Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Academic achievement, Academic effort, Children's perceived academic competence, Gender comparision, Parental involvement, Racial/ethnic diversity
Social and Behavioral Sciences
The primary goal of this study was to examine the way in which parental involvement, specifically parents’ educational expectations and parent-child communication, are related directly to children’s science achievement, and indirectly, through their perceived academic competence and academic effort across gender and race/ethnicity groups using data from the Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY). The ecological model, social cultural contexts of parental academic socialization, the parental involvement framework, and social cognitive theory served as the theoretical frameworks for the study. The sample included 3,116 seventh graders (1,621 male and 1,495 female students) and their parents. Structural regression analysis was performed, as well as multi-group analysis using structural equation modeling. The results indicated that parents’ educational expectations had both direct and indirect influence on children’s science achievement, while parent-child communication was associated only indirectly with science achievement. With respect to the indirect associations, the study identified three mediation pathways. First, the effect of the two parental involvement variables on children’s science achievement was transmitted through children’s perceived academic competence. Second, their effect on children’s science achievement was transmitted through children’s academic effort. Third, their effect on children’s science achievement was transmitted through children’s perceived academic competence, which in turn, affected academic effort. These findings suggest that parents’ educational expectations and parent-child communication can influence the development of children’s academic beliefs and efforts, and supported the view of the child as an active contributor to his/her science achievement. In addition, the study demonstrated that the child’s gender moderated the associations between parental involvement and children’s science achievement via their perceived academic competence and academic effort. Parents’ educational expectations had a stronger effect on boys’ perceived academic competence, while parent-child communication had a greater influence on girls’ perceived academic competence. Positive perceived academic competence and greater levels of academic effort had a stronger effect on boys’ science achievement than on girls’. Further, the study found that the associations above were invariant across racial/ethnic groups. The findings suggested that education programs are necessary to increase parents’ awareness of the influential roles their educational expectations and parent-child communication play in establishing children’s positive perceptions of competence in learning science and engagement in academic effort, which are crucial factors that determine their science achievement, especially during young adolescence. In addition, educational programs must consider the child’s gender, as this study found significant gender differences in the associations between parental involvement, children’s perceived academic competence, academic effort, and science achievement. Moreover, the findings suggested that parents’ educational expectations and parent-child communication are universally important in young adolescents’ science learning, regardless of race/ethnicity.
Zhang, Yue, "The Associations Between Parental Involvement and Science Achievement via Children's Perceived Academic Competence and Academic Effort" (2018). Dissertations - ALL. 894.