Title

A Metamorphosis of Thought: Parent Education Based on Transformative Learning Theory in a Title I-Funded Middle School

Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

John R. Rachal

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

Section 1118(e)(2) of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 encouraged public schools to conduct and evaluate parent education programs to assist with closing the achievement gap. In an effort to combat the existing problem, the researcher engaged in a mixed-methods study to address four research questions. A comparative-quantitative study, using the Middle School Parent Perception Survey , was conducted to determine if there were statistically significant differences in perceptions of parents whose children attended Title I-funded and non-Title I-funded schools in the following areas--barriers to parent involvement, their ability to assist their children with schoolwork, and the support systems they provide outside of the school that enhance student achievement. The data collected revealed that parents whose children attended Title I-funded schools reported significantly more barriers to participation and a significantly higher ability to assist their children with schoolwork than their counterparts. However, the two groups were found not to be statistically significantly different in regards to their perceptions of the support systems which they provide outside of school to enhance student achievement. The qualitative portion of the study consisted of semi-structured interviews with five parents and two teachers about their participation in the Value Invested Parent (VIP) Program, as well as personal observations and informal interactions with parents, school faculty and students. The researcher assessed that participation in the VIP program did foster positive transformation in its participants, including the facilitator. The interviews revealed that the parents and teachers were satisfied with the program and felt that it provided them with pertinent information and helped them improve their communication between home and school. Additionally, the parents perceived that they learned to understand their children more and the teachers stated they related to their students better. It is recommended that the quantitative portion of the study be replicated with the survey being disseminated as a part of the beginning of the year school packets in an effort to increase the response rate. Also, it is recommended that the qualitative portion of the study be replicated to determine if the VIP program is effective in closing the student achievement gap.