Parental engagement beliefs and behaviors of consistently exemplary schools



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Texas Tech University


The present mandate created by No Child Left Behind (2002) nationally as well as the direct legislative direction by the State of Texas (TEC 26) clearly calls for parent involvement in public education. The theoretical and practical rationale behind parental involvement strongly links it to improved student achievement (Eccels & Harold, 1991; Henderson & Berla; 1994, Paulsen, 1994; Linver & Silverburg, 1997). With this emphasis on parental involvement as one way to school improvement and reform, the idea of determining what schools must do to engage parents must be studied. The purpose of this research is to design a reliable and valid instrument that will measure the values and beliefs of a school and then use this tool to investigate the values, beliefs and behaviors regarding parent involvement of consistently, exemplary elementary schools in the state of Texas.

Based on the successive interval methodology described by Edwards (1957), a 97- item paired-item test was developed. The statements arc representative of different areas effective schools research (Levine & Lezotte, 1990) and parent involvement based on the Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler Model (1995). The items were written and piloted during the spring and summer 2002. using two classes (60 students) at a major university in the south. The instrument forced subjects to choose their preferential activities or beliefs in an attempt to gauge the schools collective values and beliefs. Internal Validity was assessed based on content validity ratio (Lawshe, 1975). Those items with validity were then used in the instrument. The instrument was designed based on instrument development outlined by Crocker and Algina (1986). Reliability was measured based on successive intervals and the margin of error was .05.

Based on this instrument, data were collected to describe the beliefs of exemplary schools regarding parent role and effectiveness and determine if there are similarities among schools which might indicate beliefs that are necessary to create the rank of exemplary. It also further delineated ways exemplary schools provide opportunities and invitations to parents to be involved and if those behaviors are similar across various schools. Discrepancies between belief and behavior were indicative of a lack of certain values within exemplary schools. Multiple regression, ANOVA, Pearson Product- Moment Correlation and Spearman Rho Correlation were used as they applied to each of the six hypotheses proposed in the introduction. Several associations were found. Based on those associations, conclusions were drawn about consistently exemplary schools in Texas. Further discussion included policy prescriptions for practicing teachers, administrators and pre-ser\ice training programs. Further data analysis and research was also addressed.