Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Jeffrey D. Kromrey

Keywords

Elementary education, Family involvement, Measurement invariance, Model misspecification, Multi-group confirmatory factor analysis

Abstract

Epstein et al.'s Theory of Overlapping Spheres of Influence focuses on the interaction and communication, or partnerships, among families, schools, and the community to bring the three closer together. The theory works in conjunction with Epstein's typology of parental involvement, which focuses on six types of involvement that are instrumental to a child's development and his/her school and educational success. These serve as the framework for the study and support the construct of parent's involvement in children's schooling.

The purpose of the current study was to conduct further validation analyses of an inventory designed to measure the construct of parent involvement in their children's schooling through the investigation of measurement invariance to determine if the measurement properties of the inventory varied by race/ethnicity. The study compared the responses of 126 Hispanic parents/guardians with 116 White/non-Hispanic parents/guardians to investigate if these two groups were interpreting the items on the inventory in the same manner. The inventory was administered to a sample of parents/guardians of children in grades 3 through 5 in a local school district.

Findings indicated that the measurement model was misspecified for the White/non-Hispanic group and the Hispanic group and further measurement invariance testing was not conducted. Exploratory factor analyses were conducted in order to investigate which models would best fit the data for both groups. Feedback also was obtained from parents/guardians about the clarity of the inventory, which revealed their confusion with the response scale and the wording of particular items. In addition, they supplied issues or aspects of parent involvement that they found important but missing from the inventory. Results from the psychometric analyses and qualitative feedback indicated that the inventory requires modification and further psychometric investigation. In addition, caution should be exercised for anyone who may be considering utilizing the inventory. Results of the study were interpreted in terms of contributions to the parent involvement literature, as well as recommendations for the improvement of the inventory.