Parental involvement: Its relation to achievement in a multiethnic sample of newly immigrated students

Michael Voltaire, Florida International University


The current study examined how parental involvement is related to the academic adaptation and performance of a multiethnic sample of newly immigrant students from South America and the Caribbean---Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, and English-speaking Caribbean countries. Six hundred twenty-two participants attending elementary, middle and high school in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties were interviewed during two consecutive years at their respective schools. Parents completed surveys at home and returned them by mail. Three forms of parent involvement were chosen as predictor variables---(1) parental contact and communication with school, (2) parental monitoring of children's school-related activities at home, and (3) parental expectations regarding children's academic achievement. Academic performance indicators obtained from school records were students' grade point averages for math and reading (GPA), FCAT-SSS (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test-Sunshine State Standards) scores, and FCAT-NRT (Norm Referenced Test) scores. Hypotheses were (a) that the forms of parent involvement would differ across the different cultural groups and (b) that parent involvement would relate to students' achievement, regardless of the specific form of involvement. Results indicated that Cuban and Colombian parents differed significantly in terms of monitoring school-related activities of their children and had higher expectations for their children than Haitian, West-Indian, or Argentinean parents. Cuban parents were more likely to be actively engaged in communication with their children's schools than parents of the other ethnic groups. Multiple regression analyses indicated that the three forms of parent involvement accounted for a significant proportion of GPA and FCAT-SSS scores, after controlling for the effects of demographic variables---grade level, gender, and ethnicity. Given interactions of the parent involvement variables by country of origin for GPA, separate analyses indicated that parent involvement appeared to be most effective for Cubans and West Indians. Results are discussed in terms of the need for experimental intervention studies to identify causal relationships between parent involvement and academic achievement.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Educational psychology|Bilingual education|Multicultural education

Recommended Citation

Voltaire, Michael, "Parental involvement: Its relation to achievement in a multiethnic sample of newly immigrated students" (2005). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3206038.