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Connections Between Parental Involvement and Academic Achievement Among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Students Arelí Dohner-Chávez
Abstract
This study used a correlational design to investigate how parental involvement and ethnicity (Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic) is related to the academic achievement (measured by grade point average) of college students. Participants included 48 Hispanic and 40 non-Hispanic college students who were asked about parental involvement received during their primary education. A 2 x 2 ANOVA indicated a significant main effect of ethnicity on academic achievement (F = 6.88; p < .05), in that non-Hispanics had a higher mean GPA than Hispanic college students. However, there was not a significant main effect of parental involvement (F = .00; p = .996) and no significant interaction between parental involvement and ethnicity (F = .69; p = .41).

We live in a competitive and capitalist world in which educational attainment increases the probability of obtaining wellpaying employment, ultimately leading to a higher standard of living. Students who demonstrate high academic achievement, measured by their grade point average (GPA), are more likely to graduate from college and those who graduate from college are more likely to achieve their career goal. According to Gordon-Rouse and Austin (2002), high school student participants who had a GPA greater than 2.75 were considered to be high achievers and typically demonstrated higher motivation in their education than those with lower GPAs. Rouse and Austin also suggested that those with a high GPA were more likely to prepare themselves for college and therefore have higher expectations to succeed academically. However, not all students perform well in college: the academic achievement of a student is impacted by many factors, including their ethnicity and the influence of parental involvement during their primary education. Many studies have compared students of different ethnic backgrounds and have found that individuals of Hispanic origin continue to have the lowest educational attainment (Alva & Padilla, 1995; Mirande & Enriquez, 1979). The academic progress of Hispanic students continues to remain far behind the other 43

ethnic groups in many different aspects (Alva & Padilla). One study found one of these aspects to be that Hispanic students are far less likely to graduate from high school when compared to other ethnicities (Mirande & Enriquez). Alva and Padilla also found that there are many socio-cultural variables that impact a Hispanic student’s ability to succeed academically such as the struggle for acculturation, language barriers, and lack of role models in the school system that reflect their own ethnicity. Research demonstrates that these are only a few obstacles that may increase the difficulty of obtaining academic achievement among Hispanic students. Regardless of ethnicity, parental involvement in a child’s education has a definite impact on the child’s level of academic success. Past research indicates that active parental involvement in education is important because it is positively related to a child’s self-expectations for academic success (Ibañez, Kupermine, Jurkovic & Perilla, 2004). Across all ethnicities, studies have demonstrated that parental monitoring leads to higher academic achievement, if only because parental attention helps children remain focused on school (Plunkett & Bamaca-Gomez, 2003). The few studies that have looked at parental involvement as a factor of academic achievement demonstrate that “parent involvement [is] positively

related to expectations and importance of schooling” and that by having a positive outlook toward education, a student is more likely to succeed (Ibañez et al, 2004). Though parental involvement is clearly important for any ethnicity to succeed academically, the dynamics facing Hispanic students suggest the need for a special emphasis on parental involvement. Such involvement is...
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