Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Zewelanji Serpell, PhD.

Second Advisor

Maria Winter, PhD.

Third Advisor

Vivian Dzokoto, PhD.


Despite numerous educational reforms, elementary school children in the United States continue to lag behind their peers from other developed countries on reading, math and science outcomes. Many interventions focus on strategies aimed at increasing the amount of classroom work children undertake. However, the key to improving outcomes may lie in out of school enrichment activities that facilitate learning. Drawing from Eccles Expectancy-Value theory(Simpkins, Fredricks, & Eccles, 2012), the current study focuses on assessing the impact of parent-fostered enrichment activities on child academic outcomes in the first three years of elementary school. Using secondary data from Early Childhood Longitudinal Study -Kindergarten cohort (ECLS-K), we find that parent educational expectations for their children influence their participation in enrichment activities. These enrichment activities significantly impact reading, math and science outcomes although their impacts vary as a function of the type of enrichment variable examined. Examinations of a moderating role of per capita income do not yield significance in the data. Finally, longitudinal analyses suggest direct effects of parent expectations in grade 1 on academic outcomes in grade 3 but no indirect effects of parent expectations on later academic outcomes via participation in enrichment activities. These results are discussed considering relevant literature and implications for parent and teacher practices are proposed.


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