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Relationship Between Parental Involvement, Modeling, and High School Child’s Educational Aspiration and College Attendance

Fri, March 22, 7:45 to 9:15am, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 1, Exhibit Hall B

Integrative Statement

Parents manage and influence their child’s education and success in multiple ways (Hill & Tyson, 2009; Hyde et al., 2016). While prior research mostly focused on the role of parental involvement (PI), or “parents’ interaction with schools and with their children to benefit children’s educational success” (Wang & Sheikh-Khalil, 2014; p. 610), parents may also cast their influence by serving as role models when they also go back to school (Suitor et al., 2008). Such changes can be understood from the perspective of bioecological theory: Parent’s return to school changes child’s mesosystem (the link between parent’s school and family), and in turn influences the child’s microsystem and development (Bronfenbrenner, 1986; Ricco et al., 2003). Social cognitive theory would argue that parent serves as a positive role model that children learn from (e.g., good studying habits) or showcase the value of education (Cemalcilar et al., 2018) through the process of observational learning (Bandura, 2001). However, when they are still pursuing further education, the modeling effect is less clear since the child has not observed a successful pursuit of further education or the benefit it brings (e.g., economic benefit; Kim & Hill, 2015). Therefore, the relationship between PI and modeling, and how they are related to high school child’s educational aspiration and college attendance, was explored.

Analyzing longitudinal data of adolescent’s and parent’s report from the High School Longitudinal Study (HSLS:2009; NCES, 2015; see Figure 1), the outcomes are ordinal variables measuring the highest level of education the child expected to earn eventually, and whether they were taking any course in a college. The independent variables were parent’s self-report of PI of different types, based on confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). For parental modeling, a three-level adult’s educational effort was created as Completed (if the highest level of education has elevated), In progress (if none of the parent completed a higher educational credential but indicated that they were in the process of completing a postsecondary credential), and Not in school (if the parent did not gain or work on any education). The child’s gender, racial/ethnic minority status, and a continuous scale of SES were controlled for.

A probit path analysis was conducted to examine the hypothesized path model (see Table 1). The complex survey design was accounted for by specifying the cluster, strata, and sampling weight in all analyses. Parents engaged in various types of PI at different time (school-based, career-focused, and academic enrichment PI at 9th grade; college-focused, counselor-seeking, and academic enrichment PI at 11th grade). Parent who completed a new educational credential themselves would engage in more counselor-seeking and academic enrichment PI. In turn, college-focused PI was positively related to child’s educational aspiration and eventual enrollment in college, while, counselor-seeking PI was negatively related to these outcome measures.

The findings will help inform researchers and practitioners about the benefits nontraditional students with childcare responsibility will have in addition to the current sole focus on the challenges, and utilize the information during advising and provide essential support and services accordingly.


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