The differential effects of parental involvement on high school completion and postsecondary attendance


  • Terris Raiford Ross US Department of Education



parental involvement, high school completion, postsecondary attendance


Previous studies have shown the impact of parental involvement on a number of student achievement, motivation, and engagement outcomes, but the extent to which parental involvement influences high school completion and postsecondary attendance has received less attention in the literature. Filling that gap, this study replicates and extends previous research (Fan & Williams, 2010) by examining the influence of various dimensions of parental involvement on high school completion and postsecondary attendance (with particular interest in dropouts who later earned GEDs and went on to college). Results show that parents’ educational expectations for their children play a significant role in whether students from all backgrounds persist toward completion of high school and whether they attend a postsecondary institution. This study also finds parent participation in school functions to be a significant positive predictor of both high school completion and postsecondary enrollment, while communication between parent and school about children’s school problems is negatively associated with both outcomes. The implications for expanding developmentally appropriate and culturally sensitive policies for family and school engagement are discussed.


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Author Biography

Terris Raiford Ross, US Department of Education

Terris Ross leads the elementary and secondary division of the Policy and Program Studies Service (PPSS) at the U.S. Department of Education. There, she provides technical guidance and direction for national educational research activities, primarily in the areas of school accountability and student assessment, data analysis and reporting, and the use of data for policy decisions. Prior to joining PPSS, Terris served as an education statistician on the Annual Reports team at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), where she was lead author and principal researcher on the congressionally-mandated Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study, a report which examined the lack of access to and persistence in college of males from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. Before joining the U.S. Department of Education, Terris led the Assessment, Evaluation, and Development office in Henry County Schools, GA, as well as serving the Georgia Department of Education as lead analyst for the School Improvement Division. Terris holds bachelor’s and master’s of science degrees in mathematics from Clark Atlanta University, a specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University, and a Ph.D. in educational policy studies with a concentration in research, measurement and statistics from Georgia State University.




How to Cite

Ross, T. R. (2016). The differential effects of parental involvement on high school completion and postsecondary attendance. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 30.