Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Marica Griffiths-Prince


Researchers have found that the limited involvement of fathers in their children's academic activities may negatively affect children's academic development. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the role of father involvement in the academic achievement of young children in early childhood classes and to assess barriers to such involvement. Guided by Erikson, Vygotsky, and Bronfenbrenner theories of learning and development, the research questions examined fathers' perceived level of educational involvement, barriers to educational involvement, and the relationship between the level of recorded father involvement and student achievement. Data were collected using a modified Parental Involvement Survey that was developed and used for interviewing teachers and given to fathers (n = 142) of children attending an early childhood center with multiple sites in an urban, southern U.S. city. Archived student test scores and fathers' attendance records in center activities were also examined. Descriptive responses were assessed for frequency and showed fathers' perceived involvement being greatest in helping their children with homework. Their work schedules were perceived to be the primary barrier to greater involvement. An independent-samples t test showed that students of fathers with higher levels of participation in center activities such as football games and field trips had significantly higher end-of-year achievement scores than did students of fathers with lower participation, t (139) = 2.24, p < 0.05. Recommendations to local center directors include encouraging fathers' participation in educational center activities and modifying activity schedules to increase fathers' involvement, which may improve student performance and contribute to positive social change.

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