Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Academic Performance Gaps and Family Income in a Rural Elementary School: Perceptions of Low-Income Parents
by Renth, Beth A., Ed.D., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2014, 84; 3621849
Abstract (Summary)

A wide range of research has been conducted regarding reasons for the achievement gap between low income students and higher income students, but there is limited research regarding parental perspectives, and particularly fewer studies of parental perceptions of low income, rural elementary school parents. The purpose of this study was to explore low income parent perceptions of the income-related achievement gap and factors contributing to it in one rural elementary context and to examine the extent of the gap in a particular rural school. This was a mixed-method, primarily qualitative study. Quantitative data was collected from sixty-two free and reduced lunch students compared to a comparison sample of non-low income students including academic, attendance, and discipline reports. Findings indicate a gap does exist at the school. Qualitative data included interviews of six parents of low income students, including topics regarding how participants perceive various factors affect the performance of their children. Four themes emerged: parental involvement and capacity, access to resources, educational impact on socioeconomic status, and American societal and governmental systems. Implications suggest that this particular rural school and others with similar demographics would benefit from specific strategies to assist in understanding cultural differences to improve instruction and, ultimately, avenues to include parents by exploring current practices that may be unintentionally discriminating.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Buckley, Phillip
Commitee: Logue, Jennifer, Puchner, Laurie
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 75/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership
Keywords: Academic performance, Achievement gap, Low-income families, Parent perceptions, Rural communities
Publication Number: 3621849
ISBN: 978-1-303-93284-7
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