When Low SES Parents Cannot Assist Their Children.Report as inadecuate

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A study was conducted to determine some of the problems and characteristics of low socioeconomic status (SES) parents who have children with low science achievement scores relative to parents of higher achievers. Sixteen low-achievement seventh graders in an urban school and 16 high-achievement students participated, along with their mothers. Three science activities were assigned and the students' mothers were told that they could help at any time. Maternal interactions were coded. The overall dependence on the task directions that the low achiever/low SES mothers demonstrated may be an indication of their own developmental level or related to activity setting features. When parents confronted tasks beyond their own proximal development, they tended to use ineffectual mechanisms such as physical cueing or pushing directions to the child. Their actions were in sharp contrast to the elaborated verbal cues so easily used by the mothers of the high achievers. Much of the problem appeared to relate to the literacy level of the mothers. Implications for academic achievement and instruction are discussed. (Contains 2 tables and 46 references.) (SLD)

Descriptors: Educational Attainment, Grade 7, Helping Relationship, Junior High School Students, Junior High Schools, Low Achievement, Mothers, Parent Child Relationship, Poverty, Science Instruction, Socioeconomic Status, Urban Youth

Author: Zady, Madelon F.; Portes, Pedro R.; DelCastillo, Kent; Dunham, Richard M.

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=12301&id=ED424317

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