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Gender matters : an investigation of the factors influencing mothers' and fathers' grading of public… Warrington, Charlene Gay 2008

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GENDER MATTERS: AN INVESTIGATION OF THE FACTORS INFLUENCING MOTHERS’ AND FATHERS’ GRADING OF PUBLIC SCHOOL PERFORMANCE. by CHARLENE GAY WARRINGTON B.A., University of Manitoba, 1986  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Sociology)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) April 2008  © Charlene Gay Warrington, 2008  ABSTRACT This study set out to examine the relative influence of personal and school-based characteristics and parental involvement on mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of public school performance. A national and representative sample of parents of school-aged children (N= 2008) were asked to award a grade (A, B, C, D or F) to their community school. There is a significant lack of empirical study of the factors influencing parents’ perceptions of school performance. The present study controlled for the socioeconomic status of parents and the community school being graded. Parental involvement in schools and assisting with homework are elements of parents’ relations with schools and were controlled for in the multivariate analysis. It was found that mothers and fathers are differentially influenced by personal and school-based characteristics; and, of import, there is a negative and significant association between participation in school-based activities and a father’s perception of school performance. The opposite association with participation in school-based activities was observed for mothers. Further, perceptions of “Failing” schools are influenced to a greater extent by the socioeconomic status of the parent and of the school. The results are interpreted by gendering the relations between parents and schools, and drawing from feminist standpoint theory. Particular focus is brought to the discordant association of parental involvement and the grades awarded to schools by mothers and fathers.  ii  TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT......................................................................................................................... ii TABLE OF CONTENTS .................................................................................................... iii LIST OF TABLES ...............................................................................................................iv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS...................................................................................................v Chapter 1  INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................1  Chapter 2  LITERATURE REVIEW.................................................................................10  2.1 2.2 Chapter 3 3.1 Chapter 4 4.1 Chapter 5 5.1  Mothers and Schools ....................................................................................15 Fathers and Schools......................................................................................16 DATA AND METHODS .................................................................................20 Statistical Method.........................................................................................25 RESULTS........................................................................................................27 A Comparison of Predictor Variables for Mothers and Fathers .....................33 CONCLUSION................................................................................................36 Recommendations for Future Study..............................................................43  NOTES ...............................................................................................................................45 BIBLIOGRAPHY ...............................................................................................................46 APPENDIX A.....................................................................................................................50 APPENDIX B .....................................................................................................................52  iii  LIST OF TABLES Table 3.1:  Definition and Measurement of Variables.....................................................24  Table 4.1:  Coefficients for Multinomial Logit Models for the Grading of Schools Parent Data...................................................................................................28  Table 4.2:  Coefficients for Multinomial Logit Models for the Grading of Schools Mothers’ Data ..............................................................................................30  Table 4.3:  Coefficients for Multinomial Logit Models for the Grading of Schools Fathers’ Data................................................................................................32  Table 4.4:  Coefficients for Multinomial Logit Models for the Grading of Schools Comparison of Mothers’ and Fathers’ Data ..................................................34  Table A.1:  Systematic Audit of Standardized Assessments across Canada .....................51  Table B.1:  Descriptive Statistics for All Explanatory Variables .....................................53  iv  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I have been extremely fortunate to return to university at the age of forty. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. I have expanded my fields of thought, vision and interpretation. This 2-year ‘interruption’ was made possible through the encouragement of my two children Jennah and Evan, and with the emotional and financial support of my husband, Don Lay. By way of my instructors and fellow graduate students, I have learned that everyday life is not a hasty retreat to a comfortable conclusion but is rather about a thorough and cautious approach with rest stations—illuminated by competing ideas and critical thought. I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Dr. Rima Wilkes who supported my efforts to attain the necessary credentials and to be accepted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies in the Department of Sociology. I wish also to thank Dr. Neil Guppy for inviting me to join a team of scholars to assist him on a national research project. Assisting on this year-long project allowed me to meet academics from across Canada, and enhanced my knowledge of educational research methods and survey instrument design. I am also deeply grateful to Dr. Dawn Currie who provided critical guidance and review on early drafts of some of my thesis chapters. I acknowledge my mom, friends and family, and especially those in my book club who coaxed me away from my studies to enjoy an art exhibit, hockey game, an evening of fine wine, or a run in the woods; and, for most importantly, encouraging my efforts without fail. The most important lesson I can take away from this ‘interruption’, is that maintaining one’s confidence is the greatest asset in the process of learning.  v  Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION The present cross-sectional study set out to investigate parents’ perception of their public community school’s performance. Two primary questions were asked: ‘What is the relative influence of personal and school-based characteristics, and parental involvement on the grades awarded to schools?’ and ‘How might a gendered analysis of the relations between parents and schools advance the understanding of these same influences?’ Virtually every North American school district has experienced a rise in the use of standardized testing for assessing student and school performance. These assessments are often considered by education stakeholders to be foundational to improving student achievement and schools by challenging social inequalities, holding schools accountable, and informing school choice. When standardized test scores drop in a classroom, a school or a district, the public, parents, and policymakers want what is perceptually broken, to be fixed. Standardized assessments and their derivative: ‘report cards’, rank order student achievement scores by school, province and country, representing the most public and controversial determinant of the quality of education and the academic achievement of citizens of the world—a universal yardstick (Stein, 2001). In 1999, Clement suggested that ‘report cards’ on individual schools were available online for more than 70% of US public schools. This statistic is now almost ten years old and is likely to have increased in relation to broad sweeping educational reforms, such as the ‘No Child Left Behind’ (NCLB) Act of 2001. In response to the published rankings of school performance, the controversy following publication, and the liberal access to education data, numerous studies have explored how schools respond to external assessment data and to the phenomenon of ‘high-stakes testing’. Diamond and Spillane (2004) and Gerwitz (1998)  1  found responses by schools to ‘high-stakes accountability’ or objective data to be situated. Consequently, on-probation schools, many of which have the highest proportion of disadvantaged students, failed to interpret achievement data due to scarce resources, resulting in fewer systematic and long-term strategies. Wolf and Janssens (2007) suggest that many of the short-term responses by schools are simply ‘window dressing’. A qualitative study of principals from Florida’s poorly-performing and high-poverty schools found ‘high-stakes testing’ forced administrators to implement short-term changes, often accompanied by the loss of teachers due to poor teaching conditions (Acker-Hocevar & Touchton, 2001). In high-performing schools, instructional improvements and the development of imaginative curriculum are attributable to better resources. Hammond and Yeshanew (2007) found a positive effect on student performance in primary schools receiving external assessment data versus those who did not. In contrast, scholars at the University of Colorado found fourth-graders who were taught a specific task and required to perform to a standard, were less adept when compared to those students not held to an external standard (as referenced in Kohn, 2000). Despite the controvertible evidence, across the Canadian educational landscape, there is widespread use of standardized assessments to measure student achievement and school performancei. (See Table A.1 in Appendix A for the results of a systematic audit.) Given the controversial nature of standardized assessments and the lack of national jurisdiction over educational matters in Canada, how can we explain the rise of standardized assessments in Canada? According to Ritzer (2004), the rise of standardized testing, in the sphere of education, is an ‘amplification’ and manifestation of an increasingly rationalized society. Stein (2001) echoes these sentiments, suggesting the language of accountability and efficiency in public education has “led directly to an emphasis on testing what students know 2  and how they perform in comparison to their peers” (p. 156). Further, given the central role of education in the determination of a child’s life chances, declines in manual labour jobs and international comparisons of education systems and student test scores, stakeholders are demanding “more responsive links between our schools and the economy” (Roth, 2002, p.5). The demand for accountability and ‘objective’ measures of school performance by all education stakeholders is increasing. There is broad publication of single summary measures of school performance in daily newspapers. Many teachers and school administrators fear parents will use school-to-school comparisons as the only measure of performance. However, the evidence, from France and England, suggests that the publication of performance indictors has little, if any effect on parent school choice behaviour (Wolf & Janssens, 2007). In Canada, by comparison, 72% of teachers and 50% of parents say they check performance reports in newspapers or on education web sites (Guppy, Davies, LaPointe, & Sackney, 2005). Of note, the Guppy et al. (2005) survey also indicates that 25% of parents have used the information to choose a school for their child. For many parents, school-level performance data provides an ‘objective’ evaluation previously available only to school and district administration. As Lareau (2000) argues, contemporary mothers and fathers are increasingly expected to promote their child’s cognitive development; thus, a greater number of decisions must be made regarding academic programs, tutoring, and school curricula. Ultimately, for many parents, standardized test scores are of greater value today than in the past. Clement (1999) argues that with the expansion of high-school exit exams and standardized assessments, “[t]his brings everyone under the education tent for what may well be the very first time…” (p.4).  3  According to The 34th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward Public Schools (Lowell & Gallup, 2002), American public school parents rely on newspapers (36%) as a primary source of information on school quality; and, only 10% of parents mentioned communications from school as a source. In a study of the source of knowledge of higher education choices and parental involvement, mothers were found to be more involved in these choice decisions when the school was the source of information rather than the labour markets (Brooks, 2004). This suggests that mothers and fathers will potentially draw from different sources to construct their knowledge of schools and educational resources. The key finding from an inquiry into the relationship between school quality and house prices, indicated that a 10% increase in proficiency scores in math and reading resulted in a 3% increase in housing prices (Deininger, 1999). These results suggest that published performance data is an influential factor on perceptions of school quality and performance; moreover, one should anticipate variability in the influence of published performance indicators across educational jurisdictions and by gender. To a lesser extent, school performance is measured based on the views of Canadian parents, teachers and the public. Among the more recent provincial and regional surveys on the public’s perspectives on schooling, conducted in 1996 through 2002, Roth (2002) observes that, only eight of twenty-four polls were conducted by academics, teacher federations or by school boards. A majority of the surveys were conducted by media outlets and tend to report aggregate satisfaction and confidence levels; thereby highlighting the discrepancy in opinion across education stakeholder groups. While this approach effectively describes consensus or lack of consensus for educational policy, which is seen to be an essential element to policy and practice decisions (Guppy & Davies, 1999), these polls provide a limited understanding of the factors of influence. 4  Pan-Canadian results from two of the aforementioned polls suggest that parent and public satisfaction with schools will vary by province. More specifically, the research shows that the western and Atlantic provinces are the most satisfied, followed by B.C., Quebec and Ontario (as cited in Roth, 2002). In the Public Attitudes Towards Education in Ontario survey, parents were found to grade their eldest child’s school more highly than a community school (Livingstone, Hart & Davie, 2007). Räty and Kasanen (2007) reported parents, due to their personal experiences with schools, to be more satisfied with performance than the public. These results, and those reported annually by the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll (Lowell & Gallup, 2005), suggest that one’s closeness to, or knowledge of, a school is associated with higher grades and levels of satisfaction. In a Livingstone et al. (2000) review of the background differences among survey respondents, the results show that Non-Europeans have higher student expectations and supportive views on junior kindergarten than Europeans. Further, gender and ethnicity are not significantly associated with public or parent satisfaction. The review of background differences in 2000 is one of the few Canadian investigations of the relationship between respondents’ gender, ethnicity, education, and opinions on educational issues and school quality. Provincial education ministries conduct annual satisfaction surveys of taxpayers, parents, students and teachers across critical areas of schooling. For example, in British Columbia, parents of children in grades three, four, seven, ten and twelve self-selectively participate in a twenty-six item survey (British Columbia Ministry of Education [BCME], 2007). Parent participation rates range from a high of 49% among elementary school parents to a low of 11% among parents of secondary-aged children. Of interest, parental responses by grade level show a high level of internal consistency, with parents of elementary-aged children the most satisfied with their child’s learning (BCME, 2007). This observed decline in school 5  satisfaction levels as children move to higher grades is well-supported in the literature (Räty & Kasanen, 2007; Ding & Hall, 2007; Livingstone et al. 2000). Further, volunteering in a school was not found to be significantly related to a parent’s satisfaction with their children’s school (BCME, 2007). This result contradicts the body of research suggesting that personal experiences with a school are associated with higher levels of satisfaction. However, there is considerable variation in the methodologies and measures across surveys. The only demographic question asked of parents on the BCME (2007) survey was whether or not they were of Aboriginal ancestry. In contrast to the BCME (2007) survey methodology, the Edmonton Public Schools conduct random selections of parents at each school site as well as a sample of district parents and taxpayers (Edmonton Public Schools [EPS], 2007). Similarly, EPS parents were asked twenty-six questions which tap overall satisfaction across the areas of student achievement, facilities, transportation, and safety. School-level results are available through school site administrators. Participation rates across grade levels are not reported and parent responses are aggregated across all measures. Demographic questions are not asked on the EPS survey. Similar to the conclusion reached by Roth (2002) in his overview and analysis of selected public and parent opinion surveys, there are few meaningfully investigations of demographic and socioeconomic variables and links to perceptions of school performance or education policy. Given the well-documented association between student socioeconomic statuses, school characteristics and student test scores, this omission is surprising. Powers (2003) suggests that there is a substantial body of sociological research which clearly shows the effects of student socioeconomic background; however, contextual information is seen as ‘additional’ rather than central to most analyses. The Livingstone et al. (2000) survey does report that educational attainment and occupational status accounts for variation in the 6  public’s and parent’s views on educational issues; however, relatively few surveys include these variables. In sum, there is a significant lack of empirical study of the factors influencing parents’ perceptions of school performance. The dominance of standardized assessments as a measure of school performance and the movement toward ‘choice’ in education has contributed to the declining number of investigations of parents and of subjective evaluations of performance. In less-rationalized educational environments there appears to be more emphasis on parental satisfaction with school performance. For example, in a Finnish survey of parent’s perceptions of their children’s school, there was a decline in ‘overall satisfaction’ from the child’s first year of schooling to the fifth year (Räty & Kasanen, 2007). Of particular significance is the fact that, the decrease in satisfaction among mothers was more prominent than the decrease observed in fathers. ‘Vocationally-educated’ parents were also less satisfied than were the ‘academically-educated’ parents and this affect was most significant among fathers (Räty & Kasanen, 2007). This result accords with other Nordic studies that found gender to be significantly associated with perceptions of quality and the reporting of more negative events in their children’s schooling (as cited in Räty & Kasanen, 2007). The authors conclude that parents’ evaluations of schools are associated with their social positions in the educational hierarchy. Ding and Hall (2007) observe among secondary-aged school students that males disliked school to a greater extent than did females; irrespective of race, gender and ethnicity, students felt more negatively about school as they moved up in grade level; and male students found teachers to be less caring than female students. Thus, gender is a key determinant of perceptions of educational experiences. These results suggest that gender affacts the grading of schools. 7  Although the public’s satisfaction with public school performance is critical to fulfilling educational mandates (Guppy & Davies, 1999), without a better sense of the influences on parent perceptions and acknowledgement of the gendered work of schooling, schools and policymakers are less informed on meaningful ways to improve. Identifying the factors that influence parent or school types is important. The differences in perception might help schools and researchers to identify policies and practices better suited to supporting student achievement, parental support and engagement (Ding & Hall, 2007). Given the dominance of standardized assessment, the essential nature of parent’s views to policymaking, the potential for consistent factors of influence, and the commitment to accountability by educational authorities, an investigation of the potential influences on parent’s perceptions would fill a gap in the current literature. A first step in advancing the understanding of parents’ perceptions of public school performance is a gendering of the relationship between schools and parents. As some of the findings suggest, gender is a significant predictor of a parent’s level of satisfaction with school performance. However, there has been a tendency to ignore gender in educational research, policy and discourse, despite the stability in the disproportionate work of schooling conducted by mothers (Brooks, 2004; National Centre for Education Statistics [NCES], 1997; Miller, 1986). As Lareau (2000) argues, any investigation or discussion of parent’s involvement in schooling requires a gendered analysis. A second step is to consider the relative influence of other factors on the grades awarded (A-F) to community schools by mothers and fathers. To restate, the purpose of this study is to investigate the relations between personal and school-based characteristics, parental involvement, and the grades awarded to community public schools by Canadian mothers and fathers.  8  From a theoretical point of view, my investigation was conducted within a feminist standpoint context: how does the gender of a parent organize their knowledge of, and experiences within, schools, and influence their grading of school performance? This theoretical framework, as Dorothy Smith (as referenced in Sprague, 2005) might suggest, allows the researcher to ‘unpack’ conventional abstractions of the grading of schools by looking at the everyday experiences of mothers and fathers in relation to schools, and the facts that sustain their knowledge. By doing so, this investigation will provide a more nuanced understanding of the grading of schools; thus, advancing beyond the limited information currently available through public and parent opinion polling.  9  Chapter 2 LITERATURE REVIEW In this literature review I will bring focus to the everyday experiences of mothers and fathers in schools. By doing so, I will show how the school experiences of mothers and fathers are differentiated across gender lines and potentially, how gendered relations with schools sustain different facts about school performance.ii Families and schools are the primary institutions in the raising and teaching of children. Over the past 50 years, the traditional family form-that being a mother, father and childrenhas decreased and the number of lone-parent families has increased. Male lone-parent families have increased dramatically since 1990, representing 18.6% of lone-parent families; however, female lone-parents remain the majority. Almost 90% of male lone-parents work full or part-time, while 60% of female lone-parents work full-time and 17.1% work part-time (Statistics Canada, 2004). The vast majority (72%) of married women with children under 16 living at home were employed in the paid workforce in 2003 (Statistics Canada, 2004). Further, 33.7% of women between 25-44 years were working part-time due to child care responsibilities compared to less than 3 % of men (Ibid, 2004). The dominant family form appears to be the dual earner, which suggests a more complex division of parenting labour than in previous decades. In the reporting of absences from work due to child care responsibilities women employees more frequently put aside their paid work responsibilities compared to male employees. In 2003 women employees were absent an average of ten days per year while men missed a day and a half (Ibid, 2004). Parental leave policy provisions have prompted more fathers to take a leave of absence from work than in the past (Statistics Canada, 2006). 10  Between 2001 and 2006, 17% more fathers took a leave of absence from work, while the proportion of mothers remained stable at about 90% (Statistics Canada, 2006). Almost twice as many fathers as mothers mention their financial situation as a factor that limits them from taking a leave of absence from work after a birth or an adoption (Ibid, 2006). The current trends in the sharing of employment and family responsibilities in Canada show that mothers do the juggling of work and family responsibilities (Ashbourne & Lero, 2006); that many are the ‘more regularly responsible parent’ (David, Ball, Davies, & Reay, 2003) and, as breadwinners, often remain the primary caregivers (Doucet, 2006). Fathers are more involved than in the past; however, as Lareau (2000) concludes, they remain ‘helpers’ to mothers, they experience fewer disruptions in their daily work lives due to children’s school demands, and they have retained “an important symbolic role” (p.95). In sum, mothers’ increased labour force participation and fathers’ increased participation in child rearing has not led to a ‘dramatic’ shift in the burden of educational chores for mothers (Lareau, 2000). The work of schooling is gendered. Parental Involvement in Schools Current school policy practices and schedules tend to reinforce a traditional gender order to parental involvement (O’Brien, 2007; Griffith & Smith, 2005). More specifically, in the early years of schooling, North American students are dismissed at lunch time and gradually introduced to Kindergarten over a two or three-week period. To accommodate teacher-parent conferences and educational workshops, some schools routinely have shortened days. These practices are ‘externally uncoordinated’ and are a source of parent frustration and irritation (Griffith & Smith, 2005; Lareau, 2000). In these instances the school assumes someone will either be at home or be able to pick up a child at times during the day that conflict with 11  regular and paid work schedules (Ibid, 2005). These practices impact mothers more often than they do fathers. A traditional gender order is reinforced by teacher requests for parental involvement during the regular hours of paid employment. Teachers often request help with special school activities, as classroom or library aides, or as chaperones for school outings (CrawfordBurns, 1993). Based on some of the written advice of educators for beginning teachers, this type of parental involvement is regarded as the safest. It permits parents, mostly mothers, to be minimally involved, and teachers to maintain control. As Lightfoot (1977) has argued, these minimal interactions are “usually vacuous, ritualistic occasions, which protect everyone from meaningful interactions and confrontations, but symbolically reaffirm the idealized parent-school relationship” (p. 398). In relation to the findings from an institutional ethnographic study, the ‘mothering discourse’ was found to support a complete nuclear family, to promote responsiveness by mothers to educational requirements and to have no considerations given to limiting the responsibility of mothers (Griffith & Smith, 2005). The work of Griffith and Smith (2005) helps to explain why the burden on mothers across all structural locations has continued despite changes in family form and employment status. Mothers who put a substantial amount of time into their paid employment were generally less able to support school activities than were mothers less burdened by their employment. Mothers also sense a greater responsibility for their children’s schooling than will most fathers, leading to more frequent and varied personal experiences with their children’s elementary and secondary educators and institutions.  12  In a 1997 Statistical Analysis Report of Fathers’ Involvement in Their Children’s Schools (NCES) the authors suggest that “relatively few studies have examined the individual contributions that mothers and fathers make to their children’s schooling” (p.v). Ten years earlier, Miller (1986) had made a similar observation. Gender remains largely absent from analyses of parental involvement and school relations (Brooks, 2004). The NCES (1997) study of fathers and mothers of students in Kindergarten through to Grade 12 is one of the few to provide an analysis of involvement based on gender. The data shows that 56% of mothers in two-parent families were found to have a ‘high’ level of involvement in schools, 23% a ‘moderate’ level, and 21% a ‘low’ leveliii. In contrast, only 27% of fathers had a ‘high’ level of involvement and the majority (48%) was involved at a ‘low’ level (NCES, 1997). Among single-parent families the pattern of involvement for mothers shifts only slightly with more mothers involved at the ‘moderate’ or ‘low’ levels. In terms of fathers’ involvement 46% are involved at the ‘high’ level. The dramatic shift to a higher level of involvement among male lone-parents indicates the reliance of schools and fathers in two-parent families on mothers. However, given the relatively minor shift in mothers’ involvement between lone parent and two-parent families, this shift demonstrates that women are always and primarily involved in their children’s school activities. In two-parent families the evidence shows fathers can be selective in their school involvement (Griffith and Smith, 2005). In Lareau’s (2000) study fathers selectively engage in parent-teacher conferences, hire a tutor or change academic programs, and lodge a formal complaint with school administration. One of the conclusions reached by Lareau (2000) is that the gendered character of routine school-based involvement can often be seen by fathers as ‘women’s work’ and ‘not manly’ enough. Doucet (2006) found a father’s limited involvement in schools to be the result of ‘not being welcome’ or feeling intimated by the 13  middle-class expectations of fathering and mothering practices. Although these feelings of intimidation were found in work with fathers who were self-identified primary caregivers the cultural atmosphere of expectations pervades over everyone’s ‘parenting practices’ (Daly, 2004). In two-parent families involvement in specific school activities shows the disproportionate demand placed on mothers’ time during regular school hours (NCES, 1997). For example, 41% of mothers volunteered in the school compared to 15% of fathers (NCES, 1997). Additionally, 68% of mothers attended parent-teacher conferences while only 39% of fathers attended. Fathers’ work lives are rarely disrupted by school-related tasks or the practicalities of the school day (Lareau, 2000; Griffith and Smith, 2005). By examining the involvement of mothers and fathers in schools we see the persistently high level of involvement and differentiated activity of mothers and how these experiences might be sustaining facts about schools that differ based on gender. A mother’s frequent interactions and engagement in schools is associated with a process of “weighing up, evaluating and choosing between options” on a daily basis—a process their male partners are only rarely involved in (David, Davies, Edwards & Standing, 1997, p.404). As suggested by Räty and Kasanen (2007), the reporting of more negative events by mothers, particularly in regard to home and school relations, suggests that mothers are more active in schools than are fathers. This evidence suggests two things. First, mothers and fathers have potentially different relationships and experiences with schools. Second, a mother’s participation in schools is associated with an evaluative process. Given gender is overly deterministic of the experiences of mothers and fathers in schools we should anticipate that school facts and knowledge of school performance will differ across gender lines.  14  2.1  Mothers and Schools The fluid and unfixed nature of mothering make my attempt to characterize the relations  between mothers and schools, at best, partial and insufficient. Crossing the axes of class, sexualities and race in relation to mothers and schools has only been examined in a tertiary manner, and in relation to sexualities and race, not at all. However gender appears to be overly deterministic of the work of schooling. Gender is a critical starting place to inform a discussion on the relations between mothers and fathers and schools. By focusing on gender as foundational to these relations, class, race and sexuality can be incorporated. The classroom is the first place where the work of mothering is scrutinized by the teacher and by other mothers (Lightfoot, 1977). As the child’s ‘first teacher’, a mother is seen to be accountable for a child’s preparation for the classroom and skill development. If a child is perceived to be ‘ill-prepared’ it is the result of the mother’s inadequacies. Mothers assume the responsibility of repairing perceived educational deficits by meeting with teachers and monitoring children’s progress (Brooks, 2004). Mothers of struggling learners will require more individualized interactions with teachers, which are often driven by dissatisfaction, frustration, or anger on the part of a mother or a teacher (Lightfoot, 1977). There is a greater potential for mothers to have tension and emotion-filled relations with teachers and schools. Across all social and economic locations mothers take their children’s struggles personally, resulting in feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and failure (Dudley-Marling, 2001). Dudley-Marling (2001) found in interviews with mothers and fathers that the personal responsibility mothers felt set them apart from the fathers. This is not to say that fathers do not or cannot feel personally responsible for their children’s struggles. However, it is far more common among mothers.  15  In a recent study, college-aged women repeatedly called up the structural exclusions faced by their mothers when speaking about their own educational experiences (Quinn, 2004). The daughters’ memories of their mothers’ exclusion from higher education appeared as “a flag in the name of their mothers against complacency and forgetfulness” (Quinn, p.370). For young women and mothers in this historical moment, the struggles of past generations of women, “double[s] their determination to do what they want[ed] to do” (Ibid, p.373). In relation to the present investigation, a mother’s expectation of community school performance is expected to be influenced by their own mother’s challenges. It may also affect their motivation to participate in schools. A final theme of mothers’ relations with schools is their role as ‘labourer’. In relation to making choices in early years, elementary and secondary education mothers are found to be the labourers of school choice, while fathers confirmed choices (as quoted in Brooks, 2004). Mothers are primarily responsible for the material demands of changing or choosing schools. This requires information gathering and comparing school evaluation reports, considering program and transportation options, establishing contact with teachers and principals, and preparing children to write entrance exams. As the labourer mothers become more heavily vested in the process of choosing a school and in a child’s cognitive development than the father. As suggested by feminist standpoint theory, this bifurcation of work in relation to schooling leads to different conceptualizations of schools across gender lines. 2.2  Fathers and Schools To contextualize the relations between fathers and schools, I will draw heavily from Do  Men Mother? (Doucet, 2006) and Home Advantage (Lareau, 2000). Doucet’s (2006) research is based on 118 in-depth interviews with self-identifying primary caregiving fathers in lone parent and two-parent families. The sample of fathers is diverse across social class, ethnicity 16  and sexual orientation. By comparison, Lareau’s (2000) ethnography includes families from a white working-class school and an upper-middle-class school. The interview data includes twelve families, principals and several grade teachers at each of the school sites. I selected these sources because they represent a gendered approach to understanding the relations between parents and schools. Unlike mothers’ classroom or school-based involvement, fathers often apply their professional experience to assist in the inspection of playgrounds or in the writing of proposals on behalf of the school. Both Doucet (2006) and Lareau (2000) found that fathers’ work in schools was shaped by their labour market participation. Fathers alter their participation so that it might be viewed as having masculine traits. These traits include independence, autonomy, and sporting interests. Primary-caregiver fathers will seek out certain kinds of school involvement which stress traditional male interests and a connection to sports. More specifically, fathers will coach or assist with sports teams to “ease the scrutiny of their decision not to work full-time” (Ibid, 2006, p.158). Others might volunteer to repair or fix items in and around the classroom on behalf of teachers or administrators. In the case of parent-teacher conferences, fathers are more likely to assume a leadership position and act more assertively and confrontationally than will mothers (Lareau, 2000). These results suggest that a father who assists in routine school-based activities, as opposed to activities more closely associated with their professional lives or sporting interests are potentially not satisfied. A primary-caregiver father can be central in the relations between home and school; however, a father’s role is not a “duplicate of the maternal terrain traveled” (Doucet, 2006, p.123). Unlike a mother in a primary-caregiver role, a father will remain reliant upon the mother to plan, organize, and manage school responsibilities. The role of the father appears 17  to be peripheral and supportive rather than taking the lead and ‘micro-managing’ the details of school-related tasks. Cross-gender relationships represent a challenge to female teachers and male parents, and likely foreclose some of the classroom-based activities of fathers. In particular, with youngeraged children, fathers’ involvement is found to be most helpful as a field trip chaperone and not in the classroom. A father suggested that it was getting more comfortable to volunteer in the school with greater numbers of fathers volunteering (Doucet, 2006). Teachers treated a father’s involvement in the classroom as a signal that a family was really interested in their child’s education; in part because they considered a father’s time to be more valuable than a mother’s (Lareau, 2005). Despite teachers’ appreciation for fathers’ involvement, a recurring narrative among fathers was a sense of not being welcome on the school property. In one instance, a father left work at noon to stop by and reassure his daughter about an upcoming test. When he approached the school, a group of girls formed around his daughter, and began speaking with him. A teacher appeared and asked him who he was and what he was doing (Doucet, 2006). In contrast, a female who enters a crowded playground and is unfamiliar to the school staff or other mothers would not be seen as socially unacceptable or a threat. There are occasions and encounters with schools when fathers feel like ‘misfits’ or ‘threats’. For some fathers, they avoid ‘mother-dominated settings’ to help alleviate the feeling of not belonging. In relation to the work conducted in the home (e.g., assistance with homework) father’s involvement was limited by the lack of coordination with their work schedules. Thus, they were more often a support or back-up to mothers (Griffith & Smith, 2005; Lareau, 2000).  18  Despite a father’s limited involvement in educational work, mothers in two-parent families viewed the time that fathers spent with their children to be valuable. The discussion above has identified several themes which help to further contextualize the relations between mothers and fathers and schools. Potentially, due to the dominance of a ‘mothering discourse’, mothers feel a greater level of personal responsibility for their children’s schooling and exercise less selective practices than do fathers, in relation to the work of schooling. In contrast, fathers, generally, appear to be more selective in their school engagement. Based on Lareau’s (2000) work, we see that fathers often attend parent-teacher conferences when they wish to lodge a complaint. Despite being engaged in some of the same school-based activities, fathers and mothers are likely to interpret their experiences in dissimilar ways; and therefore, develop distinct facts and knowledge about their child’s school performance. Their motivation to participate may be different as well.  19  Chapter 3 DATA AND METHODS The unit of analysis in my study is parents of children in the Canadian public and private school systems. The national data were collected from a telephone survey conducted between May 15 and July 19, 2005 by a Canadian survey research firm. A representative sample of parents with school-aged children was obtained with over 145,000 Random Digit Dialed calls. The parent sample (N=2,008) was stratified by region and later weighted by the crossproduct of gender and province. The initial survey question asked parents whether or not they taught in the K-12 system. Parents that were also teachers were removed from the parent sample and analyzed separately. Given teachers tend to award higher grades to community schools than the public (Langdon & Vesper, 2000) the data set provides a good opportunity to study the perceptions of school performance held by parents. There are three groups of independent variables explored in this analysis: personal characteristics (income, education, ethnicity, age, gender, public or private school parent, and grade level); school-based characteristics (principal leadership, income level of most families attending the school, and behaviour and discipline problems); parental involvement in school activities (volunteered in a classroom; met individually with a teacher; attended a parent/school committee meeting or a school event; written a letter to the school); as well as parental involvement in the home (helping with homework). Green, Walker, HooverDempsey and Sandler (2007) suggest that the most common subtypes of parental involvement are home-based and school-based. Related to the measures of parental involvement in school-based activities, a response of “no” to a maximum of two of the five measures was classified as non-selective meaning that parents participated across numerous activities. Selective participation was based on a maximum of 4 but 20  more than 2 “no” responses, and those who answered “no” to all five measures, were classified as not at all involved. The classifications were informed by the frequency distributions across measures, the significance of gender to three of the five measures, and the NCES (1997) survey. Unlike other investigations into the effects of parental involvement, most of which focus on student academic achievement (Ho Sui-Chu & Willms, 1996), this research provides an understanding of its association to perceptions of school performance. The response categories for this variable were carefully considered. The responses to a single measure of parental involvement in the home were classified as nonselective if the parent helped with homework “everyday” or “two to three times per week”. A response of “once per month” or “once a week” was coded as selective. “Never helping with homework” was coded as not at all involved. In my analysis, parental involvement in the home was not a significant factor in the grades awarded to community schools. The dependent variable is derived from the question, “To begin, students in schools are often given letter grades: A, B, C, D or Fail to indicate the quality of their work. If the public schools in your community were graded the same way, what grade would you give them – A, B, C, D or Fail?” In my research data, there was a heavily skewed distribution of the dependent variable. However, this distribution is comparable to other inquiries using the same or very similar question (Brown, 1998; Plucker et al. 2006; Lowell & Gallup, 2007; Livingstone et al., 2007). Due to the skewed distribution of the dependent variable and my method of statistical analysis, the grading variable was collapsed into a nominal variable of ‘Grade’: A/B=Top, C=Average and D/F=Failing. A summary of all the model variables is in Table B.1 Appendix B. For the multivariate analysis I controlled for province given that educational jurisdiction is provincial, and recently, Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have experienced great 21  tension and public debate among teachers’ unions, parents and provincial ministries of education. In addition, the findings from opinion polls suggest that satisfaction with schools will vary by region. As suggested in the literature, school-based characteristics influence student achievement on standardized tests and published school-level performance data has the potential to influence parents’ perception of a school’s quality. The first school-based variable in the analysis is principal leadership. This variable was created by summing parents’ level of agreement (“1” strongly disagree to “4” strongly agree) to four measures of principal performance at their child’s school. Public perception of principal leadership and performance is thought to vary with student test scores (Newby-Riggins & Hayden, 2004). Hood and LoVette (2002) found an inverse relationship between parents’ perceptions of administrative leadership and school performance. Given the frequency parents and the public identify discipline and student behaviour as one of the most important problems facing elementary and secondary education, a variable for discipline and student behaviour was included (Guppy et al., 2005). The variable was obtained from the question “At your youngest child’s school, do you consider student discipline and behaviour to be “a serious problem”, “somewhat of a problem” or “not at all a problem”. The third school-based variable: family income helps to determine if a school is located in a low-income neighbourhood. To control for the social status of a school parents were asked, “Which of the following best describes the income level of most families of students attending your children(s) school?” The response categories included: low-income, middle income and high income. School-based characteristics are thought to exert a significant influence on student achievement and perceptions of performance.  22  Personal characteristics were also controlled for in my analysis. In my data, I found the age of a father to be significantly associated to the grading variable. Further, the age variable had an interaction effect with the grade level variable (primary, elementary and secondary). Given the significance of grade level to perceptions of school performance, a new variable was created. The second variable ethnicity is obtained from the question, “What is your ethnic or ancestral background?” The information was collapsed into two categories: visible minority parents (Aboriginal, Asian, Black and other) and non-visible minority (British/Irish, Canadian, French Canadian, European, American and White). Personal income, ethnicity and education have all been identified as factors influencing a parent’s ability to engage in schools (Vincent & Martin, 2002; Lareau, 2000), to shape perceptions of their involvement in schools (Hood & LoVette, 2002) and perceptions of school performance (Räty & Kasanen, 2007). I categorized personal income into four categories (poverty, low-income, middleincome and high-income) and education into three categories (high school, some postsecondary, and a university degree). The variable public school parent was derived from the question, “Do any of your children attend a private school?” Research indicates that parental satisfaction levels and perceptions of school quality are highest among parents who choose the school for their child. Finally, a focus is brought to gender as a factor in the grading of schools. I summarize the definition of all variables in Table 3.1. Importantly, the community school the parent is asked to grade may or may not be the same school their child attends. In the data set 4 out of 5 parents (81.2%) have children attending the ‘neighbourhood’ school. For these reasons, the results will be interpreted with caution.  23  Table 3.1 Definition and Measurement of Variables Dependent Variable The grade awarded to community public schools  1=Failing grade (D or F), 2=Average grade (C), and 3=Top grade (A or B)  Independent Variables A. Personal Characteristics Gender  1=Female, 0=Male  Ethnicity  1=Visible Minority (Aboriginal, Asian, Black and Other) and 0=Non-Visible Minority (British/Irish, Canadian, French Canadian, European, American, White)  Education  1=High School or lower, 2=Some University and Technical Colleges, and 3=University and Graduate Degrees  Age  (2007-Year of Birth)  Grade Level  1=Primary (K-Grade 3); 2=Elementary (Grade 4-7) and 3=Secondary (Grade 8-13)  Interaction Variable  (ZAge*ZGrade Level)  Personal Income  1=Poverty Income (less than 35,000), 2=Low Income (35-50,000), 3=Middle Income (50-80,000), and 4=Upper Income (Over 80,000)  Private or Public School Parent  1= Private School, and 0=Public School  B. Parental Involvement Characteristics School-based involvement  Home-based involvement  C. School-based Characteristics Principal Leadership  Respondents indicated whether or not they participated in the following activities: volunteered in a classroom / library / fieldtrip; met individually with your child’s teacher; attended a parent / school committee mtg. or school event like sports, drama, music; written a letter to anyone at the school. Those who responded “yes” to all or a min. of 3 were coded as ‘Non-Selective’. Those who responded “no” to 3 or more but less than 5, were coded as ‘Selective’; and those who answered “no” to all 5 measures were coded ‘Not at all involved’. “1” = Everyday; “2” = Two or Three Times a week; “3” = Once/week; “4” = Once/ month; and “5” = Never. Those who answered “everyday” or “two or three times/week” were coded ‘Non-selective’; those who help with homework once/month or once/week were coded ‘Selective’ and those who never help, ‘Not at all’. Respondents indicated their level of agreement with the following: Creating a safe, caring, and respectful environment; Responding to my needs; Providing a sense of vision and purpose; and Communicating to parents. An index variable was created from the sum of scores.  Discipline and Behaviour Problems  1=Non-Issue, 2=Somewhat of an Issue and 3=Serious Issue  Income of Families  1=Low Income, 2=Middle Income and 3= Upper Income  24  3.1  Statistical Method Common practice permits the introduction of interval-like ordinal dependent variables  into multiple linear regression models due to their robust nature (Veenstra, 2005). Despite this common practice the grade variable is not linearly related to the set of predictors and is excessively skewed; thus, violating two key assumptions of linear regression. Although a severe transformation of the Y variable would have met the assumption of normality an assumption of linearity between the independent predictors cannot be met. For example, a unit change in the principal leadership independent variable at the extremes (i.e., a score of 15 or 16) would not change the probability that an A or B grade would be awarded to a school. Ordinal Logistic Regression does not assume normality in the distribution of the dependent variable and, unlike dichotomous regression, takes into account the ordering of the grading categories or events of the dependent variable. A test of parallelism (regression coefficients are the same across all grading categories) was conducted. The observed significance level was <.001 suggesting that there was sufficient evidence to reject the assumption of parallelism, and multinomial regression should be considered (Borooah, 2004). Dichotomous or Binary Logistic Regression was also rejected due to the low percentage (less than 10%) of responses falling into the category of “Fail” (D and F). Multinomial Logistic Regression provides the coefficients for each of the grading categories: A/B=Top Grade, C=Average and D/F=Failing Grade. The grading categories are treated as three qualitatively different categorical variables. This modeling strategy allows me to determine how the predictor variables are related to each of the grading categories when controlling for other factors. The categorization of the grading variable closely  25  resembles the response categories used by other investigators to grade schools and to determine confidence in public institutions (i.e., excellent, average or good, fair or poor).  26  Chapter 4 RESULTS Table 4.1 shows how the three categories of independent variables are related to the dependent variable of interest: grade awarded to public schools. Model 1 includes only the personal characteristics of parents while controlling for province. Due to the relatively small percentage (8%) of parents who awarded a “Failing” grade, my analysis will focus primarily on the likelihood of awarding an “Average” versus a “Top” grade. This approach will avoid overstating the predictive ability of the model variables. To assist the reader, the beta coefficients of the statistically significant (<.05) predictor variables of an “Average” versus a “Top” grade have been shaded and bolded in Tables 4.1- 4.4. Turning to Model 1 in Table 4.1, the results show that fathers and public school parents are less likely to award an “Average” grade than a “Top” grade when compared to mothers and private school parents. In Model 2 we see that school-based characteristics significantly improve the model fit (Pseudo-R² =.220). More specifically, a higher level of perceived leadership by the school principal, and few, if any discipline problems, are related to a decreased likelihood of a school being awarded an “Average” versus a “Top” grade. Further, approximately two times as many schools in low-income communities will be awarded an “Average” grade than will the number of high-income schools. In Model 3, two subtypes of parental involvement are added. Neither of these variables is statistically significant in predicting the grades awarded to schools.  27  TABLE 4.1 COEFFICIENTS FOR M ULTINOMIAL LOGIT M ODELS OF THE GRADING OF SCHOOLS PARENT DATA  M ODEL 1  M ODEL 2  M ODEL 3  AVERAGE VS. TOP GRADE AVERAGE VS. TOP GRADE AVERAGE VS. TOP GRADE Beta  Beta  Beta  -0.445  2.485*  2.484*  INTERACTION VARIABLE  0.066  0.082  0.086  NOT A VISIBLE MINORITY  0.254  0.220  0.223  INDEPENDENT VARIABLES INTERCEPT PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS  VISIBLE MINORITY = REFERENCE POVERTY INCOME  0.131  0.015  0.013  LOW INCOME  -0.230  -0.216  -0.211  MIDDLE INCOME  -0.292  -0.228  -0.229  UPPER = REFERENCE HIGH SCHOOL  0.313  0.248  0.253  SOME POST-SECONDARY UNIVERSITY = REFERENCE  0.109  0.037  0.036  -1.150*  -1.801*  -1.790*  -0.278*  -0.345*  -0.339*  PRINCIPAL LEADERSHIP  -  -0.165*  -0.165*  NO DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS  -  -1.087*  -1.089*  SOME DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS  -  -0.226  -0.232  SERIOUS DISCIPLINE =REFERENCE  -  LOW FAMILY INCOMES  -  0.859*  0.846*  MIDDLE FAMILY INCOMES  -  0.435  0.433  HIGH FAMILY =REFERENCE  -  PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENT PRIVATE = REFERENCE FATHERS MOTHERS = REFERENCE SCHOOL- BASED CHARACTERISTICS  PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT NOT INVOLVED IN HOMEWORK  -  -  -0.056  SELECTIVELY HOMEWORK  -  -  -0.086  NOT INVOLVED IN SCHOOL  -  -  -0.028  SELECTIVELY INVOLVED IN SCHOOL  -  -  0.033  1342  1342  88.303  254.296  258.948  0.076  0.220  0.224  NON-SELECTIVELY =REFERENCE  NON-SELECTIVELY =REFERENCE N CHI-SQUARE NAGELKERKE PSEUDO R-SQ.  1443  NOTES: THE REFERENCE CATEGORY IS: TOP GRADES (A OR B) VALUES = P<.05* IN BOLD  28  The present results confirm that gendering the relationship between schools and parents is an important first step in advancing our understanding of the grading of community schools. A second step is to consider if the relative influence of these factors is different for mothers and fathers. Further multivariate analyses have been completed by splitting the parent data file by gender. I will first consider the data on mothers. The first model in Table 4.2 shows that public school mothers perceive community schools to be doing a better job than do private school mothers. In Model 2, we see that schools with strong principal leadership and few, if any discipline problems, are less likely to receive an “Average” versus a “Top” grade when compared to schools with lower levels of leadership and serious discipline problems. In Model 3, the parental involvement at school variable is significant. Close to three times as many mothers who are “not involved in schoolbased activities” will award an “Average” grade versus a “Top” grade when compared to mothers who are involved in “all or almost all school-based activities”. This finding suggests that a mother’s involvement in schools is significantly and positively associated with perceptions of school performance. Of interest, in the awarding of a “Failing” versus a “Top” grade, the variables principal leadership and discipline and behaviour problems remain significant predictors; however, a mother’s involvement in school activities is no longer significant. Mothers earning a “poverty” income will be more likely to award a poor grade to their community schools than will mothers earning an “upper” income. These results suggest that school-based characteristics exert a significant influence on the grading of schools by mothers, and in relation to schools perceived to be “Failing”, the influence of these same predictor variables appears to increase.  29  TABLE 4.2 COEFFICIENTS FOR M ULTINOMIAL LOGIT M ODELS OF THE GRADING OF SCHOOLS M OTHERS DATA  M ODEL 1  M ODEL 2  M ODEL 3  AVERAGE VS. TOP GRADE AVERAGE VS. TOP GRADE AVERAGE VS. TOP GRADE INDEPENDENT VARIABLES INTERCEPT  -0.873  2.356*  2.292*  INTERACTION VARIABLE  0.015  0.012  -0.014  NOT A VISIBLE MINORITY  0.576  0.551  0.516  PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS  VISIBLE MINORITY = REFERENCE POVERTY INCOME  0.316  0.321  0.292  LOW INCOME  -0.349  -0.398  -0.414  MIDDLE INCOME  0.000  0.007  0.015  HIGH SCHOOL  0.153  0.954  -0.030  SOME POST-SECONDARY UNIVERSITY = REFERENCE  0.329  0.165  0.346  -1.283*  -1.876*  -1.893*  PRINCIPAL LEADERSHIP  -  -.155*  -0.148*  NO DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS  -  -1.354*  -1.368*  -.567  -0.548  UPPER = REFERENCE  PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENT PRIVATE = REFERENCE SCHOOL- BASED CHARACTERISTICS  SOME DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS  -  SERIOUS DISCIPLINE =REFERENCE  -  LOW FAMILY INCOMES  -  .202  0.260  MIDDLE FAMILY INCOMES  -  .199  0.212  HIGH FAMILY =REFERENCE  -  PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT NOT INVOLVED IN HOMEWORK  -  -  -0.130  SELECTIVELY HOMEWORK  -  -  -0.008  NOT INVOLVED IN SCHOOL  -  -  1.049*  SELECTIVELY INVOLVED IN SCHOOL  -  -  0.068  709  709  69.535  150.280  160.413  0.110  0.240  0.255  NON-SELECTIVELY =REFERENCE  NON-SELECTIVELY =REFERENCE N CHI-SQUARE NAGELKERKE PSEUDO R-SQ.  754  NOTES: THE REFERENCE CATEGORY IS: TOP GRADES (A OR B) VALUES = P<.05* IN BOLD  30  Turning to Table 4.3, the results show that fathers are influenced differently than are mothers in relation to the awarding of an “Average” grade. Unlike mothers, fathers with a high-school education are more likely to award an “Average” versus a “Top” grade than are fathers with a university education. This result supports a previous study that found ‘vocationally-educated fathers’ to be less satisfied with their child’s school than were ‘academically-educated fathers’ (Räty & Kasanen, 2007). For the same grading category fathers whose children attend a school with a majority of low-income families are significantly more likely to award “Average” grades than are fathers whose children attend a school in a high-income community. Fathers are not significantly influenced by discipline and behaviour problems. Potentially, the most interesting finding in the fathers’ data is the decreased likelihood of a “not at all involved” father to award an “Average” grade versus a “Top” grade to his child’s school. The results suggest that the perceptions of school performance held by mothers and fathers will be differentially influenced by personal and school-based characteristics and notably, by parental involvement.  31  TABLE 4.3 COEFFICIENTS FOR M ULTINOMIAL LOGIT M ODELS OF THE GRADING OF SCHOOLS FATHERS DATA  M ODEL 1  M ODEL 2  M ODEL 3  AVERAGE VS. TOP GRADE AVERAGE VS. TOP GRADE AVERAGE VS. TOP GRADE Beta  Beta  Beta  -0.316  2.188*  2.130*  INTERACTION VARIABLE  0.102  0.162  0.144  NOT A VISIBLE MINORITY  -0.047  -0.267  -0.242  INDEPENDENT VARIABLES INTERCEPT PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS  VISIBLE MINORITY = REFERENCE POVERTY INCOME  -0.100  -0.748  -0.847  LOW INCOME  -0.098  -0.006  -0.046  MIDDLE INCOME  -0.706*  -0.635*  -0.593  UPPER = REFERENCE HIGH SCHOOL  0.605*  0.858*  0.852*  SOME POST-SECONDARY UNIVERSITY = REFERENCE  -0.193  -0.408  -0.554  PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENT  -0.986*  -1.792*  -1.788*  PRINCIPAL LEADERSHIP  -  -0.186*  -0.191*  NO DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS  -  -0.732*  -0.706  SOME DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS  -  0.227  0.314  SERIOUS DISCIPLINE = REFERENCE  -  PRIVATE = REFERENCE SCHOOL- BASED CHARACTERISTICS  LOW FAMILY INCOMES  -  2.254*  2.533*  MIDDLE FAMILY INCOMES  -  0.844*  0.914*  HIGH FAMILY = REFERENCE  -  PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT NOT INVOLVED IN HOMEWORK  -  -  -0.030  SELECTIVELY HOMEWORK  -  -  -0.220  NOT INVOLVED IN SCHOOL  -  -  -2.935*  SELECTIVELY INVOLVED IN SCHOOL  -  -  0.238  633  633  49.324  162.697  184.049  0.091  0.295  0.329  NON-SELECTIVELY = REFERENCE  NON-SELECTIVELY =REFERENCE N CHI-SQUARE NAGELKERKE PSEUDO R-SQ.  690  NOTES: THE REFERENCE CATEGORY IS: TOP GRADES (A OR B) VALUES = P<.05* IN BOLD  32  In the awarding of a “Failing” versus a “Top” grade by fathers, principal leadership, education, and family income remain significant predictors. Additionally, the discipline and behaviour problem variable becomes significant. Similar to the data on mothers, parental involvement in school-based activities is not significantly associated with the awarding of a “Failing” grade. The results for mothers and fathers suggest that schools perceived to be “Failing” are more heavily influenced by factors associated with socioeconomic status such as personal income and education than are those schools perceived to be “Average”. 4.1  A Comparison of Predictor Variables for Mothers and Fathers Table 4.4 provides a comparison of Model 3 from Tables 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3. This brings  into view the influences on fathers’ and mothers’ grading of schools. As suggested previously, the finding of greatest interest is the significance of gender in relation to the awarding of an “Average” versus “Top” grade. Another finding is the direction of influence of parental involvement in school-based activities in the father’s final model The result suggests that fathers who are “not involved at all” in school-based activities are less likely to award an “Average” grade than a “Top” grade compared to fathers who are more engaged in schools. By contrast, mothers who are “not involved at all”, are more likely to award an “Average” grade when compared to mothers who are more highly involved. Despite being similarly involved in school-based activities, fathers and mothers are either differentially influenced by their lack of involvement or have very different reasons for maintaining a distance from their child’s school. Differing from previous studies which suggest ‘closeness’ to, or engagement in, schools is associated with the awarding of higher grades, these findings show that a father’s distance from his child’s school is not associated with a poor perception and possibly, might be a response to strong school performance. Given the cross-sectional nature of this research design the causal flow cannot be determined. 33  TABLE 4.4 COEFFICIENTS FOR M ULTINOMIAL LOGIT M ODELS OF THE GRADING OF SCHOOLS COMPARISON DATA  PARENTS  M OTHERS  FATHERS  AVERAGE VS. TOP GRADE AVERAGE VS. TOP GRADE AVERAGE VS. TOP GRADE Beta  Beta  Beta  2.484*  2.292*  2.130*  INTERACTION VARIABLE  0.086  -0.014  0.144  NOT A VISIBLE MINORITY  0.223  0.516  -0.242  INDEPENDENT VARIABLES INTERCEPT PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS  VISIBLE MINORITY = REFERENCE POVERTY INCOME  0.013  0.292  -0.847  LOW INCOME  -0.211  -0.414  -0.046  MIDDLE INCOME  -0.229  0.015  -0.593  HIGH SCHOOL  0.253  -0.030  0.852*  SOME POST-SECONDARY UNIVERSITY = REFERENCE  0.036  0.346  -0.554  -1.790*  -1.893*  -1.788*  -0.339*  -  -  PRINCIPAL LEADERSHIP  -0.165*  -0.148*  -0.191*  NO DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS  -1.089*  -1.368*  -0.706  -0.232  -0.548  0.314  0.846*  0.260  2.533*  0.433  0.212  0.914*  NOT INVOLVED IN HOMEWORK  -0.056  -0.130  -0.030  SELECTIVELY HOMEWORK  -0.086  -0.008  -0.220  -0.028  1.049*  -2.935*  0.033  0.068  0.238  1342  709  633  258.948  160.413  184.049  0.224  0.255  0.329  UPPER = REFERENCE  PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENT PRIVATE = REFERENCE FATHERS MOTHERS = REFERENCE SCHOOL- BASED CHARACTERISTICS  SOME DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS SERIOUS DISCIPLINE = REFERENCE LOW FAMILY INCOMES MIDDLE FAMILY INCOMES HIGH FAMILY = REFERENCE PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT  NON-SELECTIVELY =REFERENCE NOT INVOLVED IN SCHOOL SELECTIVELY INVOLVED IN SCHOOL NON-SELECTIVELY =REFERENCE N CHI-SQUARE NAGELKERKE PSEUDO R-SQ. NOTES: VALUES = P<.05* IN BOLD  34  The effects of specific types of parental involvement and the motivations for involvement by mothers and fathers require further investigation. As Green et al. (2007) suggest, “little is known about parental motivations for involvement and how these motivations influence specific involvement decisions” (p. 540). Among all of the significant predictor variables of an “Average” grade, parental involvement in school-based activities is the only variable exerting the opposite effect on fathers than on mothers. Among fathers, their educational attainment and the socioeconomic status of a community school, exert a significant influence on perceptions of an “Average” or “Top” performance. This was not found in the mother’s data. These results demonstrate that the factors influencing mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of public school performance are differentiated based on gender. Importantly, without gendering our understanding of how parents grade schools, the relative influence of certain factors—the discordant effect of parental involvement in schools and the predictive influence of socioeconomic factors on fathers, would not have come into view. This outcome is important if we are, as Daly (2004) argues, to better understand how fathers and mothers can be part of parenting solutions in a fast-paced and technologically advanced culture. Daly (2004) goes on to argue that mother’s and father’s skills and contributions are complementary rather than interchangeable. By viewing parenting labour and experiences with schools as differentiated and complementary we can enlarge and diversify the pool of available resources to schools.  35  Chapter 5 CONCLUSION Three categories of independent variables were investigated to determine their relative influence on the grading of community schools by parents. Among these variables, gender, parent type (i.e., public or private), principal leadership, discipline and behaviour problems, and the socioeconomic status of a school were found to be significant predictors of an “Average” versus a “Top” grade. The direction of influence of each significant variable accords with the literature, suggesting that my findings are both reliable and valid. Therefore, my empirical study begins to fill a gap in the literature regarding the factors of influence on parents’ grading of school performance. This investigation confirms the importance of a gendered analysis. In the awarding of “Average” versus “Top” grades to community schools, the overall result suggests that fathers more often than mothers will award a higher grade. This result is not in agreement with the Livingstone et al. (2000) OISE/UT survey which did not find gender to be a significant factor associated with parent satisfaction. However, this result accords with Räty and Kasanen (2007) who found gender to be significantly related to views on the ‘quality of instruction’. The OISE/UT (2000) question asked parents, ‘How satisfied are you with the current situation in Ontario elementary and secondary schools with regards to the school system in general?’ Respondents were provided with “satisfied”, “dissatisfied” or “neither/not stated” as possible response categories (Livingstone et al., 2000). Both the response categories and general nature of the question might have contributed to its insensitivity to gender. In contrast, the study authors did observe a substantial difference in the views of women and men on key educational issues: school funding, government intervention and smaller class sizes. Given that women, generally, are more engaged in the work of schooling and have experienced the benefits of increased funding as well as the 36  deficits of large class sizes, the latter measure was likely more sensitive to the gendered knowledge of fathers and mothers. My investigation established an important outcome in relation to schools. Principal leadership and discipline and behaviour problems can significantly influence parent perceptions of school performance. Schools with strong administrative leadership and ‘bullyfree’ environments have the potential to counter a weak performance as measured by standardized assessments. An area of future study might be to include an analysis of the relative influence of these same factors while controlling for a school’s rank based on standardized test scores. Performance in low-income schools will be disproportionately influenced by socioeconomic context. School-based characteristics significantly impact on parents’ perceptions of quality. This result supports Powers’ (2003) contention that ‘additional’ and contextual information should be used in analyses of school and student performance. Parents, however, did not construct their knowledge of school quality in the same manner. Importantly, the influence of the variables above did not exert equal or the same influence on mothers and fathers. This outcome suggests that the differentiated experiences in, and relations with, schools, of mothers and fathers, leads to a gendered knowledge of schools and school performance. In my gendered analyses, I did not find mothers to be influenced by their educational attainment or by the socioeconomic context of the school; rather, the likelihood of awarding a higher grade was positively associated with a higher level of involvement in schools, principal leadership and student discipline and behaviour problems. A mother’s school-level experiences with administration, teachers, students and fellow parents are likely to constitute the evaluative facts of school performance.  37  By comparison, I found fathers’ perceptions to be significantly influenced by class factors such as the socioeconomic context of the school being graded and a father’s level of education. The significant association between a lack of involvement in school-based activities and an increased likelihood of awarding a “Top” grade suggests, in contrast to mothers, fathers are differentially influenced by school-based activities. Is a father’s decision to engage in schools a reflection of contentment or discontent? As feminist standpoint theorist Smith (as referenced in Sprague, 2005) might argue: The better these women are at their work, the more invisible that work is to the men who benefit from it, allowing them to take women’s work for granted and to have their own authority and contribution bolstered in the process. (p.44) Following from the contributions of standpoint theory, fathers, in two-parent families, are potentially more content with school performance when they are removed from the daily responsibilities of schooling. Like his children, a father will benefit from a mother’s active engagement: daily life will run smoothly and be uninterrupted by school demands; children will complete their homework and engage in the school community; and, the more actively involved mother, is likely to share her positive perception of school performance with her partner. Understood in this way, a father’s conceptualization of a “Top” school performance is relatively abstract when compared to a mother’s, which is based on the daily experiences in schools. This is not to say that a mother’s perception of school is any more valid than a father’s but perhaps, it more closely reflects school-level performance. An interesting analysis of perceptions of school performance would be to investigate the gap between a mother’s and a father’s perception within the same family unit. A father’s more distant relationship to a school and decreased likelihood of awarding an “Average” grade contradict the findings of a substantial body of literature on parental involvement in schools. This is 38  likely because many of these investigations and analyses of parental involvement are ungendered. The causal flow has been untroubled; therefore, it is possible that the discordant association or effect has been hidden from view. Given the cross-sectional nature of this research, there are several interpretations of a father’s involvement and perceptions of school performance. One interpretation is that: involvement in school-based activities drives perceptions of school quality. In this case, a father’s active involvement in schools exposes certain school facts which lead to a poor perception relative to a less-involved father. Another interpretation might be that a poor perception of school performance drives a father’s heightened level of involvement. In this latter case, we can say that fathers engage in schools to ‘fix’ perceived deficits or problems and remain distant when school performance is satisfactory. In the Lareau (2000) study, fathers were found to attend parent-teacher conferences in order to lodge a complaint and were found to be more assertive than mothers in these interactions. Further, Lareau (2000) did observe an increase in parental involvement in response to a weak teacher. This suggests that fathers’ engagement in schools can be associated with perceptions of poor teacher performance and school troubles. The two-part question that I now address: Why might a father, who is highly involved in their child’s school, think less highly of his child’s school than a father who is far less involved or to a mother who is similarly involved? In relation to the first part of the question, as the work of Doucet (2006) shows, for fathers who enter the ‘female-dominated community space’ of schools there is often a feeling of being a ‘misfit’. A father volunteering in a classroom-based activity or as a chaperone on a school trip is more than likely to find that he is outnumbered by a socially-networked group of mothers—potentially unable to comfortably enter a conversation or a work in progress. Additionally, when fathers are asked 39  to participate in ‘minimal interactions’ requiring both that the female teacher maintains control and a father’s inclinations or skills are not required, a sense of frustration might emerge. If fathers commonly look to incorporate masculine traits in their school-based involvement, and this is not possible given the nature of the task, fathers are not likely to feel satisfied that their time was well spent or that their involvement was meaningful. Further, fathers may experience a heightened sense of scrutiny and discomfort when the task is devoid of a masculine set of traits. In contrast to mothers, fathers would more frequently be navigating a cross-gender relationship with their child’s teacher, foreclosing opportunities for involvement and building rapport. For example, a father hoping to establish rapport or ties with a female teacher might be working within a more rigid set of social rules than would most mothers. In most instances, a mother can compliment a teacher on her physical appearance or acknowledge their shared experiences as mothers or as women, which are common starting places for casual conversation and building connections. A father who is more actively involved in schools might encounter a greater number of social barriers and a reversal of status when compared to the male-dominated public spaces that he is most accustomed. Some fathers avoid ‘mother-dominated settings’ to alleviate the feeling of not belonging (Doucet, 2006). Therefore, it is plausible that a father who is more highly involved in school-based activities (as defined by the five survey measures), gains little satisfaction or new social ties from the experience, and, in turn, is more critical of the institution than is a father who is “not at all involved”. And based on the significance of the education variable, it appears that some fathers construct their knowledge of the quality of present-day education based, in part, on their own educational experiences and social position within the educational hierarchy. As Räty and Kasanen (2007) found, ‘vocationally40  educated’ fathers were less satisfied with schools than were ‘academically-educated’ fathers. In relation to high school experiences, Ding and Hall (2007) observed that male respondents tended to feel more negatively about their school experience and about their teachers than did females. If high school experiences were characterized by struggles, failures, and feelings of uncertainty or scrutiny by female teachers, less-educated fathers might simply be more critical of schools and of educational resources when compared to mothers of a similar educational level and fathers who are more highly educated. In contrast to fathers, a majority of mothers will enter the school and the school yard with a certain influence and familiarity. I believe it begins with the first official and often tearful hand-off in Kindergarten when the mother is acknowledged to be the child’s ‘first teacher’. As Lightfoot (1977) argued, it is the meeting of the mother’s sphere of influence and that of the teacher’s which is becoming increasingly blurred by the intensification of education, and where tensions and conflict can erupt. Despite the potential for conflict in the relationship, there is also acknowledgement by the teacher of the mother’s influence or jurisdiction over their child’s education. The literature suggests that this is not the case for most fathers, in part because a mother’s influence is reinforced on a daily basis by school policy and practices, as well by a distinct gender order within the middle classes. Therefore, in many instances, mothers will engage in schools with greater confidence and familiarity than will most fathers. This position of influence and perceived competence might help to explain why a mother who is “more involved in schools” might have a more positive perception of school performance than would a similarly involved father. Additionally, when asked to grade their community public school, given their responsibility over educational matters, the material labour and the disproportionate emotional burden of schooling they shoulder, mothers might effectively be grading their own work and contributions in schools. 41  Among less-involved mothers, who are also more likely to be lone parents (NCES, 1997), their tendency toward an “Average” versus a “Top” grade might be partially explained by the absence of a partner who is highly-engaged in the work of schooling. In the case of a child who is struggling in school or having difficulty with other children, the child’s social, academic and emotional failings might be directly attributed to the school. Potentially, when a parent or partner is more engaged, there is opportunity to gain a richer understanding of the school environment, fellow classmates, school practices and culture; thus, bringing a balance of school facts. Influenced by the ‘mothering discourse’, less-involved mothers might also be interpreting their own lack of involvement as a failure and this feeling contributes negatively to their perception. In my study, three qualitatively different grading variables allowed me to observe the relative and non-linear influence of factors across grading categories. Importantly, the influences change for schools perceived to be “Failing” versus the schools performing at an “Average” or “Top” level. Further, by gendering the analyses and the relations between schools and parents, this investigation provides support for a more nuanced approach to understanding the grading of schools by parents. By understanding the potential for there to be different motivations for involvement and potentially, different effects of school-based involvement on mothers’ and fathers’ grading of schools, education leaders can engage with parents in more meaningful interactions. As Daly (2004) argues, the diversity in parenting labour is a ‘good thing’ for schools and should be embraced to its fullest potential. If mothers and fathers engage in school communities in ways which more closely reflect their preferences, there is potential to build healthier school communities and relations.  42  5.1  Recommendations for Future Study Several new lines of inquiry emerge. How do specific types of involvement in schools  influence how fathers or mothers feel about their child’s school? How does the gender of a child’s teacher influence the involvement opportunities for mothers versus fathers? Given the changes in family form, what is the dominant discourse of ‘good fathering’ and how is it interpreted by fathers across family forms? How are mother’s and father’s expectations of school changing? As suggested by Roth (2002), the real story in education is not about a decaying system but is about increased expectations. Who holds these increased expectations? How does parental involvement vary in relation to school performance? Further, what influences ‘non-confidence’ votes among mothers and fathers, and is there a relationship to their level of parental involvement in schools? Mothers are ‘sizing-up’ schools everyday and across multiple interactions. Given the variation and diversity of engagement, I would suggest that mothers’ grading of schools are less static than are fathers. In Räty and Kasanen’s (2007) study, they observed mother’s satisfaction with schools to have changed more dramatically over a five-year period than did father’s perceptions. For mothers, charged with remedying their child’s struggles with school and celebrating their achievements, there is a greater potential for contradictory facts to emerge from school interactions. An interesting line of inquiry might be to examine the degree to which mother’s and father’s perceptions change or are destabilized in relation to changes in principal leadership, incidents of bullying or violence, and published standardized assessment scores. Opinion polling appears to be conducted annually therefore, the stability of perceptions is not well understood nor has this aspect been problematized in the school assessment literature.  43  The study results should be interpreted with the following limitations. First, the five measures of parental involvement in schools provide a limited view of parenting practices in schools. As has been argued by Ho Sui-Chu and Wilms (1996), the concept of parental involvement has many dimensions. Importantly, in relation to fathers, the measures are unlikely to have captured the type of involvement most closely related to higher levels of satisfaction or improved perceptions of performance (i.e., conducting a playground inspection, appearing as a special guest or fixing or repairing classroom materials). Similarly, for mothers, these measures do not capture the scope of individualized interactions with schools. Second, the relative influence of the independent variables is limited to general observations. In an ideal research construct, these influences and potential gaps between mothers and fathers could be set against school site and type (i.e., minority and disadvantaged school populations), while controlling for published school rank and student achievement scores. Given the significance of standardized assessment scores on perceptions of quality in education, controlling for this influence would inform the investigation and the relationship to other factors of influence. Further, school rank might help to unfold the causal flow. As a consequence of the survey method, a limited understanding of parent perceptions of school performance can be offered. The telephone survey was conducted in two languages; thereby limiting our sample to English and French-speaking parents. Given the demographic profile of the population in major Canadian cities, conducting telephone interviews in multiple languages might have contributed to a more representative sample of parents.  44  NOTES i  In July 2007, I conducted a systematic audit of the ten provincial and three territorial education ministry web sites to better understand the use of standardized assessments. As Table A.1 shows, there is a presence across the country. ii  The literature review focuses on a differentiated ‘parental involvement’ in schools. I have sought out the perspectives of mothers and fathers rather than those of schools, educational leaders or policy makers. My approach is not intended to set mothers and fathers in opposition with one another. I take direction from Daly (2004), who suggests that the contributions and strengths of mothers and fathers can be viewed as complementary. This approach does not negate the underlying inequality in the work of schooling or the disadvantages women continue to face. Additionally, by turning attention to ‘fathering for schooling’ I do not intend to fuel the political struggles of fathers (Doucet, 2006). Importantly, my approach acknowledges the fluid and unfixed nature of mothering and fathering practices and meanings, and the potential for co-parenting in the relational work of schooling. Additionally, if the debates around the material and emotional work of schooling are to continue, both sides must be heard and understood (O’Brien, 2007). iii  The NCES (1997) asked about four types of school activities that parents could participate in during the school year. The activities are fairly typical of those available in most schools: attendance at a general school meeting, attendance at a regularly scheduled parent-teacher conference, attendance at a school or class event, and serving as a volunteer at school. Parents are said to have low involvement in their children's schools if they have done none or only one of the four activities. They are categorized as having moderate involvement if they have done two of the activities. Those who said that they have done three or more of the activities are said to be highly involved in their children's schools.  45  BIBLIOGRAPHY Acker-Hocevar, M., & Touchton, D. (2001). Principals Struggle to Level the Accountability Playing Field of Florida Graded ‘D’ & ‘F’ Schools in High Poverty and Minority Communities. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 458 322). Ashbourne, L.M., & Lero, D. (2006) Inventory of Policy and Policy Areas Influencing Fathers’ Involvement. 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(2006). 2005 Public Opinion Survey on Education in Indiana. Bloomington, ID: Center for Evaluation and Public Policy. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 495747)  48  Räty, H., & Kasanen, K. (2007). Parents’ perceptions of their children’s schools: findings from a five-year longitudinal study. Educational Studies, 33, 339-351. Ritzer, G. (2004). The McDonaldization of Society: Revised New Century Edition. California: Sage Publications. Roth, R. (2002) Public Perspectives on Schooling: An Overview and Analysis of Public Opinion Polling on Education. Retrieved March 31, 2008, from Sprague, J. (2005). Feminist Methodologies for Critical Researchers. Walnut Creek: Altamira Press. Statistics Canada (2004). Women in Canada: Work Chapter Updates 2003. Ottawa, ON. (Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 89F0133X1E) Retrieved March 31, 2008, From Statistics Canada (2006). General Social Survey: Navigating family. Ottawa, ON. 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Gender and Education, 16, 365378.  49  APPENDIX A Table A.1  Systematic Audit of Standard Assessments Across Canada  Province  Provincial Assessments  Annual  British Columbia  Foundation Skills Assessments Grades 4 and 7  √  Provincial Examinations Grades 10, 11 and 12  √  Students must write 5 provincial Examinations.  Literacy Domain Math, reading and Writing Mathematics, English, Science, Geography, Physics, Punjabi, Spanish, French, Mandarin, Civic Studies, Social Studies, German, Biology, Technical Professional Communications, BC First Nations  Public Results BC Ministry Web site  Inter/National Assessments PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) Test  The Vancouver Sun 15 year old students in all 10 provinces (math, science and reading).  PCAP (PanCanadian Assessment Program) Test (Replacing SAIP) 13 and 15 year old students (reading, science and mathematics). Alberta  Saskatchewan  Manitoba  Achievement Testing Grades 3,6 and 9  √  Math, English, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies  Diploma Exams Grade 12  √  English and Social Studies  Saskatchewan Mathematics Assessment Grades 5,8 and 11  √  Writing Assessment Grades 8 and 11  √  Saskatchewan Students Thinking and Inferring skills Test Grades 8 and 11  √  AB Ministry Web site  PISA PCAP  Calgary Herald  Assessments Grades 3 and 4  √  Grade 7 and 8 (Middle Years)  √  Mathematics, Student Engagement, Reading Comprehension and Expository Writing  Grade 12 Standards Tests  √  English and Mathematics  Reading, Numeracy, French Immersion  Sask Ministry Web site  PISA PCAP  MB Ministry Web Site  PISA PCAP  50  Province  Provincial Assessments  Annual  Literacy Domain  Ontario  Education Quality Assurance Office (EQAO) Grades 3 and 6 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) Grade 9 and 10  √  Mathematics, Reading and Writing ON Ministry Web site  Quebec  Primary Tests Grades 1-3  √  Elementary Tests Grades 4-6  √  Intermediate Tests Grade 7-9  √  Prince Edward Island  Primary Literacy Assessments Grade 3  √  Mathematics  Nova Scotia  Intermediate Math Assessments √ Grade 9 Mathematical Literacy Assessment √ Grade 3 Literacy Assessments Grade 9 √ English Communication Assessments; and Nova Scotia NSE Mathematics and Advanced Mathematics and NSE Physics Grade 12  √  Not all students write the ‘Advanced Mathematics.  Literacy Assessment Grade 2 and 7 Literacy Assessment Pilot Grade 4 Science Assessment Grade 6 Provincial Mathematics Assessments Grade 5, 8 English Language Proficiency\ Assessment Grade 9 Oral Proficiency Exam Grade 10 and 12 Yukon Achievement Test Grades 3,6, 9 BC Examinations (B.C.P) Grades 10 and 12 Language Proficiency Index Grades 11 and 12  √  Yukon  Nunavut N.W.T  No standard assessments Administer Alberta Assessments  PISA PCAP  Literacy, Numeracy and Writing  √  New Brunswick  Inter/National Assessments  √  Singles Tests (Split by firstLanguage of student) Grades 9 and Grade 11  Newfoundland  Public Results  The curriculum covered on this examination varies. Mathematics, French, Physical Science, History of Quebec and Canada, and Language Arts  Quebec PISA Ministry PCAP Of Education Web Site  Writing, Reading, Listening, Speaking and Mathematics Writing, Science and Mathematics  PISA PCAP  French Comprehension, Math, English, Language Arts and Science Reading Ability  Basic mathematics skills Literacy, English skills  PISA  PISA PCAP PIRLS (Progress in InterNational Reading Literacy Studies) 15 yr.olds in math, reading and science. 4 yr.olds in reading PISA PCAP  √ √ √ √  Can be re-administered in later years.  √  French Comprehension  √  Math and Language Arts  √  See listing of examinations assoc. With BC Language Arts  √  √  PCAP  PCAP  51  APPENDIX B TABLE B.1  Descriptive Statistics for All Explanatory Variables  DEPENDENT VARIABLE:  FATHERS  MOTHERS  21.4% 53.8 17.7 4.2 2.8  20.1% 48.5 22.7 5.0 3.7  FATHERS 46.6%  MOTHERS 53.4%  22.2%  27.3%  30.5  39.8  47.3  32.9  41.3%  42.2%  30.1 28.6  29.0 28.7  I. GRADES AWARDED TO SCHOOLS A B C D F INDEPENDENT VARIABLES:  PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS II. GENDER ( N=2008) III. EDUCATION VARIABLE HIGH SCHOOL SOME POST-SECONDARY UNIVERSITY DEGREE(S) IV. PARENT (BASED ON GRADE OF YOUNGEST CHILD) PRIMARY (K-3) ELEMENTARY SECONDARY  (4-7) (8-13)  V. MEAN AGE VI. INCOME VARIABLE POVERTY INCOME (15-27.5K) LOW INCOME (42.5K) MIDDLE INCOME (57.5-72.5K) UPPER INCOME (87.5 AND OVER) VII. TYPE OF SCHOOL YOUR CHILD ATTENDS… PRIVATE SCHOOL PUBLIC SCHOOL VIII. ETHNICITY VARIABLE: VISIBLE MINORITY (ABORIGINAL/ASIAN/BLACK/OTHER)  45 YEARS  43 YEARS  7.7% 15.4 30.9 45.9  18.7% 15.6 33.6 32.0  8.0% 92.0  8.3% 91.7  17.0%  10.0%  9.5% 11.0 6.0 42.0 24.1 7.5  9.8% 13.5 7.0 37.9 23.8 8.1  IX. PROVINCIAL BREAKDOWN ALBERTA BC AND TERRITORIES SASKATCHEWAN/MANITOBA ONTARIO QUEBEC ATLANTIC  52  TABLE B.1 (CONT’D.) DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS FOR ALL EXPLANATORY VARIABLES INDEPENDENT VARIABLES: SCHOOL-BASED CHARACTERISTICS  FATHERS  MOTHERS  X. DISCIPLINE VARIABLE DISCIPLINE IS NOT AN ISSUE DISCIPLINE IS SOMEWHAT ISSUE DISCIPLINE SERIOUS ISSUE  48.7% 37.9 13.3 12.4  XI. SCHOOL LEADERSHIP MEAN XII. INCOME LEVEL OF MOST FAMILIES ATTENDING YOUR CHILDREN’S SCHOOL LOW INCOME MIDDLE INCOME HIGH INCOME INDEPENDENT VARIABLES: PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT  8.2% 78.8 13.0  45.8% 43.5 10.7 12.6 7.7% 81.5 10.9  FATHERS  MOTHERS  5.7% 24.4 69.9  4.1% 21.7 74.3  12.8% 20.5 66.7  11.2% 15.4 73.5  XIII. SCHOOL-BASED PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT NOT AT ALL INVOLVED  SELECTIVELY INVOLVED NON-SELECTIVELY INVOLVED XIV. HOME-BASED PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT NOT AT ALL INVOLVED  SELECTIVELY INVOLVED NON-SELECTIVELY INVOLVED  53  


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