Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Adelson, Jill Lynn

Author's Keywords

English language learners; Parental involvement; Elementary school; Academic achievement; School support; Social-emotional outcomes


English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers; English language--Study and teaching (Elementary school); Parent-teacher relationships; Home and school; Academic achievement


This dissertation study examined the relationships between school support (i.e., student services and family outreach), parental school involvement, and academic and social-emotional outcomes for children who are English Language Learners (ELLs). Specifically, the goals of the study were to: a) determine if higher levels of school support were associated with more positive academic and social-emotional outcomes for ELLs, b) examine the extent to which parental school involvement mediated the relationship between school support and ELL student outcomes, and c) explore how ELLs' perceived academic and social-emotional skills were related to their actual achievement levels. Restricted-use data collected from direct child assessments, children's self-reports, and parent, teacher, and school administrator surveys from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort of 1998 (ECLS-K) were used. The sample included approximately 1,020 third-grade students who were identified in kindergarten as ELLs. Structural equation modeling was used to measure school support and then to analyze the direct and indirect effects of school support on ELL student outcomes, as potentially mediated by parental school involvement. Results showed that higher levels of school support predicted more parental involvement among ELL families, more parental involvement was associated with fewer social-emotional concerns for ELL children at school, and fewer social-emotional problems were linked to higher achievement scores. ELL students' overall academic self-concept was not significantly related to their academic achievement, but this relationship was stronger when considering domain-specific measures of self-concept and achievement in reading and mathematics. Contrary to expectations, results showed that ELL students had lower achievement and more social-emotional concerns when they attended schools that provided more support services, although there are a variety of possible explanations for these findings that are discussed in the paper. Mediation analyses showed that none of the indirect effects reached conventional levels of statistical significance. Several avenues for future research are discussed as well as implications for policy and practice in terms of how schools can best serve the growing population of ELL students and families.