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PARENTAL INVOLVMENT, FAMILY STRUCTURE, AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT - page 76 / 102

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variables in the new study were associated with students whose parents were never

married; the lowest unadjusted mean scores for the math variable in the original study

were associated with students from parents who never married.

A good starting point for future research would be an investigation of the specific

mechanism(s) by which SES, intact family structure, and parental involvement actually

affect achievement. For example, earlier research has suggested that students who have

access to home computers perform better academically which could be related to parents’

income level. However, it could also be that parents who can more easily afford home

computers also have higher education levels and place a higher importance on their

children’s academic progress. In addition, this research has suggested that parents who

check-up on their children’s homework are less likely to see improved academic

achievement, but how does this happen? It has been suggested that if parents’ single

interaction with their children consists of infrequently checking their homework, they

shouldn’t be surprised if there is no improved academic progress. On the other hand, it is

entirely possible that children have fallen behind prior to parents’ interest in checking-up

on their homework. Perhaps the parents’ checking up is a reaction to poor performance.

So the decreased academic performance may be associated with a myriad of other issues

rather than parents checking to see how their children are doing on their homework. At

the very least some of these possibilities merit further investigation.

Additionally, this research does not address specifically how race/ethnicity and

gender are associated with lower academic progress as indicated by the four outcome

variables tested here. It is possible that social capital plays a role, especially in the case of

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