Date of Graduation

5-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

John Pijanowski

Committee Member

Ed Bengtson

Second Committee Member

Michael K. Daugherty

Keywords

Education; Family-school partnerships; Parent and teacher perceptions; Parent-teacher conflict; Perception of student abilities; Student abilities

Abstract

The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the essence of parent, teacher, and student experiences when parent and teacher perceptions of student abilities diverge; of particular importance was the perceived influence of these divergent accounts on students and the establishment of effective family-school partnerships. This purpose was achieved through a qualitative investigation of parent, teacher, and student experiences when parent and teacher perceptions of student abilities diverge. Analysis of data collected from 10 in-depth interviews with students, parents, and teachers revealed five themes and one subtheme related to discrepant parent and teacher perceptions of student abilities. These themes included: family-school partnership qualities, impressionability of student attitudes, failure to resolve conflicts, challenging parents, and lack of teacher training. Communication was included as a subtheme of family-school partnership qualities. Exploration of these themes described the overall essence of participant experiences. Participants identified family-school partnership qualities that are consistent with those presented in the literature, but they lacked agreement on the qualities of family-school partnerships considered most important. Participants also desired improved communication between parents and teachers, and they recognized several aspects of communication that could improve family-school partnerships. Participants identified the impressionability of student attitudes and the failure to resolve conflicts as perceived outcomes of the conflict. Additionally, participants believed that demanding and disengaged parents presented additional challenges to partnership development, and teacher participants reported that they were not adequately trained to foster family-school partnerships. The experiences of parents, teachers, and students in this study provided insights that could help educators and parents build family-school partnerships that withstand conflict.