Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Educational Foundations

Committee Chair

Miller, Stephen K.

Author's Keywords

Values; Religiosity; Parent involvement; Student outcomes; Middle school; Rural education


Middle school education--Case studies; Academic achievement--Kentucky; Home and school--Kentucky


This dissertation is a case study of 109 students and their parents from a small rural, middle school community in Western Kentucky. It seeks to determine the interrelationships between conservative Protestant Parent Values (Parent Rural Values and Parent Religiosity), Parent Involvement, and Student Outcomes. For the mixed-methods study, mail-administered Parent and Student Surveys provide quantitative data. Interviews, document analysis, and participant-observer field notes are utilized to supplement statistical findings. Ten Research Questions reflect Demographic Factors (Socioeconomic Status, Family Structure, and Specifically Designed Instruction), Independent Variables (Parent Values--Rural Values and Parent Religiosity), Mediating Factor (Parent Involvement), and the Dependent Variable (Student Outcome). Rural Values constructs include Anti-Intellectualism, Conservatism/Traditionalism, Ethnocentrism, Good Old Boy, and Stewardship of Earth. Religiosity constructs are Belief, Ritual, Experience, Primary Affiliation, and Affiliation Bond. Parent Involvement constructs are Belief and Action. GPA measures Student Outcomes. Quantitative results include descriptive statistics reported for a small N (38). Psychometric analyses reduce the number of variables because fo the small N and optimal scales yield Parent and Student Combined responses for nine of twelve scales. The separate constructs are then combined to produce a final set of scales for regressions: a reduced set of five Rural Values, one composite Parent Religiosity variable, and one Parent Involvement variable. Regressions reveal that only SDI and Anti-Intellectualism influence GPA. The small N and possible biased sample (restricted range due to higher SES respondents) may be related to the fact that more variables are not significant. Qualitative data provide supplemental detail establishing rich texture and a sense of "living laboratory." Previously unexamined relationships between constructs such as Anti-Intellectualism, Stewardship of Earth, and Good Old Boy provide intriguing descriptions. In addition, this exploratory case study of the overlapping spheres of Parent Religiosity, Parent Involvement, and Rural Values offers insights into previously unrelated areas.