14 SES 14, Family Education and Parenting - Literacy Issues
According to ecological systems theory, young people learn and grow in the context of multiple nested systems (the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem), all of which interact with each other and with the young person (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). The individual’s development is affected by persons, processes, and societal institutions at all levels, ranging from the family to schools they attend to cultural norms. This study focuses on the family, which is the most proximal system to the young person, and the family’s interaction with another proximal system, the young person’s school.
Consistent with ecological theory, young people’s cognitive and non-cognitive skill development is impacted by their individual characteristics and proximal factors such as their family, and school. Social capital theory complements and extends the ecological approach because it provides an explanation as to how families and schools interact to bring about a positive learning environment for the young person (Coleman, 1988). Families who are rich in social capital have effective and positive interactions within the family and with schools. Coleman’s theory of social capital suggests that inter- and intra-household relations may affect the transmission of familial resources (human and financial capital) to young people (Coleman, 1988). Inter-household linkages such as family involvement in school activities, contact with school personnel, and knowledge of other children’s parents allows the family to embed itself in beneficial social networks and, in turn, benefits children’s educational outcomes (Coleman, 1988; Schneider & Coleman, 1993). Equally, intra-household relations are also essential. The time and effort that both immediate and extended family members give to each other can allow a young person to overcome disadvantage. Put simply, a family can have very little human capital, but the child could enjoy a high level of social capital, which will give the child an educational advantage and help build resilience (Coleman & Hoffer, 1987).
A small but growing body of research suggests cross-national variations in the associations between parental involvement and other family factors and child outcomes. This is in accordance with ecological systems theory, since children growing up in different countries will have diverse influences on their development based on nations’ social, cultural, public policy, and institutional differences. More specifically, differences in the association between parental involvement and child outcomes might be due to cross-country variation in levels of parental education, parental occupation, immigrant status, educational resources, or family structure; differences in attitudes toward education and other relevant cultural characteristics; differences in educational systems and other social institutions; or differences in educational and social policies.
The following research questions are addressed in this research:
1. Is parental involvement associated with student literacy? If so, does this association vary across the three dimensions of parental involvement considered?
2. Does the association between parental involvement and student literacy differ across the three domains—reading, mathematics, and science—of student literacy examined?
3. Does the association between parental involvement and student literacy vary across countries? If so, does it vary across the dimensions of parental involvement and domains of student literacy?
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Buchmann, C., & Dalton, B. (2002). Interpersonal influences and educational aspirations in 12 countries: The importance of institutional context. Sociology of Education, 75, 99-122. Coleman, J. S., Campbell, E. Q., Hobson, C. J., McPartland, J., Mood, A. M., Weinfeld, F. D., & York, R. L. (1966). Equality of educational opportunity. Washington, D. C.: U.S. GPO. Coleman, J. S., Hoffer, T., & Kilgore, S. (1982). High school achievement: Public, Catholic, and private schools compared. New York: Basic Books Fan, X. & Chen, M. (2001). Parental involvement and students’ academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 22, 1-22 Hampden-Thompson, G. (2009). Are Two Better Than One? A Comparative Study of Achievement Gaps and Family Structure. Compare, 39(4), 517-534 Hango, Darcy. (2007). Parental investment in childhood and educational qualifications: Can greater parental involvement mediate the effects of socioeconomic disadvantage? Social Science Research. 36. 1371-1390 Ho, S-C. E., & Willms, J. D. (1996). Effects of parental involvement on eighth-grade achievement. Sociology of Education, 69 (April), 126-141 Jeynes, W.H. (2005). Effects of Parental Involvement and Family Structure on the Academic Achievement of Adolescents. Marriage & Family Review, 37(3): 99-116. Keith, T. Z. (1991). Parental involvement and achievement in high school. Advances in Reading/Language Research, 5, 125-141 McNeal, R. B. (1999). Parental involvement as social capital: Differential effectiveness on science achievement, truancy, and dropping out. Social Forces, 78 (1), 117-144 Muller, C. (1993). Parent involvement and academic achievement: An analysis of family resources available to the child. In B. Schneider & J. S. Coleman (Eds.), Parents, their children, and schools (pp. 77-114). Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press
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