Closed Mouth Doesn't Get Fed: Talking About Parent Involvement
Network Leadership Institute
There is an old,
wise African proverb that states, “It takes a village to raise
a child” that is quoted often by educators. I believe it takes
three essential elements to fully educate a child – the school
fulfilling its obligations, the family fulfilling their obligations
and the child doing his/her part. Given some of the serious problems
facing education today, there is plenty of blame to go around. As
a teacher, one justification for lagging student achievement that
I hear frequently is that the parents are not involved in their children’s
education. To avoid unfairly placing blame in any situation, self-introspection
is a useful tool. In an examination of ourselves, administrators and
teachers must ask whether we are doing enough to involve parents in
our schools. The answer is, often, we are not.
I chose for my research is: what is the impact of increased parent-teacher
contact on parental involvement and student achievement? My goal was
to measure the level of involvement of the parents of my students
and to experiment with several methods of increasing my communication
with them to test whether it would spur greater involvement on their
My research is
composed of a collection of data regarding parent involvement. It
is based on surveys and notes of communication with both parents and
students in my classroom. I utilized several research methods for
communicating with parents, all aimed at increasing their involvement.
These included letters, direct contact in person or by telephone,
and electronic communication. I also performed a case study of one
student who experienced a substantial change in his family’s
involvement during the school year. My analysis of my findings focuses
on the relative success of these methods in affecting levels of parental
involvement and the reactions of parents and students to these methods.
This analysis leads to several policy recommendations for changes
in parent communication strategies to be instituted on the classroom,
school and district levels.
I teach an eighth
grade Social Studies curriculum to four classes of approximately twenty-two
students each. My school is a Grade 6-8 middle school in the Fort
Greene section of Brooklyn, NY, a largely middle class integrated
community. Our school serves children of color almost exclusively,
the majority of who are 2nd – 3rd generation immigrants. The
demographics of the school are approximately eighty-seven percent
African-American, ten percent Latino and three percent Asian, White
or other. Practically 100% of our students qualify for free lunch
under the federal ‘Title I’ program.
My school currently
has approximately 45% of our students performing at or better than
grade level (Level 3) on the New York State Reading and Mathematics
Assessment Exams, which is fairly high percentage in comparison to
other New York City area middle schools. Despite these Reading and
Mathematics scores, in recent years we have found that many of our
students’ academic performance in their core content subjects
(Math, English Language Arts, Social Studies and Science) is below
the level that would be expected based on their test scores. Specifically,
we have seen high numbers of failing students and high summer school
attendance rates. For the past 3 academic years we have had approximately
20% of our graduating Eighth-graders attend summer school. Despite
numerous and varied programs and strategies to improve academic performance,
we have been unable to achieve any significant or sustained decrease
in these numbers. (Note: for the current academic year, the percentage
of students attending summer school has decreased to approximately
At the same time,
we have one academic program that is dedicated to an accelerated curriculum
of courses, including Regents-level Math, Science and Spanish classes.
The students in this program have achieved a much higher level of
academic success on their core content classes than the rest of the
student body, while having only slightly higher results on the state
standardized exams. Parents of these children are required to sign
a contract upon admission to the program requiring them to maintain
an academic average of 80% or better for each academic marking period.
Or face removal from the program. We feel that this commitment on
the part of the parents is a key element to the success of the sub-school.
As a school community,
we have determined that in order to improve our students’ performance,
increased involvement from our parents is a necessity. Like many schools
today, we have struggled to achieve what we would consider an acceptable
level of parental participation in school affairs. We have tried several
methods to increase involvement, such as rescheduling our PTA meetings
to Saturday mornings, which have had some limited success. Our challenge
has been convincing parents that it is necessary to sustain a high
level of involvement at the middle school level. Thus, our goal over
this time period has been to increase the involvement of parents in
the school community, focusing on Parent-Teacher Association (“PTA”)
participation and teacher contact to levels generally demonstrated
in elementary schools.
Despite the significant
number and scope of reforms that instructional theory and methods
have undergone in the last 20 years, many researchers find that student
performance has not undergone a significant improvement. They theorize
that one of the contributing factors to this statistic is the fact
that students are most influenced by their experiences in the time
that they spend outside of school, mainly with their families. (Henderson,
A.T. and Berla, N., A New Generation of Evidence: The Family is
Critical to Student Achievement. Washington, D.C., National Committee
for Citizens in Education). While school support of students is a
key component of improving underachieving schools, another essential
component is cooperation and assistance from families in overseeing
the education of their children. (Sanders, Mavis and Epstein, Joyce
(1998), School-Family-Community Partnerships in Middle and High
Schools. Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed
has found that as many as 1 in 3 middle school students report that
their parents have no idea how they are performing in school. Additionally,
1 in 6 students report that they believe their parents do not care
how they perform in school (Steinberg, Laurence, 1996, Beyond
the Classroom: Why School Reform has Failed and What Parents Need
to Do. New York: Simon & Schuster). These conclusions are
supported by the fact that parental involvement is normally at its
highest levels during the elementary school years, generally decreasing
as children reach the middle school and high school years. (Sanders
and Epstein, 1998).
The large body
of research on the importance of parental involvement overwhelmingly
supports the conclusion that parents are the strongest influence on
student academic success. Increased involvement by parents leads to
higher grades and scores on standardized examinations. (Bogenschneider,
Karen and Johnson, Carol, 2004, Family Involvement in Education:
How Important Is It? What Can Legislators Do?). The involvement
may take different forms, with each having a varying level of impact
on student achievement. Basic activities, such as assistance with
homework or otherwise helping the child learn at home, strongly correlate
with improved academic performance (Henderson, A.T. and Mapp, K.L.,
2002, A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family and
Community Connections on Student Achievement. Austin, TX. National
Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools). Other research
has concluded that the parents’ physical presence at the school
for events such as PTA meetings can convey a message to students about
how seriously parents regard their academics (Steinberg, 1996).
While this involvement
has been found to be critical to students living in poverty or disadvantaged
situations, research has also concluded that the positive effects
of parental involvement stretch across varying socioeconomic backgrounds
and parents’ educational backgrounds: “Parental school
involvement had positive effects when parents had less than a high
school education or more than a college degree. What’s more,
the benefits held for Asian, Black, Hispanic and White teens in single-parent,
step-family or two-parent biological families” (Bogenschneider
and Johnson, 2004). Thus, the goal of maintaining a high level parental
involvement is important in all communities, not just urban or impoverished
communities, as many of today’s media outlets would suggest.
I utilized three
main data collection tools in my study: surveys of students and parents
regarding levels of parent involvement, notes from communication with
parents throughout the year and anecdotal evidence from students concerning
their academics throughout the year, and an experiment with an Internet
website where I posted daily homework assignments that parents could
In order to gather information regarding the past and current involvement
levels of parents, I conducted separate surveys of my eighth-grade
students and their parents during the school year. The student surveys
addressed their assessment of their parents’ involvement level
in various categories throughout elementary school and middle school.
The parent survey was designed to discover the parents’ attitudes
about education in general and their perception of their level of
Communication and Student Anecdotes
Throughout the academic year, I communicated with parents in a variety
of ways: an introductory letter at the beginning of the year outlining
the class expectations and need for parental involvement, the traditional
parent-teacher conferences, phone calls initiated by myself and parents,
and written progress reports that were distributed at the mid-point
of each marking period. I maintained informal notes on these communications
and used them to document the reactions of parents to information
about their children and reactions to questions or suggestions about
how they could take action to help them. I also questioned students
regarding their parents’ levels of involvement, their attitudes
about their grades and school in general. I recorded notes on some
of these informal conversations.
via the Internet
In response to parent concerns about their ability to regularly monitor
homework assignments, many teachers, including myself, posted our
daily assignments to an Internet webpage that could be accessed by
students and parents. I created a classroom homepage using an education
company’s website. The page was accessible through the company’s
website and also through a link contained on our school’s Internet
website. Students were given a letter to share with their parents
that contained the general information as well as classroom identification
and password. Updates and reminder notices were also distributed at
several other instances throughout the year.
My surveys of approximately 40 of my current Eighth-grade students
examined the students’ perception of their parents’ level
of involvement in their academics in elementary school compared to
their level of involvement during their middle school years. (See
Exhibit A) The measurement was based on several potential areas of
involvement, the most important of which were parental attendance
at PTA meetings and the frequency of parents checking the children’s
homework assignments. The students reported that in elementary school
47% of their parents attended PTA meetings frequently or occasionally
(minimum 2-3 meetings per year), while at the middle school level,
the percentage of parents attending meetings frequently or occasionally
decreased to 36%. Additionally, the percentage of parents who never
attended PTA meetings increased from 31% to nearly half of the parents,
Parents also checked
the students’ homework less during middle school than in elementary
school. The percentage of parents who checked homework at least once
per week dropped from 70% in elementary school down to 44% in middle
school. In particular, more than half of elementary school parents
(53%) checked homework every night, but that number decreased to 19%
during middle school. At the same time, the number of parents who
never checked their children’s homework also increased dramatically,
rising from 11% in elementary school to 39% in middle school.
Finally, the majority
of the students surveyed achieved lower grades in middle school than
in elementary school, and many described the difference as significant.
Approximately 44% of the students surveyed reported having “much
higher” grades in elementary school, 28% reported receiving
“somewhat higher” grades in elementary school and 19%
reported their grades were essentially the same. (See Exhibit B).
I conducted surveys of the parents soon after the student surveys
were completed. (See Exhibit C.) I conducted the surveys anonymously
at our first Parent-Teacher Night in early November. I chose that
venue because I wanted the opportunity to answer any questions about
the surveys because, although they were anonymous, they did ask personal
questions concerning the parents’ level of education and feelings
about education. The average turnout at the conference and the voluntary
nature of the survey resulted in less participation than expected.
However, the surveys I did receive revealed universally positive feelings
from parents about their past education and education completion levels
generally through high school. When questioned about their present
level on involvement (the choices were high, medium and low), no parent
reported anything less than a medium level of involvement. The majority
of the parents also indicated that their level of involvement had
not decreased since elementary school. While the surveys were informative
regarding the parents’ attitudes towards education, the sample
size was too small to provide any conclusive results. Were more surveys
completed by a representative sample of my student’s parents,
I believe the data may have been dramatically different in several
On the first day of school, I sent a letter home to the parents of
all my students, introducing myself and outlining the basic curriculum
requirements and my expectations. The letter also stressed the importance
of their involvement and invited them to visit the classroom at any
time. Approximately 80 of 85 students returned letters signed by their
parents. Also, in conjunction with my principal, I also drafted a
letter on school letterhead addressed to employers that requested
they partner with our school in promoting parent involvement by granting
parents one paid ½ day off to visit the school. The letter
was advertised and distributed at PTA meetings throughout the year.
To my knowledge, no parent this year utilized the letter to facilitate
an in-school visit.
school year, I participated in many parent conferences, with many
of these occurring at our school’s Parent-Teacher Night when
the topic was the child’s latest report card. The vast majority
of the other conferences took place after myself or another teacher/administrator
had specifically requested that a particular parent come to the school
regarding an academic or disciplinary issue. Additionally, we also
mailed Progress Reports home to parents in the middle of each academic
marking period, specifically targeting those students in danger of
failing. The letters included teacher comments on the specific areas
in which the child was struggling and offered several suggestions
about their level of involvement during conferences, parents generally
agreed that their children required more supervision. They revealed
several common reasons for their existing (or non-existing) level
of involvement: unfamiliarity/intimidation by the academic subject
matter, insecurity about how to provide assistance to their children,
time constraints due to commitments to jobs or younger children and
a general overestimation of their child’s responsibility level.
In order to combat
these problems, in several cases I first suggested that parents begin
monitoring their children’s homework on a regular basis. Based
on follow-up conversations with parents and students, most parents
were willing and able to increase the frequency of their homework
checking and assistance. In some cases the homework checks became
daily occurrences. For those students whose parents increased homework
monitoring, I generally found that the instances of missing or incomplete
assignments greatly decreased and class participation increased across
the board. Several students reported that they understood the material
more clearly and followed the lesson easily, which, in turn, increased
their willingness to volunteer during class discussions. The results
on classroom examinations were mixed. Most of the students improved
their performance on examinations, but only approximately ½
of the students who reported increased parent involvement demonstrated
passing grades of 80% or above on the examinations on a consistent
did not remember the course material in any detail and expressed hesitation
in their ability to assist their children with their homework. For
them, I recommended (for approximately eight parents) that they start
having weekly conversations with their children about their material
being covered in their Social Studies class. The rationale was that
the child should be capable of providing an explanation of a topic
(i.e. Causes of the Civil War) that should at least sound reasonable
to the parent based on their general knowledge of the subject. If
the explanation did not sound plausible or the child was incapable
of explaining the topic, then the parent should recognize that the
child did not fully understand the topic. The parent should then recommend
that the child re-read the related chapter in the textbook and his/her
class notes and redo the homework. According to my follow-up conversations
with students, approximately 2 of the 8 parents attempted to utilize
this method, but it was not used on a consistent or long-term basis.
While this method sounded promising, the students suggested that perhaps
this expectation of parents was somewhat unrealistic.
via the Internet
In addition to our school’s administration establishing an Internet
homepage for the school as a method to increase contact with parents,
many teachers also created their own individual classroom homepages
as an additional communication tool. The main advantage of the Internet
classroom website that I explained to parents was that it empowered
them to monitor their children’s homework assignments independently
and eliminate to issue of children being dishonest or forgetful about
their homework. After introducing the Internet homework program, I
generally received positive responses from both the students and parents
that the website was informative and helpful. The program was effective
in reducing missed homework for absent students and those who failed
to record the assignment during class.
The website allows
teachers to monitor the number of visitors to the website by requesting
each visitor to identify themselves as a student, parent or ‘other’
before granting them access to the classroom homepage. Teachers can
also monitor which sections of the homepage visitors are frequenting,
for example Announcements, Assignments, etc. For the period from September
through May, the website recorded 1,581 visits to my classroom homepage,
comprised of 1,301 students, 255 parent visits and 25 others. The
majority of the student visits were to the Assignments page, while
the parents divided their attention between the general homepage with
104 visits and the Assignments page with 97 visits.
the site as helpful, when accessed, but also reported several shortcomings.
The primary concern was that a considerable percentage of my student’s
parents do not have Internet access at home. Also, although paperwork
detailing the program was distributed to both students and parents
on several occasions, many parents reported being unaware of the availability
of the website. Other reported problems were a general unfamiliarity
with Internet usage and the students’ failure to relay important
information concerning the website. While there were more than enough
parents who did have Internet access and usage experience to render
the program a success, too many families fell through the cracks to
make the plan a cure-all for solving homework problems.
In order to evaluate the potential effects of parent involvement in
the classroom, I followed the experience of one student who actually
had his parents visit the school and sit-in on several classes. As
stated earlier, despite my best efforts, enticing parents to sit-in
on classes proved to be the most difficult aspect of the research
I conducted. This student’s experience illustrates the problems
of instituting classroom visitations, their benefits when they do
occur, and their limitations.
My key student,
Dante (a fictional name for purposes of this study), is an average
Eighth grade student, in terms of standardized test scores, personality,
attitude and behavior. Dante started the year out on shaky academic
ground, achieving an 80% average in my Social Studies class, but failing
two others: Math and Science. I did not see his family on Parent-Teacher
Night, but that was not uncommon when a student achieved a good grade
in the class. Then, according to Dante, he began to ‘relax’
in my class. He began to miss homework assignments or not complete
them to the best of his ability. Dante also began to fail tests and
quizzes, some very badly. I followed the protocol of sending a Progress
Report to his home, alerting his family that he was in danger of failing
the class. His family did not respond to the Progress Report. He failed
the class for the marking period and his parents did not attend the
second Parent-Teacher Night in the middle of February. After conferencing
with Dante about his grades and seeing no tangible improvement, I
became concerned that he may fail for a second time in early March.
I called his home and left two messages requesting a conference regarding
his grades. The ensuing conference with Dante’s father and sister
revealed that not only had Dante been dishonest in responding to his
family’s questions concerning his academics, but had actually
hidden his second marking period report card from them.
After that meeting,
Dante’s adult sister began sitting-in on several of his classes
for approximately 4 days per week for two weeks and made 1-2 surprise
appearances thereafter. She also began checking and assisting Dante
with his homework on a nightly basis. Since that time I began to see
a dramatic improvement in Dante’s performance in my class. He
went from a student who generally did not participate in classroom
discussions to being the first hand up to answer questions. He also
began expressing very forceful and well-considered opinions and spurring
class discussions, even to the point where his classmates began to
tire of the sound of his voice. He stopped missing homework and the
quality of the written work greatly improved; he even began to type
several assignments. His grades on test and quizzes began to improve,
including several grades of 80% or better.
When I interviewed
Dante about the causes of his improvement, he stated that he was participating
more in class because his understanding the material improved since
he was reading the textbook more consistently and spending more time
on his homework. He credited his sister’s help with his homework
as a significant factor in this process. Dante also felt that his
focus and participation in class helped his test scores. He achieved
an average of 75% in my class for the fourth marking period and an
overall average of approximately 70% for the year. While he was certainly
capable of achieving a higher average, this represented a major improvement
over his position when the family intervention began.
results were not as encouraging in his other classes. While, his homework
improved in both his Math and Science classes, his test scores did
not. Dante claims that he has always struggled with Math, and his
Science projects were his undoing. Both his Math and Science teachers
confirmed his assessment. Interestingly, his Science teacher noted
that Dante’s sister only visited her class once or twice and
their conversations were infrequent. Based on this fact and Dante’s
own opinion of the impact of his sister’s visits, I concluded
that Dante focused his efforts most intently on those classes and
teachers that his sister focused on and paid less attention to the
others. For example, he did not attend the extra help sessions in
Mathematics and English that were available after-school and on weekends.
this tale does not have a storybook ending. Dante’s re-invention
as a student occurred too late to overcome the hole that he dug for
himself; while he saved himself in Social Studies, Dante was forced
to attend Summer School for not achieving an overall average of 65%
or better in his Math and Science classes. Thus, Dante’s sister’s
intervention, while certainly more dramatic than most teachers would
call for, is still instructive in its benefits. The intervention did
help Dante to improve his work ethic and academic performance, but
there was still room for improvement beyond the inspiration his family
My data suggests that contrary to popular belief, urban parents do
get involved in their children’s education; but their level
of involvement decreases dramatically between the elementary school
and middle school years. This lack of involvement is directly hurting
the academic performance of middle school students, due their continuing
need for supervision and assistance with the material. Those factors,
combined with the additional distractions that middle school students
face with the onset of adolescence, have proved overwhelming for many
of them. Through the use of surveys and notes from parent communications,
three specific levels of problems with parental involvement are identified
and three strategies for overcoming these problems become apparent.
noted a variety of causes for their decreased involvement in their
children’s academics at the middle school level: unfamiliarity
with the course material, time constraints, and simply allowing their
children more independence to manage their own schoolwork. Particularly
in the areas of PTA attendance and checking student’s homework,
schools and teachers must work to keep parents participating at a
high level by demonstrating to them that children need their parent’s
involvement more than ever at the Middle School level. This will require
more planning on the school and teacher’s part to develop effective
strategies for increasing parental involvement. The PTA allows parents
to stay abreast of events and programs that may be useful to their
families and allows casual contact with teachers and school administrators.
Involvement with homework can provide children with assistance for
troubling subjects and keep them aware that parents are maintaining
high expectation levels for time commitment, quality of work produced,
and ultimately grades. Dante’s case study illustrates that a
family member’s physical presence at the school combined with
home monitoring of work can have a powerful effect on a child’s
work ethic and results.
School parents generally will increase their involvement if requested,
but their efforts are often more reactive then proactive. When I contacted
parents about crisis situations or they received a failing report
card, they were much more responsive than when I made general requests
for more involvement. In many of those cases, however, the response
came too late to salvage a passing grade for the student or to reverse
poor study habits. Parents also reported some hesitation in contacting
teachers for updates on their children without an invitation from
the teacher to do so. It is a reported fact that a sense of intimidation
of teachers by parents is still a barrier to effective communication,
particularly across differing cultures. It is imperative that teachers
convince parents that their assistance is essential at the beginning
of the school year, before bad habits manifest themselves in poor
grades. Teachers must also convince parents that dialogue between
them is welcome and will be beneficial for the students. In some cases,
letters home may not be enough; teachers and administrators must be
willing to take additional steps to initiate dialogue with parents.
The third problem
is that not all parents know how to effectively assist their children
academically. Many students are attempting to complete their homework
and studies, but require assistance, not monitoring. Several parents
reported that their unfamiliarity with the material made them hesitant
to assist their children with homework and studying. Given the fact
that the majority of parents today work full-time jobs, it is unrealistic
to expect them to review textbook material in their limited free time.
Teachers must offer assistance to parents by devising creative assignments
and study methods in order to make it easier for parents to involve
themselves in the course material. While this is not feasible to accomplish
on an everyday basis, occasional parent-oriented assignments would
be very useful in involving parents in homework in a meaningful way.
When parents feel they understand the material, they are much more
willing to spend time assisting students with homework and discussing
the material in general.
While this a small sample to parents and students, the research has
shown that parent involvement decreases between elementary and middle
school, but middle school students perform at a higher academic level
when their parents are involved in their schoolwork. Therefore, in
order to increase that involvement there must be a concerted effort
at the classroom level, the school level and the district level to
talk to parents about what level of involvement their children need
them to provide.
Classroom teachers must increase their efforts to initiate and maintain
contact and involvement from parents. Teachers must write introductory
letters to parents, maintain an open-door visitation policy, and continue
to reach out to both responsive and unresponsive parents. Reports
that include good academic news may assist in promoting more cooperative
relationships and increased dialogue between teachers and parents.
Teachers must also find methods to get parents involved in students’
homework beyond simply checking to see that it is done. One method
may be to initiate several low-maintenance joint student-parent assignments
that serve to facilitate family discussions and build parents’
confidence in their abilities to understand the material and assist
At the school level, administrators must dedicate time and resources
to promoting parental involvement. Methods such a parent orientation
sessions where expectations for involvement are clearly delineated
and explained, have been found to be helpful. Several schools have
achieved increases in participation through programs/changes designed
in response to parents’ suggestions in school questionnaires.
Schools must also
support the growth of teachers in the area of developing parent relationships.
That starts with dedicating planning time, such as professional development
sessions, to sharing previously effective methods for increasing involvement,
as well as brainstorming new and creative techniques. Teachers, especially
new teachers, cannot be left to themselves to devise effective strategies
for involvement. Additionally, schools must assist teachers in communicating
with unresponsive parents. Administrators must be willing to make
phone calls to parents and assign other support staff to assist in
those efforts. One area for improvement in that regard is increasing
the availability of translators to facilitate communication with families
that do not speak English as their primary language.
School districts must also allocate resources to conducting research
and developing effective strategies for improving parental involvement.
This may require consultations with experts in the field, training
for local superintendents and principals, and funding for new initiatives
as well as existing programs that have been effective in other jurisdictions.
School districts must also be willing to consult with local politicians,
community leaders and parents to discuss their concerns and receive
their input on potential solutions. Administrators can no longer lament
the absence of parental involvement without making tangible efforts
to include them as a valuable part of the educational experience.
The need for improvement
in our schools has been well documented over recent years and changes
have been made that appear initially to be experiencing some success.
However, all of our problems cannot be solved by legislation or by
well-intentioned and dedicated professionals working in a vacuum.
Only through discussion and cooperation between all of the various
constituencies in the community will the challenges to parental involvement
be fully understood and effective practices for change be instituted.
A.T. and Berla, N., A New Generation of Evidence: The Family is
Critical to Student Achievement. Washington, D.C., National Committee
for Citizens in Education.
2. Sanders, Mavis
and Epstein, Joyce (1998). School-Family-Community Partnerships
in Middle and High Schools. Center for Research on the Education
of Students Placed At Risk.
Laurence (1996). Beyond the Classroom: Why School Reform has Failed
and What Parents Need to Do. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Karen and Johnson, Carol (2004). Family Involvement in Education:
How Important Is It? What Can Legislators Do? Madison, W.I.,
University of Wisconsin Center for Excellence in Family Studies.
A.T. and Mapp, K.L. (2002). A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact
of School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement. Austin, TX. National Center for Family and Community Connections with
The purpose of
this survey is to measure levels of parent involvement in elementary
school and middle school. Please choose the answer that is the closest
to your opinion.
_______ 1. How
often did your parent attend PTA meetings when you were in elementary
b. Occasionally (2-3 per year)
c. Once or twice
_______ 2. How
often did your parent speak your teachers in elementary school?
a. Very often
b. Parent-teacher nights
c. When teachers called
d. Not at all
_______ 3. How
often did your parents check your homework per month in elementary
b. Once per week
c. Every 2 weeks
_______ 4. How
often did your parents help you with your homework per month in elementary
b. Once per week
c. Every 2 weeks
_______ 5. Did
your parent ever sit-in on any of your classes in elementary school?
a. Yes b.
_______ 6. How
were your grades in elementary school compared to junior high school?
a. The same
b. Much higher
c. A bit higher
d. A bit lower
e. Much lower
_______ 7. How
much do you believe your parent’s involvement affected your
grades in elementary school?
b. Minor effect
c. No effect
_______ 8. How
often does your parent attend PTA meetings in middle school?
b. Occasionally (2-3 per year)
c. Once or twice
_______ 9. How
often does your parent speak your teachers in middle school?
a. Very often
b. Parent-teacher nights
c. When teachers call
d. Not at all
_______ 10. How
often does your parents check your homework per month in middle school?
b. Once per week
c. Every 2 weeks
_______ 11. How
often do your parents help you with your homework per month in middle
b. Once per week
c. Every 2 weeks
_______ 12. How
aware are your parents of the topics you are covering in your major
classes (ex. Civil War in social studies class)?
a. Very aware
b. They know about 1-2 classes
c. They ask me occasionally
d. Not aware
This survey is
part of a research study being conducted on Parents, Children and
their Schools. The purpose of the survey is to examine parents’
perspectives on schools and their children’s educational experiences.
The children have already completed a survey with similar questions.
Please answer as completely and accurately as possible. The survey
is anonymous, so please do not write
your name on it. Thanks for your cooperation.
1. What are your
feelings about your own educational experience?
2. What is highest
academic grade completed in your household?
3. What methods do you use to monitor your child’s academic
progress in school?
4. How would you
describe your child’s attitude towards school and education?
5. How would you
describe your level of involvement in your child’s school (ex.
homework, test preparation, teacher contact, PTA, etc.) – High,
Medium or Low. Has it always been at this level?