What Matters Most To Students: A Large Scale Examination of the Effects of Family Engagement on Middle School Students’ Academic Adjustment and Achievement

By Anne Seitsinger and Stephen Brad.

Published by The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

As US schools move forward with school improvement efforts, the roles and responsibilities of key players in the educational system have shifted and been redefined. Family engagement in education is an essential component of high performing schools and a national priority. Less clear is how students perceive their family’s engagement in their education and its relationship to their achievement, performance, and adjustment. The structure, reliability, and stability of student perceptions of the family learning environment (FLE) were examined using a large-scale, multi-year sample of more than 570,000 reports from students attending over 500 middle-level schools. The FLE scale exhibited a stable dimensional structure, moderate levels of internal consistency, and high levels of stability over four years and across diverse student populations. Ratings of FLE were associated consistently with academic, behavioral, and socioemotional adjustment indices and teacher reports of parent contact practices. Implications for school improvement efforts are discussed.

Keywords: Family Engagement, Academic Adjustment, Achievement, Middle School, School Improvement

The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp.69-91. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 581.945KB).

Dr. Anne Seitsinger

Professor and Director, Center for School Improvement and Educational Policy, School of Education, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA

Dr. Anne Seitsinger is a professor and Director of the Center for School Improvement and Educational Policy at the University of Rhode Island. Her research on family and community engagement in education has been published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Educational Research, and Journal of School Psychology. She served as principal investigator of Rhode Island’s Reading First Initiative conducting large-scale examination of the implementation and impact of this federal program in several urban RI districts. Dr. Seitsinger also led the collection, analysis, and reporting of the School Accountability of Learning and Teaching (SALT) surveys, a principal component of Rhode Island’s Comprehensive Education Strategy for over ten years. Additionally, Dr. Seitsinger teaches courses within the School of Education for pre-service and in-service teachers, aspiring principals, and doctoral candidates.

Dr. Stephen Brad

Professor, Research, Center for School Improvement and Educational Policy, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA

Dr. Stephen Brand was a professor of research at the Center for School Improvement and Education at the University of Rhode Island. His work on measures of school climate are published in the Journal of School Psychology and Educational Psychologist. Dr. Brand passed away in July 2013.