Family Factors and Student Outcomes

Family Factors and Student Outcomes
By: Nailing Xia
Source: RAND Corporation, PRGS Dissertations
To examine the effects of family process variables (specific things families do) and family status variables (who families are) on students’ academic achievement and nonacademic outcomes, the author uses the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, a U.S. longitudinal dataset that follows a nationally representative sample of children from kindergarten through fifth grade, and the Programme for International Student Assessment, a cross-country cross-sectional dataset that assesses academic achievement of 15-year-old students. The U.S. data indicate that even after controlling for demographics and school inputs, student achievement was associated with such process variables as parental expectations and beliefs, learning structure, resource availability, home environment, parenting and disciplinary practices, and parental involvement. In addition, doing homework more frequently, having home Internet access, and owning a community library card had higher returns in terms of student achievement for black children or children from low socio-economic families than for their counterparts. U.S. students did not fare as well as their peers in other countries and economies, and family process variables, especially considered collectively, are important factors in explaining student achievement in an international setting.
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