Family Constructs and Academic Achievement

Published: 2021-09-14 10:10:09
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Category: Science

Type of paper: Essay

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Past studies have linked family constructs and academic achievement. Children tend to have higher achievement when they have more parents, higher family socio-economic status (SES), more educational resources, or more family involvement (Entwisle & Alexander, 1995). Whether these links differ across countries (richer vs. poorer; degree of household income inequality; various cultural values) remain open questions. Hence, this study examines these issues in the context of science achievement. After summarizing the links between family constructs and academic achievement, several hypotheses for country differences are discussed.
Family constructs
Family members can give children extra resources or compete for them. On the one hand, additional family members who provide extra resources, especially parents, provide more learning opportunities on which children can capitalize to achieve more (resource provider hypothesis; see figure 1, middle column; Amato, 2001; Entwisle & Alexander, 1995; Horvat, Weininger, & Lareau, 2003). Families with more parents typically have higher SES, more educational resources at home (e.g., books), and more parent-time to spend with their children (greater parent communication and involvement). In contrast, separated parents have fewer resources and face more challenges in caring for their children, so the children might receive less attention (e.g. from stepparents in blended families). Meanwhile, immigrant parents, especially those that speak a foreign language, likely have less social and cultural capital to share with their children (e.g., cultural possessions and communication), which limits children's learning opportunities and often their academic achievement (Coleman, 1994; Portes & MacLeod, 1996).

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