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Family and Consumer Sciences

College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources

LIFE - Children, Youth and Families at risk

Research Review

Parental Involvement in Schools: Parent and Teacher Perceptions of Roles, Efficacy, and Opportunities

Gettinger, Maribeth and Waters-Guetschow, Kristen. (1998). Parental Involvement in Schools: Parent and Teacher Perceptions of Roles, Efficacy, and Opportunities. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 32(1), 38-52.

PURPOSE: Examined perceptions of roles, efficacy, and opportunities for parental involvement in elementary, middle, and high schools.


  • Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, (1995) concluded that parent participation significantly benefits children’s learning and school performance. In addition, parent involvement and participation in children’s education contributes to their perceptions of success as parents.
  • Epstein (1992, 1995) described several activities in which parents are involved in enhancing their children’s education and found that involvement is most successful when teachers and parents collectively endorse involvement and understand each other’s preferences.


  • Participants included 558 parents and 142 teachers representing six schools in three districts of southern Wisconsin.
  • Instruments: Two questionnaires, one for parents and the other for teachers assessed background information (including educational attainment and race-ethnicity), overall level of satisfaction with the children’s education, parents current level of involvement, preferred level of involvement and perceived degree of effectiveness of parental involvement. Another part of the questionnaire reflected parental involvement in specific activities selected from the Educational Resource Information Center (including 32 reports of empirical studies and 18 advocacy articles). A third part, Barrier Scale, was designed to determine potential opportunities and possible barriers to parent involvement. Finally, individuals were asked to respond to questions at the conclusion of survey such as general comments and ideas that would facilitate parental involvement.
  • Procedure: Cronbach alpha coefficients were calculated to estimate total scale reliabilities for the Role, Efficacy and Barrier Scales. To examine the relationship among efficacy, barriers, and current level of involvement, Pearson correlations were calculated across parents and teachers answers. As for the third part of the survey, responses were transcribed verbatim and subjected to an informal analysis of content themes by having two raters independently review them, generate groupings for responses, and determine consensus on the content groupings.


  • Parents and teachers are consistent in rating ideal levels of parental involvement higher than current levels.
  • Enabling parents to be involved may require changes in how schools encourage parental involvement, including more flexibility in options for participation, a shift away from a traditional view of parental involvement that emphasizes volunteering in schools, and stronger efforts to identify and build on family resources and strengths.
  • Lack of time and work demands were cited by both parents and teachers as the most frequent challenges to parental involvement.
  • More effective communication between parents and teachers about multiple and diverse opportunities for parent involvement is needed.

Developed by Rose Foster for UW honors course, HP4152, Spring 1999

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