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IES Grant

Title: Project Families4College (F4C)
Center: NCER Year: 2013
Principal Investigator: Gonzalez, Jorge Awardee: University of Houston
Program: Postsecondary and Adult Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (6/1/2013-5/31/2016) Award Amount: $1,467,208
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A140699

Previous Award Number: R305A130641
Previous Awardee: Texas A & M University

Co-Principal Investigator: Dominique T. Chlup

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to develop a modular curriculum designed to address parent and student access to information about college and planning ahead for college, especially for high-risk Hispanic/Latino families and students. Implemented in partnership with high schools, the Project Families4College (F4C) is intended to develop parent and student “college knowledge” through two-way streams of communication between the home and school to enhance college enrollment. F4C will immerse parents and students in practical information about the stated and unstated rules and expectations of college systems to assist parents and students with understanding the networks and systems that foster, optimize, and facilitate postsecondary enrollment for students aspiring to enter college.

Project Activities: In this study, the research team will develop and test the Project F4C curriculum. They will carry out a multiphase design experiment, using cycles of invention and revision to inform, develop, and improve the F4C curriculum. After initial field tests and revisions are completed, the team will carry out a pilot study intended to provide information about the evidence of promise and implementation of the intervention, adequacy of the translation of the content, and factors that moderate effects in the pilot.

Products: The outcomes of the project include a fully developed parent involvement curriculum that provides parent and student access to information about college and planning ahead for college. F4C will help parents develop knowledge to help facilitate postsecondary enrollment for their children who are in their senior year in high school. Peer-reviewed publications will also be produced.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project will take place at Texas A&M University and Brownsville, Texas Independent School District (BISD). In total, BISD has 49,703 students of which 99 percent are Hispanic and 96 percent are economically disadvantaged.

Sample: Across the three phases of the study, there will be approximately 130 parent/student dyads from BISD participating in the development, refinement and pilot phases of the study. School-based personnel (e.g., family engagement specialist, parent outreach specialists, related personnel) will also be included. Students will be in their senior year of high school. Participants will be identified by the school district’s parental involvement department and/or guidance counselors.

Intervention: F4C is organized around teaching a constellation of parent practices associated with successful preparation for and access to postsecondary education. The F4C curriculum intervention will be organized and planned around three Core lessons (delivered in either English or Spanish) with additional expanded lessons and a Preparing for College Series: Mini Lessons, for a total of 19 modules. The three lessons cover content that range from how to create an educational supportive home environment to financial aid application. These modules will be delivered to parents in a school based parental involvement setting. The foci of these modules include: (a) establishing a positive learning environment at home (e.g., positive expectations for success); (b) fostering parent-school communication (e.g., checking on requirements for graduation; knowing grades) about schooling and student progress; (c) encouraging parent participation in school; (d) enhancing parent communication regarding learning activities at home (e.g., talking with child about homework; (e) including parent involvement in school decision making (e.g., required courses, applying for financial aid; selecting colleges); and (f) improving parent access to community resources that increase student learning opportunities (e.g., visiting local universities; identifying counselors).

Research Design and Methods: In order to develop and test the promise of F4C, the research team will carry out a multiphase design experiment by using cycles of development and revision to inform, develop and improve the F4C curriculum. In the initial phase, the team will develop the curriculum content and design the instructional features of the intervention. During the second phase, the team will merge the content and instructional features into a set of 19 modules that compose the intervention, and will carry out field tests to determine the feasibility and usability of the curriculum. In the third and final phase of the project, the researchers will carry out a pilot study to determine the promise of the intervention. The pilot study will use random assignment, in which a total of 80 parent/student dyads will be assigned to either the treatment or control condition. Data collected in this study will provide information about whether the intervention improves parent knowledge and student outcomes, can be well-implemented, and factors that moderate any effects.

Control Condition: Parents and senior students assigned to the control condition will receive regularly available college access and preparedness resources delivered by the school and guidance counselors within the school.

Key Measures: Key measures for this project include a battery of standardized and researcher-developed measures of parent college knowledge, efficacy, role construction and engagement. These measures will include the The Abriendo Puertas Parental Involvement Inventory (APPIK), and The Parent Involvement Project: Parent Questionnaire, among others. Student measures of college readiness (The College Readiness Indicator), psychosocial variables and demographic data are also used throughout the study. With a demographic survey, parent and student characteristics will be measured. Fidelity of implementation will be captured with an Instructional Proficiency Form.

Data Analytic Strategy: Data will be analyzed using multilevel modeling, with student/parent units nested within the seven high schools in the district. The eight research questions to be invested in this study will be answered using separate multilevel models. Random intercept models will be used, meaning that intercepts (but not the effects of the predictors) will be modeled to vary across schools. Data from students/parents who are missing will be dropped from analyses. Prior to the main analyses, the characteristics of student/parents lost to attrition will be compared to characteristics of those retained in the sample. In addition to estimating the treatment effect, mediation and moderation analyses will be conducted.

Products and Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Chlup, D. T., Gonzalez, E. M., Gonzalez, J. M., Aldape, H. F., Guerra, M., Lagunas, B., Yu, Qiong, Manzano, H., and Zorn, D. R. (2016). Nuestros Hijos van a la Universidad [Our Sons and Daughters Are Going to College]: Latina Parents' Perceptions and Experiences Related to Building College Readiness, College Knowledge, and College Access for Their Children—A Qualitative Analysis. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 17(1): 20–40.