Developmental Brown Bag
Sandra Tang, Post-doctoral Fellow, Developmental Psychology, University of Michigan
Monday, November 12, 2012,
12:00 pm 1:00 pm
3447 East Hall
Family educational involvement has been identified as a particularly beneficial practice for the achievement and behavioral outcomes of all students, including ethnic-minority students from families who have low levels of income, education, and English language proficiency. However, despite the associated benefits and education policymakers’ emphasis on increasing family-school partnerships, not all families are involved and the explanation for differing involvement patterns has not been fully explored.
In general, immigrant families engage in fewer educational involvement activities in comparison to their native-born counterparts. Although they want their children to excel in school, many face socio-cultural barriers to educational involvement. Moreover, most schools are not equipped to meet their non-academic needs. On the other hand, immigrant families tend to have close family and community ties, which have been linked to family and child well-being. As a result, social capital may be an asset of immigrant families that can be leveraged to promote their educational involvement.
With a selective focus on immigrant children and families from the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (N = 189), this study relied on path analyses to garner empirical support for a theoretically-based model linking social capital with family perceptions and attributions, home- and school-based family educational involvement, and student outcomes (i.e., achievement, behavior problems, positive behavior).
Results demonstrated that social support was positively associated with immigrant families’ self-efficacy and perceptions of opportunities for involvement. In turn, families with higher levels of self-efficacy engaged in more home-based involvement activities. Children in immigrant families with a role construction around education in alignment with the dominant culture of the U.S. demonstrated better child achievement but worse behavior outcomes than children from immigrant families with a role construction unaligned with dominant U.S. culture. Lastly, in contrast to extant literature, immigrant families’ school-based educational involvement was not associated with any family perceptions or attributions or child outcomes. Implications of both significant and null findings will be discussed for developmental science and future research.
Sandra Tang graduated with a BA from Tufts University and received her PhD in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology at Boston College under the mentorship of Eric Dearing and Rebekah Levine Coley. Currently, she is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Developmental Psychology area at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on the role of family, school, and culture in shaping children’s academic and social-emotional development.