Model of Parent Engagement in Academic Support: Focus on Students with Disabilities

Sharon Gan, Ph.D., The University of Kansas, 2014.

Abstract


This qualitative study investigated online strategies for involving parents in supporting the academic development of their children. The parental support component of the Blending Assessment with Instruction Program (BAIP) was employed as the model for researching parental involvement. BAIP integrates assessment standards in mathematics with instructional resources for teachers, students and parents. The BAIP parental support for Mathematics uses online support and teacher interaction to inform parents of the concepts their students are learning in the classroom while the instruction is occurring. It also provides suggestions on how parents may engage their children in understanding the concepts through relevant structured activities, teachable moments, and other at-home pedagogical strategies.

The perceptions and experiences of parents, students, and teachers engaged in the BAIP were examined in this study. In-depth interviews and observations were conducted on a purposeful sample in a private school for students with learning disabilities. Participants included three teachers, their students who were functioning at or enrolled in middle school grades, and the students’ parents. Each parent had experienced providing a variety of supports for their student who had a history of learning problems. Three key themes emerged during the analysis of the qualitative data: A) Parents and teachers perceived parental involvement differently. Based on prior experience in public schools, the parents did not believe that their support was highly valued by previous teachers. Teachers in parents’ past experiences did not value parent involvement in academic teaching of the concepts, but valued the parents’ role in supportive activities such as telling their child when and what they should study. B) Parents and teachers have different expectations and requirements of parent resources. Teachers in the study expected parent resources to focus on informing parents what the child is studying in school, iv whereas parents expected the resources to be teaching aids. Teachers expected parents to use the resources on a voluntary basis but parents actually preferred it to be a requirement. Both teachers and parents thought the BAIP parent resources could replace traditional homework and parents thought it could provide opportunities to bond with their child. Teachers underestimated parents’ ability to teach and understanding of informal teachable moments whereas parents proved to be familiar with using teaching moments. Two of the three teachers thought the BAIP model was somewhat rigid whereas parents appreciated the structure and guidance. C) BAIP is a functional parent engagement model. Using Epstein’s six types of parent involvement and Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler’s motivations for parent involvement, the researcher found that BAIP increased parent motivation through empowerment and access to resources that was consistent between home and school.

Results suggest that the BAIP’s parental support component provides a framework for an emerging partnership model that involves parents and schools in making decisions together, clarifying roles and expectations and maintaining effective ongoing communication between schools and homes to enhance student learning. Future research could explore the long term effects on student achievement after experiencing academic support that is consistent across home and school. Studies on effectiveness and maintenance of parent involvement programs as well as expanding the literature on teachable moments could impact the support that students receive.