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Academic Achievement

International Research

International research is increasingly examining relationships among family background, family influences, and children's academic outcomes. Kevin Marjoribanks (1996), for example, adopted the Steinberg family model and indicated that measures of family human capital, independent-oriented parenting styles, and parental involvement in children's learning accounted for ethnic group differences in Australian adolescents' academic achievement. In an investigation of U.S. students, Vincent J. Roscigno and James W. Ainsworth-Darnell (1999) show that in relation to academic performance, low social status and African-American students receive less return for family investment in cultural trips and educational resources than do their higher social status and white counterparts. In the Netherlands, Nan Dirk De Graaf and his colleagues (2000) examined associations between parental cultural capital and academic performance. They demonstrate that parents' reading behavior is particularly important in low social status families if their children are to be academically successful. In an analysis in the former Czechoslovakia, Raymond S-K. Wong (1998) concludes that parents use a combination of family resources to affect their children's academic outcomes. As a result, he suggests that it is necessary to include both family background and refined family influence measures when attempting to explain differences in children's achievement outcomes. Kevin Marjoribanks and Mzobanzi Mboya (2000) used such a combination of family measures to examine differences in the academic goal orientations of African students in South Africa. The findings indicate that while measures of refined family influences are related to goal orientations, there continue to be unmediated differences for students from various social status backgrounds and from urban-rural locations. In an examination of differences in the academic performance of U.S. children from immigrant families, Lingxin Hao and Melissa Bonstead-Bruns (1998) investigated within- and between-family influences. They demonstrate that parents in immigrant groups provide differing within-family opportunities and support for their children. In addition, families in some groups are able to use the economic and educational resources of their communities. These between-family factors can have a large impact on children's achievement, even when parents within families are unable to provide appropriate support. These studies reflect the diversity of family research in various international settings, and emphasize the complex nature of the relations between families and academic outcomes.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaPregnancy & ParenthoodAcademic Achievement - Family Influences, Family Background And Family Structure, International Research, Future Family Research