DAVID S. BENDERS




                                     Introduction

        The concept of parental influence on the a...
DAVID S. BENDERS




the theory that welfare has a negative effect on the educational attainment of children.
Further, Ku ...
DAVID S. BENDERS




                      Family Involvement in Academic Achievement

          The researcher reviewed a...
DAVID S. BENDERS




         Desimone (1999) reported that parental involvement in school events or
activities, assistanc...
DAVID S. BENDERS




        Data collected from the survey were transcribed and compiled as a part of the
analysis proces...
DAVID S. BENDERS




unable to achieve academically and the amount of unsupervised time at home after
school.
        The ...
DAVID S. BENDERS




than the standard high school course and therefore the students receive more quality
points for the g...
DAVID S. BENDERS




discovered the potential correlation impact of family income on all of the variables
that impact the ...
DAVID S. BENDERS




Roberts, J., Jurgens, J., & Burchinal, M. (2005). The role of home literacy practices in
       presc...
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David S Benders Parental Influence Use Teacher Ed

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Dr. David S. Benders
National FORUM of Teacher Education Journal, Fall Issue 2009-2010

Editor: Dr. William Allan Kritsonis

Introduction

The concept of parental influence on the academic achievement levels of their children is a topic of discussion. A clear articulation of the level of influence is not clear yet; many researchers have suggested a statistical significance exists (Desimone, 1999; Mistry, Vandewater, Huston, & McLoyd, 2002; Roberts, Jurgens, & Burchinal, 2005).
The right to a free and public education from Kindergarten to Grade 12 is available to all citizens of the United States. However, this right does not guarantee that the education provided by this public educational system is equal for all of the participants (Mittler, 1999). Davis-Kean (2005) asserted that parents with moderate to high incomes and college degrees have beliefs and expectations that are similar to those of low-SES families regarding the actual performance of their children; however, Davis-Kean actually found that low-SES families have slightly higher expectations and performance beliefs that do not correlate well with their children’s actual school performance. This conclusion asserted that parents in low-SES families realize the value of their children’s academic achievement and attempt to assert that value into their children of higher academic achievement requirements.
“It is indeed true that children, African American or White, who grow up in impoverished households or in impoverished communities generally attain less in school” (Wood, 2003, p. 89). As Wood commented, “If African Americans and Whites performed equally well in high school, the demands for racial preferences and minority set-asides would very likely vanish” (p. 90). A common thread of discussion in the literature was the influence of parental involvement in the lives of children. Wood suggested that there is a correlation between parental involvement and students’ academic achievement.


Purpose of the Article

The purpose of this investigation is to examine the influence of parents on children’s academic performance from low income families and to explore the behaviors and attitudes of these children toward academic achievement. The referenced literature suggests that parents from low-income families have high expectations of their children’s academic development; however, this expectation is not transferring to performance of the students. This target population of low income families has found to perpetuate an idea of achievement without the actuality of performance to attain levels of academic achievement. This article will explore parental expectations, family involvement, and parental backgrounds of only low-SES families to investigate the influence of parents on the students’ academic achievement level.


Effect of Poverty on Achievement

Ku (2001) conducted a cross-sectional study of adulthood educational attainment of children whose parents had received some sort of welfare for a period. Ku used studies by the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 1968-1997 to support


the theory that welfare has a negative effect on the educational attainment of children. Further, Ku cited Blank (2000) and Haider, Schoeni, Bao, and Danielson (2004) to show the negative impact of welfare on children. Ku and Plotnick (2003) concluded that the utilization of welfare by parents directly affects the educational attainment of children as family income is a variable that influence student academic performance.
Ku’s (2001) studied the correlation between educational attainment and the receipt of welfare benefits at certain ages. Ku showed that although the parental units may have received welfare at some point, the children would have had different age frames when the welfare payments were obtained. Potentially, one sibling may not be affected by the receipt of welfare by the family, that is a family that utilizes welfare benefits while

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David S Benders Parental Influence Use Teacher Ed

  1. 1. DAVID S. BENDERS Introduction The concept of parental influence on the academic achievement levels of their children is a topic of discussion. A clear articulation of the level of influence is not clear yet; many researchers have suggested a statistical significance exists (Desimone, 1999; Mistry, Vandewater, Huston, & McLoyd, 2002; Roberts, Jurgens, & Burchinal, 2005). The right to a free and public education from Kindergarten to Grade 12 is available to all citizens of the United States. However, this right does not guarantee that the education provided by this public educational system is equal for all of the participants (Mittler, 1999). Davis-Kean (2005) asserted that parents with moderate to high incomes and college degrees have beliefs and expectations that are similar to those of low-SES families regarding the actual performance of their children; however, Davis-Kean actually found that low-SES families have slightly higher expectations and performance beliefs that do not correlate well with their children’s actual school performance. This conclusion asserted that parents in low-SES families realize the value of their children’s academic achievement and attempt to assert that value into their children of higher academic achievement requirements. “It is indeed true that children, African American or White, who grow up in impoverished households or in impoverished communities generally attain less in school” (Wood, 2003, p. 89). As Wood commented, “If African Americans and Whites performed equally well in high school, the demands for racial preferences and minority set-asides would very likely vanish” (p. 90). A common thread of discussion in the literature was the influence of parental involvement in the lives of children. Wood suggested that there is a correlation between parental involvement and students’ academic achievement. Purpose of the Article The purpose of this investigation is to examine the influence of parents on children’s academic performance from low income families and to explore the behaviors and attitudes of these children toward academic achievement. The referenced literature suggests that parents from low-income families have high expectations of their children’s academic development; however, this expectation is not transferring to performance of the students. This target population of low income families has found to perpetuate an idea of achievement without the actuality of performance to attain levels of academic achievement. This article will explore parental expectations, family involvement, and parental backgrounds of only low-SES families to investigate the influence of parents on the students’ academic achievement level. Effect of Poverty on Achievement Ku (2001) conducted a cross-sectional study of adulthood educational attainment of children whose parents had received some sort of welfare for a period. Ku used studies by the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 1968-1997 to support 3
  2. 2. DAVID S. BENDERS the theory that welfare has a negative effect on the educational attainment of children. Further, Ku cited Blank (2000) and Haider, Schoeni, Bao, and Danielson (2004) to show the negative impact of welfare on children. Ku and Plotnick (2003) concluded that the utilization of welfare by parents directly affects the educational attainment of children as family income is a variable that influence student academic performance. Ku’s (2001) studied the correlation between educational attainment and the receipt of welfare benefits at certain ages. Ku showed that although the parental units may have received welfare at some point, the children would have had different age frames when the welfare payments were obtained. Potentially, one sibling may not be affected by the receipt of welfare by the family, that is a family that utilizes welfare benefits while caring for one child may not need welfare benefits to care for the second child. Ku included many variables and different analyses of the data, including age of the mother, total family income level, race, ages of the children, religion, and financial status of the grandparents. He concluded that there is a direct negative relationship between receipt of welfare benefits and the educational attainment of the children. By utilizing the sibling data from Ku and Plotnick’s (2003) study, the effects of race, religion, poverty status of older family members, and mother’s age were eliminated from the data because of the similar negative effects on the siblings. After eliminating these consistent characteristics between the siblings, the data derived from the cross-sectional analysis showed that the receipt of welfare benefits had an impact on the educational attainment in adulthood of the children of welfare recipients, despite race or gender (Ku, 2001). There were fewer negative outcomes within the families when unobserved characteristics were controlled. Ku and Plotnick stated: While the fixed-effect estimation does not eliminate all the negative relationships for the full sample, it reduces many and shows that the relationship between parental welfare receipt and children’s educational attainment was not uniform across race, gender, and developmental stages of children. (p. 23) Background The Parental Role Davis-Kean (2005) identified low family socioeconomic status (SES) as the basis of other family characteristics that impact academic achievement, namely, family structure, home environment, parental expectations, and parents’ own educational attainment. The role of the parents on children’s academic expectations is particularly worth noting because parental styles, educational level, and educational expectations of their children have not been isolated to determine a clear impact on students’ academic achievement. The relationship between parents and children, along with the ability of the parents to provide a home environment that promotes academic achievement, has yet to be empirically explored (Davis-Kean, 2005). 4
  3. 3. DAVID S. BENDERS Family Involvement in Academic Achievement The researcher reviewed a large amount of literature to understand the complexity of the family structure within the low-SES community and its impact on children’s academic achievement. The variable of parental involvement exposed the economic disparity within low-SES families. Researchers have found that parental involvement impacts students’ academic achievement and is a key component of student success (Desimone, 1999; Mistry, Vandewater, Huston, & McLoyd, 2002; Roberts, Jurgens, & Burchinal, 2005). It is sometimes difficult for low-SES parents to offer supplementary support because of their obligation to provide financially for the family. This concept further illustrates that parental involvement depends on the ability of the family to create a home environment that supports academic achievement. This section investigates the impact of parental involvement on children’s academic achievement and seeks to establish a potential correlation between the two variables. Under the type of conditions referenced within the low-SES household, Mistry et al. (2002) asserted that it is difficult for parenting to be child-centered and nurturing within a single-parent household. They contended that single-parent households are more likely to be parent-centered and inconsistent. The parents’ expectations for their children are not clearly articulated and are therefore unpracticed (Halle, Kurtz-Coste, & Mahoney, 1997). The family’s economic situation makes it difficult for the parents to create a home environment that instills the values of education because the parents are too busy trying to meet the immediate financial needs of the family. Much of the research related to parental expectations and achievement has been based on assumptions mentioned in the literature. Goodnow and Collins (1990) assumed that children’s development outcomes are determined to a considerable extent by parental belief structures. This assumption omits other variables discussed by researchers, including parenting style, verbal interaction, book reading, helping with homework, and school involvement (Dauber & Epstein, 1993; Feitelson & Goldstein, 1986; Scott-Jones, 1984; Stevenson & Baker, 1987). Davis-Kean (2005) supported additional evaluation of this issue, namely, parental behavior, peer influence, and the school environment impact the academic achievement of students. Desimone (1999) described the relationship among race, income, and student achievement, and mentioned that inequalities in educational opportunities generated by job market disparities affect the earnings and self-sufficiency of a family. Desimone also attempted to isolate the variables of race, ethnicity, and gender to understand the attributed impact of low SES on the academic achievement of students. Different types of parental involvement have been identified as having an impact on student achievement such as parent’s assistance with homework. Desimone explained that there are different levels of parental involvement and that none has been identified as having more influence than another on student academic achievement. Desimone also stated that achieving a full understanding of parental involvement is doubtful because of the finding that low-SES parents often have different approaches toward the parental role in school involvement and are less involved in school activities. Desimone’s research created an opportunity to continue to study the role of parenting on children’s academic achievement (1999). 5
  4. 4. DAVID S. BENDERS Desimone (1999) reported that parental involvement in school events or activities, assistance within the home environment, and strong parental social networks have a positive impact on student achievement. In summary, Desimone concluded that it is difficult for low-SES parents to create a home environment that supports behaviors conducive to promoting higher educational standards because their priority is meet the financial obligations of the family. This responsibility causes other areas to lack the desired attention as parents have to maintain multiple jobs and the child academic development suffers. Parental Expectations of Children Low family SES and parental expectations on children’s academic achievement have been found to have a strong correlation (Davis-Kean, 2005). Davis- Kean conducted a study that included participants ages eight to 12 in a sample comprised of 49% non-Hispanic European Americans and 47% African Americans. The researcher found that the parents’ years of schooling was an important factor in shaping parental behaviors. Davis-Kean also commented that the “parents of moderate to high income and educational background held beliefs and expectations that were closer than those of low-socioeconomic families were to the actual performance of their children” (p. 24). Davis-Kean concluded that for the children in his study, parents’ educational level was related to a warm, social climate in the home that encouraged academic growth. The race of the parent(s) was insignificant. Parental style, as compared to parental racial background, appeared to have merit as influencing children’s academic achievement. Davis-Kean (2005) concluded that the home environment created by parents has an indirect influence on the academic achievement of their children. The parents’ ability to create a home environment that is conducive to learning and makes the children feel safe affects academic achievement. Davis-Kean also found that the education of the parents influences the children’s academic achievement. The parents’ beliefs in educational achievement supports the academic aspirations of the children, and the parents’ educational background establishes some behavior norms within the home environment that instill in the children the understanding that educational achievement is important. This home culture creates the behavior and desire within the children to achieve academically. Davis-Kean reported that these findings crossed racial barriers. Parents from a low-SES family will not have the available time and support to create a home environment that is similar to a family with a higher income, with one result being lower academic achievement for the children. This same outcome occurs in families across racial groups. Methodology A survey instrument was created to specifically address the various areas of concern within the low SES population. This instrument was designed to gather demographic information from the respondent in an anonymous fashion to offer as much insight into this topic as possible yet preserve the anonymity of the participants. 6
  5. 5. DAVID S. BENDERS Data collected from the survey were transcribed and compiled as a part of the analysis process. The data were analyzed using SPSS software. Statistical regression analysis, cross-tab analysis, mean, median, mode, and descriptive statistical approaches were used to analyze the data and derive the findings. The software applications facilitated the researcher’s management, organization, and representation of the data. Descriptive statistical methods were used to present the qualitative descriptions of single variables and their relationships in a manageable form (Babbie, 1992). This method of data analysis enabled the researcher to present the data in a mathematically useful manner when drawing conclusions. The data examined the trends of parental involvement, student perceptions, peer influences and school environment on the academic achievement of the participants. The data collection consisted primarily of two areas: self reported academic data and survey data. Sampling Procedure The sample was drawn from the target population using a convenience sampling process. The student participants met the income criteria established by the Upward Bound program as low income. The students within the Upward Bound programs met the criteria and were centralized, and available to participate within this study. The convenience sampling process offered a well-situated opportunity to centralize the targeted group for this study. The convenience sampling procedures supported this research approach because a previously identified group existed. The sampling procedure and the research model supported the investigation to determine if low family income affects academic achievement. Results The parental expectations were established through the literature review to find that parents from low income families have high expectations for student academic achievement. With 70% of African American children born into single- parent households, it is likely that the potential instability within the family structure may be influencing the development of youth (Ewers, 2007). The literature pointed to the fact that this change in family structure is contributing to the “trend of hopelessness and despair” in children (Ewers, p. 25). The current study found that 59% of the respondents resided in single-parent homes. The single-parent designation in the survey responses was the mother. Twenty-eight percent of the respondents lived in dual-parent households, and 13% were living in multidimensional households (i.e., grandmother, parents, or combinations). The survey was designed to identify some common traits of low-income students, their family dynamics, and school climate to find out how all of these traits influence students’ academic achievement. One of the survey questions asked if the respondent was home alone before his or her parent returned from work. The relevance of this question was to determine the amount of potentially unsupervised time at home. Forty-six percent of the respondents stated that they are sometimes left alone, indicating that there may be a strong correlation between students who are 7
  6. 6. DAVID S. BENDERS unable to achieve academically and the amount of unsupervised time at home after school. The number and percentage of respondents who stated they are home alone without a parent or guardian is above 76%. It can be difficult to create a home environment that supports academic achievement if parents are forced to work at jobs that make it difficult for them to be home when the children arrive from school. The survey did not ask how long the children were home alone. Despite that missing data, time alone potentially affected on the home environment. This area could be the focus of future studies on latchkey kids and academic achievement. Roberts et al. (2005) reported that the impact of the parent on the child’s perceptions of academic achievement had an evident influence on the behaviors of the child and would translate in the child’s ability to perform academically. Parents who show their children that they believe in the importance of education help to create a home environment that supports education as a priority. Davis-Kean (2005) reported that low-income families have high expectations and performance beliefs that do not correlate well with their children’s actual school performance. The target sample of low-income families indicated some strong suggestions that required additional studies. This study indicated that even when the parent had a college degree the respondent’s family still falls within this low-income allocation to qualify for the Upward Bound Program. Therefore, the parents who had a college degree might not follow the findings suggested by Davis-Kean’s research (2005) specifically stating that families from lower income households have higher educational standards for their children than for other income groups. The data from this study did not support nor deny that claim specifically; it did support that encouragement for additional research related to this topic may be beneficial. Twenty percent (18) of the respondents had mothers who had obtained a college degree. Sixteen percent (15) of the fathers had a college degree. Only 6% (6) of the respondents within dual-parent households reported that both parents had a college degree. The respondents who stated that they lived with both parents were small in number and could only offer minimal insight into the potential family dynamics that were explored within this study. Despite holding college degrees, these families still qualified to have their children participate in the Upward Bound Program as low-income students. The survey supported Davis-Kean’s (2005) findings. If over 50% of both mothers and fathers of some respondents did not have a college degree, how could they promote education and create a home environment to cultivate this concept? The findings were inconclusive to establish a one-to-one relationship, but the findings did support the literature and suggest that continuing work needed in this area. To explore the academic achievement levels of the participants, the survey asked the respondents to self-report their grade point averages (GPA). Among the respondents who stated that they had a mother or a father with a college degree, the self-reported GPA was between 2.1 and 2.5. This indicated that the students were performing at an average level of achievement. Potentially, the home environment was not promoting higher achievement, and this should be investigated further. Additional research to explore how student alone time without supervision might affect academic achievement is recommended based on the findings from this study. The students who reported a grade point average above the 4.0 scale were students registered for advanced placement (AP) course. These courses weighed more 8
  7. 7. DAVID S. BENDERS than the standard high school course and therefore the students receive more quality points for the grade received. Academic achievement for the purpose of this study was measured by GPA and the results of the practice ACT exam. The students were asked questions on the survey related to their academic behaviors and qualities. Students self-reported their GPAs. The program-reported GPAs were slightly different from what the students self-reported; however, for the sake of this study, the program-reported GPAs and ACT scores were used to measure academic achievement. The survey explored the students’ work and homework habits and compared that with their self-reported GPAs examined academic achievement levels. Sixty-two percent of the respondents from the current study reported that they did not receive any assistance with their homework. Seventy-two percent of the respondents also indicated that they spent less than 5 hours per week on homework. Eighteen percent of them studied between 6 and 10 hours per week. These behaviors did not support the conclusions available from research on strong student behavior that influences academic achievement. The findings suggested that the respondents lived in environments that supported learning. This did not offer strong evidence of academic rigor for the students attending public high schools, therefore students within this population would not be properly prepared for post-secondary education. In this study, academic achievement was measured for the students who met the academic requirements, namely, a minimum GPA of 2.5 or above and an ACT composite score of 15.7, to qualify for postsecondary admission. The concern is that students from low-income environments are not adequately prepared to take the standardized examinations for college admissions. A total of 42 students at the junior and senior levels participated in this study. Of these students, 74% had not taken an official ACT examination and 88% had not taken an official SAT examination. An understanding of the importance of these standardized exams seemed to be missing in the academic discussions with the participants. Despite the previously reported results, over 90% of the respondents indicated a desire to attend college. There was a disconnection between the students’ desires to attend postsecondary education and the academic counseling to prepare them to achieve the goal of college admission. Students typically receive the necessary guidance regarding college admission standards and process from their high school counselors. The literature review found that students from low SES who are usually from poor school environments do not receive adequate counseling regarding college admission. Concluding Remarks The exploration of income on academic achievement has found that the variable of income was impacted across the life of the study completely. The establishment of income creates a social trend that has a trickle down effect through the variable that in turn eventually impacts the academic performance of students. This study evaluated family income impacts by measuring academic achievement, and actually discovered that family income impacts all the aspects of the life of the child. This study did not overlook the potential impact of income of other identified variables through the Additive Model by Ruby Payne, (1996) but 9
  8. 8. DAVID S. BENDERS discovered the potential correlation impact of family income on all of the variables that impact the holistic development of the child. This study conclusively found that the impact of family income has an influence on the social, personal, and academic development of the students. The survey designed provided the necessary grounded theory to conclude the complexity of this topic pertaining to low income families. The complex challenges facing the family that influence the behaviors, opportunities and academic performance of the child. This study empirically offers support to justify the continued need for additional research on this topic and to determine the level of influence that each variable influences student behavior. This would offer tremendous knowledge to this topic. The survey instrument used within this study was subdivided to explore the various areas of development for the student. The grounded theory was established and now the deeper knowledge is achieved. References Babbie, E. (1992). The practice of social research. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company. Dauber, S. L., & Epstein, J. L. (1993). Parents’ attitudes and practices of involvement in inner-city elementary and middle schools. Families and Schools in a Pluralistic Society. Albany, SUNY Press. Davis-Kean, P. (2005). The influence of parent education and family income on child achievement: The indirect role of parental expectations and the home environment. Journal of Family Psychology, 19(2), 294-304. Desimone, L. (1999). Linking parent involvement with student achievement: Do race and income matter? The Journal of Educational Research, 93(1), 11-30. Ewers, J. (2007). Wake up everybody to save black boys. Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 23(26), 45-46. Feitelson, D., & Goldstein, Z. (1986). Patters of book ownership and reading to young children in Isreali school-oriented and nonschool-oriented families. Reading Teacher, 39, 924-930. Goodnow, J., & Collins, A.(1990). Development according to parents: The nature, sources and consequences of parents’ ideas. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associated, Incorporated. Halle, T., Kurtz-Costes, B., & Mahoney, J. (1997). Family inflences on dchool achievment in low-income, African-American children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89 (3), 527-537. Ku, I. (2001). The effect of welfare on children’s education. Social Service Review, The University of Chicago. Mistry, R., Vandewater, E., Huston, A., & McLoyd, V. (2002). Economic well-being and children’s social adjustment: The role of family process in an ethnically diverse low-income sample. Child Development, 73(3), 935-951. Mittler, P. (1999). Equal opportunities- For whom? British Journal of Special Education, 26(1), 3-7. Payne, R. (1996). A framework for understanding poverty. Texas:Aha! Process, Incorporated. 10
  9. 9. DAVID S. BENDERS Roberts, J., Jurgens, J., & Burchinal, M. (2005). The role of home literacy practices in preschool children’s language and emergent literacy skills. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 48, 345-359. Scott-Jones, D. (1984). Family influences on cognitive development and school achievement. Review of Research in Education, 11, 259-304. Stevenson, D. L., & Baker, D. P. (1987). The family-school relation and the child’s school performance. Child Devleopment, 58, 1348-1357. Wood, P. W. (2003). Motivate me. Journal of Education, 183(2), 85-95. 11

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