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Citation:Fan, X. (2001). Parental involvement and studentsÕ academic achievement: A growth modeling analysis. The Journal of Experimental Education, 70(1), 27-61. EJ642228.

This study examined the effect of different dimensions of parent involvement on high school students academic growth, and the potential differences in parental involvement among four major ethnic groups (Asian American, Hispanic, African American and White). This study relied on data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS:88) data set, which measured four dimensions of parent involvement: communication, educational aspiration for children, participation, and supervision. The data analyses revealed a positive effect on academic growth of communication and educational aspiration, after controlling for family socioeconomic status. Educational aspiration had more consistent and obvious effect than communication did. The participation and supervision dimensions showed inconsistent and small negative effects on academic growth. The analyses also showed that, after controlling for socioeconomic status, the difference between the reported level of parental involvement across ethnic groups was very small. These findings were consistent when comparing student and parent questionnaire data. The NELS:88 collected data from a national cohort of students and their parents at the 8th, 10th and 12th grade points. Student achievement was measured by reading, math, science, and social studies test results. The researcher offers a plausible explanation for the salient effects of educational aspiration by saying that such aspiration may translate into a variety of educationally beneficial activities and behaviors during a childÕs life. He also explains that some parent involvement dimensions may have had a negative statistical effect due to their correlation with low achievement. Although various advanced and complex statistical analyses were used to determine the relationship between parental involvement and studentÕs academic growth, the results cannot be used to represent a logical causal relationship. This study recognizes that parent involvement is a complex concept that may include many different types of behaviors or actions, and that not all types of involvement will have the same result. This study also confirms the impact that beliefs and aspirationsÑless tangible forms of involvementÑmay have on children and adolescent development, including academic achievement.

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