Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Planning Ahead: The Relationship among School Support, Parental Involvement, and Future Academic Expectations in African American Adolescents

Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

Planning Ahead: The Relationship among School Support, Parental Involvement, and Future Academic Expectations in African American Adolescents

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to identify the social supports in the lives of African American adolescents that influence resilient academic outcomes. The authors examined 206 African American students to identify the role of parental involvement as a buffer in the relation between low school support and high academic expectations. Results revealed that high levels of school support and parental involvement facilitated the development of high academic expectations. Sex and socioeconomic status (SES) differences were also examined. High parental involvement and high SES positively influenced academic expectations for females only. For males, low parental involvement and high SES positively influenced academic expectations. These findings suggest that parental involvement has differing effects on academic outcomes for African American males and females.

Keywords: African American adolescents, parental involvement, secondary education

INTRODUCTION

Extant Uterature largely focuses on the negative academic outcomes that have come to be associated with African American students. However, despite the societal odds pitted against them, many African American students are attaining postsecondary degrees and are achieving academically. In fact, researchers have found that many Black children learn, succeed, and have plans for furthering their education despite experiencing the effects of low socioeconomic status (SES), minimal teacher expectations, and inadequate representation of their success (Freiberg, 1993; Rutter, 1987; Werner, 1989). Much of the existing Uterature demonstrates how the future academic expectations of adolescents are indicative of later educational attainment (SlaughterDefoe & Rubin, 2001). Research is needed to uncover the possible predictors of higher educational plans that lead to later educational attainment and success for African American students. These possible predictors include Black students' perceptions of school support and parental involvement.

The study has a main purpose: to examine how perceived school support and perceived parental involvement are associated with adolescents' reports of future academic expectations. A review of the Uterature has determined that the gender and SES of adolescents impact the amount of school support and parental involvement they perceive (Carter & Wojtkiewicz, 2000; Ford & Harris, 1996). SpecificaUy, females and students of higher socioeconomic status tend to report more support from their parents and teachers than males and students from low SES backgrounds. Therefore, the current study also seeks to understand how the relationships among perceived school support, parental involvement, and future academic expectations differ according to gender and SES. This premise is tested in a sample of high-achieving African American students.

School Support

The role of teachers in promoting the academic development of youth has long been described as a protective factor for children and adolescents (Connell et al., 1995; Epstein & Dauber, 1991; Tucker et al., 2002). The relationship between school support, and more specifically teacher support, and academic achievement in adolescence is most likely a result of the sense of community or connection to the school environment fostered by teacher support that maximizes student learning, motivation, and engagement (Booker, 2006).

For African American students, the quality of teacher-student relationships and the sense of school belongingness that relationship creates are especiaUy important. However, Black students are more likely to be taught by White educators, even in urban settings, and data reveal an everwidening cultural chasm between African American students and their mostly White female teachers (Ford & Harris, 1996). These authors found that Black males were more likely to report that their teachers did not trust them, expected less of them, and caUed on them less than Black females or White students. …

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