Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Lopez, Rosita

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


Educational administration; Hispanic American studies; Hispanic American students--Education--Illinois; Education--Parent participation--Illinois; School principals--Illinois--Attitudes; Hispanic American parents--Illinois


Latinos have a pattern of low academic achievement, starting in elementary school and persisting through high school and college. This pattern of achievement remains lower than that of any other group. In 2050, it is expected that Latinos will make up 30% of the U.S. workforce. This research looks at the role that parent involvement plays in academic achievement based on principals' perceptions. Perceptions are important because they influence behavior and decision making. The parent-involvement activities studied are based on the Epstein framework of six types. A survey was sent to 435 principals from the northwest suburbs of Chicago who served in schools that had a substantial Latino population. Statistical analysis of the data indicated that learning at home and communication were the two types of activities that 102 respondent principals viewed as most significant. They saw involving parents in decision making as having the least impact on achievement. Demographic characteristics of principals were reviewed, and gender, education, and ethnicity were significant in terms of the six types of parent-involvement activities. Qualitative data recorded from open-ended questions gave Spanish language services as the most important factor playing a positive role in family-involvement activities and lack of Spanish abilities on the part of school personnel and English deficiencies on the part of parents as the biggest barrier. The principals were asked if they had been trained in parent-involvement activities, and a full 73% of them said they had not had a single class in parent involvement in their professional preparation. Language services seem to be significant in increasing relationships between parents and school personnel. This can lead to better communication about how to support students at home and in school. It is clear from the study that principals could benefit from more training in this area in preparation for working with Latino student populations.


Advisors: Rosita Lopez.||Committee members: Ximena Burgin; Thomas Smith.


153 pages




Northern Illinois University

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