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  Student: Thinking About My Homework

This scale was developed during a study of children’s and parents’ perceptions of parents’ involvement in children’s homework (Bareno, 1997; Hoover-Dempsey, Reed, Jones, Walker, & Bareno, 1999). Items for the measure (and the companion measure for parents, Thinking About Helping My Child with Homework) were derived from analysis of data originally reported in Hoover-Dempsey, Bassler & Burow (1995). The Thinking About My Homework measure assesses the child’s perceptions of the child’s school and homework performance (Scale 1), the parent’s ability to help with homework (Scale 2), and the parent’s structuring and other activities related to the child’s homework (Scale 3).

Each scale employs a four-point Likert-type response scale: 4=always, 3=usually, 2=sometimes, 1=never.

Alpha reliabilities for the three scales as reported in Bareno (1997) with a sample of 20 socioeconomically diverse public school fourth grade students were the following: Scale 1: Child perceptions of child performance (school and homework) = .84; Scale 2: Child perceptions of parent’s ability to help with homework = .75; Scale 3: Child perceptions of parent’s structuring activities related to homework = .80.
 
Preliminary questions

Participants were asked to respond to the following prompts offered verbally by the interviewer:

1. Most children have some homework to do in fourth grade.  We would like you to answer some questions about your homework and people who help you do your homework, if and when you need help. 
 
2. Some children ask someone to help them with their homework.  The person they ask might be a parent, or a brother or sister, sometimes a friend, sometimes a teacher, sometimes a different person.
Sometimes, one of these people just says, "I'll help you with your homework." 

3. When you do homework, who helps you? 
(Interviewer: list all persons named ___________________________________________________)

4. Who is the person who helps you the most with your homework?
(Interviewer: list person named ______________________________________________________)

5. Let's look at some of the questions now. 

6. First, we're going to practice on a few items, just so you know what kinds of answers you'll have to choose from when we get to the real questions.

7. The kinds of questions we want you to answer ask you to think about how often you do something. 
The answers you'll have to choose from will be

            always       usually      sometimes      never

8. Let's talk about these answers for a minute.
(Interviewer: record child’s responses)

Can you tell me what 'always' means?________________________
What's something that you always do?_______________________

Can you tell me what 'usually' means?________________________

What's something that you usually do?_______________________

Can you tell me what 'sometimes' means?_____________________

What's something that you sometimes do?____________________

Can you tell me what 'never' means?_________________________

What's something that you never do?________________________

(Interviewer: if you are satisfied that the student understands the meaning of each response option, go on to the next page.  If not, repeat or clarify the terms above before going on.  Do not continue until you are certain that the student understands the response options.)

9. That's good!  Now let's try some questions.  

10. Here are some questions I'd like us to read together.  After we read them, you tell me what answer is the right one for you.  Then we'll put a circle around the one that's right for you. 

11. Remember, there are no 'correct' answers for everyone to these questions; the correct answer for you is the one that's the most correct or true for you.

1.
I sleep at night. 
always  
usually 
sometimes 
never
2.
I brush my teeth in the morning.
always 
usually
sometimes
never
3.
I go to the movies with my grandfather.
always 
usually
sometimes
never
4.
I fly to Pago-Pago on an airplane. 
always 
usually
sometimes
never


12. Good!  Now we’re going to look at the questions about homework.  Each one will have the same kind of answer choices


Scales

(Interviewer: Scales 2 and 3 below reference “mom” as the person who usually helps the child with homework. Substitute the relationship of the person identified by the child as the person who usually helps—e.g., dad, your uncle, your grandmother, etc.).

Scale 1: Child perceptions of child performance (school and homework)
1.
I do well in school.
2.
I try hard to do well in school.
3.
I try to do my homework correctly.        
4.
When I have homework, I finish it all.
5.
I do good work on my homework assignments.   

Scale 1:  The parent and child versions of Scale 1 contain identical items.  We assumed that children would have first-hand knowledge and assessment of their own performance, and that parents would have similar knowledge based on their 'privileged position' and observations. 


Scale 2: Child perceptions of parent ability to help with homework*
1.
My mom* knows how to help me with my homework.
2.
My mom likes to help me with my homework.
3.
My mom tells me to get help from someone else if I have questions about my homework. (reverse score)
4.
It's hard for my mom to help me with my homework. (reverse score)
*Use form with alternate name of “person who helps most often” as appropriate (e.g., dad, aunt, grandfather).

Scale 2:  The parent and child versions of Scale 2 contain somewhat different items.  The items were drawn from the same conceptual 'pool,' but differ somewhat based on the developmental differences we assume pertain in parents' and children's ability to perceive and assess parent ability. 


Scale 3: Child perceptions of parent's structuring and activities related to homework*
1.
My mom* lets me do my homework whenever I want to. (reverse score)
2.
My mom makes me do my homework over if I haven't done it right.    
3.
My mom 'gets on me' if I don't do my homework.     
4.
My mom tells me to check my homework for mistakes. 
5.
My mom checks my homework.
6.
I have to follow family rules about doing my homework (like when I do it, or whether I can watch TV before it's done, and things like that).
7.
My mom asks me about my homework.
8.
My mom does homework problems with me.   
9.
My mom tells me it's important to do my homework.
10.
My mom helps me with math homework.   
11.
My mom helps me when I don't understand my homework.    
12.
My mom tells me I've done a good job on my homework.     
13.
My mom gives me help with my homework when I need help.
14.
My mom tells me if I haven't done my homework right.        
15.
My mom asks me if I've finished my homework.    
16.
My mom tells me to correct any mistakes I make on my homework. 
17.
My mom helps me with my reading homework.
*Use form with alternate name of “person who helps most often” as appropriate (e.g., dad, aunt, grandfather).

Scale 3: The parent and child versions of Scale 3 contain identical items.  We assumed that both children and parents would have first-hand knowledge of parents' structuring and helping activities related to homework. 


References

Bareno, A.L. (1977). Children’s perceptions of parental involvement in homework. A Cognitive Studies Undergraduate Honors Thesis submitted to the Department of Psychology & Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.

Hoover-Dempsey, K.V., Bassler, O.C., & Burow, R. (1995). Parents’ reported involvement in students’ homework: Strategies and practices. Elementary School Journal, 95, 435-450.

Hoover-Dempsey, K., Reed, R.P., Jones, K.P., Walker, J., & Barreno, A.L. (April, 1999). Parental involvement in children’s schooling: Toward an understanding of children’s invitations to involvement. Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Albuquerque, NM.



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