"Ability self-concepts and parental support may protect adolescents when they experience low support from their math teachers"
Lee investigates the roles that social agents play in immigrant youths’ adaptation to their new environment and ways to foster their well-being. She currently is working on a project funded by Mott Foundation to examine after-school quality and Templeton Character Development project with her advisor Simpkins and Chancellor’s Professor Emerita Deborah Lowe Vandell.
Simpkins is a developmental psychologist, studying child and adolescent development. She researches how families, friendships, and social position factors (such as ethnicity and culture) shape adolescents’ organized after-school activities and motivation. She is currently working on research focused on the positive outcomes of youth’s participation in activities as well as the predictors and correlates of high school students’ STEM motivational beliefs. She is co-PI on grants from the John Templeton Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation that study how organized after-school activities support positive development from childhood through young adulthood. Simpkins directs the Center for After School and Summer Excellence (CASE) and Project REACH and co-directs the After School Activities Project.
Experiencing low support from teachers can be associated with low academic achievement. Nonetheless, individual- (i.e., ability self-concepts) and contextual-level (i.e., parental support) protective factors may help adolescents to display academic resilience. This study examined whether high school students’ math ability self-concepts and parental support can mitigate the possible negative association between perceived low math teacher support and their math achievement. Correlational data were drawn from the High School Longitudinal Study (N = 14,580, Mage = 17.42 in 11th grade, 51% female), a nationally representative study of high school students in the U.S. The measures of protective factors (i.e., math ability self-concepts and parental support) were obtained from the surveys administered to students and parents in 9th grade. Students’ perceived teacher support and their math achievement score were measured in 11th grade. A series of linear regression analyses were estimated to test our hypotheses. Perceived low teacher support was negatively associated with adolescents’ math achievement. Adolescents’ math ability self-concepts were directly and positively associated with their math achievement. The interaction between perceived low teacher support and ability self-concepts in predicting adolescents’ achievement varied by parental support. The association between perceived low teacher support and adolescents’ math achievement was not statistically significant when adolescents were high on one of the protective factors. That is, high parental support may be protective for adolescents with low math ability self-concepts. This study highlights the interaction between adolescents’ academic motivation and parental support in demonstrating resilience to perceived low teacher support.