A cross national analysis of parental involvement and student literacy
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A Cross-national Analysis of Parental Involvement and Student Literacy. Lina Guzman 1 , Gillian Hampden-Thompson 2 , and Laura Lippman 1 International Society for Child Indicators Conference June 28, 2007 1 Child Trends 2 American Institutes of Research. Background.

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A cross national analysis of parental involvement and student literacy l.jpg
A Cross-national Analysis of Parental Involvement and Student Literacy

Lina Guzman1,

Gillian Hampden-Thompson2,

and Laura Lippman1

International Society for Child Indicators Conference

June 28, 2007

1 Child Trends

2 American Institutes of Research


Background l.jpg
Background Student Literacy

  • Researchers at Child Trends are interested in family strengths, conceptualized as behaviors, processes, and relationship characteristics that support family functioning and foster well-being.

  • Family strength is promoted through activities such as spending time together, communicating, and participating in a variety of cultural and educational activities.

  • Participation in these activities is a more direct measure of parenting, in contrast to proxy measures such as family structure and income.

  • U.S. studies have found that these aspects of parent involvement are related to positive outcomes such as literacy.


Research questions l.jpg
Research questions Student Literacy

  • Does parent involvement vary across countries?

  • Is there a consistent relationship between parent involvement and literacy across countries?

  • Does the relationship vary by type of literacy (reading, math, or science)?

  • Is the relationship between parent involvement and literacy stronger or weaker in the U.S. than in other countries?


Program for international student assessment pisa l.jpg
Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) Student Literacy

  • OECD study conducted in 43 countries

  • Assess 15-year-olds’ literacy in reading, math, and science

  • Literacy = everyday knowledge rather than curricular-based learning

  • Data collection occurs every three years, focusing on one subject area per cycle

  • Current study utilizes 2000 data from 21 countries

    • represents advanced industrialized countries comparable to the U.S.

    • geographic regions of North America, Western and Eastern Europe (including Russia), and the Pacific

  • 2000 wave used because it contained the parent involvement measures (which were dropped in later years)



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Parent involvement measures Student Literacy

  • As part of the assessment, students were asked about:

    • Social Communication

      • Eating meal with parent

      • Talking generally with parent

    • Cultural Communication

      • Discussing books, films, or television with parent

      • Discussing political or social issues with parent

    • Educational involvement

      • Parental help with homework


Theoretical framework l.jpg
Theoretical framework Student Literacy


Methodology l.jpg
Methodology Student Literacy

  • Outcomes: Assessment scores for reading, math, and science literacy

  • Predictors: Three types of parental involvement

  • Analysis

    • OLS regression – estimate relationship between parental involvement and three literacy domains for each country

    • HLM – compare relationship between parental involvement and literacy across countries


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Communication across countries Student Literacy

  • First, does the frequency of communication between parents and 15-year-olds, as well as the extent of homework assistance, vary across countries?

  • The frequency of communication activities is similar across countries

    • Eating meals (most frequent communication activity)

    • Discussing general issues

    • Discussing political or social issues

    • Discussing books, films, or television (least frequent communication activity)

  • The frequency with which parents help with homework varies more across countries than the communication activities


Eating meals l.jpg
Eating meals Student Literacy

Several times a week

Several times a month

Once a month

Few times a year

Never

Note: Graph reflects unweighted means


Discussing general issues l.jpg
Discussing general issues Student Literacy

Several times a week

Several times a month

Once a month

Few times a year

Never

Note: Graph reflects unweighted means


Discussing political or social issues l.jpg
Discussing political or social issues Student Literacy

Several times a week

Several times a month

Once a month

Few times a year

Never

Note: Graph reflects unweighted means


Discussing books films or television l.jpg
Discussing books, films, or television Student Literacy

Several times a week

Several times a month

Once a month

Few times a year

Never

Note: Graph reflects unweighted means


Homework assistance l.jpg
Homework assistance Student Literacy

Several times a week

Several times a month

Once a month

Few times a year

Never

Note: Graph reflects unweighted means


Literacy across countries l.jpg
Literacy across countries Student Literacy

  • Reading literacy

    • Higher scores than math and science

    • Range: 462 to 549

  • Math literacy

    • Range: 447 to 538

  • Science literacy

    • Range: 460 to 538





Social communication and reading literacy across countries l.jpg
Social communication and reading literacy across countries Student Literacy

  • At least one measure of social communication (eating meals together and general talking) is positively related to reading literacy in 20 countries (all except Italy).

  • Eating meals together is significantly associated with higher literacy in 16 countries.

  • Talking about general topics has a less consistent relationship with reading literacy, but is still significantly related to higher literacy in 11 countries.


Cultural communication and reading literacy across countries l.jpg
Cultural communication and reading literacy across countries Student Literacy

  • Discussions about books, film, or TV are positively (and significantly) related to reading literacy in 20 countries (all except New Zealand).

  • Discussions about political or social issues is positively and significantly associated with higher reading literacy in all 21 countries.


Homework help and reading literacy across countries l.jpg
Homework help and reading literacy across countries Student Literacy

  • Frequent homework help is significantly related to lower levels of reading literacy in all 21 countries.

  • OLS coefficients range from -6.10 to -15.89

  • The relationship is strongest in Australia, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S. (meaning more parental help was associated with even lower reading literacy).

  • The relationship is weakest in Portugal and Spain.

  • This finding corroborates other research

    • Suggests that students who need more help have parents who are more involved with helping them.


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Do relationships vary by subject? Student Literacy

  • The relationships between parent involvement and literacy are in the same direction, but are less consistent for math and science literacy.

  • Engaging in political and social discussions and eating with parents are both consistently associated with higher literacy in all three domains.

  • Discussing general issues and books, etc. are also associated with higher literacy, though not as frequently as other forms of communication.

  • However, the relationship between parental involvement and literacy is most consistent and strongest with reading.

    • For example, discussing books, films, and TV is related to higher reading literacy in 20 countries, higher math literacy in 7 countries, and higher science literacy in 12 countries.


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Cross-national relationship between parent involvement and literacy

  • The relationship is relatively consistent across the 21 countries. Net of family background and SES, students in most countries who have higher levels of social and cultural communications with their parents have higher literacy levels in all three subjects.

  • Parental help with homework is related to lower literacy, which is likely indicative of parental response to lower achievement.

  • U.S. compared to other countries in the relationship between parent involvement and reading literacy:

    • U.S. adolescents benefit less (in terms of the effect of communication on literacy) from eating with a parent and from political and social discussions.

    • U.S. adolescents benefit more from discussing books, films, and television.

    • General discussion has the same effect.


Conclusions l.jpg
Conclusions literacy

  • Parental involvement in the specific form of social and cultural communication is associated with higher literacy among 15-year-olds in the majority of countries.

  • Parental communication is positively related to literacy across countries, though more so for reading literacy than for math and science.

  • Homework help is inversely related to literacy, corroborating prior research.

  • Students benefit from varied and multiple types of communication. General discussion is not as consistently related to higher literacy, therefore parents need to be encouraged to talk about specific topics of discussion.

  • Talking to kids about books, film, and even television, or discussing political or social issues, has a greater effect than just eating together and more general conversation.


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