Formative development of a parent tutor program

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The procedural problem of this action research study was to develop a parent tutor program to teach parents how to work more effectively with the homework process. The review of literature examined (a) parent involvement, (b) parent education, (c) homework, and (d) curriculum development. A formative evaluation methodology involved four phases: (a) development, (b) implementation, (c) assessment, and (d) revision. The researcher used two curriculum software packages, Peaks CourseBuilding Software and PEAKSolutions LessonBuilding Software™. developed by PEAKSolutions and Vogler in 1989, to prepare a curriculum resource guide containing leader (counselor) guidelines, syllabus, and nine lesson plans. A foundation was provided by a selfhelp book on minimizing the homework hassle entitled Parents as Tutors, written by Vogler and Hutchins in 1988. Six elementary counselors formed an advisory panel to provide formative evaluation/validation of the program during the development and revision phases.

The subjects were groups of parents who volunteered to participate in parent tutor groups at three elementary schools in southwest Virginia. Four instruments were designed and used in the formative evaluation process. One was a questionnaire completed by the advisory panel. The others were completed by the participants at the beginning, during, and at the end of the parent education groups.

All parents who completed the parent tutor program indicated they experienced positive involvement in the homework process for themselves as well as benefits for their children. Conclusions related to parent participant goals for and problems with the homework process, reasons for parent group attrition, leader role and parent group strategies, and the importance of evaluative data. Recommendations were provided for parent tutor groups and future research. A counselor oriented parent tutor curriculum resource guide including a syllabus and nine comprehensive lesson plans with fieldtested revisions are included in the dissertation.