Skip over navigation
Visit the NCREL Home Page

Parent Involvement: Literature Review and Database of Promising Practices

Pathways Home Page

In late 1995 a team from the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL) embarked on a search for information about successful parent involvement programs. There were to be two objectives to our search. The first, to create a literature review of research in parent involvement strategies, and the second was to identify promising programs which were utilizing those strategies. Our goal was to complete a literature review which would identify those strategies that seemed to be the most helpful in improving parent involvement. We hoped that we could assist schools with limited time and limited resources, by encouraging their investment in the strategies which would yield the greatest improvement.

What we found surprised us. There was a considerable amount of literature that established the importance of parent involvement. There was also abundant literature that determined positive outcomes of parent involvement. We could not, however, find literature which identified particular strategies which had greater impact than others on a school's attempt to involve parents. What the research does suggest is that what is essential to improving parent involvement in schools are not specific strategies, but rather how chosen strategies are implemented.

Below, you can access the results of our literature review and a database of promising programs. These in no way represent an exhaustive or even conclusive representation of all that is available on the subject of parent involvement. They are, however, a sampling of recent research on parent involvement, along with programs which have been proven effective in building parent involvement. NCREL neither promotes nor endorses these strategies or programs. We offer them as a report to the field of the work that has been done to date, and what was learned from that work.

In the literature review, you will find a synthesis of research on parent involvement and a bibliography which identifies all of the articles which were reviewed. Read through the synthesis and consider the conclusions that were drawn. How does this inform you about things you could do in your community?

In the database of promising programs, you will find programs that have shown promise and accomplishment in raising the level of parent involvement in schools. There are a total of 27 programs in the database, and they have been grouped and linked according to three categories: The Magnitude of the Program (whether the program is national, statewide, district/county wide, etc.); the Target Population (pre-K, elementary, middle, or high school); and the Program Focus or Features (family literacy, parent education, home visiting, etc.) Within each summary, you will find 6 categories: the program name, a description of the program, the history of the program, the target audience, keys to success, and how to contact the program. We would encourage you to examine each closely. The Keys to Success may provide you with useful strategies or guidelines as you develop parent involvement programs in your school, no matter what strategies you choose. Some are national programs which can be localized, others were developed because of local needs, and utilized local information and resources in the design. By contacting these people, you could learn valuable lessons in making parent involvement more meaningful in your school/community.

Authors: Judith Caplan, Greg Hall, Stephanie Lubin, and Robin Fleming
Date posted: 1997
Copyright © North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer and copyright information.