Parents' perception of school effectiveness in a Canadian and Ukrainian school : a comparative study
The intention of this study was to examine parental perceptions in one Canadian and one Ukrainian high school as to what parents view as an effective school and also to compare the views of parents of both countries. A secondary purpose was to ascertain the characteristics that parents view as important for school choice. This study tried to answer the following research questions: 1. What factors do parents of one Canadian and one Ukrainian school define as elements of an effective school? 2. What school characteristics determine parents’ choice of schools in both countries? Data collection consisted of surveying one hundred parents of Grade 9-10 students in one school in Saskatoon, Canada and one hundred parents in a school in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. Parents were asked to complete a questionnaire which was developed based on the ten characteristics which Renihan and Sackney (2001) identified as elements of effective schools. Parents were also asked to indicate to what extent their choice of school was influenced by the suggested 17 factors, which were identified based on the findings in research literature. Also, they were asked to list three to five important reasons for their choice of school. These findings were analysed and the most frequently mentioned reasons were identified. In this study, both the Canadian and Ukrainian parents agreed that the following characteristics identified in the literature are elements of effective schools, including school vision and purpose, leadership, a positive climate, academic emphasis,professional community, instructional expectations, feedback, parental involvement, student involvement, and physical environment and resources.Additional themes related to school effectiveness were identified by the participating parents, such as promoting/ preparation for postsecondary education and career information. This suggests that parents of students as early as in Grade 9 and 10 are concerned about their children’s future and want their children to be prepared by the school for lifelong learning. The majority of the Ukrainian parents perceived physical environment and resources, including medical services, to be a very important element of effective schools. With respect to the second research question, examination of the data revealed that the majority of both Canadian and Ukrainian parents identified the same factors as highly influencing the choice of school. These factors included opportunities for higher education, child(ren)’s happiness, high expectations for learning, academic standards, quality of teaching and reputation. Reputation was the most mentioned reason for school choice by both Canadian and Ukrainian parents. Parents in both schools commonly identified positive atmosphere as a factor in school choice. Canadian parents employed situational and family-related factors, whereas Ukrainian parents based their choice of school on key qualities of the school and preparation for university.
School Effectiveness, Parents
Master of Education (M.Ed.)