Exploring the academic achievement gap among children of immigrants: the role of parent involvement at home and school

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Angelicia S. Dunbar (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Danielle Crosby

Abstract: The racial-ethnic academic achievement gap is a long-standing phenomenon in the U.S. that has held the attention of scholars for decades. Research has found that accounting for factors such as SES reduces the initial gap but does not eliminate differences by race and ethnicity (Han & Palloni, 2009). Given the persistent achievement gap, researchers have placed greater emphasis on the importance of parent involvement in children's education for promoting academic achievement. Emerging literature suggests that lower levels of parent involvement found among racial-ethnic minority parents when compared to White parents (Lee & Bowen, 2006) may explain disparities in achievement, however, this hypothesis has rarely been tested directly. Moreover, less is known about these links among children in immigrant families, a growing segment of the U.S. population. Thus, the present study tested whether lower fifth grade achievement among children of Caribbean and Mexican immigrants as compared to children of European immigrants can be explained by their parents' lower levels of involvement in education in the third grade, net of demographic variables. Further, this study tests whether lower levels of parental resources among Caribbean and Mexican immigrant parents can account for their expected lower levels of parent involvement. The present study was conducted using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten cohort dataset (ECLS-K). The analysis sample included White European (n= 207), Black Caribbean (n= 45), Mexican (n= 562), and East Asian (n= 95) immigrant children (first and second generation) who began kindergarten in the U.S. in 1998-99. Results indicated that children of European immigrants scored significantly higher in reading and math than children of Caribbean and Hispanic immigrants. Children of European immigrants scored lower in math than children of East Asian immigrants, but did not differ from this group in reading. Consistent with hypotheses, varying levels of parent involvement among racial-ethnic immigrant parents partially accounted for racial-ethnic gaps in achievement. Further, racial-ethnic differences in parent involvement were partially accounted for by differences in parental resources to be involved. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Achievement, Achievement gap, Immigrant families, Parent Involvement, Resources
Academic achievement $z United States
Education $x Parent participation $z United States
Children of immigrants $x Education $z United States

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