Parental Involvement at Home: Analyzing the Influence of Parents' Socioeconomic Status

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

A child's capability to succeed in school depends on how successfully the child is managed by his/her parents in the home environment. It is an environment where the child learns the skills, attitudes and behaviour which could mould them into a productive and successful student. However, not every child comes from a home that could provide them with the requisite educational resources necessary for their academic success. In accordance with that, a parent's socioeconomic status plays an important role in providing these educational resources and it appears to impose the greatest impact on the child's educational outcomes.

A substantial body of evidence confirms that parent's from a higher socioeconomic level show higher involvement in their children's education than parents from a lower socioeconomic level. A number of studies also have pointed out that other indicators such as social class, race and ethnicity influence parental involvement in their child's education. However, in the context of Malaysia, very little attention has been given to the issue of parental involvement in education. Furthermore, studies on minority groups, especially the Indians, are also very limited. Thus, the present study focuses on the relationship between parent's socioeconomic status and parental involvement strategies in their child's education among Indian parents who have enrolled their children in a National Type Tamil School.

1. LITERATURE REVIEW

A large array of information appears in the literature on the issue of parental involvement. The two main aspects studied by many scholars are; firstly, parents socioeconomic status and parental involvement; and secondly, parental involvement and students' achievement. However, one significant finding that has been explored widely is the absence of parental involvement and how it affects the students' achievement in general.

The influence of parent's socioeconomic status on parental involvement has been well documented in explaining how the socioeconomic level of parents is translated into their child's school achievement. Katsilis and Rubinson's (1990) study on 395 public high schools' seniors reported that the parent's socioeconomic status influence the educational success of their child at school to a greater extent. Similarly, Eagle's (1989) study also pointed out that parental involvement consistently related to educational attainment. Eagle (1989) showed that the children whose parents read to them often during their childhood had higher levels of achievement. McNeal Jr (2001) in his study also pointed out that parental involvement has greater effects on children from a higher socioeconomic level.

Ho Sui-Chu and Willms's (1996) study on eighth-grade students, their parents and teachers at public and private schools in United States indicated that parent's socioeconomic status has significant and positive relationship on parental involvement in their child's education. However, the relationship found was not strong. In addition, a study conducted by Desimone, L.M. (1999) on eighth-grade students to examine the effects of the students' socioeconomic status on parental involvement. The findings of the study revealed that the students' socioeconomic status influence parental involvement and the students' achievement. The higher the family income, the greater would be the parental involvement; and this enables the students to achieve high scores in mathematics and reading. Shaver & Wall's (1998) study that investigated the impact of parental involvement on reading and mathematics achievements of eighth-grade students also found that the children from the higher socioeconomic families achieved academic success in reading and mathematics due to effective parental involvement. Furthermore, Lueptow (1975) conducted a study on high school seniors in twenty Wisconsin public high schools and found that students who perform well at school are from the urban areas, who have educated parents with a higher occupation status and come from a higher income home. …

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