The Relationship of Parent Involvement and Student Success in GEAR UP Communities in Chicago

Wendy Stack, Antioch University - PhD Program in Leadership and Change

Acceptance Speech : Winner of the 2011 Networked Digital Library of Theses & Dissertations Innovative ETD Award Winner


Nationally, the education pipeline is not preparing enough students for success and high school dropout rates in the nation’s urban areas are alarming. This mixed methods (QUAN→qual) empirical study examines the influence of parent involvement on the academic success of 1,774 GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) students matched to their parents in 21 high schools in Chicago. The results of the regression analyses were presented to focus groups composed of GEAR UP parents and staff to assist in making meaning of the data and to gain deeper insight and understanding of the results. The study results were viewed through the lens of social capital and implications for leadership were drawn for marginalized stakeholders. Parental involvement was measured by the amount of time parents engaged in GEAR UP program activities and the degree to which this involvement is related to their child’s achievement and aspirations for college was studied. The study focused on students and their parents who have been involved in GEAR UP in 8th grade and 9th grade. Student success was measured by 9th grade GPA and 10th grade PLAN Composite Score and Aspirations for College measured by the postsecondary intent question on the PLAN. Regression analysis showed a significant relationship between parent involvement and 9th grade GPA (p