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PARENTAL INVOLVMENT, FAMILY STRUCTURE, AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT - page 33 / 102

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used in original Jeynes study, “the odds of enrolling in either a 2-year or 4-year college,

relative to not enrolling, increase with the frequency with which the parent discusses with

the student education-related topics (odds-ratio for 2-year = 1.130; odds-ratio for 4-year =

1.164), contacts the school to volunteer (odds-ratio for 2-year = 1.120; odds-ratio for 4-

year = 1.143), and initiates contact with school about academics (odds-ratio for 2-year =

1.132; odds-ratio for 4-year = 1.145) (p.502). It is important to note that African

American students seem to benefit less from the interaction between parental discussion

and the African American variable, as shown by the odds-ratio coefficient of 0.788

(p.505).

The subjects of another study were minorities from low-income families, and

Smrekar and Cohen-Vogel (2001) begin by pointing out the importance of parental

involvement in the education of children as well as the importance of social capital–or the

devastating consequences of its absence. In doing so, they strengthen the argument for

the need to replicate prior research and periodically update the knowledge base regarding

factors that influence academic achievement. Smrekar and Cohen-Vogel comment,

“Widespread support for parent involvement is reflected by its inclusion in nearly every

policy proposal aimed at improving the performance of our nation's schools” (2001:76).

Although the study was an ethnography aimed at elementary school students and their

parents, it is useful insofar as it illuminates concepts that have been used in many

quantitative studies, and it reveals a disconnect between school officials and parents who

would like to become more involved but probably lack the social networking skills to do

so. According to Smrekar and Cohen-Vogel, “school officials warned that it was unsafe

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