Methods: The China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) is a national longitudinal survey that uses a complex sampling frame centering on families beginning in 2010. This study was conducted with a youth subsample (N=1479), age 10 to 15, of the 2014-year CFPS data. Of the participants, 54.6% were male and 45.4% female. Academic achievement was measured by averaging children’s grades in Chinese language and Math. The Positive Parenting scale, with Cronbach’s Alpha = .78, was adapted from the parental bonding instrument (Parker et al., 1979). Parent involvement was measured by the frequencies of homework involvement, attending parent-teacher conferences, and parent-child communication. Other parent-based factors included parent education expectations for their children, parental responsibility, parent-child relationship, and couple relationship, with three covariates (child gender, age, and household registration type).
Results: Multinomial logistic regression analyses indicated that children were 1.83 times more likely to be in the middle academic achievement group than in the low group (p < 0.01), controlling for other predictors. Higher levels of parents’ high educational expectations (OR = .1.38, p < 0.01) and communication about schooling experience (OR = 1.21, p < 0.05) was associated with a higher likelihood of children being in the middle academic achievement group compared to the low group, controlling for other predictors. Regarding predictors of high level of academic outcome compared to low level, results also showed that positive parenting (OR = 2.91, p < 0.01), parents’ high educational expectations(OR = 1.70, p < 0.001), and communication about schooling experience (OR = 1.38, p < 0.01) were associated with a higher likelihood of academic outcomes, controlling for other predictors.
Conclusions: The findings reveal the essential impact of positive parenting and parental academic involvement, specifically communication, on child academic outcomes, consistent with findings set in Western contexts (Fan & Chen, 2001; Wilder, 2013). The findings also indicate the nonsignificant relationship between parental homework involvement and academic outcomes. This study produces significant implications for informing policymakers to intervention program design for underserved parents on supporting positive parenting and effective parental involvement. Future research is needed to examine mechanisms of the influence of positive parenting and parent involvement activities on children’s academic achievement, such as children’s self-efficacy, among Chinese families.