This study addressed the question: when high schools reach out to involve parents, are parents more likely to be involved in their teenagers'; education? Guided by the microinteractionst theory of symbolic interaction, this study analyzed individual-level reports from parents about their perceptions of school outreach and of their own involvement. Data were analyzed from over 11,000 parents of high school seniors participating in the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988. Findings revealed that, regardless of students' background and achievement, high schools' outreach positively and significantly predicted parents' involvement in a range of parenting, volunteering, and learning at home activities. The data suggest that high schools have the capacity to conduct activities that encourage families' involvement in teenagers' learning and development.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Astone, N.M.& McLanahan, S.S. (1991). Family structure, parental practices and high school completion. American Sociological Review, 56, 309–320.
Blumer, H. (1969). Symbolic interactionism: Perspectives and methods. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Catsambis, S. (1998). Expanding the knowledge of parental involvement in secondary education: Effects on high school academic success, Report 27, Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
Catsambis, S.& Garland, J.E. (1997). Parental involvement in students' education during middle and high school, Report 18, Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
Chen, X.& Chandler, K. (2001). Efforts by public K-8 schools to involve parents in children's education: Do school and parents agree? US Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Washington, DC.
Clark, R.M. (1984). Family life and school achievement: Why poor black children succeed or fail? Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Collins, R. (1994). Four sociological traditions. New York: Oxford University Press.
Connors, L.J.& Epstein, J.L. (1994). Taking stock: Views of teachers, parents, and students on school, family, and community partnerships in high schools, Report 25, Center on Families, Communities, Schools, and Children's Learning, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
Dauber, S.L.& Epstein, J.L. (1993). Parents attitudes and practices of involvement in inner-city elementary and middle schools. In N.F. Chavkin (Ed.), Families and schools in a pluralistic society. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, pp. 53–71.
Deslandes, R.& Bertrand, R. (2003). Contributions to parent involvement in schooling at the secondary level. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.
Desimone, L. (1999). Linking parental involvement with student achievement: Do race and income matter? The Journal of Educational Research, 93, 11–30.
Dornbusch, S.M.& Glasgow, K.L. (1996). The structural context of family-school relations. In A. Booth& J.F. Dunn (Eds.), Family-school links: How do they affect education outcomes? Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., pp. 35–44.
Dornbusch, S.M.& Ritter, P.L. (1988). Parents of high school students: A neglected resource. Educational Horizons, 66, 75–77.
Eccles, J.S.& Harold, R.D. (1996). Family involvement in children's and adolescents' schooling. In A. Booth and J.F. Dunn (Eds.), Family-school links: How do they affect education outcomes? Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., pp. 3–34.
Epstein, J.L. (1987). Toward a theory of family-school connections: Teacher practices and parent involvement. In K. Hurrelmann, F. Kaufmann,& F. Losel (Eds.), Social intervention: Potential and constraints. New York: DeGruyter, pp. 121–136.
Epstein, J.L. (1992). School and family partnerships. In M. Alkin (Ed.), Encyclopedia of educational research. New York: MacMillan, pp. 1139–1151.
Epstein, J.L. (1995). School/family/community partnerships: Caring for the children we share. Phi Delta Kappan, 76(9), 701–712.
Epstein, J.L.& Connors, L.J. (1994). Trust fund: School, family, and community partnerships in high school, Report 24, Center on Families, Communities, Schools, and Children's Learning, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
Epstein, J.L.& Dauber, S.L. (1991). School programs and teacher practices of parent involvement in inner-city elementary and middle schools. The Elementary School Journal, 91, 289–305.
Filp, J. (1998). From mutual blame towards trust: Changing school-family relationships in Chile. Childhood Education, 74(6), 346–350.
George, P. (1995). Search institute looks at home and school: Why aren't parents getting involved? The High School Magazine, March, 9–11.
Georgiou, S.N. (1998). Opening school doors: Teacher-parent-student relations in Cyprus. Childhood Education, 74(6), 362–366.
Goyette, K.& Xie, Y. (1991). Educational expectations of Asian American youths: Determinants and ethnic differences. Sociology of Education, 72, 22–36.
Ho, Esther S.C. (2003). The contribution of parental involvement and parental investment on student learning in three Asian educational systems: Hong Kong, Japan, Korea. Proposal for paper presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.
Ho, Esther S.C.& Willms, D.J. (1996). Effects of parental involvement on eighth-grade achievement. Sociology of Education, 69, 126–141.
Hoover-Dempsey, K.V.& Sandler, H.M. (1997). Why do parents become involved in their children's education? Review of Educational Research, 67, 3–42.
Ingles, S.J., Thalji, L., Pulliam, P., Bartot, V.H.,& Frankel, M.R. (1994). National educational longitudinal study of 1988. Second follow-up: Parent component data file user's manual. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement, US Department of Education.
Kohler, H. (1998). Parents as partners in schooling in Germany: The urgency of fundamental dialogue. Childhood Education, 74(6), 372–374.
Kung, H.Y. (2003). Parental involvement in the academic achievement of middle school students in Taiwan. Proposal for paper presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.
Lareau, A. (1987). Social class differences in family-school relationships: The importance of cultural capital. Sociology of Education, 60, 73–85.
Lee, S. (1994). Family-school connections and students' education: Continuity and change of family involvement from the middle grades to high school. PhD dissertation, Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
Phelan, P., Davidson, A.L.,& Yu, H.C. (1988). Adolescents' worlds: Negotiating family peers, and school. New York: Teachers College Press.
Pong, S.L. (1998). The school compositional effects of single parenthood on 10th-grade reading achievement. Sociology of Education, 71, 23–42.
Ravn, B. (1998). Formal and information parental involvement in school decision-making in Denmark. Childhood Education, 74(6), 375–377.
Ritzer, G. (1988). Contemporary sociological theory (2nd ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Sanders, M.G. (1998). School-family-community partnerships: An action team approach. The High School Magazine, January/February, 38–49.
Sanders, M.G., Epstein, J.L.,& Connors-Tadros, L. (1999). Family partnerships with high schools: The parents' perspective, Report 32, Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
Schneider, B.& Coleman, J.S. (Eds.) (1993). Parents, their children, and schools. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, Inc.
Sheldon, S.B. (2002). Parents' social networks and beliefs as predictors of parent involvement. The Elementary School Journal, 102, 301–316.
Simon, B.S. (2000). Predictors of high school and family partnerships and the influence of partnerships on student success. PhD dissertation, Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
Simon, B.S. (2001a). Family involvement in high school: Predictors and effects. National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Bulletin, 85, 8–19.
Simon, B.S. (2001b). From the principal's office: Patterns of high school-family involvement. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Anaheim, CA.
Singh, K., Bickley, P.G., Trivette, P., Keith, T.Z.,& Keith, P.B. (1995). The effects of four components of parental involvement on eighth-grade student achievement: Structural analysis of NELS-88 data. School Psychology Review, 24, 299–317.
Stevenson, D.L.& Baker, D.P. (1987). The family-school relation and the child's school performance. Child Development, 58, 1348–1357.
Street, P. (1998). Home-school cooperation at the secondary level in the United Kingdom the successful schools project. Childhood Education, 74(6), 359–361.
Thomas, W.& Thomas, D.S. (1928). The child in America: Behavior problems and programs. New York: Knopf.
Van Voorhis, F.L. (2001). Interactive science homework: An experiment in home and school connections. National Association of Secondary Schools Principals, 85(627), 20–32.
Villas-Boas, A. (1998). The effects of parental involvement in homework on student achievement in Portugal and Luxembourg. Childhood Education, 74(6), 367–371.
About this article
Cite this article
Simon, B.S. High School Outreach and Family Involvement. Social Psychology of Education 7, 185–209 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:SPOE.0000018559.47658.67
- High School
- Longitudinal Study
- Social Psychology
- Family Involvement
- High School Senior