Parent and child perceptions of the family-school relationship in a Hispanic population
Author(s)De La Sierra, Maria Dolores
KeywordsEducation, Sociology of
Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies
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AbstractThe current study proposed to shed new light on Hispanic parents' and children's perceptions about the mesosystem, or interconnected relationship, between the family microsystem (i.e., a particular environment) and the school microsystem. Participants were solicited from one school; this South Florida school is a public, predominately Hispanic, elementary school. The sample consisted of 522 primarily Hispanic parents and 339 primarily Hispanic children in the third, fourth, and fifth grades, with a total of 339 parent-child dyads. Specifically of interest was whether the quality of family-school mesosystem or relationship is related positively to children's school success, as Bronfenbrenner's Ecology Theory would predict. Two measures, the Parent Mesosystem Perception Scale and the Student Mesosystem Perception Scale, were designed to operationalize the quality of the mesosystem between the family microsystem and the school microsystem. The instruments were tested for internal consistency. Measures of school success utilized were language and math grades, reading and math Stanford Achievement Test scores, and conduct and effort grades; they were obtained from the archival records for each student. A weak positive correlation was found between the parents' and the children's perceptions of the family-school relationship. In addition, simple Pearson Product-Moment correlation analysis revealed that students who perceived a positive family-school mesosystem had better math, conduct and effort grades; parents who perceived a positive family-school mesosystem had students who had higher reading and math scores, and better math and effort grades. Moreover, when multiple regression analyses were used to test the relationships between measures of the mesosystem and students' measures of school success after the effects of gender, socioeconomic status (SES) and English-as-a-second-language (ESOL) status were accounted for, few of relationships still held. Interactions between these variables were accounted for, also. Student mesosystem scores accounted for a small but significant amount of the variance of math GPA. Parent mesosystem scores accounted for a small but significant amount of the variance in both math and effort grades. As expected, a positive perception of family-school relationship was associated with better grades. This relationship was even stronger for girls' math grades. Parents who reported a better family-school mesosystem had girls who earned higher math grades. Interpretations and implications of the results are presented, and future directions for research are discussed.