"Examining Relations of Mexican-Descent Adolescents’ Science Achievement and Engagement on Mothers' Use of Navigational Capital"
SRCD 2019 Biennial Conference
March 21-23, 2019
Title: Examining Relations of Mexican-Descent Adolescents’ Science Achievement and Engagement on Mothers' Use of Navigational Capital (Poster)
Session: Education, Schooling
Authors: Stephanie Soto-Lara, Nestor Tulagan, Sandy Simpkins
Abstract: Parental involvement has a positive impact on adolescents’ academic success, specifically in STEM (Altschul, 2011; Fan & Chen, 2001; Harackiewicz et al., 2012; Sheldon & Epstein, 2005). However, little research focuses on child effects. Adolescents’ academic achievement and engagement likely informs the ways in which parents are involved, particularly among families of color. Another limitation of the current literature is its focus on traditional forms of involvement (e.g., homework help and volunteering at school) that portray parents of color as less involved compared to their white counterparts (Auerbach, 2007; Fan & Chen, 2001; Garcia Coll & Pachter, 2002; Hill & Tyson, 2009). In accordance with Yosso’s (2005) community cultural wealth model, parents of color engage with their youth in meaningful, non-traditional ways, such as providing strategies and support that will help their youth maintain academic success despite stressful situations, known as navigational capital. Using a mixed-methods approach, this study examined three research questions. First, what forms of navigational capital do Mexican-descent mothers report as best practices to support their adolescents in science? Second, to what extent do adolescents’ science achievement and engagement predict mothers’ reports of science navigational capital? Finally, to what extent do mothers’ education level and adolescents’ gender moderate these associations?
We interviewed Mexican-descent mothers (n=74) regarding how they support their adolescents (14.6 years; 40.4% female) in science. Using Yosso’s (2005) community cultural wealth model, we coded these data to capture how mothers leverage their navigational capital to support their adolescents in science. We conducted logistic regressions testing the associations of adolescents’ 9th grade science achievement (grade) and engagement (19-items; α=.86) with mothers’ use of navigational capital in 10th grade. We sequentially added mothers’ educational level, adolescent gender, and interaction terms with each predictor to the models.
Mothers mentioned using navigational capital to support their adolescents in science by providing emotional and moral support, giving advice, and teaching strategies. Adolescents attaining a B or higher in 9th grade science had higher odds of having mothers engage in navigational capital in 10th grade. Moderation analyses indicated that associations between science achievement and use of navigational capital was higher among lower-educated mothers. This may indicate that higher educated mothers may be leveraging other strategies, such as using economic and social resources to provide adolescents with additional learning experiences. Results also indicated marginally significant positive effects of adolescents’ science engagement on navigational capital. Findings from this study highlight the importance of examining child effects to understand how Mexican-descent mothers from different educational levels engage in navigational capital with their adolescents. Further research should explore the ways adolescents’ science achievement and engagement predict to other science engagement strategies by parents, such as the use of economic and social resources.