Defining and Measuring Parenting for Educational Success: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Parent Education Profile
To gain access to federal funding, family literacy and adult education programs are required to demonstrate evidence that participants have made gains on standardized educational tests. The Parent Education Profile (PEP) is one test now adopted across many states to measure parenting practices. However, this article highlights some of the flaws in having a single standard, which makes assumptions about the ideal parent based on values of wealth and class.
The Parent Education Profile (PEP) is an instrument used by family literacy programs to rate parents’ support for children’s literacy development. This article uses Critical Discourse Analysis to examine how the PEP constructs the ideal parent, the text’s underlying assumptions about parenting and education, and its ideological effects. The analysis shows how many features of the PEP evaluate parents according to a middle-class, predominantly White model of parenting and family-school interaction. Furthermore, the PEP tends to assume a universal, normative model of parental support for literacy, parental (mothers’) responsibility for educational outcomes, equal access to resources required to meet the PEP standards, and a limited parental role in assessment. In so doing, the PEP lends support to several dominant discourses regarding poor and minority families, such as the discourse of parent involvement and the “mothering discourse,” which encourages mothers’ supplementary educational work. Implications for policy, research, and practice are discussed.
Title: Defining and Measuring Parenting for Educational Success: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Parent Education Profile
Author: Esther Prins and Blaire Willson Toso
From: American Educational Research Journal 2008; 45; 3; 555