Parental Influences on Achievement Motivation and Student Engagement

  • Janine Bempechat
  • David J. Shernoff


Underachievement and school disengagement have serious consequences, both at individual and societal levels. In this chapter, we adopt a strength-based perspective to examine the multiple ways in which parents foster achievement motivation and student engagement. Our theoretical orientation is grounded in Bronfenbrenner’s (1977) ecological systems theory in which the child is situated at the center of increasingly distal and interconnected spheres of influence, from family and school to community and societal institutions. Given the increasingly diverse composition of our nation’s schools, we place a premium on understanding how varied ethnic and cultural models of learning and socialization, particularly among low-income families, differentially influence parents’ educational socialization strategies and how these come to affect children’s developing achievement-related beliefs and behaviors. We examine several theoretical models of engagement, motivation, and parental involvement and highlight some notable research efforts that seek to explain parents’ roles in fostering motivation and engagement. We then share several models of innovative programs that have experienced success in creating authentic partnerships between parents, children, schools, and communities toward the goal of stemming the tide of underachievement and disengagement.


Social Capital Parental Involvement Parenting Style Student Engagement Achievement Motivation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Human DevelopmentWheelock CollegeBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology, and FoundationsNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

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