School-Based Policies and Practices as Predictors of Parent Involvement in Children's Schooling: A Hierarchical Linear Modeling Approach

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This study investigated the impact of typical school-based policies and practices on parent involvement in their children's education. This study used a cross-section of data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) to conduct a hierarchical linear modeling analysis of parent interview and school questionnaire data. Parent involvement in education was conceptualized at two separate constructs -parent involvement in schools and parent home educational involvement. A separate analysis was conducted for each of the respective outcome variables. A diverse sample of 14,620 parents of children from 1,014 schools was selected from the ECLS-K dataset. School policies and practices were not found to be significantly related to increased parent involvement in schools or home educational involvement, even after controlling for parent demographic characteristics. Single parents and parents with limited English language proficiency reported less involvement in schools, but were equally involved in education at home as their counterparts. Several interactions were observed among the Level 1 parent characteristics and Level 2 school characteristics. The results indicate that school-level demographics have a stronger impact on parent involvement than the policies and practices specifically designed for this purpose. These findings imply that schools may need to move beyond the traditional methods of reaching out and providing support for parents. This is especially true in low SES, high minority, and rural schools, where parent SES and single-parenthood was found to have a greater impact on parent involvement. The importance of a multi-level approach to examining parent involvement is also discussed.
Dissertation completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Psychology degree in School Psychology at Alfred University, Alfred, NY.
Parent involvement, Elementary school