Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

Constance Pearson

Primary Subject Area

Education, General; Education, Secondary; Education, Tests and Measurements; Education, Sociology of; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Keywords

achievement gap, nontraditional family, student achievement, traditional family

Disciplines

Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Psychology

Abstract

The purpose of this quantitative, causal-comparative study was to test the interactive framework of social cognitive theory, attachment theory, and the theory of moral absolutism by comparing the academic achievement of over 200 high school seniors (as measured by the Georgia High School Graduation Test; GHSGT) based on the structures of their families. The independent variable of family structure was initially classified as either nontraditional or traditional. A nontraditional family was defined, for the purposes of this study, as any family that is not comprised in its entirety by two biological parents (or adoptive parents from birth), one male and one female, cohabitating in a marital relationship. A traditional family was defined as one that is comprised in all its entirety by two biological parents (or adoptive parents from birth), one male and one female, cohabitating in a marital relationship. This study was needed to further investigate ambiguous findings in the literature and to determine which subgroups of nontraditional families might moderate negative effects on student achievement. Therefore, nontraditional families were further categorized as either single-mother, single-father, blended, extended relative only, or other family types. Student achievement scores on the GHSGT were assessed with two different MANOVAs. Results indicated that there is no significant difference in the achievement scores of students from nontraditional families when compared to students from traditional families or when compared to one another.