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Parents' Education and Children's Educational Aspirations and Achievements

William H. Sewell and Vimal P. Shah
American Sociological Review
Vol. 33, No. 2 (Apr., 1968), pp. 191-209
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2092387
Page Count: 19
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Parents' Education and Children's Educational Aspirations and Achievements
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Abstract

In this study of a large randomly selected cohort of Wisconsin high school seniors, who were followed for a seven-year period, multivariate cross-tabular and regression analyses showed that father's education has a slightly stronger effect than mother's education on perceived parental encouragement, college plans, college attendance, and college graduation for males, but that both father's and mother's education have almost equal effect for females. Mother's education has a modest effect independent of father's education, but the independent effect of mother's education is stronger for females than for males. When parents have discrepant levels of educational achievement, the answer to the question of which parent's education has more effect on educational aspiration and achievement depends on the child's sex and intelligence level as well as on each parent's level of educational achievement. In terms of the additional amount of variance explained, the interaction effect is negligible for all of the dependent variables. Discrepancy in parents' educational achievements is far less important in motivating children to high-level aspiration and achievement than is consistently high educational achievement of both parents.

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