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Parental Expectations and Children's Academic Performance in Sociocultural Context


In this paper, we review research on parental expectations and their effects on student achievement within and across diverse racial and ethnic groups. Our review suggests that the level of parental expectations varies by racial/ethnic group, and that students' previous academic performance is a less influential determinant of parental expectations among racial/ethnic minority parents than among European American parents. To explain this pattern, we identify three processes associated with race/ethnicity that moderate the relation between students' previous performance and parental expectations. Our review also indicates that the relation of parental expectations to concurrent or future student achievement outcomes is weaker for racial/ethnic minority families than for European American families. We describe four mediating processes by which high parental expectations may influence children's academic trajectories and show how these processes are associated with racial/ethnic status. The article concludes with a discussion of educational implications as well as suggestions for future research.

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