Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

An Exploratory Quantitative Study Comparing and Correlating Parental Factors with Environmental Science Achievement for Black American and Black Caribbean Students in a Mid-Atlantic State

Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

An Exploratory Quantitative Study Comparing and Correlating Parental Factors with Environmental Science Achievement for Black American and Black Caribbean Students in a Mid-Atlantic State

Article excerpt

Introduction

The large influx of Caribbean islanders to the U.S. during the last three decades and the complexities of the heterogeneous Black population within America present significant opportunities for research on patterns of migration, cultural differences in the home and parenting, and the influence of each of these variables on students' academic achievement (Homer, 2001; Mitchell, 2005; Ogbu, 2003; Portes, 1999; Rong & Brown, 2001 ^Consequently, there is a growing need for the education and sociology of education literature to address the educational conditions and attainment of Black immigrant children and to become aware of the differences and complexities within their homes (Rong & Brown, 2007). There are very few researchers who are conducting empirical research on Black immigrant students' home life and parenting and examining the influence on these students' academic achievement (Codjoe, 2007; Fisher, 2005). Therefore, this study sought to correct the shortcoming by exploring the influence of home background patterns and parenting on the environmental science achievement of Afro-Caribbean and African American students. The family or parental factors used in previous studies of Afro-Caribbean or African American students were also used in the current research (Codjoe, 2007; Fisher, 2005; Heard, 2007).

Additionally, out-of-school activities and attitudinal factors associated with parenting were included in this study under parental factors because of the theoretical belief that parents' values, attitudes, and priorities may greatly influence the values, attitudes, and priorities of their children (Ogbu, 2003; Ogbu & Simons, 1998; Samuel, Smolska, & Warren, 2001; Wang, 2004). Therefore, out-of-school activities examined in this study included "extra science lessons," and "extra study time in science," and attitudinal factors included "performance motivation to do science" and "science attitudes." For the purpose of this study, students' and parents' ethnicities or countries of origin data were collected along with the other family background data. Students were labeled African Americans, if it was reported on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Program for International Student Assessment (OECD PISA, Beavis, 2002) student background questionnaire that they and their (both) parents were bom in the U.S.; whereas, students were labeled Afro-Caribbean, if it was reported on their questionnaire that they or one of their parents were bom in the Caribbean. In this study, Erstand second-generation Caribbean immigrant students were labeled as Afro-Caribbean. In following the guidelines of Ogbu's (2003) previous research, the African Americans in this study were also called involuntary immigrants because their forefathers were brought to America between 1619 and 1800 by force during the slave trade, and the Afro-Caribbean group was called voluntary immigrants because their migration to America was seen as the pursuit of opportunities and not one of force.

Furthermore, four research questions were addressed in this study to answer the central thesis: (a) are there differences in environmental science achievement between Black Caribbean and Black American high school students?; (b) are there correlations between parental factors and the environmental science achievement test score for Black Caribbean and Black American students?; (c) which parental factor best predicts environmental science achievement or performance for Black Caribbean and Black American students?; and, (d) what do emerged field data further reveal about the Black Caribbean and Black American students' home patterns and achievement?

Literature Review

Historical Context of Afro-Caribbeans and African Americans in America

According to Rong and Brown (2007), the Black presence in North America has a history of more than 400 years, and from the outset this population has been heterogeneous. …

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