Research Proposal: Parental Involvement

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Parental Involvement

Does lack of parental involvement affect 6th graders at ABC Middle School in discipline and academics?

Faced with poor test scores, community dissatisfaction, a lack of student enthusiasm and almost nonexistent parent participation, ABC Middle School must find answers and find them fast. Research demonstrates that parental involvement is a key component to the success of middle school aged children. This action research project will examine the affect of parental involvement on 6th Graders at ABC Middle School. It will examine the impact of a program designed to encourage positive parental involvement in their children's education.

Currently, the Texas Education Agency is responsible to the community for providing excellent education for the betterment of the future of Texas. Parental involvement is an essential part of this equation. This research will explore the affect of a lack of parental involvement on middle school students at ABC middle school, in Arlington, Texas. It will examine the problems associated with a lack of parental involvement and will examine the impact of a program designed to increase parental involvement at ABC middle school.

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the problem of a lack of parental involvement and to propose a solution to the problem at ABC Middle School. It will then test the impact of the program and its impact on the student body.

Description of Community

ABC Middle School is located in Arlington, Texas. It is a largely Caucasian population, with about 13% African-American and a small portion of Native American, Asian, and Pacific Islanders (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009). Median household income is around $50,000 with approximately 10% of the families below the national poverty level (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009).

Description of Work Setting

ABC Middle School is a part of the Arlington Independent School District and largely a middle class neighborhood. Interestingly enough, the racial make-up of the school district does not match that of the Census Bureau poll of the city. The student population is divided almost in thirds between Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic Students. The work setting will take place in ABC middle school.

Writer's Role

The writer's role in this study will be to oversee collection of data, administration of the research condition, and analysis of data. The writer will present the information in manner that reflects the true nature of the research study and environment. The writer will interpret the results and make recommendations based upon the findings.

Chapter II: Study of the Problem

Problem Description

The problem of improving parental involvement is a key problem in middle schools throughout the school district. Until this time, the focus of improvement programs has been on the school environment. However, previous research demonstrates the importance of finding ways to improve parental involvement in the academic setting.

Problem Documentation

Documentation that this problem exists stems from previous research, some dating as far back as the mid-1900s that indicates an intimate connection between parental involvement and improved academic outcome.

Literature Review

Literature regarding the intimate connection between parental involvement and academic success first began to appear in the mid 1990s. Research that is more recent highlights the importance of parental involvement in a number of specific areas. The following highlights current academic research into the importance of parental attitudes and involvement on academic success. It also examines the affect of parental influence on attitudes and behavioral issues in school.

Middle school is a difficult time and students are more prone to emotional disturbances at this time than at any other time during their school career. Parents, Principals and teachers must take a proactive approach to preventing these problems before they become problematic (Lane Parks, & Kalberg, 2007). Parents have a significant impact on the decisions of students that extends beyond the school years. For instance, parents who attended college were more likely to have children that attended college as well (Van Bul, 2005). A lack of family support was found to be a factor in middle school children carrying guns to school (Malecki & Demaray, 2003).

Parental attitudes and home life are one of the most influential aspects of middle school behavior. Parental attitudes were found to have an impact on student attitudes and practices regarding saving and investing (Suiter & Meszaros, 2005). Parental attitudes also had a significant impact on middle school student's attitudes towards gender and sexuality (Byers, Sears, & Voyer, 2003). Students are more likely to succeed in school when parents use positive communication and partner with school (Wright & Willis, 2003).

However, parents can also have a negative impact on their student's behavior in middle school. When middle schoolers witnessed violence from one parent to another at home, they were more likely to act aggressively at school (O'donnell, Steuve, & Myint-U, 2006). Parental support or lack of it had a significant impact on the affects of bullying on the middle schooler (Demaray & Malecki, 2003). This applied to cyberbullying as well (Stomfay-Stiltz & Wheeler, 2007).

Successful Programs

Family-centered interventions are the most effective at resolving problem behavior and promoting improved academic results (Stormshak, Dishion, & Light, 2005). Several examples of programs that represent collaborative efforts between parents and the schools exist. These examples serve as inspiration and models for the development of programs in other communities. Examining these programs provides potential interventions that could be used in this research study. By examining successes and pitfalls of these programs, one can learn from their example, leading to a more successful program right from the beginning.

Relying on Howard Gardner's theory of different intelligences, teachers used a collaborative effort to develop a program that used the arts as the basis for the development of other course work. This plan relied on heavy parental involvement on all levels (Bolak, Blalach, & Dunphy, 2005). This program was a success, largely due to the amount of parental involvement that it entailed.

Another program used take home literacy bags to make them aware of the requirements of their child's grade level. It was suspected that parents were not aware of the strains being placed on their child (Grande, 2004). The Science -- Technology -- Society (STS) instructional approach uses processes, rather than text-books to teach science. Parents of students taught with the STS approach reported that these students also applied the concepts learned outside of the classroom. Parents play a major role in the STS approach by supporting additional student learning activities (Yager, R. & Lim, G., 2006).

Causative Analysis

The literature review supports the connection between parental involvement and positive academic outcomes. It also supports the impact of parental attitudes on behavioral issues and student attitudes. Literature demonstrates that parental attitudes can have a positive, negative, or neutral attitude on student outcomes. Programs designed to increase parental involvement have a positive impact on academic outcomes. Positive parental involvement has s direct causal affect on student outcomes.

Chapter III: Outcomes and Analysis

Goals

The goal of this research is to explore the level of parental involvement at ABC middle school. It will explore the potential of an initiative to increase parental involvement on student outcome at ABC Middle School.

Expected Outcomes

It is expected that the chosen initiative will have a positive influence on student outcomes at ABC Middle School. This outcome will include academic, behavioral, and attitudinal outcomes towards school.

Measurement of Outcomes

School and behavioral outcomes will be measured by examining school records of students, both before and after application of the initiative. Attitudinal outcomes will be measured with a survey given to the student. The study will use a pretest/posttest format.

The sample of students will be randomly chosen from the school records through a lottery-type system. A random sampling technique will be used to select the participants. Once the target population has been identified, students will be divided into two groups. The first will be the control group and the other will be the test group. The control group will receive no treatment. The second group will receive the treatment. Academic, behavioral, and attitudinal outcomes will be measured for the remainder of the school year for both groups.

Treatment will consist of a seminar conducted two nights a week for two months by ABC Middle School Teaching staff. The parents will be instructed on the importance of creating a proper home environment for study. They will be given positive parenting techniques, as well as suggestions for maintaining a higher level of involvement in their child's academic work. At the end of the program, parents will have a better understanding of what it takes to be a supportive parent in terms of their child's academic participation.

Analysis of Results

Results will be analyzed using quantitative analytic techniques. For the academic variable, test scores and overall Grade Point Average will be used as the data point in the analysis. For behavioral outcomes, school records will be used. The survey will be used to measure differences in attitude. Descriptive, as well as comparative statistical techniques will be used to present the data.

Chapter IV: Solution Strategy

Problem… [END OF PREVIEW]

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