samples.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Bowen, Gary
  • Chapman, Mimi
  • Bowen, Natasha
  • Griffin, Dana
  • Orthner, Dennis K.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2014
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • This item is restricted from public view for 2 years after publication.

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