The Impact of Parent Participation and Involvement in Pupils Academic Performance

A case study of Kihorezo Parish

Doctoral Thesis / Dissertation, 2016

43 Pages, Grade: A



Table of Contents


1.1. Background to the study
1.2. Statement of the problem
1.3. Objectives of the study

2.1. The effect of regular attendance of school meetings on learners’ academic performance in Primary schools
2.2. Effects of parents’ provision of scholastic materials on academic performance of their children in primary schools
2.3. Effects of parents’ provision of mid-day meals on academic performance of their children in primary schools
2.4. Effects of parents’ involvement in facilitating their primary school children’s homework on their academic performance


3.0 Introduction
3.1 Research design
3.2 Target population
3.3 Sample size
3.4 Data analysis


4.1. The effect of parents, regular attendance of school meetings on learners’ academic performance in primary schools







The mediating role of parents seems to be having a paramount effect on the child development, child academic performance, child’s aspirations and overall child achievement. Based on the findings of the study, the researcher has been able to identify the effect of parent participation and involvement on the academic performance of their children in primary schools. Some of the required areas that require parents to get involved in include; providing scholastic materials, packing food for lunch, attending school meetings and school days, providing health care , providing safety and security, doing voluntary work at school, assisting in doing homework, providing support to the child and providing life skills among other duties.



The study was intended to investigate the effect of parents’ participation and involvement in schools and pupils’ academic performance in primary schools in Kihorezo Parish in Rukiga district. According to the department of education in the United States (2004), parental involvement involves participation of parents in their children’s schooling and meaningful communication involving student academic learning, other school activities, and ensuring that parents play an integral role in assisting their children’s learning. This is so because parents have the full knowledge their children’s background better than teachers, which help parents to participate in education of their children in order to improve in their children academic performance. It was found out that, the involvement of parents was inadequate especially in provision of scholastic materials, attending school meetings; provision of mid-day meals, and work with pupils on homework was not done properly. . Nye, et al (2006) defines parental involvement as the process through which parents meaningfully participate in various educational activities of their children Therefore; it is recommended that parents should be fully educated on how important it is to fully participate and their involvement in education and its effect on academic performance of their children.

1.1. Background to the study.

Feurstein (2000) defines parental involvement as activity encompassing a wide range of behaviors like discussing school activities with the children and attending parent-teacher conferences.

According to Myeko (2000), parental involvement as a process through which parents meaningfully participate in the various educational activities of their children. The activities range from occasional attendance of school functions like school meetings, sports day, and music and dance and drama to intense efforts aimed at helping parents become better educators of their own children.

Many scholars believe that children whose parents participate get involved in education of their children tend to perform better than those whose parents are not involved (Dervaries and O’Brien, 2011; Grotroal, 1987). Handerson and Karen (2002) confirm this in their analysis of educational achievement in Texas, United States of America. Cheukin and William (1988) on their studies in developed countries of Japan, Britain and United States of America provided evidence that schools with parental involvement programs excel more academically. They also indicate that constraints that can emerge between school and family can be resolved through this partnership of the school and parents, and learners will benefit in many ways like feeling secure, safe and happy when coming to schools as well as having a sense of belonging. It is this security coupled with parents’ trust of teachers and teachers feeling confortable to educate the learner that builds the learner’s successive academic progress. This is also reflected in the type of the education inputs that the system will produce.

According to Dervarics and O’Brien (2011), Epstein is the popular scholar in issues of parents’ involvement in education of their children and has been referred to as “an expert of parent involvement” She identified six major ways in which parents get involved in education of their children. These include parenting, communication, volunteering, learning at home, decision making and collaborating with the community (Epstein, 2009). She regards parents participation and involvement as the most powerful influence in a child’s education. Hill and Tyson (2009) further develop about a dozen conceptualizations of parental involvement. These include; ensuring daily attendance of the learner; attending parent teacher conferences and talking to other parents at school, regularly talking to the child about school; checking whether the child has done homework; balancing homework and school activities; having a variety of reading materials in the house; balancing school work and time with friends; having a set timetable for homework; attending activities at school; regulating the amount of time the child watches television; reviewing the child’s weekly plan; regularly talking with the child’s teachers.

The current generation of formal education has brought changes in the way parents’ participation education of their children. Whereas in the past, informal education used to traditionally have parents take full of most responsibility upon parents, today parents feel that they are less responsible. This creates a gap between all stakeholders on what is expected to be obtained from what education is supposed to offer. Therefore parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their children’s education at school because they are full partners in their children’s education and are included, as appropriate, in decision making and on advisory committees to assist in the education of their children. The commitments are derived from USA’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act enacted in 2001.

In 1997, the government of England, set out a strategy for securing parental involvement was well stipulated in Education White Paper (1997) entitled “Excellence in school”. It had three elements of providing parents with information, giving parents a voice and encouraging parental partnerships with schools. In Canada’s Ontario Province, Education Act contains regulations in section seven that compel parents to among others, pay prescribed fees for their school going children, provide the type and minimum amount of clothing that a parent has to provide for a pupil; deposit a sum of money with the business administrator of a school for the purpose of meeting the personal incidental expenses of a pupil. In Japan, the Ministry of Foreign affairs guidelines on parental participation emphasizes that home education by parents is essential for the formation of children’ character and so requires schools to open opportunities for parental participation.

Kremer, et al (2004) stresses that in developing countries like Mexico, some incentive programs that are in place in which they motivate and encourage parents to become attentive to their children’s studies and become more involved through for helping them to complete their homework and attend parent teacher meetings. In India, Streekanth (2010) points it out that the recent endeavor to government to universalize education at the elementary and secondary level in which parents, educated, semi-literate and literate are all part of this movement to bring about silent revolution of educating their children as a means for improving their academic performance standards. Such incentive programs are an initiation of the government, civil society, the politicians and the community.

Studies done in Africa indicate that the situation is not quite different from the rest of the world, for instance policies are developed in order to increase involvement of parents at national, regional and local levels (Bray, 2001; Suzuki, 2002). In Kenya for instance, there is wide legislation that obliges for parent involvement in the school to support teaching and learning like provision of instructional materials, food, clothes and also be active members on selected committee of the school. It also streamlines aspects of participation through School Management Committees and Parent Teacher Associations where important policies are made for the welfare of both staff and learners. Similarly, Uganda’s education policy on Universal Primary Education (2004) specifically highlights parents responsibility on the academic progress of the learners to include but not limited to: ensuring that children have minimum requirements like pens, pencils and note books, packing food for children while going to school for lunch, provision of school uniform, helping learners to do their homework, provision of security to the little ones and ensuring that they are safe and secure. All the mentioned efforts as indicated in different country contexts show that parent involvement is valued do to importance in partnering with the schools for the good of children in formal education.

Kagoda’s (2012) shares the same assertion who explains that “the quality of children lives before beginning of formal education greatly influences the kind of learners they will be in formal education. Similarly, Rasinki and Fredrick (1988), in Vahedi and Nikdel (2011) feels that parents lay a foundation for children’s learning. It is this foundation which is upheld through parent partnership with school in formal education of their children through the different mechanisms of participation.

In most developing countries implementing free education for all such as Uganda, Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, it has been found out that some parents have looked at government as totally responsible for their children’s education (Kagoda, 2012; Ninshimura, et al.,2009). They have a feeling that provision of free education relieves them of the very many responsibilities they are supposed to do; of course which is a misconception. This has implications on how parents get involved in the care of their children and the entire family as we as other aspects of their children’s education apart from the direct costs involved. According to Nishimura et al (2009), this has particularly made parents to be sleeping partners in every kind of school participation in school activities and entire education process. This is evidenced by a study done in Iganga district where parents refuse to contribute to school needs based on presidential promises (African Network for Prevention and Protection of Children against Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) Uganda chapter, 2009). Inspite of free education granted by government it is prudent to note that a parent still as a big role to play if the education process is to achieve the desired output.

A study done by Oluka and Opolot Okurut (2008) found that pupils’ perceptions of their academic success wholly depended on their parents’ full involvement and provision of necessities. This involvement and provision of necessities as well as participating in school activities, cover a whole range of direct contributions such as those that this study intended to examine further- attending meetings, helping children on homework, provision of scholastic materials and mid-day meals respectively in Kihorezo parish of Rukiiga district.

inspectionaspects concerning the welfare of pupils are given attention as evidenced from the various reports the researcher read. Issues like parents’ negligence, that leads to their children failure to go to school or do their work, with impunity are highlighted as challenges to academic performance.

1.2. Statement of the problem.

Despite the governments effort to provide education for all most stakeholders still lag behind as far as participation in the school system is concerned. In Uganda, Universal Primary Education (UPE) policy gives guidelines spells out the basic roles of parents is to provide basic needs for their children such as food, education, clothing and instructional materials. On a bad note, It has been observed that several parents of Kihorezo parish are willing to actively get involved in participation and involvement in providing quality education to their children. Sometimes parents are invited into their meeting with the teachers but the turn up is always so worrying, according to one of the school head teacher. Some parents do attend meetings regularly, they do not provide instructional materials like books, pens, pencils and mathematical instruments, they do not pack food for their children, instead children go back home for lunch which lead to late coming in the afternoon and there is low involvement in the children’s homework. The act of parents not participating fully in education might be contributing to their children’s low performance of primary children. The low academic achievement and performance of primary children are likely to demoralize the interest of parents to support their children’s education and their children may end up dropping out of school which may lead to negative consequences to socio-economic development of Kihorezo Parish.

Research done in the developed countries suggests that parental involvement is associated with youth academic success, and estimated that little is known about this relationship in the developing communities. It is further, not clear which type of parental involvement is significant in this case that may impact the academic performance of children from developing countries. This study examines important areas that include:

(a) Parental involvement at home and in school are meaningfully different constructs in a population of Ugandan children and their parents and

(b) Parental involvement predicts academic performance. Results suggest that parental involvement is a dimensional construct consists of home and school involvement. The effect of parental involvement on children academic performance appears to be a function of the type of involvement. Home-based parental involvement is associated positively with academic performance, while school-based parental involvement has a negative association. It is important for parents to model positive attitudes and behaviors toward school and convey the importance of school.

The level of parental involvement and participation has important implications for children’s academic performance. Social cognitive theory suggests that youth absorb messages about appropriate behavior and socially accepted goals by observing and talking with important people in their lives (Bandura, 1977). Based on this assertion, parents have the potential to model positive attitudes and behaviors toward school, and research in developed countries such as the United States has shown that parental involvement contributes to youth academic success (Fan & Chen, 2001; Houtenville & Conway, 2008; Jeynes, 2003, 2007). Therefore children are more likely to have a motivational effect and perform better in school when their parents show an interest in their school activity, are willing to assist them while doing homework, and are willing to hold their children accountable for accomplishment of school assignments.

Children who are not hard working at school usually perceive school as valuable when parents actively demonstrate their role in school through involvement as reflected in different tasks.

Literature available on the overall impact of parental involvement and participation and children academic performance in developing countries is minimal.

Would be used to determine whether the relationship exists and which type of parental involvement has effects are important to determine in Uganda, where parents often do not have the education to engage their children in schoolwork or the resources to hire tutors. Does involvement in parent-teacher association meetings, volunteering at school, talking to their children about the importance of school matter? This study will begin to answer these questions and contribute to the literature on the relationship between parental involvement and academic performance in Uganda and the developing world at large.

It is important to note that all measures of parental involvement used in studies in developing countries are based on scales that have been established in the context of developed countries. Therefore parental involvement may be different in developed countries compared to developing countries. These differences may include; types and level of involvement as well as taking into account particular parameters when measuring parental involvement in developing countries. Therefore, this paper focuses on the construct validity of parental involvement in a sample of Uganda youth and their parents. Research on parental involvement and academic outcomes in the US suggests that parental involvement is best understood as taking multiple forms. At a minimum, parental involvement appears to differ based on the context (i.e., at home vs. in school)(Giallo, Treyvaud, Matthews, &Kienhuis, 2010; Jeynes, 2003).

Research also shows that parental involvement at home and in school is linked positively to a variety of academic outcomes (Jeynes, 2003, 2007). However, research on parental involvement in school is more mixed than research on involvement at home, particularly among different racial and ethnic groups (Fan, 2001; Sui-Chu & Willms, 1996). In addition to influencing educational outcomes directly, parental involvement also might mediate the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and academic performance (Altschul, 2012; Lareau, 2011).

While these relationships have been demonstrated in the US and other developed countries, It may take a different dimension in developing countries.

Therefore, the researcher used the validated measurement of a parental involvement scale to examine the relationship in Uganda.

This study contributes to the literature by testing an adaptation of a parental involvement scale that considers the differences in parental involvement in developed countries versus developing countries. It also investigates the relationship between at-home and in-school parental involvement and academic performance. The study addresses that issue by exploring the following research objectives:

1.3. Objectives of the study

1- To determine the effects of parents’ regular attendance of school meetings on learners’ academic performance.
2- To establish effects of parents’ provision of scholastic materials on academic performance of their children in primary schools.
3- To investigate the effects of parents’ provision of mid-day meals on academic performance of their children in primary schools.
4- To investigate the effects of parents’ involvement in facilitating their primary school children’s homework on their academic performance.


2.1. The effect of regular attendance of school meetings on learners’ academic performance in Primary schools.

Many Scholars indicate that school teaching and parental role complimentarily and this can be easily enhanced when parents have open an opportunity to participate together in meetings through parent teachers associations through where parents will be able to visit classrooms and interact with their children and teachers (Burke, 2012; Erlendsdottir, 2010; Kim 2008; Whittenberger; 2013). These studies cover a global context including developing countries like Namibia. Parents’ communication with teachers in this interactive process helps to generate ideas on how pupils can perform better by merging experiences of both the teacher and parent on the child’s academic capacity. According to Whittenberger (2013) this improves children engagement. However there is need to examine further the direct impact of parent presence in a classroom for effective teaching and learning to take place. This is because it is possible that parent- child relationships differ and might affect differently the action of parent visits to their children’s learning environments at school. That is some children may feel confortable while others may be uncomfortable due to the parents’ presence in the classroom.

Meetings are a platform for the parents and teachers to decide on how children should learn. In Namibia’s case, Erlendottir’s (2010) findings indicate that such meetings have enabled parents to share ideas through the interaction process, although there are cases of unequal participation when it comes to parents who are not outspoken during meetings. This is particularly important for parents in Uganda where Universal Primary Education has been implemented followed by their withdraw to participate in decision making. And instead parents are expected to decide on how their children should learn as well as taking a stand to support their own children for effective learning to take place for example providing meals and scholastic materials. Constitutionally every child has a right to basic education and basic necessities but all this seems to be on paper and it all lacks policy consistency. Therefore a Ugandan child is therefore not protected by law since even those who go to school, some learn with no expectation of midday meals.

Dervarics and O’Brien (2011) notes that attendance of meetings is the leading form of parent participation. Nishimura (2009) in a comparative analysis of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in Ghana, Malawi, and Uganda indicated that parents claimed to contribute to school by attending meetings. Although local government officials like District Officials contradicted their responses, it is very clear that these parents believe that attending meetings is important for the educational process of their children. The study portrayed a clear picture of African experience including Uganda, in which the current study was undertaken but it did not point out why such parents knew the importance of parents meetings but reluctant to regularly attend meetings. One would need to know whether meetings actually take place, whether parents are properly invited and in time and also whether there exists proper motivational to encourage their attendance of meetings. It is crucial for parents to know the factors behind the learning environment such as where their children learn from, who handles their children, the relationship between the learners and the teachers, the people they interact with outside home and how they behave while at school. This helps parents to fully understand and possibly appreciate what learners go through and be able to make their children catch up by providing moral and financial support for the betterment of their children’s academic performance. It is from that that the academic bit of their existence is explored and enhanced as well. While Nishimura’s study was based on four African countries, the researcher in the current study narrowed down the scope to Uganda.

Baker and Soden (1997) assert that relationship between parents involvement and children’s education can be improved through parents’ attendance of meetings and parent teacher conferences. This as many scholars indicate, enables parents to participate, evaluate and follow up their children to find out how their children are academically progressing. For instance Ondieki (2012), in her study done in Kenya argues that parents who maintain frequent contact with schools have higher achieving children than parents with no frequent contact. She goes on to argue that schools that are well-connected with the community tend to have higher achieving students than schools with fewer ties. The issue of better academic performance is a collective responsibility so that both parents and teachers need to participate together, schools should also put in means and ways of to encouraging them to participate. This forms the core of this book. Much as the parents may be motivated to follow up their children, they may not easily succeed in it unless schools allows them a platform for proper decision making. Unless such platforms are opened for parental participation, there develops a gap between a school teaching and parental roles thus a gap in teaching-learning process. The current study tested this particular phenomenon in Uganda’s context through the case of Kihorezo Parish to find out if such parental involvement is as significant as it is in Kenya.

According to Epstein (1987) parents’ involvement is multi-dimensional and include providing a home environment that support learning, communication between parents and teachers on classroom performance, active attendance of school activities such as Parents Teachers Association (PTA) and participating in school based decision making such as school committees. This enhances academic performance of children in primary schools. It makes all stakeholders own every prevailing situation and be able to have solutions created and every party motivated thus creating the conducive environment for the learners.

2.2. Effects of parents’ provision of scholastic materials on academic performance of their children in primary schools.

School-based parental involves activities such as participating in school activities, volunteering at school, and communicating with teachers and school staff (Mau, 1997; Oyserman et al., 2007).


Excerpt out of 43 pages


The Impact of Parent Participation and Involvement in Pupils Academic Performance
A case study of Kihorezo Parish
( Atlantic International University )  (EDUCATION)
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AAA, Academic performance, Academic achievement, students, school
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Anonymous, 2016, The Impact of Parent Participation and Involvement in Pupils Academic Performance, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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