Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Measurement and Research

Major Professor

Sarah Kiefer, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Shannon M. Suldo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Janise Parker, Ph.D.


Middle School, Involvement, Monitoring, Goals


Although academic motivation and school belonging positively influence student adjustment and experiences in school, early adolescence marks a time when motivation, belonging, and success in school tend to decline. Research has investigated ways that teachers and peers can support school success and student adjustment. However, there is less research on the role that parents play in supporting students’ success, motivation, and belonging in middle school. Additionally, most research examining the role of parents has focused on parenting styles rather than parenting practices (e.g., parental involvement and parental monitoring). Our understanding of the ways that specific parenting practices may support success, academic motivation, and school belonging is incomplete. Furthermore, studies rarely take into account adolescents’ own voices when studying the influence of parenting practices on student success, academic motivation, and school belonging.

The purpose of this study was to explore which parenting practices adolescents at one large, urban, ethnically diverse middle school perceived as currently supporting and having the potential to increase their success in school, academic motivation, and school belonging. A secondary qualitative analysis of individual interviews with 18 middle school students who self-reported different levels of academic motivation was completed using the hybrid process of inductive and deductive thematic analysis (Fereday & Muir-Cochrane, 2006). This analysis process allowed for the use a priori codes and for the integration of emergent codes. The Contextual Model of Parenting; which incorporates parental involvement, parental motivation, and parental socialization goals; was used as the basis of the a priori codes. The findings indicated that participants perceived specific parenting practices as currently supportive and/or had the potential to increase their success, motivation, and belonging in school. Specifically, social-emotional monitoring emerged as a theme as currently supporting and most likely to increase participants’ academic motivation. Participants viewed the parental value, making school a priority, as currently supporting their success in school. Although participants did not identify any specific parenting practices that currently supported their school belonging, peer-based monitoring practices were perceived as ways parents could potentially increase school belonging. Some differences emerged among the different self-reported motivation levels, particularly for how parents supported motivation. Students with self-reported low levels of motivation reported that parents providing or withholding positive items or activities supported their motivation. Students with medium motivation voiced having their parents act as role models was supportive of motivation. Highly motivated students stated that words of support and encouragement from parents was a supportive practice for their motivation. Results demonstrated the need for further investigation into the role of social-emotional monitoring practices in supporting students’ success, motivation, and school belonging. In addition, result indicated the need for parents to be mindful of the social-emotional wellbeing of their children.

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Education Commons