Scale Descriptions
Current Research
Lab Members

  Current Research

Research-Based Practice: Applying the Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler Model of the Parental Involvement Process
We are currently assisting an urban elementary school in applying the
Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler model of the parental involvement process and
related measures to develop and test interventions designed to increase
the incidence and effectiveness of parental involvement. This project is
of particular interest to us, as it serves as an example of how school
districts can use theory- and research-based information to guide
parental involvement policies and practice. We presented our first
thoughts on the project at AERA 2007, and continue to assess the 4th and
5th grade students and their parents at this elementary school, along
with students and parents at a comparable control school, in order to
assess intervention effectiveness. The date for our last round of data collection has not been determined.

“I think the research is absolutely vital to what we’re doing because
(it tells us that)…you can correlate parent involvement with student
achievement….If you don’t have the (parental involvement) piece, it has
a direct impact on test scores, and test scores have an effect on
everything.” –School Principal

“You have to have a model…for guiding your behavior….When you have a
theoretical framework, it helps you understand specifically what factors
you have to work on. You’re not out there just fishing in the
dark….Plus, you have a way to do the research because your variables are
identified and it’s much clearer what it is you’re doing.”
–Intervention Program Director

This research project is currently on-going. If you would like more information, please check back throughout the upcoming year.

    Recently Completed Research

Deepening Understanding of Parents' Role Construction for Involvement in Their Children's Education.
This was done by Manya Whitaker in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of Master of Science at Vanderbilt University.
The purpose of this study was to better understand parental role
construction for involvement by identifying the experiences and personal
perspectives supporting the development of varied patterns of role
activity beliefs and behaviors. I interviewed parents about their
experiences in and with schools in order to identify their beliefs about involving themselves in their children’s schooling. In addition, I asked parents to respond to
questionnaires regarding self-construal, to ascertain if and how the ways
in which a parent interacts with his or her social environment influences
his or her decisions about becoming involved in their child's education. I
expected that parents who experienced supportive school environments
(in childhood, adolescence, and in relation to their own children’s
education) would have generally positive educational attitudes and
interdependent self-construals. These parents would exhibit partnership-
focused role constructions and possibly display high self-efficacy for
helping their children learn. Parents who are characterized by more
negative educational attitudes and independent self-construals were expected
to possess either parent-focused or school-focused role constructions.

Linking Parental Involvement Beliefs and Achievement in Different Educational Settings.
This study was conducted by Christa Green as a dissertation project
in partial fulfillment of Ph.D. requirements at Vanderbilt University.
This study tested the predictive power of a theoretical model explaining
home-based parental involvement and its connection to student proximal
achievement outcomes in two different school settings. Predictor
variables included parents’ motivational beliefs about involvement (role
activity and efficacy beliefs), perceptions of invitations to
involvement from students, and perceived social context. Outcome
variables included parents’ home-based involvement, as well as student
proximal achievement measures (including self-regulatory strategy use,
intrinsic motivation and academic self-efficacy). Approximately 50
parents and their 4th through 7th grade students, enrolled in a
metropolitan public school system in the mid-South of the United States
and home-schooled students from the same area, responded to a survey
assessing study constructs at two time points. I expected results to
demonstrate that model constructs and social networks can successfully
predict involvement for parents using both types of schooling
arrangements, and that parental involvement in both groups would be
moderately correlated with proximal achievement outcomes after
controlling for prior achievement.

Hoover-Dempsey, K.V., & Sandler, H.M. (2005). Final Performance Report for
OERI Grant # R305T010673: The Social Context of Parental Involvement: A
Path to Enhanced Achievement. Presented to Project Monitor, Institute of
Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, March 22, 2005.

The Social Context of Parental Involvement:

A Path to Enhanced Achievement

Theoretical & Conceptual Background of Study

We conducted a 3-year study based in two major areas of theory and research. The first is the body of research suggesting that parents’ involvement in students’ education is associated with improved achievement and the development of student attributes that lead to higher achievement (e.g., self-efficacy for school learning, academic self-concept, work orientation, self-regulatory abilities). The second is social-cognitive theory and research suggesting that a) parents’ decisions about involvement in their children’s education are influenced by social-contextual factors, some of which are subject to influence by schools and b) parents’ involvement activities (some of which are also subject to influence by schools) influence student achievement outcomes through specific psychological processes (e.g., modeling, reinforcement, instruction). Drawing on these theoretical and research bases, the 3-year study strove to answer three major questions: Why do parents become involved in their children’s education? What student achievement-related outcomes are influenced by parental involvement? What causes parental involvement activities to influence these student achievement outcomes?

The full 3-year study was grounded in a theoretical model of the parental involvement process (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1995, 1997), developed on the basis of theory and research in the two areas above. The full study includes four sequential sub-studies, whose research questions and designs are described separately below.

Study 1

· Question:  Do the hypothesized predictors of parental involvement (level 1 of the model)-parents’ role construction for involvement (do parents think they’re supposed to be involved?), sense of efficacy for helping children learn (how well do parents believe they can help the child learn?), and perceptions of general invitations to involvement from children and schools (do parents think their children and schools want their involvement?)-predict parents’ decisions to become involved?

· Sample: 877 parents of public school students in grades 1-6 (mixed SES, ethnicity, cultural background), 105 teachers of the students.

· Method: Survey questionnaires (parents and teachers), brief structured interview with teachers.

· Principal dependent variable(s): Parent’s decision to become involved in student’s education.

· Principal independent variables: Parental role construction, parental sense of efficacy for helping the child succeed in school, parent’s perception of general invitations to involvement from the school, parent’s perceptions of general invitations to involvement from the child.

· Data analysis: Standard scale development strategies; hierarchical regression analyses; frequency data and chi-square analyses.

Study 2

· Question:  Do hypothesized influences on the forms of involvement that parents choose-parents’ skills and knowledge, demands on time, perceptions of specific invitations from children and teachers, parents’ enjoyment of involvement-predict their specific involvement choices (e.g., child specific vs. school general involvement)?

· Sample: 495 parents of public school students in grades 1-6 (mixed SES, ethnicity, cultural background), 24 teachers of the students.

· Method: Survey questionnaires (parents and teachers).

· Principal dependent variable(s): Parent’s choice of specific involvement forms.

· Principal independent variables: Parent’s skills and knowledge, demands on parent’s time from work and family obligations, specific invitations from schools and teacher(s) for involvement, specific invitations from the child for involvement. The study 1 scales will also be replicated.

· Data analysis: Standard scale development strategies; factor analyses; regression analyses.

Study 3

· Question:  How do parents’ involvement behaviors create improved student school outcomes? Do the hypothesized mechanisms of influence-parental modeling, reinforcement, and instruction-predict student outcomes (e.g. self-regulation, academic self-concept, increased self-efficacy for school success, increased social self-efficacy, achievement)?

· Sample: 421 parents of public school students in grades 4-6 (mixed SES, ethnicity, cultural background), 62 teachers of the students; 421 4th - 6th grade students.

· Method: Survey questionnaires (parent, teacher, student)

· Principal dependent variable(s): Gains in student attributes related to achievement (see above).

· Principal independent variables: Parental behaviors during involvement activities, including modeling, reinforcement, and instruction and other psychological processes as observed during parental involvement. The study 1 and 2 measures will be replicated.

· Data analysis: Standard scale development strategies; factor analyses; content analyses of interview data; regression analyses; mediation analyses.

Study 4

· Question:  Based on findings from studies 1, 2, and 3, this final stage of the full study asked the question: How well does the full theoretical model of the parental involvement process (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1995, 1997) predict students’ school outcomes, including achievement and student attributes (e.g. self-regulation, academic self-concept, increased self-efficacy for school success, increased social self-efficacy, achievement) that lead to improved achievement?

· Sample: 358 parents of public school students in grades 4-6 (mixed SES, ethnicity, cultural background),  80 teachers of the students,  358 4th - 6th grade student.

· Method: Survey questionnaires (parent, teacher, student [4th - 6th grades only]).

· Principal dependent variable(s): Student achievement and gains in student attributes associated with achievement (e.g. self-regulation, academic self-concept, increased self-efficacy for school success, increased social self-efficacy, achievement).

· Principal independent variables: Parent’s involvement decision; parent’s choice of involvement activities; parent’s use of modeling, reinforcement, instruction (and other psychological processes) during involvement activities.

· Data analysis: Regression analyses; mediation analyses.


The Family-School Partnership Lab is part of the Psychology and Human Development Department, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University.