Effects of parental deployment on elementary school students

This action research project contributed to the growing body of literature about the impact of parents' military deployment on their school-aged children. The study examined the academic performance in literacy of third grade students at a public school in a military housing community in a small school in southern California. The researcher compared the academic performance of students who participated in a voluntary deployment support group and those who did not using data from three different academic measures: California Standards Tests, District Benchmark Assessments, and Standards-Based Report Cards. The author analyzed quantitative data from raw and scaled test scores and compared mean scores and percentages between the two groups. The researcher also analyzed qualitative data related to students' levels of proficiency on state academic standards and compared the two groups. Results demonstrated that the deployment group had a lower percentage of proficient and advanced students on four out of five assessments, confirming the need to provide additional support for these students. To combat the negative effects of deployment, the researcher recommends school leaders continue to offer support during deployments: extending participation in support groups to include pre-and post deployment; including academic goals as well as emotional and behavioral; systematically recording and retaining data about group participants; and educating faculty and staff about the deployment cycle. KEYWORDS: parental deployment, academic achievement, deployment cycle, deployment support, literacy, parental absence, deployment impact