A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Studies of Education Reform: Parent and Community Involvement in Education - 1995

Summary Review of the Literature

Chapter 1
Overview of the Summary Literature Review

"Genuine reform," according to David Seeley (1981), author of Education Through Partnership, "depends on working on relationships -- with the home, community groups, politicians and business." There is a rich history of schools and the public they serve working together toward a common goal: the education of America's youth. Existing partnerships between schools and parents, families, and communities are being sustained; new and exciting partnerships are being forged throughout the nation.

This summary review of the literature synthesizes the current state-of-the-art in parent and community involvement; looks at the programs, practices, and their effects in the research and practice literature, especially since 1980; and ends with implications, conclusions and recommendations for research. The literature on middle grade (i.e., Grades 4 through 8) parent and community involvement programs and practices is highlighted throughout this review since activities in the middle grades are less well-developed and understood than those for earlier grades. This summary review was prepared from the larger literature review prepared as one of the major tasks of this study (Rutherford, Billig & Kettering, 1993). Additionally, we conducted another search of the literature since 1993 and source materials from this search are included here.


The initial literature review of the current state-of-the-art served two primary purposes:


The conceptualization of parent and community involvement programs in Chapter 3 of this review involves the roles of parents and families (well established in research and practice), and community members (emerging as an important field of study) as they are facilitated in schools and school districts.

In 1991 the United States Department of Education commissioned twelve studies of different aspects of national educational reform. In the area of parent and community involvement, three areas were identified for concentrated study: l) districtwide programs, 2) school restructuring, and 3) adult-child learning experiences (home learning). This study focused on parent and community involvement in middle grades education including these three broad areas outlined in the original Request for Proposals.

To provide clarity, we define the three areas as:

Criteria for Selection and Inclusion

A determination of the sources to be selected and included in this review was made according to the following criteria:

Limitations of the Review

This review of the literature is limited by the following factors:

Guiding Questions

The conceptual framework proposed for this study indicated three areas of interest: the context of parent and community involvement programs; the roles that parents, families, and community members assume in the education of their children; and the effects of promising programs on parents, students, school staff, schools, and school districts. This framework guided the review of the literature:

Overview of the Chapters

Chapters 2, 3, and 4 contain a detailed discussion of parent and community involvement programs and practices. Chapter 5 draws conclusions, discusses implications, and recommends directions for future research direction.
[Acknowledgments] [Table of Contents] [Summary Review of the Literature - Chapter 2]