Linking Socioeconomic Status to the Academic Achievement of Mexican American Youth Through Parent Involvement in Education

Inna Altschul

Abstract


This study uses data from 1,609 Mexican American students and their parents who participated in the National Educational Longitudinal Study to examine (a) the influence of multiple socioeconomic components on youth’s academic achievement, and (b) whether these effects were mediated by parent involvement in education. Results show that the factor with the strongest direct relationship to youth’s test scores was maternal occupation, followed by family income. Maternal education level was also predictive of youth’s academic achievement, whereas fathers’ education and occupation were not predictive of academic achievement. Parent involvement in education mediated the influence of both family income and maternal education on youth’s academic achievement. Pathways between socioeconomic status, parent involvement, and youth’s academic achievement suggest that Mexican American parents’ abilities to invest economic, social, and human capital in their children’s education leads to higher academic achievement among youth. Further, it appears that mothers and fathers play distinct roles in these processes. The article discusses implications of study findings for future research and interventions to improve academic achievement among Mexican American youth.

Keywords


academic achievement, socioeconomic status, parent involvement, Mexican American families, Latinos

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