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IES Grant

Title: A Meta-Analysis of Parent Involvement Interventions and Family-School Partnerships' Effects on Student Outcomes
Center: NCER Year: 2012
Principal Investigator: Sheridan, Susan Awardee: University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Program: Improving Education Systems      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (6/1/2012-5/31/2014) Award Amount: $699,997
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A120144

Co-Principal Investigators: Beretvas, Natasha; Moorman, Elizabeth

Purpose: Interactions and experiences within home and school systems, uniquely and together, form the foundation for developmental trajectories throughout students’ educational careers. Previous research on parental involvement suggests that when parents are involved in their children’s schooling, students experience increased achievement and academic performance, stronger self-regulatory skills, fewer discipline problems, better study habits, more positive attitudes toward school, improved homework habits and work orientation, and higher educational aspirations. Benefits to students appear to be evident after students’ abilities and socioeconomic status are taken into account. Despite these positive research findings, some large scale reviews of the literature have documented little to no effect of parent involvement on student achievement or parent or teacher behavior, on student grades, or on educational outcomes for students with disabilities. However, previous meta-analyses have largely focused on exploring effects for academic outcomes only and have not differentiated between general parent involvement (that focus on activities) and family-school partnership models (that focus on relationships). The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between these two different forms of involvement and academic, behavioral, and social-emotional outcomes for students from preschool to grade 12.

Project Activities: Researchers will investigate the role of family-school partnerships as distinct from more global parent involvement interventions on a set of educationally-relevant student outcomes through a meta-analysis of prior research completed between 1979 and 2011. Student outcomes of interest include those that are behavioral and social-emotional in nature. Researchers will draw on a comprehensive database of studies on parental involvement and family-school partnerships. The team will complete a comprehensive literature search and identify abstracts and pertinent studies related to the topic. After determining study inclusion, the research team will code studies and will use meta-analytic techniques to review and analyze prior study results.

Products: Products include preliminary evidence of the relationships between family-school partnerships and parental involvement activities on academic, behavioral, and social-emotional outcomes for students. Peer reviewed publications will also be produced.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project is a meta-analysis of research on parental involvement activities and their relationship to student learning and behavioral outcomes published between 1979 and 2011.

Sample: The meta-analytic database will be comprised of studies of parental involvement interventions published between 1979 and 2011. Researchers will draw the published studies from literature searches and reference databases, but will also include grey (i.e., unpublished or difficult to retrieve) literature from the same time period. Eligible studies must focus on either parental involvement interventions or family-school partnership interventions. Studies focusing on family therapy or parent training interventions which take place outside of the school setting will be excluded.

Included studies will meet the following requirements: they must involve students from preschool through grade 12; present outcomes (i.e., measured relationships of parent involvement or family-school partnership interventions to children’s academic learning, behavioral, or social-emotional outcomes); present the results of a parent involvement or family-school partnership intervention that is implemented to improve student performance and occurs within the context of a naturalistic setting (not a laboratory or contrived assessment task); and use an experimental, quasi-experimental, single-case, or pre-posttest design that meets researchers’ specifications.

Intervention: The interventions being examined either address structural activities only (i.e., parent involvement) or implement activities within a relationship-based approach (i.e., family-school partnership). Those addressing structural activities only will typically include the participation of significant caregivers including parents, grandparents, stepparents, and foster parents, in the educational process of their children in order to promote their academic and social well-being. Those intervention implementing activities within a relationship-based approach are often considered to be child-focused and families and professionals cooperate, coordinate, and collaborate to enhance opportunities and success for children and adolescents across social, emotional, behavioral, and academic domains.

Research Design and Methods: Researchers will use a coding instrument to review a database of more than 27,000 abstracts to identify studies that are relevant to the meta-analysis. The researchers will then conduct meta-analyses focusing on intervention studies only, thereby allowing researchers to pinpoint the relationship of parent involvement and family-school partnership interventions to student learning, behavior, or social-emotional outcomes, and study malleable structural and relational features. Separate meta-analyses will be conducted for group design studies and single-case design studies. The role of family socioeconomic status, education level, and culture will be investigated as moderators in the study. Also, the moderating role of family language (i.e., primary language spoken in the home) on the relationship of parent involvement and relationship-based interventions to learning, behavioral, and social-emotional outcomes will be explored.

Control Condition: Group design studies included in the meta-analyses may include control conditions.

Key Measures: Key outcomes include students’ academic (learning), behavioral, and social-emotional outcomes. Effect sizes will be used to combine findings across studies in this meta-analysis.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will use meta-analytic methods and compute effect sizes separately for group and single case designs. Several moderators will be explored to determine operative components of interventions related to improved student outcomes, and child, family, school, and study variables influencing outcomes.

Products and Publications


Sheridan, S.M., and Kim, E.M. (Eds.). (2015). Research on Family-School Partnerships: An Interdisciplinary Examination of State of the Science and Critical Needs (Vol. I: Foundational Aspects of Family-School Partnerships). New York, NY: Springer.

Sheridan, S.M., and Kim, E.M. (Eds.). (2015). Research on Family-School Partnerships: An Interdisciplinary Examination of State of the Science and Critical Needs (Vol. II: Processes and Pathways of Family-School Partnerships). New York, NY: Springer.

Sheridan, S.M., and Kim, E.M. (Eds.). (2015). Research on Family-School Partnerships: An Interdisciplinary Examination of State of the Science and Critical Needs (Vol. III: Contexts of Family–School Partnerships: Research, Practice, and Policy). New York, NY: Springer.

Book chapter

Beretvas, S.N. (2015). Uncovering Processes and Pathways in Family–School Research: Modeling Innovations for Handling Data Complexities. In S.M. Sheridan and E.M. Kim (Eds.), Processes and Pathways of Family-School Partnerships Across Development (pp. 81–99). Springer International Publishing.

Garbacz, S.A., Swanger-Gagne, M.S., and Sheridan, S.M. (2015). The Role of School–Family Partnership Programs for Promoting Student SEL. In J.A. Durlak, C.E. Domitrovich, R.P. Weissberg, and T.P. Gullotta (Eds.), The Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning (pp. 244–260). New York: Guilford.

Kim, E.M., and Sheridan, S.M. (2015). Foundational Aspects of Family–School Connections: Definitions, Conceptual Frameworks, and Research Needs. In S.M. Sheridan and E.M. Kim (Eds.), Foundational Aspects of Family-School Partnership Research (pp. 1–14). Springer International Publishing.

Sheridan, S. M., Holmes, S. R., Smith, T. E., and Moen, A. L. (2016). Complexities in Field-Based Partnership Research: Exemplars, Challenges, and an Agenda for the Field. Family-School Partnerships in Context (pp. 1–23). Springer International Publishing.