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Citation:Catsambis, S. (1998). Expanding knowledge of parental involvement in secondary education: Effects on high school academic success (CRESPAR Report 27). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University. ED426174.

The purpose of this study is to examine whether parental involvement influences the educational achievement of high school seniors. The results confirmed that maintaining high levels of parental involvement in studentsÕ education from the middle grades to the last year of high school makes a difference. However, the study showed that within Epstein's six types of parental involvement (1996), only some indicators of family practices significantly affect educational outcomes in high school, and the effects may be positive or negative. The most effective types of parental involvement were not those geared toward behavioral supervision, but rather those toward advising and guiding teensÕ academic decisions. The data used in this study were derived from the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS:88) using a sub-sample of 13,580 parents whose children remained in school through the 12th grade, and 12 indicators of family practices in the 8th grade and 15 in the 12th grade. They defined a series of dependent variables: standardized test scores, total high school credits, completion and enrollment in high school academic programs, and regressed the data on the indices of parent involvement (parent/school communication, support of school, learning activities at home, decision making and collaboration with the community). Using multiple regression, analyses were conducted and coefficients of parent involvement were compared with and without controls. The results suggested school efforts to encourage sustained parental involvement through the 12th grade may improve studentsÕ educational success. The researchers offered various strategies for maintaining parent involvement, including volunteering, participating in school activities, and communicating with the school, other parents, and the student. The author cautions that there is little research available on the long-term effects of family practices on student achievement, and therefore calls for expansion of research in this area to inform parent involvement strategies.

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