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Research Agenda on Family-School Partnerships: An Interdisciplinary Examination

Research Team

Name Name Name

Principal Investigator: Susan Sheridan

Co-Principal Investigators: Gwen Nugent, James Bovaird, Gina Kunz

Funding Information

Funding Agency: American Educational Research Association (AERA)

Award Date: Sep 1, 2010

End Date: Aug 31, 2011


Families and schools — uniquely and together — represent the most essential systems in a child’s life. Theoretical and empirical work has demonstrated consistently the importance of partnerships with families to strengthen and connect children’s learning environments and support their academic and social-emotional growth.

Although activities to encourage parental involvement abound, there is little agreement about core definitional features or important pathways through which parent participation produces its effects. Multiple but separate lines of research have contributed disparate pieces of information from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with no coherent understanding of critical variables that define the construct or explain its effects.  

An interdisciplinary conference is planned to foster linkages among researchers and lay out what is known and not known in the field of family-school partnerships, and to create a unified model specifying key definitional aspects for practical and research purposes; processes by which they work (how they operate to produce effects); and methods for measuring and analyzing their effects with objectivity, precision, and sensitivity to its inherent complexity.

In addition, a national research agenda will be developed to enhance empirical and scientific understandings of variables and outcomes associated with family-school partnerships.

Academic Intervention & Learning, Social, Emotional and Behavioral Well-being