Methods: This study analyzes data from a 2014 research initiative in Ghana to determine the economic, social, and environmental factors that influence learning outcomes among low-income middle schoolers (n=135). We utilized Mplus 7 to conduct path analysis to examine the direct association between teacher support and student short-term academic progress and indirect association through the mediating role of student homework behavior. Short-term academic progress is measured by students' continuous assessment scores, focusing on homework and other class-related tasks. Given the ordinal-level and nonnormal data utilized, we used the means and variance adjusted weighted least squares (WLSMV) estimation method.
Findings: The majority of the sample (55%) were girls, and the average age was 16 years (SD=1.81). Results of the path modeling show that teacher support has direct predictive influence on student progress in an academic term (βmath = .494, SE = .103, p < .001; βEnglish = .533, SE = .100, p < .001). Teacher support also indirectly affects student academic progress through the intervening role of student homework behavior (Sobel indirect effect: β = .146, SE = .041, p < .001).
Conclusions/Implications: Teacher support is central to instilling positive homework behaviors among students, ultimately ensuring students' academic progress in Mathematics and English. Our findings demonstrate the need to equip teachers to foster positive homework behaviors. The findings could also have implications on how teachers are trained to provide students with both emotional and instructional support that positively impact their school-related behavior and academic success.