What is it? How do we measure it? and
How should we use Parent Involvement data in the
context of Focused Monitoring?
National Center on Special Education
Alliance for Parent Centers-Region 3 Technical
Assistance Center Conference
June 11, 2004
Thank you Florida!!
All images you see will be available at
Accountability for What Matters
W. Alan Coulter, Ph.D.
Jane Nell Luster, Ph.D.
Sandy Schmitz, Ph.D.
Lisa Persinger, Ph.D.
National Center for Special Education Accountability Monitoring
LSU Health Sciences Center
NCSEAM Project Partners and
Technical Assistance Entities
B C&B B
C B B
B C C&B
Project Partners: January 1, 2003 – April 1, 2004
What is Focused Monitoring
“A process that purposefully selects
priority areas to examine for
compliance/results while not
specifically examining other areas for
compliance to maximize resources,
emphasize important variables, and
increase the probability of improved
Premises for Thinking About
States have an obligation to
demonstrate general supervision for the
implementation of federal law
States have procedures for examining
the policies and procedures of LEAs
Data are available describing
performance and results of LEAs
The NCSEAM Goal
To develop a valid and reliable
measure of parent involvement
and satisfaction that can be
used for the purposes of
evaluation, accountability, and
What’s a workgroup ?
Addresses a Critical Issue related to
Includes a number of interested partners
Has a specific desired result that will
enhance focused monitoring
Questions people have been
asking about Parent Involvement
What is Parent Involvement?
Does Parent Involvement improve student outcomes?
What aspects of Parent Involvement are most important for
families of students with disabilities?
To what extent are schools and districts making efforts to
What strategies can schools use to improve Parent
Does Parent Satisfaction indicate improved results for kids?
Is it possible to measure Parent Involvement accurately and
What would a measure of Parent Involvement look like?
How would a measure of Parent Involvement be used in the
context of Focused Monitoring?
Brief answers to some of the
Question: Does Parent Involvement improve
Answer: A large body of literature suggests that in
the most general sense, there is an association
between Parent Involvement and student
outcomes. However, there are as yet few studies of
causal links between specific types of Parent
Involvement and specific types of student
outcomes. We do not know of any rigorous
empirical studies of the association between Parent
Involvement and outcomes for students with
Brief answers to some of the
Question: To what extent are schools and districts
making efforts to involve parents?
Answer: Many schools and districts have policies
and programs in place that target Parent
Involvement. However, few use appropriate tools to
evaluate the impact of these programs.
Furthermore, the answer may depend on who one
asks. The National Center on Educational Statistics
compared two national studies of Parent
Involvement; in one study, the information was
provided by schools, in the other, the information
was provided by parents. The two data sources did
not always agree.
Brief answers to some of the
Question: Is it possible to measure Parent
Involvement accurately and reliably?
Yes. A number of measures of Parent Involvement
have been developed over the last decade.
However, for various reasons the existing
instruments are not appropriate or adequate for the
purpose of a) assessing multiple dimensions of
Parent Involvement with regard to the education of
students with disabilities, b) providing usable data
for monitoring and accountability, and c) guiding
program improvement. Therefore, NCSEAM is
supporting development of a new measure.
Types of Parent Involvement
The multiple dimensions of Parent
Involvement have been captured in
different ways by different investigators.
The most notable work is that of Prof.
Joyce Epstein, Director of the Center for
Family, School and Community Partnerships
at Johns Hopkins University.
6 Types of Involvement
4. LEARNING AT HOME
5. DECISION MAKING
6. COLLABORATING WITH THE
Epstein’s 6 Types of
Helps educators develop more comprehensive
programs of school-family-community
Each type includes many different practices of
Each type has particular challenges that must be
met in order to involve all families, and
each type requires redefinitions of some basic
principles of involvement.
Finally, each type leads to different results for
students, families, and teachers
Type 1: Parenting
Assist families with parenting and child-
rearing skills, understanding child and
adolescent development, and setting
home conditions that support children as
students at each age and grade level.
Assist schools in understanding families.
Type 1: Parenting Activities
Parenting activities increase families’ understanding of
their children’s growth and development. These activities
may assist parents with information on children’s health,
safety, nutrition, other topics of child and adolescent
development, and home conditions that support
students’ education at each grade level. Type I activities
also increase schools’ understanding of families with
strategies that promote exchanges of information
between educators, parents, and other caregivers about
their concerns and goals for the children.
Does your school conduct workshops for parents on child or
Does your school sponsor home visiting programs or neighborhood
meetings to help families understand schools and to help schools
Does your school conduct an orientation for new parents?
Does your school conduct a survey or otherwise seek input from
parents regarding their children’s needs or goals?
Does your school conduct/provide parent education workshops or
Does your school provide workshops specific to families of students
with disabilities and their particular issues?
Does your school provide information on your child’s specific
Type 2: Communicating
Communicate with families about school
programs and student progress through
effective school-to-home and home-to-school
Communicating activities include school-to-home
communications about school and classroom
programs and children’s progress. Two-way
communication by teachers and families
increases understanding and cooperation
between school and home.
Questions asked (1)
Does your school conduct a formal conference with every parent at
least once a year?
Does your school use appropriate communication strategies for
parents who do not speak or read English well, or need large type?
Does your school provide written communication in the language of
the parents and translators as needed?
Does your school send home folders of student work weekly or
monthly for parent review and comment?
Does your school provide regular communication about your child’s
Does your school contact you regarding your child’s academic or
Questions asked (2)
Does your school produce a regular school newsletter with up-to-
date information about the school, special events, organizations,
Does your school provide parents information regarding
performance on standardized tests?
Does your school provide clear and timely information regarding
the scheduling of the IEP meeting?
Does your school provide families with information regarding the
impact of their child’s disability on their education?
Does your school clearly communicate information about your
child’s placement in special education?
Type 3: Volunteering
Improve recruitment, training, work, and
schedules to involve families as volunteers and
audiences at the school or in other locations to
support students and school programs.
Volunteering activities enable families to share
their time and talents to support the school, in
classrooms, at home, or in the community. The
activities may be in-classroom or in-school.
Does your school conduct an annual survey to identify
interests, talents and availability of parent volunteers?
Does your school make you aware of opportunities to
volunteer at the school?
Does your school create flexible volunteering
opportunities and schedules enabling employed parents
Does your school provide opportunities to volunteer in
your child’s classroom?
Does your school provide transportation or child care
services when volunteering your time?
Type 4: Learning at Home
Involve families with their children in learning activities
at home, including homework and other curriculum-
linked activities and decisions.
Learning at home activities provide information and
ideas to families about the academic work that their
children do in class, how to help with homework, and
other curriculum-related activities and decisions.
Activities for parents should increase teacher-parent
communications and parent-child discussions at home
through reviewing student work, practicing skills,
monitoring homework, choosing courses, and conducting
other academic-related activities
Does your school provide information to families on how to monitor
and discuss homework?
Does your school provide information to families on required skills in
Does your school provide information to families on how to help
students improve their skills?
Does your school assist families in helping students set academic
Does your school provide parents with information on
accommodations their children may need in order to complete
Does your school make efforts to ensure that behavioral supports
are consistent across school and home settings?
Type 5: Decision Making
Include families as participants in school
decisions, governance, and advocacy through
PTA/PTO, school councils, committees, and
other parent organizations.
Decision-making activities enable families to
participate in decisions about school programs
and develop leaders and representatives.
Questions asked (1)
Does your school have an active PTA, PTO, or other
Does your school include parent representatives on
advisory councils or other decision-making committees?
Does your school develop links from parent
representatives to all parents?
Does your school include parents of all types of students
(i.e. racial and ethnic minorities, low income, special
education, etc) in decision-making opportunities?
Questions asked (2)
Does your school encourage/invite active participation
of parents in the IEP decision-making process?
Does the school actively involve parents in curriculum
decisions for special education programs?
Does the school involve parents in evaluating
educational programs and services?
Type 6: Collaborating with the
Coordinate resources and services for
families, students, and the school
with businesses, agencies, and other
groups, and provide services to the
Does your school provide specific information to parents
on community services, programs, and agencies?
Does your school coordinate after-school or other out-of-
school activities with community businesses or agencies?
Does your school involve families in locating specific
Does your school provide information on community
resources specific to children with disabilities?
Does your school provide parents information on the full
range of transition services available to students with
What about Parent Satisfaction?
In a thorough evaluation of program
services and student outcomes, parents’
perceptions should be considered an
important source of information.
Parents are in a unique position to
assess the benefit that their children
receive as a result of special education
The University of Miami
Beginning in 1999, the University of Miami,
working with the monitoring stakeholders’
group in Florida, developed a parent survey
for use in the context of district monitoring.
The survey focuses primarily on parent
satisfaction but also includes several items
related to parent involvement.
Recent analyses of over 16,000 surveys
returned between 1999 and 2001 indicate
that parent satisfaction and involvement are
Sample items relating to overall
quality of services
Overall, I am satisfied with the special
education services my child receives.
My child spends most of the school day
involved in productive activities.
The school addresses my child’s
Sample items relating to teachers
Teachers set appropriate goals for my
Teachers expect my child to succeed.
The people who work with my child
have the proper knowledge and
Sample items relating to child
I am satisfied with my child’s academic
My child is learning independent living
skills that will be useful later on in life.
My child spends enough time with
regular education students.
My child has friends at school.
Sample items relating to school
The school makes sure I understand the IEP
The school explained to me what I could do if
I don’t agree with the IEP.
The school/district offers parents training
related to their child’s needs and education.
I receive progress notes and/or phone calls
from my child’s teacher(s).
Sample items relating to attitudes
of school personnel
The school wants to hear my ideas.
The people at my child’s school treat
me with respect.
I am comfortable talking about my child
with school staff.
Sample items relating to parent
I have attended one or more meetings about
my child this school year.
I participate in school activities with m child.
I am a member of the PTA/PTO.
I have used parent support services in my
I attend School Advisory Committee
What does Parent Involvement Look
Like in a Focused Monitoring System?
Focus Group Meetings
Parent Team Members
Role of NM Parent Members
to participate in:
1) All day training sessions;
2) Parent meeting (facilitator)
3) A visit of 2-4 days (depending on the size
of the district to which you are assigned);
4) A one-day post-visit meeting, and
5) collect critical information to refine the