A study of parental involvement and school climate: Perspective from the middle school
Dixon, Shantina Rayford
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This study examines school level differences on different dimensions of teacherrated parent involvement and school climate while adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity, how certified, and number of years teaching. Two hundred twenty-four elementary teachers from existing data and 178 teachers at the middle school level provided information on their perceptions of parent involvement and school climate. Elementary school teachers were recruited from districts located in Texas and California. Middle school teachers were recruited from suburban school districts located in Southeast and Southwest Texas. Teachers rated questions on the parent involvement and school climate surveys as either: strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree. The nine research hypotheses generated for this study were partially supported by the data. As predicted, there was a difference between elementary and middle schools on how they perceive school climate. The data also supported the hypothesis that both Title I and non-Title I middle schools would find parent centers important for getting parents involved. Experience and school level also predicted how teachers perceived school climate. However, contrary to prediction, there were no significant differences between elementary and middle school teachers on how they perceived parent involvement. There also were no significant differences between elementary and middle school on the parent involvement scale when age, ethnicity, gender, school level, experience, and how certified were used as moderating variables. The same can be said for school climate when age, gender, ethnicity, and how certified were used as moderating variables. Several questions were analyzed separately between Title I and non-Title I middle schools and there were no differences for Title I status. Overall, current results indicated similarities between elementary and middle teachers. Similarities also existed between Title I and non-Title I middle school teachers. Explanations, implications for practice, and future research are discussed.