Despite the rapid changes in the U.S. system of education, considerable gaps and inequities in the academic achievement of school youth continue to persist. These academic difficulties have cultural, socioeconomic, and family roots. For example, researchers found that children of Latino immigrants are among the most prominent academic underachievers in the U.S. (Ceballo, Maurizi, Suarez, & Aretakis, 2014). Simultaneously, “for many youth, the secondary school years are marked by declines in academic performance and motivation, along with increases in problem behaviors and depressive symptoms” (Wang, Hill, & Hofkens, 2014, p. 2151). As schools adopt new policy trajectories to promote better achievement among students, school principals and chief educators want to understand the factors that could motivate children and youths to study better. Parent involvement is one of the key targets for school principals, as they seek to engage parents in the learning and academic processes affecting their children.
Justification of Research
Several factors justify the importance of the proposed study. Firstly, as researchers note, school years often become a serious educational, emotional, and motivational issue for students, particularly in secondary school (Wang et al., 2014). Consequently, researchers need to understand what factors and interventions could change the situation and create more favorable conditions for school learning. Secondly, the key educational goal for school principals and educators is to promote a harmony of academic and emotional achievement in students (Wang & Sheikh-Khalil, 2014). If parent involvement is key to promoting better academic achievement, then educators need credible primary evidence to inform their decisions and policy actions. Overall, the importance of this study is justified by the need to develop more systemic parental involvement policies to improve student achievement in school.
The purpose of this quantitative survey study is to test the theory that parent involvement improves the quality of academic achievement in students in an urban charter school. The independent variable will be defined as parents’ involvement with the academic affairs of their children both at home and on school premises. The dependent variable will be defined as the academic achievement of students, measured as an average score for the key subjects during one academic year (Creswell, 2013).
The theoretical framework to guide the proposed study was developed by Joyce Epstein of Johns Hopkins University. The model incorporates several different types of parent involvement, school involvement being presented as type 3 (Epstein, 2001). The theory outlines the most characteristic activities and behaviors of the parents who are involved in their children’s successes at school, suggesting that the initiatives of both parents and the school is needed to promote their academic involvement (Epstein, 2001). This being said, schools can establish and run comprehensive programs to keep parents involved.
One of the most popular assumptions underlying the current research and educational practice is that parent involvement necessarily improves academic achievement in children and youths. However, the results of prior studies have been uneven at best. Researchers generally confirm the positive impacts of parent involvement on student achievement in schools (Ceballo et al., 2014; Wang et al., 2014; Wang & Sheikh-Khalil, 2014; Williams & Sanchez, 2011). However, factors such as parental expectations may provide a more significant contribution to student achievement in high school (Froiland, Peterson, & Davison, 2013).
Numerous factors can moderate the relationship between parent involvement and student achievement, including but not limited to type of involvement and parental warmth (Ceballo et al., 2014; Park & Holloway, 2013). Researchers point out numerous barriers to parent involvement in schools, from lack of self-efficacy to poor finances (Park & Holloway, 2013; Williams & Sanchez, 2011). Socioeconomic and ethnic diversity can also alter the patterns of parent involvement and its impacts on student achievement in schools (Wang et al., 2014; Wang & Sheikh-Khalil, 2014). These gaps in research justify the importance of a new study. Its results will facilitate the adoption of new practices to make parent involvement an accepted standard of educational excellence in schools.
- Ceballo, R., Maurizi, L.K., Suarez, G.A., & Aretakis, M.T. (2014). Gift and sacrifice: Parental involvement in Latino adolescents’ education. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 20(1), 116-127.
- Creswell, J.W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.
- Epstein, J. (2001). School, family, and community partnerships: Preparing educators and improving schools. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
- Froiland, J.M., Peterson, A., & Davison, M.L. (2013). The long-term effects of early parent involvement and parent expectation in the USA. School Psychology International, 34, 33-50.
- Park, S., & Holloway, S.D. (2013). No parent left behind: Predicting parental involvement in adolescents’ education within a sociodemographically diverse population. The Journal of Educational Research, 106, 105-119.
- Wang, M.T., & Sheikh-Khalil, S. (2014). Does parental involvement matter for student achievement and mental health in high school? Child Development, 85(2), 610-625.
- Wang, M.T., Hill, N.E., & Hofkens, T. (2014). Parental involvement and African American and European American adolescents’ academic, behavioral, and emotional development in secondary school. Child Development, 85(6), 2151-2168.
- Williams, T.T., & Sanchez, B. (2011). Identifying and decreasing barriers to parent involvement for inner-city parents. Youth & Society, XX(X), 1-21.