MERC Publications


Cifford Fox

Document Type

Research Report

Original Publication Date


Date of Submission

January 2017


At the direction of the Policy and Planning Council, A MERC Study Group began meeting in September, 1994 for the purpose of planning and directing a study of parental involvement in public schools. This literature review represents the first product of that process. Research over the past several decades has shown that involving parents in the process of educating their children provides substantial advantages for their education (e.g., Stevenson and Baker, 1987; Henderson, 1987; Moles, 1982; In a representative statement, Rebecca Crawford Burns summarizes the literature on the benefits of parent involvement to the education process as follows:

"Meaningful parent involvement results in improved student achievement, attendance, motivation, self-esteem, and behavior. Parent involvement also is a major contributor to children's positive attitude toward school and teachers. Indeed, the more parents are involved, the more children benefit (Burns, 1993, p.9)."

Thus, an understanding of how parent involvement may be increased is important to the improvement of education. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that there is increasing interest among educational researchers and policy makers in the dynamics of parental involvement in the educational process - an interest that is beginning to rival the historically strong intuitive interest of practitioners (Carrasquillo and London, 1993; Kelley, 1990; Moles, 1982).

This review of literature on parent involvement begins at this point, conceptually. Its concern is not with the extensive literature on the benefits of parent involvement, nor on the literature of how much involvement is present or lacking. Instead it concentrates upon research that has focused upon the dynamic relationship between parent, child, and school. Its purpose is to help establish a baseline summary to guide researchers and practitioners in developing a richer understanding of how parents intact (or fail to interact) with the complex of individual that make up the school community. it focuses upon the most recent literature on the subject, as well as those older resources that are most frequently cited in the more contemporary literature.

Is Part Of

VCU MERC Publications

Included in

Education Commons



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