2014 Volume 29 Issue 1 Pages 147-165
U.S. studies on parental involvement (PI) indicate that parenting practices vary by families' socioeconomic status (SES) (e.g., Lareau 2003) and that different degrees of PI differentiate students' academic achievement (e.g., Hill and Tyson 2009); PI differences based on parents' SES are considered one source of the achievement gap. While some scholars (e.g., Honda 2008) address this critical topic in Japanese society, existing studies using regional and/or retrospective data without a rigorous indicator of students' academic abilities fall short of investigating relationships between students' family SES, the degree of PI, and their achievement at one of the most important stages of education: compulsory education. This study is therefore intended to empirically investigate these relationships by analyzing nationally representative data of Japanese eighth-grade students. This study's results indicate that (1) higher SES parents tend to more frequently ask their children what they study in school; (2) the school-level PI indicator is not equally distributed socioeconomically, and School SES relates to the degree of PI in school activities; and (3) the degree of PI and school PI in school activities are associated with students' mathematics achievement. Contrary to expectations, however, PI mediates small parts of SES effects, especially at the student level; only some of the relationships between SES, PI, and achievement are verified empirically.