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  Role Construction For Involvement: Categorical Approach

Parental Role Construction for Involvement (Categorical)

Our measure of Parental Role Construction for Involvement in the Child’s Day-to-Day Education has undergone development over several years. In this section, we briefly describe our earlier work on role construction and a categorical measure of role construction (parent-focused, school-focused, and partnership-focused role construction; see Hoover-Dempsey, Wilkins, Sandler & O’Connor, 2004).

Information on the measure of role construction developed during our OERI/IES-funded study of parental involvement (Role Activity Beliefs; Valence Toward Schools) may be accessed through the model-based graphic in the Scale Descriptions section of this website (see also Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler (2005); Walker, Wilkins, Dallaire, Sandler, & Hoover-Dempsey, 2005).

Background

Grounded primarily in role theory, we initially worked to develop a measure of parental role construction consistent with strong theoretical suggestions that individuals’ social roles are made up of beliefs about what one should do in given social contexts and the set of personal behaviors that are characteristically enacted, consistent with those beliefs, in those social contexts.

We began with qualitative work involving content analyses of interviews with parents of elementary students. In general, findings suggested three major role construction orientations: parent-focused (reflecting beliefs and behaviors suggesting that the parent is primarily responsible for the child’s school success), school-focused (reflecting beliefs and behaviors suggesting that the school is primarily responsible for the child’s school success), and partnership-focused (reflecting beliefs and behaviors suggesting that a parent-school partnership is primarily responsible for the child’s school success; Hoover-Dempsey & Jones, 1997).

Based on these findings, we developed an objective survey measure to assess these three major role construction orientations in larger samples of parents, described below.

Parental Role Construction for Involvement: Categorical Approach

The three scales assess the extent to which a parent holds each of three orientations toward role construction for involvement in his or her child’s education. As noted above, parent-focused role construction includes beliefs and behaviors suggesting that the parent is primarily responsible for the child’s school success. School-focused role construction includes beliefs and behaviors suggesting that the school is primarily responsible for the child’s school success. Partnership-focused role construction includes beliefs and behaviors suggesting that a parent-school partnership is primarily responsible for the child’s school success.

Each scale employs a 6-point Likert-type response scale.

The response scale for belief items uses the following response options: 1=disagree very strongly, 2=disagree, 3=disagree just a little, 4=agree just a little, 5=agree, 6=agree very strongly.  The prompt for belief items asked the respondent to “indicate how much you AGREE or DISAGREE with each of the following statements. Please think about the current school year as you consider each statement.”

The response scale for behavior items uses these response options: 1 = never, 2=once so far this year, 3=about once a month, 4=once every two weeks, 5=once a week, 6=daily. The prompt for behavior items asked the respondent to “indicate HOW OFTEN you have engaged in the following behaviors so far in this school year.”

The three scales were administered during the first the first study of our OPERI/IES-funded three-year research project. Parents of 877 public school K-6 grade children responded to these scales as well as others at Level 1 of our original model of the parental involvement process (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1995, 1997).  The scales achieved the following alpha reliabilities: Scale 1, Parent-focused role construction = .62; Scale 2: School-focused role construction = .63; Scale 3, Partnership-focused role construction = .72.


Scale 1: Parent-focused Role Construction


Belief items:
1.  It's my job to explain tough assignments to my child.
2.  It's my job to make sure my child understands his or her assignments.
3.  I make it my business to stay on top of things at school.
Behavior items:
1.  I kept an eye on my child's progress.
2.  I made sure that my child's homework got done.
3.  I helped my child study for tests or quizzes.
4.  I talked to my child about what he or she is learning.
5.  I took my child to the library, community events, or similar places.


Scale 2: School-focused Role Construction


Beliefs:
1.  I assume my child is doing all right when I don't hear anything from the school.
2.  The teacher has to let me know about a problem before I can do something about it.
3.  I get most of my information about my child's progress from report cards.
4.  My child's learning is mainly up to the teacher and my child.
Behaviors:
1.  I expected the school to notify me if my child had a problem.
2.  I expected my child to do his or her homework at school.
3.  I relied on the teacher to make sure my child understands his or her assignments.


Scale 3: Partnership-focused Role Construction


Beliefs:
1.  I like to spend time at my child's school when I can.
2.  It's important that I let the teacher know about things that concern my child.
3.  I find it helpful to talk with the teacher.
4.  My child's teacher(s) know(s) me.
Behaviors:
1.  I exchanged phone calls or notes with my child's teacher.
2.  I got advice from the teacher.
3.  I contacted the teacher with questions about schoolwork.


References

Hoover-Dempsey,K.V., & Jones, K.P. (1997, March). Parental role construction and parental involvement in children’s education. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.

Hoover-Dempsey, K.V., & Sandler, H.M. (1997). Why do parents become involved in their children's education?  Review of Educational Research, 67, 3-42.

Hoover-Dempsey, K.V., & Sandler, H.M. (1995). Parental involvement in children's education: Why does it make a difference? Teachers College Record, 97, 310-331.

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.

Hoover-Dempsey, K.V., Wilkins, A.S., O’Connor, K.P.J., & Sandler, H.M. (April,
2004). Parental role construction for involvement: Interactions among theoretical, measurement and pragmatic issues in instrument development. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.

Walker, J.M.T., Wilkins, A.S., Dallaire, J.R., Sandler, H.M., & Hoover-Dempsey, K.V.(2005). Parental involvement: Model revision through scale development. Elementary School Journal, 106(2); 85-104.


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