Race Differences in Parental Influences on Child Achievement: Multiple Pathways to Success

Using data from a national multiethnic, longitudinal study of children, this study examined the process of how parents' educational attainment is related to children's achievement through the beliefs and behaviors of parents and how this influence varies by race/ethnicity. Measures of socioeconomic status, parental expectations for educational success, reading, school involvement, and warmth were collected through home interviews. Achievement measures were collected in kindergarten and third grade. Using structural equation modeling techniques, we found parents' educational attainment to be an important predictor of children's achievement as well as the change in their achievement across time. Parental beliefs and behaviors were important indirect pathways of this influence, especially for European American families, but varied in important ways by race/ethnicity. Parents' educational attainment is a powerful predictor of what parents provide in the home environment, and researchers and policymakers who want to understand children's achievement need to examine the important role that education may play in child development.