Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning


Problem: This study was concerned with the design, evaluation and refinement of a model which would attempt to organize all the parents from a given school, into a structure and process which would enhance, elicit and legitimize parent contributions to the information base utilized in the schools' decision-making processes.

Procedure: The population of the study included (1) Grand Forks residents whose children attend one of two public elementary schools selected for differences in socio-economic variables, (2) the teachers in those schools, (3) all the district's elementary principals and (4) the district's central office administrators. Each member of the population was requested to read a description of the structure-process model and to complete a questionnaire designed to assess their perceptions and reactions regarding (1) the need to making changes in selected specified school processes, (2) the credibility of parents as participants in the evaluation of school programs, (3) the appropriateness of specific design features of the model and (4) the willingness to support the trial adoption of such a model.

The statistical techniques employed in this study were chi square analysis and stepwise backward multiple linear regression. The .05 level was selected a priori for the determination of significance in the analyses.

Results and Conclusions: 1. No differences were found between the parent respondents from the two school areas in their perceptions as to the need for changing any of the five school processes selected for examination in this study. Both groups of parents were found to be generally well satisfied with present school processes and with the prevalent parental roles in those processes, to a degree which suggests that they perceive little need for making changes in those processes, as the proposed model would in fact do. Professionals, like the parents, were found to be satisfied with present practices and indicated that they had little desire to alter those processes.

2. No differences were found between the two parent groups, or between parents as a group when compared to school professionals, in one measure which indicated that parents were viewed as credible potential participants in the evaluation of school programs. However, in a second measure, parents from the lower socio-economic area were self-perceived as lacking beneficial, evaluative information, a perception which differed from that of higher socio-economic parents. An inconsistency in the data from professionals was found regarding their perceptions on the credibility of parents.

3. Some differences were found between all three population sub-groups in their perceptions regarding some aspects of the design of the model. Parents from the higher socio-economic area generally indicated the higher propensity to form and to function effectively in small group discussions which were proposed as a mechanism for the generating and releasing of parent-owned information in the proposed model. Parents from the lower socio-economic area, generally, lacked confidence in their ability to function in the groups and expressed a lower tendency to participate in this manner.

No differences were found between parent groups in their general support for a telephone contact chain, a component of the proposed model that was designed to facilitate the exchange of information. School professionals were generally less supportive than was either parent group in their reactions to the design features to which the entire population was asked to respond. Professionals also appeared to be generally unsupportive on other aspects of the model to which they alone had been asked to respond.

4. Both parent groups favored the trial adoption of an effort having the intent of the model while the professionals opposed such a trial implementation.

Recommendations: The results of this study lead to the following recommendations.

1. An implementation effort should be undertaken to begin to provide experience and information which is not available through studies which, like this one, test only the hypothetical commitments people would make to involvement in the structure-process model.

2. This study should be replicated and extended to include a school in which there is a preponderant dissatisfaction with the manner in which that school is, in the perception of the parents, meeting the needs of their children.

3. Subsequent studies should incorporate effective measure of the degree and motivation for whatever parental apathy does exist in the participating population.

4. The search for alternate ways to overcome the problems identified in this study should be continued. Particular attention should be given to overcoming the adverse reaction by professionals and to methods for increasing the general confidence levels of parents from lower socio-economic areas.