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PARENTAL INVOLVMENT, FAMILY STRUCTURE, AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT - page 17 / 102

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potential for admittance to post secondary education programs as well as future

employment and income levels (Finn 2006:iii).

Dynamic Society

Researchers often replicate prior studies to advance new theories and to update

hypotheses as they apply to circumstances which did not exist at the time the original

study was conducted. For example, the predominant family structure just a few decades

ago consisted of married biological parents and their biological children. Today, many

children grow up in single-parent homes after a divorce, in blended families with step-

parents, step-siblings, or in families where the parents cohabitate rather than get married.

Moreover, many single parents, perhaps due to relaxed social attitudes, are simply

choosing to have children without ever being married. Because family structure has

previously been shown to affect academic performance, research on the factors that

influence academic performance should be revisited to evaluate whether the effects of

parental involvement and family structure have remained the same or diminished in the

recent past.

In addition to changing family structure, societal changes occurring outside the

family can also have a dramatic effect on the ability of parents to be involved in their

children’s education. A case in point is the changing demographic of America’s

workforce. According to the United States Census Bureau, children born between 1946

and 1964 constitute the group known as baby boomers. This wave of people is finally

reaching retirement age, and the aging, mostly white baby boomers will be leaving the

workforce. In light of already mentioned income disparity between different

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