www.ijres.netParents’ Perceptions of Their Involvementin Schooling*Mehmet Akif Erdener1, Robert C. Knoeppel21Balıkesir University2Clemson UniversityISSN: 2148-9955To cite this article:Erdener, M.A., & Knoeppel, R.C. (2018). Parents’ perceptions of their involvement inschooling. International Journal of Research in Education and Science (IJRES), 4(1), 1-13.DOI:10.21890/ijres.369197This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.Authors alone are responsible for the contents of their articles. The journal owns thecopyright of the articles.The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims, proceedings, demand, orcosts or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly inconnection with or arising out of the use of the research material.
International Journal of Research in Education and ScienceVolume 4, Issue 1, Winter 2018DOI:10.21890/ijres.369197Parents’ Perceptions of Their Involvement in SchoolingMehmet Akif Erdener, Robert C. KnoeppelArticle InfoAbstractArticle HistoryParent involvement has an influence on children’s educational engagementduring the elementary years. The objective of this study was to examine theperceptions of rural Turkish parents about their involvement in schooling withelementary school students based on Epstein’s (1995) six types of parentalinvolvement (parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home,decision-making, and collaborating with the community). This study alsoinvestigated the differences among parent demographic characteristics(education level, income, marital status, and age) and parent involvement at theelementary grade level in rural areas of Turkey. 742 parents of elementaryschools in three rural settings in the city of Konya, Turkey completedquestionnaires and assessments. A quantitative analyze method is used toanalyze verified data. Findings indicated that family income had a statisticallysignificant impact on combined factors of parent involvement. Education levelby Age interaction, Income by Age interaction, and Education level by Incomeby Age interaction had a statistically significant impact on combined factors ofparent involvement. No significant differences were found in parent involvementamong parents who are from different education levels, marital status, and agegroups in Turkey. This study showed that family income is the most significantfactor on parental involvement in schooling for Turkish parents in all regions.Received:5 November 2017Accepted:20 December 2017KeywordsParent involvementFamily studiesSchoolingFamily incomeParent education levelIntroductionIn the last two decades, educational researchers have been interested in the positive effects parental involvementcan have on students’ academic achievements and successes. Parent involvement increases students’ academicachievement and self-esteem (Erdoğan & Demirkasımoğlu, 2010; Desimone, 1999) while decreasingabsenteeism and behavioral problems (Epstein & Sheldon, 2002a; Epstein & Sheldon, 2002b; Michael, Dittus,& Epstein, 2007; Sezer & İşgör, 2010; Sezer, 2016). Epstein (2005b) emphasized “parental involvement as anessential component of school improvement, linked to the curriculum, instruction, assessments, and otheraspects of school management” (p. 179).Parent involvement is defined as requires asking about their children’s homework, contacting a teacher, andalso, watching every single move a student makes (Knisely, 2011). In addition, parent involvement includesparent-student communication, family rules with consequences, parental support of academics, parent-schoolcommunication initiated at a school level versus the teacher level as well as parents checking on homework(Knisely, 2011). The level of parental involvement in education is a significant concern among educators,because there is a strong relationship established between parental involvement and student success (Knisely,2011). So, countless research studies have shown a consistent relationship between parental involvement overalland academic achievement (Jeynes, 2005a).Furthermore, parental involvement is an important ingredient for the remedy for many problems in educationand it has positive influences on students’ academic achievements (Fan & Chen, 2001). On the other hand, Fanand Chen (2001) said that parental supervision had a weak relationship with students’ academic achievement;though parental aspiration or expectation for children’s educational achievement had a considerably strongerrelationship with students’ academic achievement. Additionally, Coleman and McNeese (2009) claimed that“the relationships between parental involvement and student motivation and parental involvement and academicachievement both showed a negative correlation, which was unexpected” (p. 468).On the contrary, parental involvement is an important factor in promoting the successful transition of youth withdisabilities (Geenen & Powers, 2001), and influences not only student’s motivation but also teacher’s
2Erdener & Knoeppelwillingness to increase their performance (Jeynes, 2005a). Parent involvement is an efficient social investmentwith a payoff far greater than its costs and it provides students equity and equal opportunity in education(Currie, 1997; Desimone, 1999). Moreover, parent involvement promotes a strong belief about children’s wellbeing (Desimone, 1999; Heclo, 1997; Sezer, 2013). Michael et al. (2007) explained that family, school, and thecommunity partnerships increase resources for student learning, strengthen families, and sustain healthiercommunities.Education policies support parent involvement, and the partnerships of home, school, and the community. TheTurkish Ministry of Education was supporting the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNICEF) started aproject that is called “Haydi Kızlar Okula.” The purpose of the project was to provide girls, between the ages of6 and 14 years, who did not go to school, had chronic absenteeism, and high drop-out rates, the opportunity togo school with the goal closing the gender gap (Haydi Kızlar Okula, 2009; Tezci, 2005). The second purpose ofthe campaign was to inform parents about the importance of education, and to provide them the opportunity tobe involved in the education process. To achieve this goal, teams were created by the Ministry of Education thatvisited families door to door. The campaign was started in 2003 and in four years, it successfully enrolled222,800 of the 273,447 girls in elementary and middle schools among who were not previously enrolled in anyschool (The Ministry of Education, 2011). The project required collaboration among parents, schools, and thecommunity including local governors, religious leaders, journalists, and intellectuals.Families influence their children’s educational engagement, and occupational aspirations (Rosenberg & Lopez,2010), and they are their children’s first teachers (Erdoğan & Demirkasımoğlu, 2010). Epstein (2001) explainedthat children learn from their families, teachers, peers, relatives, part-time employers, and other adults in thecommunity, so bridges among home, school, and community are certainly important. Additionally, family andcommunity involvement in schools might increase the academic achievement of students, ensure better schoolattendance, and improve school programs and quality (Michael et al., 2007). Research by Epstein (2001)stressed the following points: 1) families care about their children’s success; nevertheless, most parents needmore information from schools to be productively involved in their children’s education; 2) students learn morethan academic skills at home, at school, and in the community; 3) peers, families, and the organization ofactivities in schools and classrooms positively or negatively influence students; and 4) community-basedprograms supporting school and families might effectively increase students’ chances of success. Additionally,Epstein (2005a) suggested that educators, parents, and community partners might work collaboratively to designand conduct activities, so these activities improve student achievement, promote school goals for studentattendance and behavior, and create a positive climate of partnership. She also described how these activitiesmight be designed by teams including the principal, teachers, school council and parents who are accountablefor their plans and work. Such activities are also influential in the acquisition of self-regulatory learning skillsthat also contribute to the lifelong learning of students (Aktan & Tezci, 2013).Epstein conducted research over several decades using a model of parent involvement that she based onBronfenbrenner’s (1977) social ecological model (Epstein, 1985; 1987). She categorized parent involvementinto six major types: (1) parenting, (2) communicating, (3) volunteering, (4) learning at home, (5) decisionmaking, and (6) collaborating with the community. These types are parenting involvement are defined below.Parenting activities demonstrate how schools increase the understanding of families about student needs andinterests, as well as assist families to meet their parenting responsibilities at each grade level to influence childgrowth and development (Epstein et al., 2009).Communicating activities increase two way communications from home to school and from school to home inorder to develop understanding and cooperation between school and home. It is important for school personnelto establish clear communication with families who speak languages other than English at home (Epstein et al.,2009).Volunteering activities encourage parents and community members to share their time and talents to helpschools, teachers, and students. These parents and community members might assist schools in the library,computer room, playground, and cafeteria for after school activities, celebrations, sport activities and otherevents (Epstein et al., 2009).Learning at home activities guide parents to help their children with homework; to increase reading skills; toselect courses and school programs; to plan postsecondary education, and to benefit from other learningopportunities (Epstein et al., 2009).
Int J Res Educ Sci3Decision Making activities encourage parents to become involved in the decision making process about schoolprograms, activities, and their children’s future academic plan. It informs all parents about school policies andprovides opportunities for parents to support their school and students (Epstein et al., 2009).Collaborating with the community activities help to increase the cooperation among schools, families,organizations, community groups, and agencies. Community resources include human, economic, material, andsocial resources. Such resources assist schools to improve student success and create a safe learningenvironment (Epstein et al., 2009).In the light of this model, Epstein (Epstein, 2005a; Epstein et al., 2002; Epstein et al., 2009) gaverecommendations about how schools should work with families and communities. Schools need to establishaction teams that focus on reading, writing, math, behavior, a positive school climate and other schoolimprovement goals. Each action team has a one year action plan (Epstein, 2005a), and these plans mustemphasize all six types of family and community involvement to create productive involvement at school, athome, and in the community (Epstein et al., 2002). Also, Epstein’s (2005a) study showed that the action teamsfor school improvement developed curriculum content and instructional approaches in classrooms as well asincreased the number of families and community partners from diverse cultural groups who were involved intheir students’ education. Epstein and Sanders (1998) studied home-school and community partnershiporganizations to ensure all students have equal opportunities and to make families aware of children’sdevelopment and the schooling process.Moreover, Epstein (2005a) explained that home-school and community partnership programs help teachers andfamilies focus on helping students learn positive character traits such as honesty, listening, respecting others,and being a friend. Well-designed programs build bridges among home, school, and the community and createa sustained school culture and positive school climate to increase students’ achievement (Epstein, 2001; Tezci,2011). Also important are home, school, and community advocacy efforts that encourage school healthprograms in states, districts, schools, and classrooms nationwide (Michael et al., 2007).Parents’ demographic characteristics (e.g., parents’ education level, socioeconomic status, and marital status)have been found significantly related to parent involvement in education. Parents with post-secondaryeducation have a positive effect on children’s interest in literacy activities (Baroody & Dobbs-Oates, 2009). Inaddition, these parents encourage their young children’s self-concept development (Ayhan, 2008). There is acorrelation between parent’s education level and student academic achievement (Hortacsu, 1995) and studentswith educated parents have less behavioral problems in the school (Hill et al., 2004). In addition, Cooper (2010)noted that families’ socio-economic status during kindergarten may have an impact on their children’s transitionthrough the early years of schooling. Poverty negatively affects parent involvement because, these families lackthe time, and money (Erdoğan & Demirkasımoğlu, 2010), which means that they may not provide cognitivelystimulating materials for their children (Cooper, Crosnoe, Suizzo & Pituch, 2010).Additionally, Epstein and Sanders (1998) reported that parents of elementary students are more involved thanparents of children in secondary schools; mothers are more involved than fathers; and more educated parents aremore involved than less educated parents. In addition, marital status is influential on student achievement(Jeynes, 2005b), and intact families have a positive impact on their children’s academic achievement (Cooper,2010). Epstein and Sanders (1998) said researchers in many nations are working to understand the relationshipbetween school, home and community by using many different research methods to build knowledge in theirfield. While parent education level and parent income affect parental involvement, one of the important factorsis to increase parental involvement is teachers’ willingness and smiling faces during meetings with parents(Erdener, 2014). Parents everywhere care about their children and want them to be successful (Epstein &Sanders, 1998, p. 392). Snyder et al. (2009) said that all teachers and staff in the school, parents and thecommunity developed to specifically target the positive development of student behavior and character. So, theinteraction of family, teacher and the community assists students to gain not only the knowledge, attitudes,norms, and skills but also improves values, self-concept, family bonding, communication, and appreciation ofschool.Statement of the ProblemFamilies support children’s learning and growth from cradle to career, so they impact child development acrossall grades (Rosenberg & Lopez, 2010). Parents’ demographics (e.g., parents’ education level, socioeconomicstatus, and marital status) may be influential on parent involvement. There is a relationship between parents’
4Erdener & Knoeppeldemographic characteristics and parent involvement (Baroody & Dobbs-Oates, 2009; Cooper, 2010; Cooper etal., 2010; Crosnoe, 2001; Englund et al., 2004; Epstein & Sanders, 2002; Erdoğan & Demirkasımoğlu, 2010;Hill et al., 2004; Hortacsu, 1995; Suizzo & Soon, 2006). Many studies have investigated the relationshipbetween parental involvement and student achievement or success, and parent’s demographics and parentalinvolvement. Epstein and her colleagues have studied the effects of parent involvement which they categorizedinto six major types: (1) parenting, (2) communicating, (3) volunteering, (4) learning at home, (5) decisionmaking, and (6) collaborating with the community on student academic achievement and behaviors.In contrast, investigations into the relationship between parent’s demographic characteristics and parentinvolvement in Turkey are minimal. The extant knowledge about cultural influences on parents’ perceptions oftheir involvement in schooling is limited. Therefore, this study analyzed Turkish parents’ perceptions of theirinvolvement in schooling at elementary schools in Turkey. The research also analyzed the differences betweenTurkish parent’s demographic characteristics (e.g., parents’ education level, socioeconomic status, and maritalstatus) and Epstein’s six types of parental involvement.Purpose of the StudyStudies have shown that parent involvement in schooling positively affect students’ academic achievement(Epstein, 2001; Erdoğan & Demirkasımoğlu, 2010). Determining the effective level of parent involvement maybe associated with parents’ demographics. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate Turkishparents’ perceptions of their involvement in schooling at elementary grades in rural areas of Turkey. Thesecond purpose of this study was to explore the cultural influences on Turkish parents with their involvement inschooling. Thirdly, this study examined the differences among parent demographic characteristics (educationlevel, income, marital status, and age) and parent involvement at the elementary grade level in rural areas ofTurkey. The assessment of parent involvement was developed by Epstein using her model of parentinvolvement as six types: (1) parenting, (2) communicating, (3) volunteering, (4) learning at home, (5) decisionmaking, and (6) collaborating with the community. Finally, this study explored the potential differences amongEpstein’s six aspects of parent involvement and rural parenting practices in Turkey. Understanding parents’perceptions about parent involvement may help educators understand the weaknesses and strengths of therelationship among home, school, and the community. So that school administrators and teachers may moreeffectively promote parent involvement in schooling.This research explored following question: What is the difference among parents’ perceptions when groupedparent education level, income, marital status, and age on Epstein’s six factors of parent involvement asdescribed (parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision making, and collaborating withthe community) in Turkey?First of all, parent involvement in education is a key component for students’ academic success. Many studiesshowed a positive correlation between parental involvement and student achievement (Epstein, 2001; Erdoğan& Demirkasımoğlu, 2010; Jeynes, 2005a; Shaw, 2008). The significance of this study was to examine theperceptions of rural Turkish parents regarding effective parental involvement with elementary school studentsbased on Epstein’s (1995) six types of parental involvement. Therefore, this study’s results may indicate moreeffective means of parental involvement. The findings of this study provided significant information that willextend knowledge about the phenomenon of parent involvement.Theoretical FrameworkHuman development is a process that is affected by interaction with changing environments (Bronfenbrenner,1977). The theoretical framework used in this study is Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecoloogical theory that focused onthe interactions between the environment and the individual. Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Theory (1977;1986) included five systems: 1) Microsystems, 2) Mesosystem, 3) Exosystem, 4) Macrosystem, and 5)Chronosystem. Bronfenbrenner (1977) explained that the ecological theory is a lifespan theory and the mutualaccommodation progressive happens betwee