Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Educational Psychology


Barry J. Zimmerman

Committee Members

Shirley Feldmann

David Rindskopf

Subject Categories

Educational Psychology


The purpose of this study was to examine (1) whether differences in academic achievement exist among students of three Hispanic groups in the United States, (2) whether such differences are related to student achievement processes, and (3) whether differences in both student academic achievement and achievement processes are related to their parents' background characteristics.

The three Hispanic groups of students that were studied were Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Central/South American. Two student achievement processes were examined: their time spent on homework and their educational-occupational aspirations. The three parental achievement processes investigated were their press for English, press for independence and educational-occupational aspirations for their child. Finally, two background characteristics of the parents were studied: their time residing in the United States and their level of academic attainment. The model that guided this investigation was developed from Marjoribanks' (1976) Social-Environmental theory and was tested using path analysis procedures.

It was found that the proposed family environmental model could explain 56 percent of the variance in the students' Reading achievement and 59 percent of the variance in their Mathematics achievement. The results showed that paternal achievement processes played a larger role than maternal processes in the academic achievement of these Hispanic students. In addition, it was found that these students' educational-occupational aspirations were related to their academic achievement, and that their homework time was affected by their educational and occupational aspirations. In comparisons among the three Hispanic groups, Cuban fathers displayed significantly higher levels of press for English, press for independence and educational-occupational aspirations than Central/South American fathers. The latter fathers in turn showed higher levels of each of these three family processes than Puerto Rican fathers.

The results were interpreted as supportive of the Social-Environmental view of academic achievement and as indicative of important differences in family achievement processes among the three Hispanic groups that were studied. Educational implications for remediation programs were discussed.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.