14 SES 06 B, Family Education and Parenting – Parental Involvement in Perspective I
Parallel Paper Session
Young people without upper secondary education face more disadvantage than ever before. Findings from various European countries indicate that early school leavers face similar negative economic and psychosocial consequences such as poorer prospects in the labor market, lower lifetime earnings and higher rates of unemployment (European Commission Directorate General for Education and Culture, 2005). They are also more at risk of becoming dependent on welfare, having health problems, and engaging in antisocial behaviour (Rumberger & Thomas, 2000). The personal and societal costs of school dropout indicate that the adolescent decision on whether to drop out or persist with the formal school system is one of the most crucial developmental tasks of this age period.
One of the European Union 2020 targets is reducing school dropout rates below 10%. In Iceland, where this study was conducted, this benchmark has been adopted and recently the Icelandic government legislated educational reforms that aim to reduce dropout. Reducing the dropout rate is a challenging task and it is important to understand what might lie behind young peoples’ choice to leave school.
Findings consistently show that students in higher SES groups are academically more successful and less likely to drop out of school than students in lower SES groups (McNeal, 1999). These studies, however, provide little insight into what is occurring in family life that helps the students succeed at school (Davis-Kean, 2005). Most have focused on specific parental practices such as involvement in their child’s education (McNeal, 1999; Rumberger, 1995) but rarely on the general aspects of parenting. School engagement is a central concept in theoris on school dropout (Finn, 1989). Leaving school often seems to result from a long-term process of school disengagement, negative school behavior, and academic disinterest. Still there seem to be a lack of research focusing on how general parenting practices may relate to school dropout through students’ engagement. Our purpose is to contribute to this understanding.
Our major aim is to explore longitudinally how parenting practices during adolescents, a critical point in students’ education, influences educational attainment at age 22 (graduation/ dropout). The model posited here suggests two specific hypothesis: (a) adolescents’ with authoritative parents, i.e. accepting, warm and encouraging but at the same time firm with clear standards for the children’s behavior are more likely than their counterparts from less authoritative parents to have completed upper secondary education at age 22. We assume that this relationship partly exists because they are less likely to show negative school behavior, dislike school and be disinterested in their academics at age 15 (partly mediated); (b) we expect this relationship to persist even after taking into account previous academic achievement at the end of compulsory school (age 15) as well as adolescents’ background (SES and gender). The study is guided by a combination of Baumrind’s (1971) pioneering work on the relationships between the multidimensional characteristics of parenting and the adjustment of youth and theories on dropout as the final stage of a cumulative and dynamic development of school disengagement (Finn, 1989).
Adalbjarnardottir, S. (1994). The Reykjavik Adolescent Risk-Taking Longitudinal Study (RAR-LS). Research design. Reykjavik: University of Iceland, Center for Research into Challenges Facing Children and Young People (CFCYP). Archambault, I., Janosz, M., Fallu, J. S., & Pagani, L. S. (2009). Student engagement and its relationship with early high school dropout. Journal of Adolescence, 32(3), 651-670. Baumrind, D. (1971). Current patterns of parental authority. Developmental Psychology Monograph, 4, 1–103. Blondal, K. S., & Adalbjarnardottir, S. (2009). Parenting practices and school dropout: A longitudinal study. Adolescence 44, 729-749. European Commission Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) (2005). Study on Access to Education and Training, Basic Skills and Early School Leavers (Ref. DG EAC 38/04). Lot 3: Early School Leavers. Final Report. Finn, J. D. (1989). Withdrawing from school. Review of Educational Research, 59(2), 117–142. Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74, 59–109. Janosz, M., Archambault, I., Morizot, J., & Pagani, L. S. (2008). School engagement trajectories and their differential predictive relations to dropout. Journal of Social Issues, 64(1), 21–40. Lamborn, S. D., Mounts, N. S., Steinberg, L., & Dornbusch, S. M. (1991). Patterns of competence and adjustment among adolescents from authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent and neglectful families. Child Development, 62, 1049–1065. Newmann, F., Wehlage, G. G., & Lamborn, S. D. (1992). The significance and sources of student engagement. In F. Newmann (Ed.), Student engagement and achievement in American secondary schools (pp. 11–39). New York: Teachers College Press. Rumberger, R. W. (2004). Why students drop out of school. In G. Orfield (Ed.), Dropout in America (pp. 131–155). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Educational Press.
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