Witthuhn, H. (2023). The Moderating Role of Socioeconomic Status for the Link Between Parent-Teacher Communication and Children's Academic Achievement. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Parent-teacher communication plays a vital role in children’s educational success and has been positively linked to academic achievement. Family socioeconomic status has been shown to play a significant role in how we understand parent-teacher communication. The purpose of the current study is to explore the role of socioeconomic status for the link between parent-teacher communication and children’s academic achievement. A socioeconomically diverse sample of approximately 174 early elementary school students was used to explore links between parent- teacher communication, academic achievement, and household socioeconomic status (SES). Teachers report on students’ reading and mathematics achievement according to the Nebraska State Standards. Parents reported on the frequency, type, and topic of parent-teacher communication utilizing the Teacher-Home Interaction questionnaire. Results found that 56% of parents used email to communicate with their children’s teacher. Reading and math scores were both positively correlated with household SES. Household SES was negatively correlated with attention problems, and attention problems were positively correlated with more frequent parent- teacher communication. More positive topics of communication were positively associated with reading and math scores, but were fully explained by children’s rates of attention and externalizing problems. The topic of communication was not associated with reading or math scores when controlling for SES and there was no evidence of moderation. Frequency of communication was not associated with reading or math scores, but there was some evidence that the benefits of more frequent communication for reading differed by household SES, such that more frequent communication was beneficial for students from low-SES households only.