Doctoral Student Fellowship

Sira Park, The Graduate School of Education

Does parent involvement matter? Longitudinal Effects of Parent School-Based Involvement on Child- and School-Level Outcomes

Hamilton

Abstract

Parents’ involvement in their children’s education has long been believed to promote a range of positive academic outcomes. Accordingly, there are provisions to strengthen ties between families and schools in major pieces of federal legislation, including the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, and Race to the Top Fund. Many states grant parents an allotment of leave time from work to attend necessary educational conferences or activities at their child’s schools (e.g., Family School Partnership Act in California, School Conference and Activity Leave in Illinois). Despite the popularity of school-based parental involvement (school PI) in education policy, the evidence regarding its effectiveness is uneven. And furthermore, prior studies suggest that school PI may be more prevalent and particularly beneficial to economically advantaged children (Lareau 2003). If this is so, then boosting school PI could actually play a role in widening, rather than narrowing, the achievement gap. These findings suggest that we still do not know the answer to two important questions: Is school PI an effective means of promoting academic achievement? And for whom is the school PI-achievement relation the most powerful? These questions must be addressed in order to evaluate if the policy efforts and resources that have been dedicated to promoting school PI are well-spent. This study examines each of these questions using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Studies-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) and three-level growth curve modeling.