invovlmentRunning head: PARENTAL INVOVLMENT AND ACEDEMIC ACHIEVEMENT Most recently there has been much heated debate regarding our children’s education and the blamed responsibility to be in the hands of the educational system. However, researchers and educators generally agree that parents play an extremely important role in students’ academic development. Parents have been found to actually have the advantage over peers, educators, counselors, and other professionals. This study examines the assumed relationship with a student’s academic achievement and the amount of parental involvement they receive.
There also seems to be an increasing trend toward higher educational expectations. High school sophomores in 1990 were more likely than sophomores in 1980 to report the expectation of receiving a bachelor’s or advanced college degree. Educational attainment does appear to be increasingly important to students, parents, counselors, and teachers. These apparent trends in educational expectations and advice given by adults were consistent across races, socioeconomic strata, school type, section of the country, and student achievement levels (Rasinski et al., 1993). The purpose of this study is to merely examine the relationship between parental involvement and academic achievement. With the study of these two topics there are many various variables that help in determining the eventual out come. It is extremely difficult to form any conclusions regarding parental involvement because for the variety in conceptualization and the subjective measurement of parent involvement. Other variables obviously play important roles such as, internal locus of control (Baumrind, 1991; Trusty & Lampe, 1997), and self-esteem (Chubb & Fertman, 1992). It is generally accepted that the relationship of parent involvement to many of the above variables is causal. That is, parenting practices produce adolescent outcomes. In addition, parent involvement is multidimensional and is reflected through parents’ behavior and attitudes, parenting styles, and children’s perceptions (Steinberg et al., 1992).
Parents have been found to actually have the advantage over peers, educators, counselors, and other professionals. Thus serving as a continual, and perhaps more stable, resource for their children over their entire life span (Farmer, 1985; Trusty, 1996). One of many contributing influences is the socioeconomic status (SES) and gender variables, which will be included in the analyses. Both SES and gender are related to parent involvement (Trusty, 1996) Educational achievement is directly influenced by educational expectations and the relationship between parent involvement and educational expectations may be conditional on SES (Marjoribanks, 1986).
SES influences adolescents’ educational expectations. Intergenerational goal transmission is more successful when parents have a higher education levels and prestigious occupations. The transmission of parents’ education goals to their children is more successful when parents agree on goals for their children (Smith, 1981, 1991).
Parent involvement seems to have many dimensions and can be measured from many perspectives (i.e., those of parents, adolescents, and teachers). The relationship of parent involvement to educational achievement may be conditional on SES. Also, many aspects of family functioning, such as parent-child relationships, relationships between parents, parents’ behavior with children, and children’s perceptions of parents, seem to be related to education outcomes and expectations (Trusty, 96). Parents’ attendance at extracurricular activities and adolescents’ perceptions of parents’ personal educational support seem to influence adolescents’ educational expectations, above and beyond the effects of SES.
Studying background research regarding a parent’s influence over their child, it is not a far reach to hypothesis that there is a direct relationship between parental involvement and their child’s academic achievement. This is not to state that there is a causation effect, that is that one causes the other, but that there is a relationship between the two.
The study will use the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88) as a format guideline but will obviously vary a great degree. NELS:88 participants were 14,673 young adults from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS: 88), a study developed, administered, and researched by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). NELS:88 is the most recent and comprehensive study of U.S. secondary and post-secondary educational development processes, thus another reason for the format usage.
NELS:88 began with surveys of eighth graders in 1988 and had a Second follow-up questionnaire and a Third follow-up both for the student subjects and for the parent subjects. This present study will also have the same general format. The six different questionnaires to be used in this study are not available for this proposal but the actual format and contents will be briefly discussed.The subjects will be eighth graders currently attending school; this is where the survey will be administered and their parent/guardian who will receive the survey through the mail. An attempted 15,000 students will be surveyed, Initially at the end of their eighth school year, the Second follow-up questionnaire at the end of their tenth school year and the Third follow-up at the end of their twelfth school year. Waiting for the end of the school year is to hopefully get information that is most recently applicable. Surveying at the beginning of the school year seems as though it would not give the study the most reliable data. There would be no grades to study and since most adolescents prefer to spend their summer time away from parent contact. These factors are believed to have the ability to perhaps skew the results. The grades are available at the end of the year and the parent involvement will also be easily measured. An attempted 15,000 parents will be surveyed, Initially at the end of their child’s eighth school year, the Second follow-up at the end of their child’s tenth school year and the Third follow-up at the end of their child’s twelfth school year. The survey will be mailed to the children’s’ parents/guardians and only one parent/guardian, the one who spends the most time with the child, is needed to fill out the survey. Once again, waiting for the end of the school year is to hopefully get information that is most recently applicable. An incentive will be used as a motivator for both parent and child will be in the form of a $20.00 gift certificate for each questionnaire returned for each individual (nice budget huh?) to a local department store (i.e. Target).
Researchers Grolnick and Slowiaczek (1994), discovered that parents’ school-related rather than home-based involvement is more highly predictive of educational achievement. They measured three dimensions of parent involvement that can also be used for this study: (1) parent behavior (parent and teacher-reported participation in school activities), (2) personal involvement (student-reported parent involvement–similar to home-based involvement), and (3) intellectual/cognitive involvement (student-reported educational activities with parents–similar to home-based involvement). Of the three dimensions, personal involvement had the weakest effects on academic achievement; parent behavior had the strongest effects. This study will also be using a similar scale developed by Trusty et al. (1997) through factor analysis of several items that reflect students’ perceptions of their parents’ personal involvement in their education, career development, and personal lives. The scale indexes positive parent involvement; higher scores indicate more parent involvement. A reliability analysis in the Trusty and Lampe (1997) study yielded an internal reliability estimate of .82.
Student-reported involvement behavior. The Student questionnaires: Initial, Second follow-up and the Third follow-up will all vary to some degree but will have the same type of questions. The main focus will be dealing with assessing adolescent perceptions of parents’ behavior and the amount of involvement between them and their parent. Such questions would include their perceptions of the amount of parental involvement and behavior; experiences regarding said involvement, school, leisure, and family.
To help keep the dependant variable, academic achievement, reliable, the students’ achievement will be checked through the school records. This will ensure against false statements regarding the subjects’ actual academic achievement. The letter grades received will categorized and rated and rated as follows: A-B will be equal to high achievement, C equals moderate achievement and D-F will be recorded as low achievement. Parent-reported involvement behavior. The Parent questionnaires: Initial, Second follow-up and the Third follow-up will all vary to some degree but will have the same type of questions. The main focus will be dealing with assessing the amount of personal involvement (time spend with student) by asking certain questions. These items are self-reports of frequency of behaviors with adolescents, mostly, the degree to which the parent (a) attended school activities (sports, plays), (b) helped with homework, (c) attended entertainment events outside school, (d) attended family functions, and (e) took trips and vacations. Only the parent most knowledgeable of the student/participant will be asked to complete the questionnaire. Participants whose parents did not complete the parent questionnaire will be examined to determine non-response biases.
Categories of parent involvement will be collapsed into parent involvement–low, moderate, and high groups.
Both the Parent questionnaire and the Student questionnaire will be completed by marking one of six ordinal categories: false, mostly false, more false than true, more true than false, mostly true, and true.
Demographic variables are extremely vital. Because gender and SES are associated with family variables and educational expectations, I would include these variables in my analysis. SES in particular has been reported as having a strong influence on educational expectations (e.g., Wilson & Wilson, 1992). This study will be a multifactoral design and will have both repeated measures and within subjects. Educational achievement, the dependent variable, a non-manipulated independent variable would be parental involvement. A chi-square would be used as well as a cluster analysis and multiple regression Because of the large sample size subgroups would be developed. A minimum subgroup (sample segment) size will be set at n = 100 after categories of a variable are merged, and at n = 200 before categories were merged. No group of less than 200 would be split, and no subgroup smaller than 100 would be created.
There are many expected results for this study. It appears there will be external and internal validity. Correlations will be consistently positive. That is, a relatively low amount of parental involvement will relate to a relatively low amount of academic achievement and a relatively high amount of parental involvement will relate to a relatively high amount of academic achievement. Also, adolescents with higher parent involvement will also be higher in their educational expectations. SES will correlate most highly with educational expectations. Gender will only weakly related with girls generally indicated higher expectations. Both personal support and support for extracurricular activities will have independent effects on educational expectations, regardless of SES. There will also be other positive correlations between SES, adolescents’ perceptions of parents’ personal involvement (parent involvement), and parents’ school-related behavior (attended school activities).
Although parents’ attendance at school activities and parents’ home-based, personal involvement appear to be conditional on SES, both seem important to adolescents’ continued education at all levels of SES. That is, after participants were segmented by one variable, they were often subsequently segmented by the other. Therefore, the effects of parents’ attendance at school activities and personal involvement in educational expectations seem independent of one another to some degree. Hopefully this research will open the opportunity for counselors and educators to address both parents’ personal educational/career involvement and parents’ interaction with their child’s educational achievement or lack there of regardless of SES.
Other studies in the future should more thoroughly assess and examine parents’ efforts at socializing their children into the larger school environment. Researchers also should consider interactions between SES and other variables. Investigations that examine family variables in the context of student characteristics (e.g., academic ability, interpersonal skills) and other environmental variables (e.g., high school characteristics, community characteristics) might produce meaningful results.
Many other extraneous variables may be substituted for the independent variable used in this study. Although, derailing from the original IV basically derails the entire intended purpose of this study: To make parents take responsibility for there own child’s education rather than jumping on the proverbial bandwagon of blaming the schools. To actual documented proof that they are the single most valuable asset their child has. Bibliography:REFERENCESBaumrind, D. (1991). The influence of parenting style on adolescent competence and substance use. Journal of Early Adolescence. (11, 56-95).
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