Published Online: May 30, 2001
Published in Print: May 30, 2001, as Children & Families

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Partnerships With Parents

An effort to improve relationships between teachers and parents in the Los Angeles Unified School District is showing signs of progress, a recent evaluation shows.

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Read "Parents and Teachers Working Together To Support Third-Grade Achievement: Parents as Learning Partners Findings," from the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing.

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Partnerships With Parents: An effort to improve relationships between teachers and parents in the Los Angeles Unified School District is showing signs of progress, a recent evaluation shows.

Called Parents as Learning Partners, the initiative is having a positive impact on the attitudes of both parents and teachers toward family involvement in education, according to the study conducted by Denise D. Quigley, a senior education researcher from the Center for the Study of Evaluation at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The initiative—financed by grants from the Los Angeles Annenberg Metropolitan Project and the Weingart Foundation, also in Los Angeles—aims to find ways that parents and teachers can improve children's academic progress through communication, parenting practices, and learning at home. Strategies used include professional development for teachers; workshops for parents; and school services, such as voice mail.

By comparing 3rd grade classrooms in both PLP and non-PLP schools, the researcher found that teachers in the participating schools were more likely than those in the other schools to take part in staff development on parent involvement. Teachers in PLP schools were also more likely to use the voice-mail system at school—which was available in most non-PLP schools as well— to receive messages from parents.

The teacher survey, which was given during the 1998-99 school year, also showed that "more PLP teachers as compared to non- PLP teachers had a basic belief that parental involvement is an important element in children's learning."

Meanwhile, the study found that 82 percent of the PLP parents—compared with 64 percent of the other parents— said they believed parent training was helpful and worth their time.

Ms. Quigley also found that PLP students were more likely that the other students to complete their math homework, although homework-completion rates were similar in other subjects.

Beyond that, PLP students scored 4.5 percentile points higher in reading on the Stanford Achievement Test-9th Edition than non-PLP students. However, there were no significant differences in the math and language arts test scores of the two groups.

Also, researchers found that teachers who said they wanted to involve parents reported that their schools were not providing training on how to do that.

—Linda Jacobson

Vol. 20, Issue 38, Page 6

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