"Developing-World Parental Involvement: The Quantified Impact of Maternal and Paternal Engagement in Literacy Boost"
Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) 62nd Annual Conference
March 25-29, Mexico City
2018 Theme: “Re—Mapping Global Education – South-North Dialogue”
Title: Developing-World Parental Involvement: The Quantified Impact of Maternal and Paternal Engagement in Literacy Boost
Authors: Elliot W. Friedlander, Young-Suk Kim
The traditional ‘starting point’ of education in the developing world has been the school. For example, the Heynemann-Loxley Effect (Heynemann & Loxley, 1983), a product of global ‘North’ analyses of education in the global ‘South’, posited that the SES of the home is irrelevant when considering educational achievement, and that the aggregate school level SES better explains variation. Such theories discount the impact that individual differences, local cultures, and regional customs may have on children’s achievement. If we are to ‘remap’ global education, one excellent way to do so is to start in children’s starting place, their home. And we must work with those individuals to whom children are first exposed, their parents. This paper answers the question “How does parental participation in literacy activities predict early grade reading achievement in a rural district in Rwanda?”
As many researchers have found across the developed and developing world, the home life of children is an important predictor of children’s educational achievement and has a profound impact on children’s reading development. (Snow, Burns, Griffin, et al., 1998). A child’s home life is determined in large part by their parents, including language and literacy skills. Not only parental income, but parental involvement in children’s reading has been shown to improve children’s reading abilities in developed world research (Bus, van IJzendoorn, & Pellegrini, 1995).
The data for this study are drawn from a 5 year longitudinal randomized control trial of an early grades literacy program implemented by an international non-governmental organization and its partners. Students in 2 separate cohorts were assessed at several different timepoints over the course of 5 years. Data were collected on children’s home village, and the names of their parents / caregivers. In the treatment group, parents of early primary students were identified, village by village, and invited to attend workshops on the importance of supporting children’s literacy development. Parent attendance at these workshops was meticulously recorded. By linking the student assessment data with parent reported attendance, we created a dataset of approximately 400 child/parent groups.
In order the address the research question, we are employing latent growth models. Growth in children’s reading skills will be estimated using latent growth models, and the effect of parental participation in the literacy workshop on the growth trajectories will be examined. The analyses are currently underway, and the findings will explore the relationship between mothers and fathers’ attendance at workshops and children’s reading development.
To our knowledge, no data set exists that rigorously measures parent attendance and links it to children’s reading outcomes. This analysis will provide important insight, for the first time in the developing country context, into whether, if at all, parental participation is related to children’s reading in the developing world.