The Influence of Parents' Expectations on the Educational Abilities of Elementary School Students with Disabilities

Ciara Nestor, Fordham University


For typically developing students, parents’ expectations have been found to influence their children’s beliefs in their own academic abilities which eventually impact children’s math and reading abilities. This transactional model has not been studied for students with disabilities. The current project utilized data from a longitudinal, nationally representative dataset (SEELS) to answer two questions about parents’ expectations for elementary school students with disabilities: (1) What is the transactional nature of the relationship between students’ abilities, student self-concept and parents’ expectations? (2) How do other factors influence the relationship between students’ abilities and parents’ expectations? Parents’ expectations were found to be relatively static in the current sample. Results from structural equation modeling suggested that earlier students’ abilities influenced later parents’ expectations, providing some support for the hypothesized model. Significant differences were also found when comparing models in younger and older age groups. The study was limited in its ability to examine how type of disability, income and race/ethnicity impacted the relationship between parents’ expectations, self-concept and students’ ability. Despite these limitations, the study represents an important investigation into whether models related to parents’ expectations developed on samples of typically developing students hold in a sample of students with disabilities. Further work to fully understand how these concepts are related to one another in this population may aid in the development of interventions targeting parents’ expectations as a way to improve outcomes for all students.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Educational psychology|Elementary education|Individual & family studies|Special education

Recommended Citation

Nestor, Ciara, "The Influence of Parents' Expectations on the Educational Abilities of Elementary School Students with Disabilities" (2021). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28717457.