The purpose of the present study is to investigate the relative strength of parent involvement versus ethnicity and how they affect the academic achievement gap between racial backgrounds of Caucasian, African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American as measured by the reading portion of the State Site of Research Comprehensive Assessments-Series (SSRCA-II). The sample is drawn from Connecting Parents to Educational Opportunities (CPEO) parents and their children who are in the district which was the site for this research. To be classified as a CPEO parent, he/she had to have completed a seven-week course at one of the research participant's Title I school sites since its 2008 inception year to present. The composition of student racial backgrounds in the present study was 53% Caucasian and 25% African-American students, which made up 78% of the sample. Hispanic, Asian, and Native American students at percentages of 12%, 7%, and 3%, respectively, represented the remaining 22% of the sample. The inferential statistical results are based on the logistic regression analyses. Parenting and ethnicity variables, which were both independent variables, did not significantly improve any of the models' ability to predict students' reading proficiency. However, social economic status (SES), control variable, remained statistically significant through all of the analyses. Referring to the research question, the major finding from the research showed that SES was a significant predictor of student reading achievement. The findings were not expected but informative in terms of reshaping the discussion on academic achievement. The present study was not an experiment. Therefore, causal claims cannot be made, but implications for practice may be drawn from the data analyses. Insights gained and ideas to ponder based on the data analyses are the (a) Cradle to Prison Pipeline, (b) equity of opportunities, and (c) business education.A pathway has been laid to answer the research question and provide new knowledge to school districts and the research community with a focus on equity, achievement and excellence for K-12 students. The focus on parent involvement and ethnicity should be redirected to address the challenges of SES. Parent involvement and ethnicity are factors in the achievement gap issue. However, addressing SES primarily may bring greater reduction in the achievement gap and increased student achievement among public school students.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2014. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Dr. Judith Lambrecht. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 224 pages, appendices A-E.
Ricks, Teri Marsha Primm.
Academic achievement gap: the role of ethnicity and parent involvement in predicting reading achievement.
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