Investigating Differences of Parental Involvement in Secondary Education across Child Gender, Ethnicity, and Year Level
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameChild and Family Psychology
Parental involvement is widely considered to be an important part of the educational process throughout the years of schooling. However, few studies have discussed parental involvement at the secondary level, which is the focus of this thesis. The Parental Involvement in Secondary Education Questionnaire (PISEQ) was created to measure the type and level of parental involvement in children’s secondary education, and the degree of differences in parental involvement across gender, age, or ethnicity. The PISEQ includes both quantitative measures based on Likert scales and qualitative items to allow for more personalized and idiosyncratic responses. Individual subscales include Parent Communication, Parent Event Participation, Parent Facilitation of Study Environment, and Parental Involvement with School Work, School Facilitation of Parental Involvement, and School Communication with Parents. The PISEQ was administered to 163 parents (83.4% female) of a co-educational Decile 7 high school (years 9-13) in Christchurch, New Zealand. Parent participants were primarily of Pakeha/New Zealand European ethnicity (83%; 6% Asian; 5.4% Other Ethnic Group; 3% Pacific Islander; and 2% Maori) with mean age of parents 46.5 years (S.D. = 6.3). Results showed no differences between child gender groups for all parental involvement measures. As a group, ethnic minority parents were more involved with their child’s homework than Pakeha/European New Zealand parents. In addition, across the entire sample, parents of older children were less likely to facilitate a home study environment and assist with homework. Qualitative data showed that parents felt that the school communicated well, yet specific types and content of communication required development. Suggestions for improvement of parental involvement at secondary school level were discussed.