Title

Parental Contact and Student Discipline in the Classroom Setting

Date of Award

2002

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Rick Keaster

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The general purpose of this study was to determine if there was a relationship between parental contact and classroom discipline. Five schools using the same discipline plan and located in southeastern states were used in a collection of archival data. These data revealed the number of in-school and out-of-school suspensions as well as the number of times corporal punishment was administered. A survey instrument was used to determine the teachers' opinions of whether parental contact aided in the decrease of student office referrals. A structured interview with parents was conducted to assess whether parents perceived their involvement in the disciplinary process as helpful in deterring their child's office referrals. During the fall of 2002, a study was conducted using a survey and interviews along with archival data to determine if there was a relationship between teacher and parent perceptions of their influence on classroom behavior. Teachers were asked to judge themselves and the parents of their students as to the amount of influence each other had on classroom behavior. Likewise, parents were interviewed and asked to judge themselves and teachers as to the amount of influence each had in the classroom. Archival data were used to test the actual effect mandatory parental contact had in classroom discipline office referrals. A chi square was used to determine if there was any relationship between parental contact and classroom discipline. A survey using a Likert scale of one to five was conducted to test the teachers' perceptions of the effectiveness of the classroom discipline plan. In addition, 35 parents from the five selected schools studied were interviewed. The overall findings from this study indicated that parents do have an effect on their child's classroom discipline when parental contact is included in a discipline plan. A statistically significant negative relationship was found between parental contact and the number of office referrals, indicating that parental contact does indeed affect classroom behavior. These findings would support the involvement of parental contact in discipline plans considered or developed by other schools.