Does Parental Involvement Influence the Academic Achievement of Mexican-American Eighth Graders? Results From the National Education Longitudinal Study

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Parental involvement is being touted as one mechanism by which academic achievement can be increased. If parental involvement is indeed effective, it may be one approach for improving the achievement of Mexican-American students. Many Mexican-American children are educationally disadvantaged, are at-risk for academic failure, and have not demonstrated the academic achievement that other immigrant groups have, even after they have lived in the U.S. for generations. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of parental involvement on the academic achievement of 1,714 eighth grade Mexican-American children from the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS) of 1988. This research developed and tested a structural equations model which considers and controls for diversity of family backgrounds and values, parents' English language proficiency and place of birth, students' previous achievement, and home rules in a systematic fashion. The most salient finding of this research is that parental involvement does influence the academic achievement of eighth grade Mexican-American students. Since parental involvement is a potentially alterable variable, school psychologists can indirectly influence the academic achievement of Mexican-American children by influencing parental involvement.

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