Fewer Anecdotes and More Data: A New Tool May Help Districts Measure Family Involvement
  • By admin
  • December 17, 2019

As the push for parental engagement in schools increases across the country, districts are struggling to find ways to measure involvement in order to find gaps in the data and address parent needs that might be otherwise unknown to them. Surveys and tools exist, but it has been difficult to find one universal enough to be scaled up across multiple districts and brief enough that parents feel compelled to participate. 

A new study on parent engagement in schools reports on the development of the Parent Perceptions of Overall School Experiences Scale (P-OSE). The short assessment tool was found to be a brief and helpful measure of parents’ perceptions of their involvement in their child’s education and has the potential to be used to measure and assess parents’ needs and to “advocate for necessary programmatic changes” that can better clear the path for more parent engagement. In an article from Futurity, researchers from the study point to a need for “fewer anecdotes and more data” in order to provide districts with real information on their rates of parental involvement. 

Parent engagement is defined in many ways, but in this case, researchers defined it as a two-way relationship between parents and teachers. Engagement, as mentioned in previous blog posts, is associated with student success and better school culture, therefore tools like these are an important step in making parental involvement an easily measured evaluation piece for districts. Before tools like P-OSE, districts primarily relied on anecdotal data and feedback from parents on surveys. P-OSE is a short, five-item questionnaire that gives parents and districts quick overall information. The test is now available, although researchers hope to translate it in the future so that bilingual parents have more access to it. 

Hopefully, the measured success of P-OSE will encourage school districts across the country to use the tool, or something similar, to identify specific ways to improve parent involvement in their schools. The use of data can be instrumental in adjusting practice, and tools like these have the potential to streamline engagement practices and scale up success strategies.