Middle-income African American parents' involvement with their first-grade children's education: A qualitative collective case study

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Reading and Language Arts


Peter Mosenthal


Middle-income, First-grade, Parent involvement, African-American

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Arts and Humanities | Education | Family, Life Course, and Society | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


The purpose of this study was to address the question, "What is the nature of middle-income African American parents' perceptions of their involvement and reported practices with their first-grade children's education?" To date, studies that have focused on low-income African American parents have generalized to middle-income African Americans, suggesting that all African Americans (regardless of income) are uninvolved with their children's education. However, few studies have given attention to middle income African American parents' involvement and reported practices with their children's schooling. This qualitative collective case study was conducted to explore the manner in which middle-income African American parents perceived their involvement and reported practices with their first-grade children. The participants were eight intact middle-income, African American families who resided in an urban area. Data collection included in-depth, audio-taped interviews and observations with parents. Both spouses were interviewed in dyads in their homes over a period of six months. Data analysis revealed two categories: (1) parents' perceptions of their involvement and reported practices in the home; and (2) parents' perceptions of their involvement and reported practices at school. Based on parents' perceptions of their reported practices, the findings revealed that they were involved in their first grade children's education. The findings are discussed in terms of previous parent involvement research. This study extends past research by identifying themes that have different indications of what parent involvement means to middle-income African American parents in the home and at school.


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