Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Dr. Euyoung Kim

Committee Member

Dr. Martin Finkelstein

Committee Member

Dr. Gerard Baba

Keywords

Parental Involvement, Parents, Socioeconomic status, Secondary education, College, Student Achievement

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Recent academic achievement gaps of public secondary students in Imo State, in WAEC, NECO, and JAMB examinations posed a threat to students’ aspiration to college education. The poor academic achievement level was denting previously achieved high academic record in Imo State. This trend was disturbing to parents and educators. However, this trend could be remedied if appropriate educational policy was enacted and implemented in secondary schools. One educational policy initiative that seemed to have worked in some countries is parents’ participation in their children’s education, otherwise, called “parental involvement.” Studies have shown that parental involvement in the education of their children help students to perform better both in their studies and in academic achievement. The aim of this study was, therefore, to explore parents’ involvement in the education of their children in public schools in Imo State, against the backdrop of their socioeconomic status. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 30 parent-participants of varying socioeconomic backgrounds; to examine their perception of parental involvement, their type of involvement, the expectation they held for their children’s education, their motivations to get involved, and the challenges they faced. The results of this study revealed that irrespective of their social and economic status, parents believed that secondary education was necessary for college education. Influenced by sociocultural norms, the parents perceived “parental involvement” not as a planned, structured effort directed solely toward the success of children, instead, they viewed participation in their children’s education as integral to their overall parental obligations. This opinion was true of the low-SES more than the middle and high SES parents. The middle- (n=6) and high-SES parents planned for their children’s education from childhood. All parents were knowledgeable about the importance

of education. The ultimate motivation parents had in sending their children to school was to achieve an upward social and economic mobility for their families’ overall well-being. This result challenged the common assumption that low-SES parents lacked understanding of the importance of education. The parents were involved with their children’s education at home than in schools. Lack of consistent scheduling of PTA meetings, and poor communication channel contributed to parents’ poor involvement in schools. Two factors: level of education and occupation, distinguished involvement capabilities of the middle- and high-SES, and low-SES parents, while income factor limited the low-income parents’ ability to provide school-related need for their children. Although, parents were eager to support their children to succeed in secondary school exit exams such as WAEC and NECO, and college entrance exam, JAMB; the inadequate carrying capacity of colleges, poverty, and high college-graduate employment opportunities challenged low-SES parents’ college funding decisions.

The results of this study could inform policy articulating the relevance of parents’ involvement in their children’s high school education. It could enlighten parents and school administrators on the need for collaboration and cooperation regarding finding parental involvement strategy that makes for student achievement.

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