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Citation:Marcon, R. A. (1999). Positive relationships between parent school involvement and public school inner-city preschoolersÕ development and academic performance. School Psychology Review, 28(3), 395-412.

Learning more about successful types of involvement and the optimal amount associated with positive outcomes is the purpose of this study. Researchers studied the value of observable relationships between classroom teachers and parents in a predominantly low-income sample. Results indicated single parents and poor parents were just as involved as two-parent and more affluent families. Preschool teachers who used more developmentally appropriate practices were more likely to foster parent involvement. Also, parent involvement during the preschool years was especially positive for boys in the predominantly African American sample. This is a longitudinal, quantitative study (co-relational). The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales was used as a measurement tool of preschoolers' language, self-help, social, motor, and adaptive development. Data were collected from three cohorts of preschoolers enrolled in public school pre-kindergarten or public Head Start programs in Washington, DC. The sample of 708 preschoolers was randomly selected proportional to enrollment of four year-olds in sub-districts within the District of Columbia Public School System. Sixty-two teachers from 49 public schools provided preschool data for the three years of study. It is clear from the study that gender-related academic differences in the early school years are less evident when boys' parents are involved. However, the researcher states that while a significant relationship between parent school involvement and child outcomes has been demonstrated by the data in this study, the exact reasons are unclear. It is difficult to determine if actual child changes or changes in teachers' perceptions account for the results. Greater attention to possible preexisting child and family characteristics should be included in future research. Using individual children as the statistical unit of analysis, rather than classroom means, could limit the generalizability of findings. Although information about the optimal amount of involvement associated with positive outcomes is lacking in the study, parents, faculty, and support staff can be encouraged by the positive benefits for young children associated with readily observable types of parent-school involvement.

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