A Compact for Learning Research and Evaluation on Family-School-Community Partnerships Prepared by Adriana de Kanter, Alan Ginsburg, and Julie Pederson Planning and Evaluation Service U.S. Department of Education Sue Ferguson Chair, National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education
Overview • Part I: New American Consensus on Education • Part II: Research on Family Involvement • Part III: Steps to Strengthening Partnerships for Learning
Part I: Questions to Ask Do you think your school: • Has strong family-school-community partnerships? Do your school partners agree on what family involvement means? • Promotes high academic standards for all students, informing parents about what they are and how they can help their children reach them?
Part I: More Questions • Does your school use a family-school compact for all students and their families? • Have you noticed any areas in which differences in student results seem to be connected to family involvement? • Does your school use data to evaluate and improve partnerships for learning?
A New American Consensus Sets High Standards for All Students • Every child in America is reading well and independently by the end of third grade. 60 percent of fourth-grade students are at or above basic in reading. • Every child in America is competent in math, including algebra at the eighth grade. 20 percent of students take algebra in the eighth grade. \ • Every 18-year-old in America is prepared academically and financially for college and for the workplace.The proportion of high school graduates taking the core courses increased to 52 percent by 1994, up from 14 percent in 1982 and 40 percent in 1990.
Standards let parents know how well their children are doing. Prospects, 1993
Part II: Research on Family Involvement Why is family involvement so important? What are the challenges?
What do Families Look Like? • Working Parents • 60% of all mothers with preschool-age children. • 57% of women with children younger than age three were in the labor force. • 28.2 million children, ages 6-17, have working mothers. • Single Parents • 25% of children live in single-parent families. • Compared to only 11% in 1970. • Grandparents • 13% of African American; 5.7% of Hispanic; 3.9% of white children live with their grandparents. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, and USDE, 1994
Who are the Students? • Children in Poverty • Between 1980 and 1993, the number of children living in poverty increased by almost 3.8 million. • In 1993, 15 million children under age 18 were living in poverty. • A Culturally Diverse Student Body • In the next 10 years, the white, non-Hispanic population will decrease by about 13% in the pre-school range and 2% in the elementary-school range. • Hispanics will become the largest school-age population. • The population of Asian and American Indian students is expected to increase by about 45%. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, and USDE, 1994
Research Family Involvement and Student Achievement Predictors of student achievement Not income or social status, but the extent to which that student’s family is able to: • Create a home environment that encourages learning • Express high (but not unrealistic) expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers • Become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community A New Generation of Evidence (Henderson & Berla, 1994)
Research Family Involvement and Student Achievement Factors over which parents exercise authority: Absenteeism Reading materials in the home Television watching account for nearly 90 percent of the difference in eighth-grade math test scores. NAEP, 1994
Students benefit by: Higher grades Better attendance and homework completion More positive attitudes Higher graduation rate Greater enrollment in college Schools benefit by: Improved teacher morale Higher ratings of teachers by parents More support from families Better reputations in the community Research Family Involvement and Student Achievement The mutual benefits of family involvement A New Generation of Evidence (Henderson & Berla, 1994)
Research Family Involvement and Student Achievement NCES, 1996
Research Family Involvement and Student Achievement NCES, 1994
Opinion According to Teachers #1 According to teachers, the “single most important thing public schools need to help students learn” is INVOLVED PARENTS. Public Agenda, 1996
Opinion According to Our Young People . . . Teenagers with strong emotional attachmentsto their parents and teachers are much less likely to engage in high-risk activities. Add Health study, 1997 72% of children, ages 10-13 said they would like to talk to their parents more about schoolwork. Almost 50% of older students, ages 14-17 agreed. National Commission on Children, 1991
Opinion According to Parents . . . The vast majority of parents believe that their child’s success is directly related to their active involvement in the child’s formal education (National PTA, 1993). 40% of parents believe they are not devoting enough time to their children’s education (Finney, 1993).
Opinion According to Employers 89% of company executives identified the biggest obstacle to school reform as lack of parental involvement(Perry 1993). At the Palisades Education Summit of CEOs and Governors, employers pledged to “adopt policies to support parental involvement in their children’s education and in improving their local schools” (1996 National Education Summit Policy Statement).
Part II: Research on Family Involvement Why is family involvement so important? What are the challenges?
Challenges Fathers’ Involvement NCES, 1996
Challenges Middle School Fall-Off National Education Goals Report, NCES, 1996
Challenges Parent involvement differs by family characteristics Percent of Parents Attending Regularly-Scheduled Parent-Teacher Conferences (NCES, NHES, 1996)
Challenges Principals’ perceptions of barriers in Title I schools NCES, 1996
Part III: Steps for Strengthening Partnerships for Learning Standards: What every child should know and learn Partners in Education: Individuals and groups that work together to support children’s learning. Shared Responsibilities: How each partner will work to help all children learn to high standards.
Come Together as a Team Step 1 Team-building strategies • Plan for the whole school and community: Include as many participants as possible. • Talk up ideas to generate interest, even in the early stages of planning. • Reach out to parents and others who have not traditionally been connected to the school.
Come Together as a Team Step 1 More team-building strategies • Anticipate and plan! Think ahead to the challenges you may face and plan potential solutions. • Create a family-school compact for all students to support shared responsibility. • Be creative! Make sure your partnership and its activities reflect your school and its community.
Choose a Framework of Shared Responsibility Step 2 The National PTA Standards for Parent/Family Involvement Programs • Student learning • Communicating • Parenting • Volunteering • School decision making and advocacy • Collaborating with community
Shared Responsibility Step 2 Choose a framework of shared responsibility Title I Family-School Compact Framework
Shared Responsibility for Learning and High Achievement Step 2 Set high standards and expectations Provide and support sound instruction Make schools safe and drug free Apply modern technology
Shared Responsibility for Communication Step 2 Times and locations convenient to families Priority of time for teachers to communicate with families Use of modern technology Accommodations for non-English speaking families
Shared Responsibility for Building Capacity through Volunteering and Training Step 2 Provide teacher training on effective family involvement Help parents become better educators at home Provide training for tutors Encourage volunteering
Implement Strategies for Success Step 3 • Address the needs of your school population • Obtain and allocate resources
The new IDEA supports family involvement Step 3 IDEA now ensures that: • Information provided by parents will be considered when evaluating a child for a disability. • A team of qualified professionals and the parents of the child determine the child’s eligibility for special education services. • The child’s parents are members of the IEP team. • Parents participate in any group that makes decisions on the educational placement of their child.
Bilingual education supports family involvement Step 3 Title VII - Bilingual Education: • Authorizes use of funds for parent outreach and training activities. • Requires local educational agencies to inform parents of: • The benefits and nature of bilingual education programs. • The reasons for selection of their child for potential enrollment.
Federal Resources Step 3 • ESEA • Title I • Migrant • Bilingual • Goals 2000 Parent Centers • IDEA Parent Training and Information Projects
Measure and Evaluate Step 4 The Power of Performance Measurement • What gets measured, gets done. • If you don’t measure results, you can’t tell success from failure. • If you can’t recognize failure, you can’t correct it. • If you can’t see success, you can’t reward it. • If you can’t see success, you can’t learn from it. From Reinventing Government by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler
Data Sources Step 4 • School profiles • Administrative records • Surveys • Focus Groups • Tracking studies
Asking the Right QuestionsTeacher-Evaluation FormRochester, New York Step 4 • My child’s teacher is accessible and responsive to me when I call or want to meet. • The teacher makes clear what my child is expected to learn in this class. • The teacher contacts me promptly with concerns about my child’s academic or behavioral performance. From Education Week on the Web, September 17, 1997
More Questions from Rochester, New York Step 4 • As needed, the teacher and I develop a cooperative strategy to help my child. • My child’s teacher assigns clear and meaningful homework. • The teacher shares my high expectations for my child’s learning and behavior. From Education Week on the Web, September 17, 1997
Collect a variety of survey data Step 4 Parents of third-graders who report that they have rules that the child must follow about completing homework assignments. Percent of third-grade students rated “high” on completing homework assignments according to teachers. vs. Prospects, 1993
Setting performance standards Step 4 Four Methods for Measuring Performance #1 Treatment Control Benchmarking Against the Best Year 1 Year 2 Absolute Performance Standard Improvement Over Time
Methods for Measuring Performance Step 4 Mark improvement over time • Marks the progress of doing better than before • Allows all schools to set and reach goals, no matter what their starting level of achievement • Requires having a baseline and comparing information over time
Methods for Measuring Performance Step 4 Benchmark against the best • With schools that serve children from families with similar characteristics (for example, similar income level) • With schools of similar size • With schools located in similar settings (rural, urban, suburban)
Methods for Measuring Performance Step 4 Set an absolute performance standard: Indicates whether your school is doing as well as or better than your desired level of performance.
Lessons for Using Data Step 4 • Use the process to bring educators and community members together. • Use data to focus attention on real problems. • Beware of a picture painted in a single stroke. • Beware of data that mask achievement gaps. • Report local data strategically. • Double-check data. • Keep data simple but exciting. Adapted from Education Trust’s Community Data Guide
Disaggregate for Details Step 4 Parents rate their third-grade child’s school School Poverty Concentration Prospects, 1993
Improve and Strengthen the Partnership Step 5 • Lessons Learned • There is no “one size fits all” approach to partnerships. • Training and staff development is an essential investment. • Communication is the foundation of effective partnerships. • Flexibility and diversity are key. High Standards Improvement Needed Your School’s Performance From Family Involvement in Children’s Education: Successful Local Approaches, U.S. Department of Education, 1997
Improve and Strengthen the Partnership Step 5 • More Lessons Learned • Projects need to take advantage of the training, assistance, and funding offered by sources external to school. • Changes takes time. • Projects need to regularly assess the effects of the partnership using multiple indicators. High Standards Improvement Needed Your School’s Performance From Family Involvement in Children’s Education: Successful Local Approaches, U.S. Department of Education, 1997
Partnership for Family Involvement in Education What can the federal government and the Partnership for Family Involvement in Education do to help your school or district? www.ed.gov/PFIE 1-800-USA-LEARN