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Parental role construction for involvement: Issues in instrument development Kathleen V. Hoover-Dempsey, Andrew S. Wilkins, Kathleen J. O’Connor & Howard.

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Presentation on theme: "Parental role construction for involvement: Issues in instrument development Kathleen V. Hoover-Dempsey, Andrew S. Wilkins, Kathleen J. O’Connor & Howard."— Presentation transcript:

1 Parental role construction for involvement: Issues in instrument development Kathleen V. Hoover-Dempsey, Andrew S. Wilkins, Kathleen J. O’Connor & Howard M. Sandler Vanderbilt University

2 Acknowledgements Many thanks to: the Family-School Partnership Lab; participating families, schools and teachers; OERI/IES (grant #R305TO ).

3 Background Positive links between parental involvement and student achievement (Epstein, 1992; Henderson & Mapp, 2002). Little research on why parents become involved or how their involvement makes a difference. Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler’s model of the parental involvement (1995, 1997) looks at the question: why do parents’ become involved? Model suggests parental role construction is one important contributor.

4 Levels 1 and 2 of the Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler Model Level 1 Decision to get involved, influenced by: Parent’s role construction Parent’s sense of efficacy for helping the child General school invitations for involvement Choice of involvement forms, influenced by: Parent’s skills & knowledge Other demands on parent’s time and energy Specific invitations from the child and school Home-Based and/or School-Based Involvement Level 2 Level 1 Decision to get involved, influenced by: Parent’s role construction Parent’s sense of efficacy for helping the child General school invitations for involvement Home-Based and/or School-Based Involvement Choice of involvement forms, influenced by: Parent’s skills & knowledge Other demands on parent’s time and energy Specific invitations from the child and school

5 Role Construction Role is essential to productive group functioning (Babad et al., 1983; Biddle, 1979). Roles include: – –Group and individual expectations for behaviors of group members. – –Individuals’ beliefs, values and expectations for personal behaviors related to group functioning. – –Patterns of behavior characteristic of group members (Biddle, 1979, Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Eagley et al., 1995, Maccoby, 1980).

6 Role Construction (cont’d) Parents’ ideas about their roles in children’s education are: – –developed through experience as members of groups relevant to children’s education, and – –are influenced by personal ideas and interactions with other parents and the school. Role construction: – –includes parents’ ideas about what they are supposed to do in children’s education. – –defines the range of activities that parents construe as important, necessary and permissible for their involvement in students’ schooling.

7 Initial Qualitative Work Developed coding scheme for discerning role construction in parent interview data. Study of 74 parents of public school (K-6) students (Hoover-Dempsey & Jones, 1997). Individual interviews, transcribed, coded (9000+ statements; inter-rater agreement across categories =.83). These interviews supported presence of 3 major components of role: Beliefs/values, day- to-day role, and common-crisis role.

8 Parent believes child is passive recipient of knowledge and teaching, e.g., – –Parent focuses on child fitting academic (i.e., acceptable grades) and behavioral (i.e., good behavior) norms. Parent believes child’s uniqueness should be nurtured, e.g., – –Parent and school should focus on self-esteem, confidence, etc.. – –Child’s opinion matters. Role Construction: Beliefs/Values

9 Parent-focused: e.g., I quiz her on whatever it is that she is supposed to be knowing. School-focused: e.g., If the teacher isn’t noticing anything that she needs to inform me of, I would not feel slighted not to hear from her. Partnership-focused: e.g., They told me little things that I could do as far as helping him with math. Role Construction: Day-to-Day Role

10 Development of an Objective Measure Drawing on coded interviews, we developed a 72 item-scale assessing parents’ parent-, school- and partnership- focused role beliefs and behaviors. Original items trimmed to 25 and piloted with parents of 50 elementary students. – –Parent-focused (9 items): α =.88 – –School-focused (7 items): α =.70 – –Partnership-focused (9 items): α =.83

11 A sample of 887 parents of public school children in grades 1-6 using 21 item scale yielded the following reliabilities: – –Parent-focused (8 items; e.g., It's my job to explain tough assignments to my child): α =.63. – –School-focused (8 items; e.g., My child's learning is mainly up to the teacher and my child): α =.55. – –Partnership-focused (7 items; e.g., I find it helpful to talk with the teacher ): α =.82. Development of an Objective Measure (cont’d)

12 Emerging Conceptual and Methodological Issues Low reliabilities for the school-focused role scale: the underlying problem of measuring passivity. Categorical approach to understanding role construction: limitations in understanding role’s dynamic function. Theoretical and logical problems in construing role as beliefs and characteristic behaviors when predicting involvement activities.

13 Emerging Solutions Factor analyses and ongoing conceptual discussions suggested two factors underlying role beliefs: active (parent and partnership) v. passive (school). remained difficult. Developing objective items to measure passivity remained difficult. Moved toward developing a ‘role activity beliefs’ scale (continuous: more active to less active) to assess beliefs component of role construction. Moved toward developing a ‘role activity beliefs’ scale (continuous: more active to less active) to assess beliefs component of role construction.

14 Emerging Solutions How to replace the ‘characteristic behaviors’ component of role construction? – –Brief experiment substituting hypothetical behaviors for characteristic behaviors failed. – –Returned to an idea consistently present in interviews: predisposition, based on experience, about involvement in child’s schooling. ‘Valence’: parents’ predisposition to approach or avoid school and school-related behaviors.

15 Role Construction: Role Activity Beliefs + Valence Two continuous measures: – –Role Activity Beliefs (10 items; e.g., It is my responsibility to communicate with my child’s teacher). – –Valence Toward School (6 items; e.g., My School: Disliked (1) - Liked (6)). Treating each component as continuous allows for: – –A general measure of role construction (may be used to assess dynamic change). – –Categorization (used to assess current status).

16 Role Construction Categories Role Beliefs Active Passive Valence AwayTowards Parent-Focused School-FocusedDisengaged Partnership- Focused

17 Initial Test 358 parents of public school students in grades 4-6. Role Activity Beliefs: α =.83 Valence Toward School: α =.90 Valence and Role Beliefs scales correlated r =.246 (p <.00): related by not synonymous.

18 Correlations with Involvement Home-based Involvement School-based Involvement Role Activity Beliefs.24**.35** Valence Toward School.11*

19 Test for categorization (n=358) Role Beliefs Active Passive Valence AwayTowards Parent-Focused School-FocusedDisengaged Partnership- Focused

20 Observations and Next Steps Construct Development: ongoing process that interacts with measure development, e.g., integrity of construct with regards to: Construct Development: ongoing process that interacts with measure development, e.g., integrity of construct with regards to: –What’s possible with the measurement form selected. –Purposes of particular study. –Pragmatic issues related to schools. Role construction as composed of activity beliefs and valence is promising: Role construction as composed of activity beliefs and valence is promising: –Role as continuous variable, subject to change. –Role as a categorical variable, pertinent to intervention. Interactions of qualitative and quantitative methods; observational and experimental designs. Interactions of qualitative and quantitative methods; observational and experimental designs.

21 Implications for Schools Role are socially constructed: Role are socially constructed: –Parents’ ideas about appropriate and possible roles are influenced strongly by schools. Work points to the importance of factors enhancing active, partnership-focused role construction ( e.g., Balli et al., 1998; Epstein, 1986; Griffith, 1996; Sheldon, 2002; Shumow, 1998 ): Work points to the importance of factors enhancing active, partnership-focused role construction ( e.g., Balli et al., 1998; Epstein, 1986; Griffith, 1996; Sheldon, 2002; Shumow, 1998 ): –Welcoming school environment. –Specific invitations and suggestions from teachers. –Invitations to involvement from students.

22 Parental role construction for involvement: Issues in instrument development Kathleen V. Hoover-Dempsey, Andrew S. Wilkins, Kathleen J. O’Connor & Howard M. Sandler Vanderbilt University

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24 Observations Construct development is an ongoing process that interacts consistently with measure development. Further development and understanding of parents’ role construction contributes to understanding of parents’ motivations for involvement. Role construction is socially constructed: schools contribute to parents’ motivations for involvement.

25 Next steps Further development and understanding of valence toward school as a substitute for characteristic behavior when role construction is used to predict involvement behaviors. Return to more qualitative work for deeper understanding of role activity beliefs and valence toward school. Most parents clustered in the partnership category. – –Parents who participated are more involved? – –Need a more representative sample to better assess the usefulness of categorization.

26 Parent responsibility: “I told her that if Ms. X persisted, that I would just become an irate parent—and I would.” School responsibility: “She (the teacher) said that she would find out what was going on and that she would put a stop to it.” Joint responsibility: She (the child) didn’t want to go to school, and so I requested a conference and we just tried to get to the bottom of it.” Initial Qualitative Work: Common Crisis

27 Correlations of the new role


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