AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Educational Involvement Among Immigrant and U.S.-Born Families: Antecedents, Trajectories, and Child Outcomes During Elementary School

by Erin Sibley

Institution: Boston College
Year: 2014
Keywords: family educational involvement; immigration
Record ID: 2041850
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2345/3680


Family educational involvement is consistently and positively associated with child achievement, but little work has closely examined the involvement practices of families of color, particularly immigrant families. Utilizing data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Kindergarten Cohort 1998-99 (ECLS-K), this study used Hierarchical Linear Modeling to analyze trajectories of parent-reported barriers to involvement and rates of parent involvement from kindergarten through grade five for children of Whites, Blacks, U.S.-born Latinos, U.S.-born Asians, Latino immigrants, and Asian immigrants. Additionally, it examined between and within-family associations between family involvement and children's mathematics and reading achievement across elementary school. Analyses focused on similarities and differences in these trajectories across racial, ethnic, and immigrant groups. Results demonstrated that parent-reported barriers to involvement at school were generally highest at kindergarten and diminished over time, but immigrant parents consistently reported the highest levels of barriers. Although immigrant parents had significantly lower levels of school-based involvement than non-immigrants, their educational expectations for their children were significantly higher than that of white parents. Moreover, while school-based involvement tended to peak at grade 3 and decrease between grades 3 and 5 for most groups, parents' educational expectations remained relatively stable. Importantly, school-based involvement positively predicted both math and reading achievement across all groups. However, there was a significant moderating effect of race, ethnicity, and immigrant status for educational expectations. Parents' educational expectations were significantly less predictive of achievement for children of Blacks, Latinos, and Latino immigrants compared to Whites. In addition, there was some evidence that school characteristics mediated this interaction. Specifically, mediated moderation was evident for parents' educational expectations such that these expectations were less strongly associated with mathematics achievement of children of U.S.-born Latinos compared to Whites, in part because these Latino children attended schools with greater concentrations of poverty. Implications for families, schools, and policy are discussed in light of the changing demographics of the United States.