Masters Thesis

The Indirect influence of parental involvement on Latino high school student academic performance

Parental Involvement in student education has been studied by scholars for many years, focusing on key features, such as, race and ethnicity and socioeconomic status, that have been found to affect parents participation in their child’s education, the amount of parental involvement students receive, and the effect it has on student academic performance. White parents are often found to be involved at a higher rate than their counterparts, while Latino parents are found to be involved the least. As a result of poor Latino parental involvement, Latino parents are frequently perceived as not valuing their child’s education. In addition, students from the White population are often found to benefit academically from parental involvement more than Latino students do. In this study, I explore parental involvement among Latino students at the high school grade level to answer the following research questions: 1) Is there a relationship between parental involvement and Latino high school student academic performance? 2) If so, does parental involvement positively or negatively affect Latino high school students’ academic performance? Or is there no effect at all? and 3)How does parental involvement make Latino students feel? In particular, are students who receive more parental involvement more satisfied than those who receive less, or even no parental involvement at all? A qualitative approach is taken, utilizing in-depth interviews. Findings suggest that there is no relationship between formal parental involvement and Latino high school student academic performance based on student Grade Point Average (GPA), as students tended to perform well in school whether or not their parents were involved. However, additional findings, such as language barriers and parental education attainment were found to be the most important reasons why Latino parents are uninvolved, helping to break the misconception that they don’t value their child’s education. These findings are consistent with what have previously been found in the literature on Latino parental involvement. Limitations of the study are discussed along with suggestions for further research to expand on additional potential barriers for Latino parents in student education.

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