Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The effectiveness of parental involvement on achievement and multicultural awareness at the middle school level in a visual arts program
by Muellenberg, Martha, Ed.D., University of South Dakota, 2014, 217; 3629803
Abstract (Summary)

In the past few decades, parental involvement has increasingly become more noted in a child's educational journey. More administrators and teachers are recognizing the value of parental involvement. Parental involvement benefits include increased student achievement and stronger school-family partnerships. Implementing parental involvement practices is often required for schools to receive federal support such as Title I funds. Although there is supporting research that shows the positive effects of parental involvement in elementary school settings, there is limited research as to how it can affect students at the middle school level. In addition, other effects of parental involvement that stretch beyond student learning, such as multicultural awareness, have received much less attention.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not parental involvement at the middle school level has an impact on students' multicultural awareness and learning. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were performed to identify statistical significance and emerging themes to be used to enhance classroom practices at the middle school level. An instrument adapted from the Civil Rights Project (CRP) was used to collect data from middle school students to measure multicultural awareness. Four and five-point Likert scales were used to measure respondents' levels of awareness. A researcher-created summative assessment was used as an instrument to evaluate student learning. Additionally, qualitative questions were used to elicit students' perceptions regarding culture and family involvement.

Quantitative findings from this study did not reveal statistical significance between the control and parental involvement groups regarding student learning and multicultural awareness. Practical significance was shown in two of the survey questions, which indicated small to medium effects between group and time and small to medium effects of interactions. Practical significance was also evident in the interactions between groups based on grade level in three of the survey questions. Qualitatively, the majority of middle school students felt they were open to learning about cultures different from their own. Most students believed their parents would enjoy hearing about what they learn in visual arts classes. Other themes emerged including the misconception that culture is exclusively related to peoples of the past and the notion that cultural topics are only discussed in terms of the oppression of others. The majority of fifth and sixth grade respondents believed that art class was a venue for learning about different cultures and could recognize the benefits of learning about people from different parts of the world.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nelson, Trudi
Commitee: Hummel, Tamra, Kindle, Karen, Nelson, Trudi, Reetz, Linda
School: University of South Dakota
Department: Curriculum and Instruction
School Location: United States -- South Dakota
Source: DAI-A 75/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art education, Middle School education, Multicultural Education, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Adolescents, Middle school, Multicultural awareness, Parental involvement, Visual arts
Publication Number: 3629803
ISBN: 9781321071528
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