Middle class fathers' involvement in their child's education
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Parent involvement in education (PI) is widely documented to benefit children’s educational outcomes. PI is a multidimensional construct that takes many different forms. This study considered three dimensions of PI: Home-Based Involvement, School-Based Involvement, and Home-School Communication. Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler have created a theoretical model that seeks to explain what motivates parents to engage in PI and the mechanisms by which PI benefits children’s educational outcomes. However, research studies that have used Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler’s model used samples that consisted primarily of mothers with fathers typically representing less than 10% of the sample. Father involvement in education has been shown to benefit children’s educational outcomes over and above the involvement of mothers. However, there is little known about the PI practices in which fathers engage, or what motivates fathers to engage in PI. Using Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler’s model, this study aimed to investigate fathers’ PI practices, as well as the variables that motivate fathers to engage in PI. An online survey was conducted and 185 fathers completed the survey in full. Results of the survey suggest that fathers engaged most often in Home-Based Involvement, less in Home-School Communication, and least often in School-Based Involvement practices. Fathers’ belief that it is their role to engage in PI (role construction) and requests from the child to engage in PI consistently explained all three types of PI. Other variables that significantly explained Home-Based Involvement included the father’s biological relationship with the child, and whether the father lived with the child’s mother. School-Based Involvement was significantly explained by father’s perceptions of available time and energy and their biological relationship to the child. The ultimate purpose of this study was to provide educators with information they can use to successfully increase fathers’ PI practices for students at their schools.