Parent perceptions of invitations for involvement : effects on parent involvement at home and school

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Cox, Diane Denise

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Research has demonstrated much evidence for the positive effect of parent involvement on academic achievement in children (Jeynes, 2003, 2007; Hoover-Dempsey, Walker, Sandler, Whetsel, Green, Wilkins, & Closson, 2005; Fan & Chen, 2001; Griffith, 1996). As children from low income and ethnic minority families are at the greatest risk for academic failure, it is important to study the processes that lead parents to become involved within at-risk populations. A comprehensive model such as the one proposed by Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler (1995, 1997) provides a map of important constructs to study. Research using this model appears promising as a way to conceptualize the processes that lead to parent involvement (Walker, Wilkins, Dallaire, Sandler, & Hoover-Dempsey, 2005). However, there are few studies that have tested this model with minority populations, and none that have focused on a primarily Latino population. Parent involvement research indicates inconsistent findings regarding the role of family background variables in the process of parent involvement (Ho & Willms, 1996; Griffith, 1998). The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of parent perceived invitations for involvement on parent involvement behavior with a primarily low-income, urban, Latino population. Two levels of the Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler model were tested: parent perceived invitations for involvement (child invitations, school invitations, and teacher invitations) and parent involvement behavior (home-based and school-based). Child invitations and teacher invitations were both found to be important types of invitation for total parent involvement (home-based and school-based combined). Home language, employment status, and parent education level moderated the effect of child invitations on total parent involvement. When parent involvement was differentiated into home-based and school-based involvement as separate dependent variables, child invitations had a significant effect on both types of involvement. Home language, employment status, and parent education level moderated the effect of child invitations on home-based parent involvement. For this population, child invitations for involvement appear to be the most important means to invite parent participation. Future research should continue to investigate the utility of Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler’s model of parent involvement with specific ethnic groups, and consider family background variables due to their potentially moderating role.



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