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Citation:Keith, T. Z., & Keith, P. B. (1993). Does parental involvement affect eighth-grade student achievement? Structural analysis of national data. School Psychology Review, 22(3), 474-496. EJ486048.

The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of parental involvement (defined as parental educational aspirations and parent-child communication) on the achievement of eighth-grade students, based on an analysis of the NELS:88 data. After controlling for the effects of previous achievement, the data suggest that parental involvement had a strong, positive effect on student achievement. Analysis also indicated that parent involvement had different effects in different subject areas, with the strongest effects on math and social studies achievement. Parental involvement also had a strong positive effect on time spent on homework. Parents with higher socioeconomic status (SES) were more involved than lower SES parents, but there were no significant differences in levels of involvement between various ethnic groups. The data for this study included both parent and student responses from the NELS:88 data set. Four components of parent involvement--parental educational aspirations, parent-child communication, home structure, and parental participation in school activities--were originally used as indicators of parent involvement. However, when researchers analyzed the correlation between the different indicators, they found that the four components that made up the definition "parent involvement" did not necessarily correlate with each other. This suggests that different definitions of parental involvement are not necessarily interchangeable. Because the NELS:88 data is non-experimental, the authors used latent variable structural equation modeling, a form of path analysis, to analyze the data. While the results of this study do not demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship with the power of a true experiment, path analysis is among the most powerful methods for analyzing non-experimental data. Since parent involvement can differ by age group, the results of this study should not be generalized to elementary or high school students.

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