An empirical investigation of relationships between Junior High School students' Family Socioeconomic Status, Parental Involvement, and Academic Performance in Japan

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Abstract

U.S. studies on parental involvement (PI) indicate that parenting practices vary by families' socioeconomic status (SES) (e.g., Lareau 2003) and that different degrees of PI differentiate students' academic achievement (e.g., Hill and Tyson 2009); PI differences based on parents' SES are considered one source of the achievement gap. While some scholars (e.g., Honda 2008) address this critical topic in Japanese society, existing studies using regional and/or retrospective data without a rigorous indicator of students' academic abilities fall short of investigating relationships between students' family SES, the degree of PI, and their achievement at one of the most important stages of education: compulsory education. This study is therefore intended to empirically investigate these relationships by analyzing nationally representative data of Japanese eighth-grade students. This study's results indicate that (1) higher SES parents tend to more frequently ask their children what they study in school; (2) the school-level PI indicator is not equally distributed socioeconomically, and School SES relates to the degree of PI in school activities; and (3) the degree of PI and school PI in school activities are associated with students' mathematics achievement. Contrary to expectations, however, PI mediates small parts of SES effects, especially at the student level; only some of the relationships between SES, PI, and achievement are verified empirically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-165
Number of pages19
JournalSociological Theory and Methods
Volume29
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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social status
Japan
school
performance
student
parents
compulsory education
academic achievement
mathematics
geography
ability

Keywords

  • Compulsory education
  • Concerted cultivation
  • Multilevel
  • Parental involvement
  • TIMSS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

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abstract = "U.S. studies on parental involvement (PI) indicate that parenting practices vary by families' socioeconomic status (SES) (e.g., Lareau 2003) and that different degrees of PI differentiate students' academic achievement (e.g., Hill and Tyson 2009); PI differences based on parents' SES are considered one source of the achievement gap. While some scholars (e.g., Honda 2008) address this critical topic in Japanese society, existing studies using regional and/or retrospective data without a rigorous indicator of students' academic abilities fall short of investigating relationships between students' family SES, the degree of PI, and their achievement at one of the most important stages of education: compulsory education. This study is therefore intended to empirically investigate these relationships by analyzing nationally representative data of Japanese eighth-grade students. This study's results indicate that (1) higher SES parents tend to more frequently ask their children what they study in school; (2) the school-level PI indicator is not equally distributed socioeconomically, and School SES relates to the degree of PI in school activities; and (3) the degree of PI and school PI in school activities are associated with students' mathematics achievement. Contrary to expectations, however, PI mediates small parts of SES effects, especially at the student level; only some of the relationships between SES, PI, and achievement are verified empirically.",
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