Academic journal article International Journal of Applied Educational Studies

Parental Involvement and Grade Four Students' English Reading Achievement

Academic journal article International Journal of Applied Educational Studies

Parental Involvement and Grade Four Students' English Reading Achievement

Article excerpt

Introduction

Having a high level of English proficiency is of great importance to the academic future of Emirati students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as English is the medium of instruction for most courses at the three federal educational institutions. One of the requirements for Emirati students to receive a federally funded higher education is to achieve a minimum score of 150 on the Common Educational Proficiency Assessment-English (CEPA-E) which consists of three sections: Grammar and Vocabulary, Reading, and Writing. This is a national exam that all students who desire to enroll in a federal university must take. The minimum score, however, only permits students to enter the foundation programs at the various federal institutions. In order for students to begin their credit bearing courses, students have to complete the foundation program or have a specific CEPA-E score and/or IELTS/ibt score.

One of the English skill areas that many Emirati students face difficulties with is reading. The ability to comprehend and interact with university level texts is a vital skill for success. Reading is a complicated skill that is not acquired naturally like other aspects of language but has to be learned. Reading skills are crucial to all learning activities in school, hence, acquiring them is regarded as a cornerstone for academic success. Research demonstrates that it is important for children to learn the basics of reading early and failure to do so may result in difficulty in mastering other skills and acquiring knowledge.

Purpose of the Study

There is a direct positive relationship between parent involvement and students' academic achievement (Jordan, Snow, & Porche, 2000; Shaver & Walls, 1998), and a significant predictor of reading attainment is the amount of parental involvement in children's reading (Postlethwaite & Ross, 1992). This study endeavored to find out if this applied to English as a foreign language (EFL) grade four students in Abu Dhabi. This study examined parents' involvement in their children's education through self-report surveys given to the parents and their children. The results were compared to the students' overall reading competence, reading comprehension, reading fluency and reading accuracy.

Research Questions

This study attempted to answer the following research questions:

1. How do different types of parental involvement affect the reading achievement of fourth-grade Emirati students?

2. Are parents more involved in their fourth-grade daughters' learning than their sons' learning?

3. Is there a difference in reading achievement between students who receive tutoring and those who do not?

4. Do the parents' educational background, parents' employment, and family size affect the reading achievement of fourth-grade Emirati students?

Limitations/Delimitations

This study was limited to participants from two male model schools and two female model schools. Models schools are public schools that parents pay additional school fees. Students with an average grade of 80% at the end of the school year are eligible to join model schools in the following academic year. The class sections used for the study were randomly selected, but the selection of the four schools was based on the convenience method.

As this study utilized self-report measures in the form of a student survey and a parent survey, the researchers have assumed that the respondents answered honestly. However, it is known that researchers can never be entirely certain that the participants answered truthfully and rather have expressed "socially acceptable" responses or have answered based on what they believe the researchers desire (Gay, Mills, & Airasian, 2009). Therefore, the participants' responses are meaningful only to the extent that they answered truthfully. A strategy employed to limit these potential problems was to put procedures in place to allow the parents to respond anonymously and return their responses in a sealed envelope. …

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