Applied Psychology OPUS

Promoting the Mathematics Achievement of Economically Disadvantaged Latino and African American Students: Understanding the Roles of Parental Involvement and Expectations

by Steven Roberts

In the U.S., economically disadvantaged Latino and African American students are repeatedly found to have low mathematics proficiency rates, which often leave these students without the skills and knowledge needed to compete in our increasingly technological job market. Therefore, supporting the mathematics achievement of these students may increase their ability to become economically successful in later life. Research suggests that through parental involvement and expectations, parents play an important role in promoting their children’s mathematics achievement. However, how parental involvement and expectations relate to different types of mathematics achievement is not clear. This study examined how parental involvement and expectations related to both basic (i.e., arithmetic) and complex (e.g., algebra) types of mathematics in a sample of 29 economically disadvantaged Latino and African American parents and their early adolescent children. Bivariate correlations and regression analyses indicated that parental involvement was not related to any of the mathematics outcomes, whereas parental expectations were related to the more difficult mathematics outcomes. Implications for research, practice, and policies are discussed.