Title: Mothers' perceptions of their children's intellectual abilities and their relationship to academic achievement
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Title: Mothers' perceptions of their children's intellectual abilities and their relationship to academic achievement
Physical Description: viii, 136 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Delgado-Hachey, Maria, 1956-
Copyright Date: 1984
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Subject: Mother and child   ( lcsh )
Prediction of scholastic success   ( lcsh )
Psychology thesis Ph. D
Dissertations, Academic -- Psychology -- UF
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non-fiction   ( marcgt )
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Statement of Responsibility: by Maria Delgado-Hachey.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1984.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 134-135.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
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Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000487137
oclc - 11912581
notis - ACQ5237

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MOTHERS' PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR CHILDREN'S
INTELLECTUAL ABILITIES AND THEIR
RELATIONSHIP TO ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT





By



MARIA DELGADO-HACHEY


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN
PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY






UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA














To my husband, John, for all his love and support.














ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Dr. Scott A. Miller, the chairman

of my committee, for all his help in the design of this

study, for his excellent editorial assistance and for all

the guidance and support he has given me throughout the past

years. I would also like to thank the members of my com-

mittee, Dr. Walter Cunningham, Dr. Patricia Miller,

Dr. Richard A. Griggs and Dr. Patricia Ashton,for all their

valuable suggestions and their help in the preparation of

this study.

My sincere appreciation is expressed to Dr. James

Algina for his assistance in the statistical analyses and

interpretation of the data. His expertise and patience were

invaluable.

I would also like to thank Mr. Larry Scott, principal

of Southside Estates Academy; Sister Eithne, principal of

San Jose Catholic School; and Ms. Maureen Thiec, principal

of The Chappell School, for their assistance in the recruit-

ment of subjects and for providing the facilities at their

schools to conduct this research. Finally, I would like to

thank all the children who participated in the study for

their cooperation during the testing sessions and the

mothers of these children for giving of their time.















TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS........................................ iii

LIST OF TABLES........................................... v

ABSTRACT................................................ vii

CHAPTER

ONE INTRODUCTION...................................... 1

Parents' and Teachers' Expectations: Antecedents
and Effects..................................... 1
The Accuracy of Parents' Perceptions of their
Children's Intellectual Abilities ............... 17
Goal of Thesis................................... 21

TWO METHOD............................................ 29

Subjects ......................................... 29
Procedures....................................... 32
Variables........................................ 35

THREE RESULTS........................................... 53

Descriptive Results................. ............ 53
Intercorrelations among the Variables ............ 74
Results of the Multiple Regression Analyses...... 87

FOUR DISCUSSION....................................... 105

APPENDICES

A RECRUITMENT LETTER............................... 120

B MOTHERS' QUESTIONNAIRE........................... 122

C HUMAN SUBJECTS CONSENT FORM....................... 129

D INTERCORRELATIONS AMONG ALL VARIABLES............ 132

REFERENCES............................................... 134

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ..................................... 136














LIST OF TABLES


TABLE PAGE

1 Age and Sex Distribution of the Children .......... 55

2 Percentage of the Children's Fathers at Each
Level of the Hollingshead's Educational Scale.... 56

3 Percentage of the Children's Fathers at Each
Level of the Hollingshead's Occupational Scale... 57

4 Percentage of Mothers at Five Different
Education Levels................................. 58

5 Percentage of the Children at Five Different
Levels of IQ..................................... 59

6 Percentage of Mothers Who Were Accurate and Who
Overestimated and Underestimated their
Children's IQ Scores.............................. 63

7 Average Frequency Ratings Given by the Mothers to
Each of the 14 Situations Listed in Question #9.. 65

8 Average Frequency Ratings Given by the Mothers to
Each of the 14 Situations Listed in Question #10. 67

9 Percentage of Mothers at Each Level of Minimum
Demands for Academic Achievement................. 68

10 Percentage of Mothers at Each Level of Pleasing
Demands.......................................... 70

11 intercorrelations among the Mothers' Estimates
of their Children's Intellectual Abilities and
their Children's Real IQ Scores................... 77

12 Intercorrelations among the Children's IQs, GPAs,
SATs, the Mothers' Level of Education and the
Families' SES..................................... 79

13 Intercorrelations among the Mothers' Demands for
Academic Achievement and the Mothers' Estimates
of their Children's Abilities .................... 81

14 Correlations between the Global Scores of the
Frequency Measures and Each of their Respective
Items............................................ 84









TABLE PAGE

15 Percentage of Mothers at Three Education Levels
Who Overestimated, Underestimated, or Were
Accurate in Predicting their Children's IQ
Scores........................................... 93

16 Intercorrelations among All Variables............. 133














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of
the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



MOTHERS' PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR CHILDREN'S
INTELLECTUAL ABILITIES AND THEIR
RELATIONSHIP TO ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

By

MARIA DELGADO-HACHEY

April 1984

Chairman: Dr. Scott A. Miller
Major Department: Psychology

The purpose of this study was to determine (1) whether

the accuracy of mothers' perceptions of their children's in-

tellectual abilities could predict their children's academic

achievement, (2) whether the demands made by mothers for

their children's academic achievement varied as a function

of their perceptions of their children's abilities, and

(3) whether these demands could predict their children's

academic achievement.

The participants were 70 elementary school children and

their mothers. The mothers were asked to estimate their

children's IQs and to indicate at what level of their chil-

dren's academic achievement they would let them know they

were pleased with their performance and at what level they

would be dissatisfied. The children were administered a

standardized IQ test (WISC-R) and data were gathered on









their school grades and Stanford Achievement Test scores.

The accuracy of the mothers' perceptions was determined by

taking the difference between the mothers' IQ estimates and

the children's real IQs. These accuracy scores and the moth-

ers' level of demands were then used in several multiple

regression analyses to answer the main questions of the

study. The following variables were included as controls:

the children's age, sex, IQs, the mothers' education

levels and the families' SES. It was predicted that

the children with the most accurate mothers would have the

highest level of academic achievement. It was also pre-

dicted that the mothers' demands would vary as a function of

their perceptions of their children's abilities and that

these demands in interaction with the children's IQs would

predict the children's actual school performance.

The results were the following: (1) the mothers' per-

ceptions were found to be relatively accurate but the ac-

curacy did not predict their children's academic achieve-

ment; (2) a positive relationship was found between the

mothers' demands and their beliefs about their children's

abilities; (3) a positive relationship was found between the

absolute level of the mothers' demands and their children's

school performance. Since the study was correlational in

nature, no causal interpretations could be made about the

above relationships. It was concluded that the results

supported the model of the cycle of influences between

expectations and behaviors.


VI i














CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

Parents' and Teachers' Expectations:
Antecedent and Effects

There are wide individual differences in academic

achievement among children. Numerous studies have been

conducted trying to determine what variables are respon-

sible for these individual differences. Several variables

have already been identified as good or moderate predictors

of school achievement. Among them are certain demographic

characteristics of students such as socio-economic status

(SES), race, ethnic background, ordinal position, family

size, etc. (Henderson, 1981). Performance on standardized

tests of mental abilities or intelligence quotient (IQ)

scores have also been well documented as good predictors of

school achievement (Stanley & Hopkins, 1972). In addition,

certain specific personality characteristics of students

such as achievement need (as measured by projective tests or

personality inventories), self concept, locus of control and

others have also shown to be predictive of school perform-

ance (Naylor, 1972; Purkey, 1970).

Among the many variables that have been studied as pos-

sible predictors of school achievement is the expectancy

variable. The effect that expectations have on achievement

behavior has been studied from many different perspectives.

Some researchers have focused on the expectations held by

I









teachers of their students' achievement behavior (Braun,

1976); others have focused on the expectations held by

parents of their children's school performance (Callard,

1968; Entwisle & Hayduk, 1978; Mahan, 1975; Seginer, 1983);

and still others have focused on the expectations held by

the students of their own achievements (Entwisle & Hayduk,

1978; Rappaport & Rappaport, 1975; Stipek & Hoffman, 1980).

Perhaps one of the most publicized studies of the in-

fluence of expectations on intellectual behavior is Rosen-

thal and Jacobson's 1968 study. These investigators tried

to determine whether manipulating the teachers' beliefs or

expectations regarding the abilities of their students would

produce changes in the children's intellectual behavior.

The manipulation of the teachers' beliefs regarding the

abilities of their students was done by giving the teachers

a list of names of children who supposedly had been identi-

fied as potential academic "spurters." More specifically,

the teachers were told that the children had been adminis-

tered the "Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition." This

test, they were told, could identify those children who were

likely to experience a spurt in academic and intellectual

performance during the coming school year. In actuality,

Rosenthal and Jacobson had administered Flanagan's Test of

General Ability which is a standardized IQ test. This test

was readministered again during the middle and at the end of

the school year. In addition, Rosenthal and Jacobson gath-

ered data on the children's general academic achievement







3

test scores, the children's school grades and the teachers'

ratings of the children's behavior in the classroom. At the

end of the school year, Rosenthal and Jacobson compared the

intellectual performance of the children who had been la-

belled potential "spurters" to that of a control group of

children. The results of the study showed that at the end

of the school year greater intellectual gains were obtained

by the experimental children than by the control children.

The authors also reported that the teachers rated the behav-

ior of the experimental children in more positive ways than

that of the control children. Rosenthal and Jacobson con-

cluded that the expectations held by the teachers with re-

gards to the experimental children were probably responsible

for the intellectual gains observed among these children.

Rosenthal and Jacobson's (1968) study was later criti-

cized on many accounts and the "Pygmalion effect" they

claimed to have demonstrated failed to replicate in numerous

subsequent studies. Elashoff and Snow (1971) have reviewed

in detail many of the design, sampling and measurement prob-

lems that plagued the original Rosenthal and Jacobson study.

Among the many criticisms discussed in this review were the

following: poor and ill-defined procedures for assigning

the children to the experimental and control groups, sub-

stantial and differential subject attrition from the experi-

mental and the control groups, the use of a standardized IQ

test which had not been fully normed for use with younger

children, the use of untrained teachers for the administra-

tion of the IQ test, lower than normal pre-test scores among







4

the younger children as well as extremely large pre- to

post-test gains in IQ scores among these children. The most

serious of the criticisms, however, was with regards to the

validity of the experimental procedure itself. Rosenthal

and Jacobson (1968) included a teacher interview and memory

test at the end of their experiment. These procedures were

included to validate the effects of the experimental manipu-

lation technique used in the study, that is, to make sure

the deception of the teachers had worked and their expecta-

tions of the experimental children had, in fact, been

changed. The results of the interviews and the memory tests

showed, according to Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968), that the

teachers could not remember the names of the experimental

children and that many of them had only casually looked at

the lists of names given to them by the experimenters.

Elashoff and Snow (1971) criticized the authors for failing

to see the important implications of the teachers' reports

and concluded: "Evidently the Pygmalion effect, if any, is

an extremely subtle and elusive phenomenon that acts through

teachers without conscious awareness on their part" (p. 42).

Numerous studies on teachers' expectations followed the

initial Rosenthal and Jacobson's (1968) study. Some of these

follow up studies were direct attempts at replicating the

Pygmalion effect. Others were simply related studies attempt-

ing to further explore teacher expectancies. Baker and Crist

(1971) reviewed several of these follow up studies, the major-

ity of which failed to replicate Rosenthal and Jacobson's find-

ings. According to these authors, the studies which were the









least likely to replicate their findings were those which fol-

lowed Rosenthal and Jacobson's (1968) procedures more closely.

They argued that the manipulation technique used by Rosenthal

and Jacobson to increase the teachers' expectations of the ex-

perimental children was too weak to produce the type of effects

expected. The authors also pointed out that significant ef-

fects of expectations were more likely to be found in studies

that did not try to manipulate teachers' expectations but

rather assessed the effects of the teachers' expectations which

already existed naturally.

Dusek and O'Connell (1973) showed that naturally formed

teacher expectancies are, in fact, more likely to affect

students' achievement behavior than experimentally induced

expectations. In their study, these authors asked the

teachers of a group of second and fourth grade students to

rank their students in terms of how well they thought they

would perform at the end of the school year in language and

arithmetic skills. The experimenters then randomly divided

the students into a control and an experimental group. The

teachers were given the names of the experimental children

and were told that these children had been administered a

test which had shown that they would show large improvements

in language and arithmetic skills throughout the school

year. In actuality, the children (both the experimental and

the control group) had been administered the Stanford

Achievement Test. This test was again administered at the

middle and at the end of the school year. The results of







6

the study showed that the students who were initially ranked

high by their teachers had higher SATs at all three adminis-

trations of the test than the children who were ranked

lower. The results also showed that the experimental manip-

ulation of teachers' expectations had no effect on the chil-

dren's SAT scores. Most researchers today would agree that

the formation of expectations is a complex phenomenon in-

volving many variables and that experimentally induced ex-

pectations may not have the same kind of influence on

achievement behavior as naturally formed expectations

(Braun, 1976).

Despite all the problems with the Rosenthal and Jacob-

son (1968) study and the failure of the follow up studies to

replicate their findings, research on expectancy effects has

continued to date although it has taken many new and different

directions. The theoretical background or the logical basis

underlying research on expectancy effects is a sensible one

and perhaps this is one reason why research in this area has

continued (Braun, 1976). Expectations are believed to affect

intellectual behavior in the following way: The expectations

held by teachers or parents about a given child affect their

own behavior towards that child. The behavior of the teacher

or parent in turn affects the intellectual behavior of the

child which then serves to confirm and reinforce the initial

expectations of the teacher or parent. This sequence of in-

fluences creates a cycle which is self-perpetuating. In addi-

tion, the expectations of teachers and parents are believed to







7
affect the child's own self-expectations which also influence

his intellectual or achievement behavior. Figure 1 illus-

trates this hypothesized cycle of influences between expec-

tations and behavior. It should be noted that this illus-

tration is a simplified version of the models presented by

other authors (Braun, 1976; Seginer, 1983). Braun's (1976)

model, for example, is more detailed but it is useful only

to illustrate the effects of teachers' expectations of their

students and not the effects of parents' expectations.

Braun's model includes a number of variables that are like-

ly to influence the natural formation of teachers' expecta-

tions of their students. Among the variables included are

the following: the sex of the students, their IQ score,

their physical appearance, their previous achievement

scores, their cumulative folders, their ethnic background,

the students' names, the teachers' knowledge of the stu-

dents' siblings, the SES of the students' families, and the

students' present achievement behaviors. In addition,

Braun's model also includes a number of teachers' behaviors

that are likely to vary as a function of the expectations

they hold of their students. These behaviors are believed

to influence the students' self-expectations and achievement

behaviors. Among the teachers' behaviors listed are the

following: quantity of interaction with the students, differ-

ential grouping of the students within the classroom, differen-

tial activities and questions provided for the students, and












































Figure 1. Hypothesized cycle of influences between
expectations and behavior.







9

qualitative differences in the questioning of students

(i.e., in prompting and waiting for the students' answers).

Seginer's (1983) model is also more detailed than the

one presented in Figure 1. Her model, however, is only use-

ful to illustrate the effects of parents' expectations of

their children. Like Braun (1976), Seginer includes in her

model some of the antecedent variables which may influence

the formation of expectations except her variables apply to

the expectations held by parents not teachers. Among the

variables she considers influential she lists the parents'

own educational aspirations, the feedback provided by the

schools of their children's achievement behaviors, and a

variable she terms "parental knowledge." This last variable

refers to the general knowledge parents may have about the

development of children, to their knowledge of the perform-

ance of children on intellectual tasks and to their assess-

ments of their own children's development and performance.

In her model, Seginer also includes some of the parental be-

haviors which may vary as a function of the expectations

they hold of their children. In particular, she lists a

category of behaviors she calls "achievement supporting be-

haviors" and another she calls "differential reinforcements."

Although there are many differences between Braun's

(1976) and Seginer's (1983) models, the basic hypothesized

sequence of influences between expectations and behaviors is

the same in both models. It is this basic sequence of

influences underlying both models that is illustrated in

Figure 1. It is interesting to note that both Braun and










Seginer have expanded and provided details in their models

in similar areas. More specifically, they have both tried

to delineate some of the antecedent variables that may in-

fluence the natural formation of expectations and some of

the specific behaviors which are influenced by these expec-

tations. This is probably a reflection of some of the new

directions that research on expectancy effects has taken

since the initial Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) study.

The search for variables that influence the natural

formation of expectations has, in fact, been one of the

areas where research on expectancy effects has been ex-

panded. This research has been most productive with re-

gards to teachers' expectations of their students and

students' expectations of themselves. Braun (1976) has re-

viewed many of these studies and his model includes most of

the variables that have been found to influence teachers'

expectations of their students. Unfortunately the search

for variables that affect the natural formation of parents'

expectations of their children has not been as productive.

Seginer (1983) has reviewed several studies of parental ex-

pectations. Her review shows that although there are some

studies which have focused on these important antecedent

variables, the bulk of the search remains to be done.

As mentioned before, Seginer (1983) delineated three

important variables which may influence the formation of

parental expectations: the parents' own educational aspira-

tions, school feedback, and parental knowledge. She cites







11

studies in support of all three of these variables but this

evidence is scarce. Among the more interesting studies she

reviewed is one by Entwisle and Hayduk (1978) which shows,

among other things, that school feedback may, in fact, in-

fluence parents' expectations of their children. In their

study, Entwisle and Hayduk asked the parents of a group of

children entering first grade to predict the school grades

they thought their children would get. Their sample was

drawn from two schools, one with predominantly middle class

children and the other with mostly working class children.

They followed the children's school performance longitudi-

nally until the end of their second year in school. They

also asked the parents to predict their children's grades

three more times: towards the end of first grade, at the

beginning of second grade, and again towards the end of

second grade. In addition, the children themselves were

asked to predict their own grades at the beginning and end

of each school year. The results showed that the feedback

parents received from the school about their children's

grades appeared to have an influence on their future predic-

tions of the grades their children would get. That is,

parents apparently adjusted their expectations so that they

were more in line with their children's actual school per-

formance. Entwisle and Hayduk also reported that when these

adjustments in expectations occurred they were more likely

to be upward adjustments. That is, expectations were more

likely to rise than to fall. They referred to this phenom-

enon as the "buoyancy effect." It should be mentioned that










Entwisle and Hayduk also found that the initial predictions

parents made about their children's grades were very closely

related to the children's actual IQ scores. This suggests

that parental knowledge about their children also probably

plays a role in the formation of their expectations.

Again, this supports Seginer's (1983) model. More will be

said about other results of the Entwisle and Hayduk study

later in this chapter.

Seginer's (1983) suggestion that parental knowledge

about children in general and their own children in

particular may be an important variable influencing their

expectations is an interesting one. Unfortunately, there is

very little research on parental knowledge and beliefs about

children. In a recent 1980 article McGillicuddy-de-Lisi has

called for research on variables that may affect this type

of parental knowledge. In this article, McGillicuddy-de-

Lisi argues that parental belief systems may be an important

variable affecting their parental practices towards their

children. She emphasizes the importance of studying these

belief systems and uncovering the variables that may have an

influence in their formation. Among the variables she sug-

gests for study are the following: the parents' amount of

experience with children, the number of children they have,

the sex distribution and spacing of the children, the

parents' SES and others. These variables are supposedly

important because according to McGillicuddy-de-Lisi parental

beliefs about children undergo progressive changes whenever







13

parents encounter new and discrepant information and try to

assimilate it into their current belief systems. The belief

systems of parents who have more children or have children

of different sexes are likely to be different from those of

parents with only one child or children of only one sex.

This is so because events such as the birth of a second

child or a child of a different sex expose parents to new

information about children and give them a chance to vali-

date and modify their beliefs. McGillicuddy-de-Lisi (1980)

reports some evidence that supports her claim that the above

variables may have some influence on parental belief sys-

tems. More specifically, she reports having found that

parental beliefs about how children come to understand cer-

tain concepts vary as a function of family configuration,

SES, the sex of the parent and the sex of the child.

Further research is needed to determine how parental beliefs

are influenced by the above mentioned variables.

It is interesting to note that although McGillicuddy-

de-Lisi does not use the word "expectations," the kind of

relationship she proposes between parental belief systems

and parental behaviors towards their children is very simi-

lar to that proposed for expectancy effects. McGillicuddy-

de-Lisi (1980) conceptualizes the family as a "system of

mutual influences." She argues that not only are parental

beliefs and behaviors shaped by the variables she suggested

above, they are also shaped by the children's reactions to

the parents' beliefs and behaviors which in turn produce

further changes in the parents' belief systems and behaviors.









Research is needed to determine how parental beliefs about

children are formed and to determine what roles their

beliefs play in the regulation of their parental practices.

Another popular area of expansion for research on ex-

pectancy effects has been the search for the different kinds

of behaviors that are influenced by expectations. Ini-

tially, research on expectancy effects focused only on try-

ing to determine whether teachers' expectations of their

students had an effect on the students' achievement behav-

iors. Later, researchers began to focus their attention on

how the teachers' expectations of their students affected

the teachers' own behaviors towards those students. The

teachers' behaviors towards their students and the students'

own self-expectations were believed to be the two mediating

processes by which expectations could affect the children's

academic achievement. Therefore, researchers made an effort

to delineate the specific teacher behaviors which may vary

as a function of the expectations they hold of their stu-

dents. Braun (1976) has reviewed many of these studies.

The studies he has reviewed suggest that teachers do, in

fact, treat and interact with their students differently

depending on whether they believe the children to be high or

low achievers. Behaviors such as the amount of praise they

give to their students, the way in which they physically

structure the classrooms and assign children into different

learning groups, and all the other behaviors listed by Braun







15

(1976) in his model have been found to vary as a function of

teachers' expectations.

Unfortunately, research on how parents' beliefs and ex-

pectations affect their own behavior towards their children

is very scarce. Seginer (1983) suggested in her model that

parents' achievement supporting behaviors may be one poten-

tial category of behaviors which may vary as a function of

their expectations of their children. She also suggests

that parents may use some kind of reinforcement procedures

to make their children conform to their expectations, that

is, differentially reinforcing achievement behaviors that

are consistent with their expectations and ignoring or pun-

ishing those which are not. This is a very important area

of research that deserves further study.

A study by Crandall, Dewey, Katkovsky and Preston

(1964) explored the relationship between parents' attitudes

about their children's achievement behaviors and their chil-

dren's actual academic performances. They also examined how

certain self-reported parental behaviors related to the

children's actual academic performances. In this study, the

experimenters interviewed the parents of a group of second,

third and fourth grade children. In the interviews, the ex-

perimenters gathered data on the following variables:

(1) the degree of importance or value the parents attached

to their children's intellectual achievements, (2) the par-

ents' beliefs about their children's level of intellectual

competence, (3) the amount of dissatisfaction or satisfac-

tion the parents felt about their children's intellectual









achievements, (4) the parents' minimal standards for their

children's achievement performances, (5) the frequency and

intensity with which the parents attempted to increase their

children's participation and competence in intellectual

activities, (6) the frequency and the extent of the parents'

participation with their children in intellectual activi-

ties, (7) the frequency and intensity of the parents' posi-

tive reactions to their children's intellectual accomplish-

ments, (8) the frequency and intensity of the parents' nega-

tive reactions to their children's lack of intellectual in-

terests and accomplishments. These investigators also gath-

ered data on other parental self-reported behaviors which

were non-specific to the children's intellectual perform-

ances. In addition, the investigators administered the

Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test to the children and gath-

ered data on the children's performances on the California

Achievement Test. The results of this study showed that

only a few of the parents' attitudes and self-reported

behaviors were related to the children's actual academic

performances. Also, many of the relationships found were

specific only to the mothers' attitudes and behaviors but

not the fathers'. For example, the mothers' beliefs about

their children's level of intellectual competence and their

degree of expressed satisfaction/dissatisfaction with their

children's performances were found to be positively related

to the children's actual academic achievements. These re-

lationships, however, were not significant for the fathers'









beliefs. Another interesting finding was that only the

fathers' reactions (positive or negative) to their daughters'

achievements were found to be related to their daughters'

actual school performance. Finally, the parents' frequency

of participation with their children in intellectual activi-

ties and the degree to which they attempted to increase

their children's involvement in these activities related

negatively to the children's actual school performance. It

should be pointed out that the children sampled for this

study were well above average in intellectual performance.

The average IQ for the sample was 124 with a standard

deviation of 16 and approximately 40% of the sample had IQs

above 130! Thus, it should be kept in mind that the results

reported by Crandall et al. (1964) may not generalize to

other samples of children with more normal levels of intel-

lectual abilities. Despite this problem, however, this

study is an interesting attempt at trying to determine what

kind of parental attitudes and behaviors may affect chil-

dren's academic achievement. It is also unfortunate that

these investigators did not try to determine whether the

parents' self-reported behaviors varied as a function of

their beliefs about their children's level of intellectual

competence. This is exactly the type of question that

Seginer and McGillicuddy-de-Lisi would like to see answered.

The Accuracy of Parents' Perceptions of
Their Children's Intellectual Abilities

The accuracy of parents' perceptions of their chil-

dren's intellectual abilities is an important variable









which unfortunately has been mostly ignored in research

studies on expectancy effects. These studies usually have

been done with the underlying assumption that expectancy

effects on achievement behavior can be produced by simply

increasing expectations. The level of ability of the child

is usually not taken into account. That is, it is usually

assumed that higher expectations will produce higher academic

achievement regardless of the level of ability of the child.

Mahan (1975), for example, attempted to raise student

achievement behavior by manipulating parental expectations.

Her sample consisted of a group of low SES elementary school

children who had scored in the bottom two-thirds of the

Stanford Achievement Test. The parents of the experimental

children were contacted by their children's teachers who had

been instructed to tell the parents that their children were

capable of doing better in school. The teachers also met

with the parents of the control children but did not attempt

to raise parental expectations among them. The results of

the study showed that the scores of the Stanford Achievement

Test at the end of the school year were no different for the

experimental children than for the control children. The

study did not clearly show whether the parents' expectations

of the experimental children had been successfully manipu-

lated although the author did report that more of the

experimental parents reported being dissatisfied with their

children's school work after talking to their children's

teachers.







19

Mahan's study had many serious flaws most of which were

addressed by the author in discussing her results. However,

one of the main problems with the study which was not

addressed was the fact that it did not take the students'

level of ability into account. The author simply assumed,

as is often done in research on expectancy effects, that ex-

pectations could affect achievement behavior regardless of

the level of ability of the children involved. This assump-

tion needs to be examined in future research.

Hunt and Paraskevopoulos (1980) have recently argued

that the accuracy of parents' perceptions about their chil-

dren's intellectual abilities may play an important role

in their children's cognitive development and actual intel-

lectual performance. These authors start out with the

premise that children benefit most from cognitive experi-

ences which are moderately discrepant from their current

level of cognitive development. They then argue that trying

to achieve this moderate level of discrepancy when present-

ing a task to a child requires accurate perception of the

child's current level of cognitive development. They refer

to this as the problem of the "match." According to Hunt

and Paraskevopoulos, parents with accurate perceptions of

their children's level of cognitive abilities should be able

to produce better "matching" experiences for their children.

Thus, this should lead to better cognitive development among

children with accurate parents.

Hunt and Paraskevopoulos (1980) attempted to find evi-

dence in support of their hypothesis. In their study they










asked a group of 50 mothers to predict how their children

(3-9 to 5-4 years of age) would respond to a set of 96 test

items taken from three different standardized tests. They

also administered these same test items to the children to

determine the accuracy of the mothers' perceptions. The

authors expected to find a negative correlation between the

inaccuracy of the mothers' predictions and the children's

level of cognitive development. The results of the study

supported their hypothesis. A correlation of r = -.80 was

found between the number of incorrect predictions given by

the mothers and the number of test items passed by the chil-

dren. A closer examination of the results, however, showed

that this correlation could have resulted from a methodo-

logical artifact. Apparently, the accuracy of mothers' pre-

dictions was correlated to the children's level of cognitive

performance because the more items of the test the children

passed, the fewer overestimations or false predictions their

mothers could make. This possible methodological artifact

made the results of Hunt and Paraskevopoulos' study incon-

clusive. Further research is needed to test their hypothe-

sis and to determine whether in fact mothers' accuracy of

perception of their children's cognitive abilities is pre-

dictive of their children's level of cognitive development.

Entwisle and Hayduk's (1978) study, which was described

earlier, also found some evidence which is congruent with

Hunt and Paraskevopoulos'claims. In their study, they found

that there was a racial difference in the level of parents'









initial expectations of their children's first grades in

school. White parents' initial expectations tended to be

very conservative (averaging slightly under a "B" grade) and

were highly correlated with their children's actual IQ

scores. Black parents' expectations were found to be un-

realistically high and failed to correlate with their

children's IQ scores. The authors reported that when the

parents' expectations were too discrepant from the chil-

dren's actual level of performance they failed to show any

effect on future grades. However, a slight discrepancy

between the parents' expectations and their children's

grades tended to predict a change in the children's future

grades. Whenever the children's grades showed change they

tended to change towards achieving greater consistency with

the parents' expectations. Interestingly, the children's

own expectations were also found to be very high and un-

realistic regardless of the children's race. Entwisle and

Hayduk's results emphasize the need to take children's level

of ability into account when assessing the effects of expec-

tations on children's achievement behavior. Their results

also point to the fact that parental accuracy in perceiving

their children's abilities may play an important role in the

formation of parents' expectations and in the effects these

expectations have on their children's achievements.

Goal of Thesis

There are several issues on expectancy effects that

seem to deserve further study. One of these issues is the

role that children's level of intellectual abilities may










play in determining the effects that expectations have on

their academic achievement. Research on expectancy effects

has been characterized by a failure to take this important

variable into account when assessing the effects of expecta-

tions on academic achievement. Dusek and O'Connell (1973),

for example, tried to determine whether naturally formed

teachers' expectations had different effects on children's

academic achievement than experimentally induced expecta-

tions. They found that naturally formed expectations pre-

dicted the children's level of achievement while experimen-

tally induced expectations did not. These investigators,

however, failed to control for differences in the children's

level of ability when assessing the effects of the two types

of expectations on the children's academic achievement. It

is possible that the reason why the teachers' naturally

formed expectations related to the children's achievement

measure was that these expectations may have been based on

their assessments of the children's actual intellectual

abilities. These assessments were probably fairly accurate

and thus related to the children's actual achievement per-

formance.

Another way in which researchers have neglected to con-

sider children's intellectual abilities as an important

variable influencing expectancy effects is by assuming that

children's academic achievement can be improved by simply

raising parents' and/or teachers' expectations of these

children (Mahan, 1975). Entwisle and Hayduk's (1978)







23

research, however, has indicated that the absolute level of

expectations may not be as important in predicting changes

in children's academic achievement as the fit or the degree

of discrepancy between these expectations and the children's

actual academic performance. They have also shown that when

expectations are unrealistically high they fail to have any

effect on children's academic achievement. It seems that if

expectations are to have any effect on achievement behavior

they must be based on relatively accurate assessments of

children's abilities. This issue of accuracy in the percep-

tion of children's intellectual abilities is an important

one because the accuracy of perception helps determine the

degree to which the expectations held by teachers or parents

will be realistic given the level of ability of the children.

Hunt and Paraskevopoulos (1980) have also suggested the

important role that the accuracy of parents' perceptions of

their children's intellectual abilities may be playing in

their children's overall level of cognitive development.

Although the results of their study were inconclusive due to

a methodological artifact, their hypothesis is an interest-

ing one which needs to be re-examined.

The goal of the present study was to determine whether

a specific aspect of parental beliefs about their children's

abilities, namely, the accuracy of their perceptions, pre-

dicted their children's academic achievement. The study

also examined some of the variables that may affect the

accuracy of parents' perceptions of their children's abili-

ties. This study differed from others in that it included










important controls of variables which are known to affect

children's academic achievement and which other studies have

typically ignored. It also differed in the way in which

mothers' perceptions of their children's intellectual abili-

ties were assessed. Hunt and Paraskevopoulos (1980), for

example, asked mothers to predict how their children would

respond to a set of specific test questions. In the present

study the mothers' perceptions of their children's abilities

were assessed in a more global manner. A group of mothers

of elementary school children were asked to rate their chil-

dren's overall level of intellectual abilities and to give

estimates of their children's IQ scores. It seems reason-

able to assume that most parents have an overall impression

of their children's level of ability. It is the accuracy of

this overall impression that this study attempted to assess.

The accuracy of the mothers' perceptions of their children's

abilities was determined by computing a deviation score

which indicated how far or how close the mothers' estimates

of their children's IQ scores were to the children's real

IQs. These accuracy scores were then used in several

analyses to try to answer a number of questions about the

variables that may influence the accuracy of mothers'

perceptions and to answer the question of whether the

accuracy of mothers' perceptions could predict the chil-

dren's academic achievement. All of the analyses performed

included the following variables as controls: the age of







25

the children, their sex, their IQ scores, the mothers' level

of education and the families' SES.

The more specific questions asked and the predictions

made were the following:

1. Does the accuracy of the mothers' perceptions of

their children's abilities vary as a function of the fol-

lowing variables: the children's age, sex, IQ scores, the

mothers' level of education and the families' SES? It was

expected that the accuracy of the mothers' perceptions would

vary as a function of the mothers' level of education and

the families' SES. That is, mothers with more years of

formal schooling were expected to be more accurate than

mothers with fewer years of formal schooling. Likewise, the

mothers of children from higher SES families were expected

to be more accurate than those from lower SES families. In

addition, the mothers' accuracy was expected to vary as a

function of the children's ages. It was expected that moth-

ers with older children would be more accurate than mothers

with younger children. The rationale behind this prediction

was that the mothers of the older children have had a chance

to receive more feedback from the schools about their chil-

dren's intellectual performance than the mothers with

younger children. These mothers have also had more chances

to observe their children and to adjust their overall im-

pressions of their children's abilities. Therefore, they

should be more accurate than the mothers of younger

children.







26

2. Does the accuracy of mothers' perceptions predict

the children's level of academic achievement? Data

were gathered on the children's grades in school and their

Stanford Achievement Test scores. These measures were

then used to determine whether academic achievement varied

as a function of the mothers' accuracy scores. It was ex-

pected that the children with relatively accurate mothers

would have the highest level of academic achievement. The

children with inaccurate mothers (both those who overesti-

mated and those who underestimated their children's abili-

ties) were expected to have lower levels of academic

achievement.

3. Is there a relationship between the accuracy

of mothers' perceptions of their children's intellectual

abilities and the frequency of opportunities mothers

have to observe and compare their children's intellectual

abilities? The mothers were asked to report how frequently

they had the opportunity to observe their children's intel-

lectual abilities under a variety of circumstances. They

were also asked to report how frequently they had the oppor-

tunity to compare their children's abilities to those of

other children of their child's age. A relationship was

expected between the mothers' reports of the frequency of

opportunities they have to observe and compare their chil-

dren and their accuracy scores. More specifically, mothers

who reported having more frequent opportunities to observe

and compare their children's abilities were expected to be







27

more accurate than those who reported having less frequent

opportunities.

Another aspect of expectancy effects research that

seems to deserve further study is the relationship between

parents' beliefs about their children's abilities and their

own behavior towards their children. Previous research has

shown that the behavior of teachers towards their students

varies as a function of the teachers' expectations of those

students (Braun, 1976). There is, however, very little re-

search on how parents' behaviors towards their children vary

as a function of the parents' beliefs about their children.

The second goal of the present study was to examine a spe-

cific type of parental behavior, namely the demands mothers

make for their children's academic achievement, and to deter-

mine whether they vary as a function of the mothers' beliefs

about their children's abilities. It should be pointed out

that in the present study there was no direct measure of the

mothers' behaviors or the demands they made of their chil-

dren. Instead, a self-report measure was used in which the

mothers were asked to indicate the level of academic achieve

ment at which they would let their children know that they

were very pleased with their school work and the level at

which they would let them know they were dissatisfied. This

measure was similar to the Crandall et al. (1964) measure of

mothers' minimal standards of academic achievement which was

found to be related to their daughters' actual academic

achievement. The following specific questions were asked in







28

this study about the mothers' self-reported demands for

their children's academic achievement:

1. Do the mothers' demands vary as a function of

their perceptions of their children's intellectual abili-

ties and the following variables: the children's age, sex,

IQ scores, the mothers' level of education and the families'

SES? Mothers who perceived their children as having higher

levels of intellectual ability were expected to make higher

demands of their children than mothers who perceived their

children as having lower levels of intellectual ability.

Also, the mothers of older children, children with higher

IQs, and children from higher SES families were expected to

make higher demands than the mothers of younger children,

children with lower IQs and children from lower SES fam-

ilies. Finally, the more educated mothers were also ex-

pected to make higher demands of their children than the

mothers with lower education levels.

2. Is there an interaction effect of the mothers'

level of demands and the children's IQ scores which

serves to predict the children's level of academic achieve-

ment? Higher demands for academic achievement were expected

to predict higher levels of actual academic achievement only

for children with certain levels of IQ. The rationale be-

hind this prediction is that the appropriateness of mothers'

demands, given their children's actual level of ability, may

be more important than the absolute level of the demands.















CHAPTER TWO
METHOD

Subjects

The participants of this study consisted of 70 children

and their mothers. The subjects were recruited through the

cooperation of three elementary schools in the Jacksonville,

Florida, area: San Jose Catholic School, The Chappell School

and Southside Estates Academy. Permission to conduct the

research at these schools was obtained by contacting the

principals of 15 private schools in the area. Only private

institutions were contacted because the Duval County School

Board had already denied permission to conduct the research

at any of their public schools. The above three schools

were the only private schools interested in participating in

the study.

The schools from which the sample was drawn were com-

parable in many respects. The student enrollment at all

three of these schools is relatively small: San Jose Cath-

olic has approximately 250 children enrolled in grades 1st

through 6th; The Chappell School has 185; and Southside

Estates Academy has 183. The slightly larger number of

students at the Catholic school is due to the fact that this

school has two sections of 5th and 6th graders. The average

class size, however, is about the same in all three schools,

that is, approximately 30 students per class. The schools







30

are also similar with respect to their tuition charges which

range from 135 to 150 dollars per month. Also, none of

these schools has any special selection criteria for the

admission of its students. The academic curriculum of these

schools is very similar to that of most public schools ex-

cept for the addition of some specialized classes to the

private schools' curriculums. San Jose Catholic School, for

example, includes a Catholic catechism class in addition to

their basic academic curriculum; The Chappell School in

cludes a Spanish course; and Southside Estates Academy in-

cludes a Bible class.

In order to recruit the subjects, 618 letters were sent

to the mothers of all the children of elementary school age

attending the above schools (grades 1st through 6th). The

recruitment letter explained the purpose of the research

study and asked the mothers to volunteer as participants.

The letter also let them know that their participation would

consist of a 45-minute session in which they would be asked

to answer a questionnaire about their children's intellec-

tual abilities and school work. In addition, this letter

asked the mothers for their permission to test their chil-

dren and to have access to their children's school records.

A copy of the recruitment letter sent to the mothers is in-

cluded in Appendix A.

The overall response rate to the recruitment letter was

approximately 12%. Among the mothers who responded, five

had to be excluded from the study due to the fact that they

already knew their children's intelligence quotient scores







31

(IQ scores) from previous administrations of intelligence

tests to their children. In addition, 15 of the mothers who

responded had more than one child in the age range required

for participation in the study. In these cases, only one of

the children was included in the study. The choice of which

child to include was made at random by the experimenter.

Seventeen children were excluded from the study for this

reason. The final participation rate by school was approxi-

mately 14% (34 children) from San Jose Catholic, 11% (20

children) from The Chappell School, and 9% (16 children)

from Southside Estates Academy.

The children who participated in the study ranged in age

from 6 years 3 months to 12 years 6 months. The average age

was 9 years 5 months and the standard deviation was 1 year 10

months. Approximately half of the children were males (34)

and half were females (36). Most of them were white (90%)

with the exception of three black and four oriental children.

In addition, five of the white children were Spanish surnamed.

The majority of the children came from families in the

middle to upper-middle socio-economic status (SES) as indi

cated by their fathers' occupations and level of education.

Approximately 74% of the sample had fathers with educations

beyond the high school level and at least 80% of the chil-

dren's fathers were engaged in white collar and/or profes-

sional occupations. Since SES is one of the variables of

interest in this study, more will be said about the fami-

lies' SES levels later in the Results chapter. It should be

noted that two children in the sample came from homes where







32

there was no father present. In one of these cases it was

due to the father's death and in the other it was due to

divorce. The majority of the children, however, came from

intact families (77%) and 19% came from families in which

the parents had been divorced but the mother was remarried.

Most of the mothers who participated in the study had

educations beyond the high school level and only one mother

had failed to complete high school. The number of years of

formal schooling for the total sample of mothers ranged from

9 to 20 years with a mean of 13.87 years and a standard

deviation of 1.81 years. More will be said about the moth-

ers' education in the Results chapter.

The majority of the mothers interviewed for the study

had occupations outside their homes or were fulltime college

students (77%). The remainder were homemakers. For the

most part, the mothers who worked outside their homes were

engaged in white collar traditional female occupations such

as teaching or clerical and secretarial positions.

Procedure

The mothers who responded to the recruitment letter

were contacted by phone and an appointment was made to meet

with them at a time of their convenience. All the mothers

were seen individually at their own homes by a 26-year old

female investigator. The meetings lasted approximately 30

to 45 minutes. At these meetings the mothers were asked to

complete a questionnaire about their children's intellectual

abilities and school work. A copy of this questionnaire is

included in Appendix B.







33

Before giving the mothers the questionnaire the experi-

menter explained the purpose of the research and reminded

them of what would be required of them and their children as

participants of the study. At this point the mothers were

asked to read and sign a human subjects informed consent

form. A copy of this consent form is included in Appen-

dix C. The initial explanations given by the experimenter

were usually brief since the same explanations were restated

in the consent form in lengthier form. After the subject

had read and signed this consent form and all her questions

had been answered, the experimenter introduced the question-

naire by saying the following: "This is the questionnaire

that I would like you to fill out. I would like you to fill

it out with (child's name) in mind. Since we are inter-

ested in finding out what you think about your child's

abilities, there are no right or wrong answers to these

questions. It is very important, however, that you try to

be as honest as you can when answering these questions so

that we know exactly how you feel about your child's intel-

lectual abilities. Please feel free to ask any questions

you may have while filling out the questionnaire."

After the mothers had completed the questionnaire the

experimenter checked it to make sure no questions had been

left unanswered. The mothers were then told the date and

time at which their children would be tested. The mothers

were also asked to send a note to their child's teacher on

the day the child would be tested to let the teacher know

the time at which the child would be taken out of class. In







34

addition, the mothers were asked to remind their children on

the date of their test that they would be taken out of class

for about an hour to be tested. They were also instructed

to tell the children that the test was not a "school" test

and that the results of the test would not affect their

grades in any way. Since the experimenter who administered

the questionnaire to the mothers was the same who tested all

the children, the experimenter had a chance to meet the

children at their own homes before the date of their test.

The experimenter tried to establish rapport with the chil-

dren at the time of this first meeting and also reassured

the children that the test would not be hard. If the

children asked why they had to take this test, they were

told that the experimenter had to test 70 children to be

able to graduate from college and that they were doing this

as a favor to the experimenter.

The test administered to the children was the Wechsler

Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (WISC-R). All the

children were tested individually at offices provided by

their schools. The administration of the test lasted ap-

proximately 45 minutes to an hour depending on the child.

At the beginning of the test the children were told to try

to do their best but not to worry if they could not answer

all the questions because some of the questions were made

for older children. They were also reminded that the re-

sults of the test would not affect their school grades and

that neither their teachers nor their mothers would be given

the results.







35

Variables

The following is a list of the variables used in the

study:

1. Age of the children. This variable was used as a

continuous variable. A large age range of children was

sampled in order to insure reasonable variability in the

data. This was important because the analysis of the data

was correlational in nature. As mentioned before, the

children ranged in age from 6-3 to 12-6 years (mean = 9-5,

s.d. = 1-10).

2. Sex of the children. Approximately equal numbers

of male and female children were sampled for the study.

This variable was the only categorical variable included in

the analysis of the data and was used mainly as a control

variable.

3. Socio-economic status (SES) of the children's fami-

lies. This variable was quantified by using Hollingshead's

Two Factor Index of Social Position (Bonjean, Hill &

McLemore, 1967). This measure utilizes the fathers' occupa-

tions and education levels to arrive at a numerical SES

score. The procedure followed to derive the SES numerical

scores was the following: First, the fathers' occupations

and education levels were rated on two separate 7-point rat-

ing scales designed by Hollingshead (Bonjean et al., 1967).

The seven positions of these occupational and educational'

scales are listed in Tables 3 and 4 in the Results chapter.

The scale scores assigned were then used in the following

formula to compute the numerical SES score or the "index of







36

social position score" (Bonjean et al., 1967, p. 385):

occupational scale score x 7 (factor weight) = partial score;

education scale score x 4 (factor weight) = partial score.

The index of social position score is the sum of the two

partial scores.

The possible SES scores that can be obtained by using

this index range from 11 to 77. It should be noted that a

low index score on this measure indicates a high social

status position and a high index score indicates a low

social status position.

4. Mothers' level of education. This variable was

used as a continuous variable. It was recorded in terms of

the number of years of formal schooling the mothers had

achieved.

5. Children's Intelligence Quotients (IQs). The

children's scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for

Children-Revised were also used as a variable in the study.

Only the full scale IQ scores (combined verbal and perform-

ance IQ scores) of the scale were used.

6. Children's Academic Achievement. Two parallel

measures of the children's academic achievement were used:

a. The children's national percentile scores on the

1983 administration of the Stanford Achievement Test

(SAT).

b. The children's overall grade point averages (GPAs)

for the academic year 1982-1983. An overall grade

point average score was computed for each child by

using the following scale: A = 4.0 points; A- = 3.75







37
points; B+ = 3.25 points; B = 3.0 points; B- = 2.75

points; C+ = 2.25 points; C = 2.0 points; C- = 1.75

points; D+ = 1.25 points; D = 1.0 points; D- = 0.5

points; F = 0 points.

In computing these GPA scores only the grades received

in the following courses were used: Reading, Mathematics,

English, Spelling, Science & Health, and Social Studies.

The children's grades on courses such as Physical Education,

Music, Art, Spanish or Religious Education were excluded

when computing the GPA scores. This was done because many

of these courses were not assigned letter grades. Also,

some of these courses were not taught at all three schools.

It should be noted that the grading scales of the three

schools from which the children were sample differed

slightly. The following grading scales were printed on the

report cards of each of the three schools:

San Jose Catholic The Chappell School

A = 93-100 A = 95-100

B = 87-92 B = 85-94

C = 76-86 C = 75-84

0 = 66-75 D = 70-74

F = 65 and below F = 69 and below

Southside Estates Academy

A = Superior

B = Above Average

C = Average

D = Below Average

F = Failure







38

No attempt was made to adjust the children's grades to one

comparable scale. This would have been an impossible task

since one of the schools did not even provide numerical

equivalents for the letter grades they assigned.

In addition to the above variables, a number of meas-

ures were derived from the questionnaire administered to the

mothers. The measures that follow were all derived from

this questionnaire.

7. Mothers' perceptions of their children's intellec-

tual abilities. Three parallel measures of the mothers'

perceptions of their children's abilities were derived from

questions number 5, 7, and 8 of the questionnaire. These

questions asked the mothers to estimate their children's

intellectual abilities in three different ways:

a. Question #5 asked for a rating of their children's

intellectual abilities.

b. Question #7 asked for a numerical estimate of their

children's IQ scores and a lower and upper bound number

of an interval within which they thought their chil-

dren's IQ scores would fall.

c. Question #8 asked for a percentile estimate of

their children's IQ scores.

Question #5 of the questionnaire provided a 9-point

rating scale for the mothers to rate their children's intel-

lectual abilities. This rating scale had the following

scale positions:

1. exceptional--he is an extremely bright child,

gifted for his age.







39
2. well above average--he is a very bright child,

brighter than most children his age.

3. above average--he is slightly brighter than the

average child his age.

4. slightly above average--he is slightly brighter

than the average child his age.

5. average--he is as capable as the average child of

his age.

6. slightly below average--he is slightly less

capable than the average child of his age.

7. below average--he is less capable than the average

child his age.

8. well below average--he has difficulty keeping up

with most children of his age.

9. extremely below average--he is not capable of

keeping up with children of his age.

After the mothers had rated their children's intellec-

tual abilities on the above scale and before they were asked

to give a numerical estimate of their children's IQ scores,

they were provided with the following information in ques-

tion #7:

The results from tests measuring children' intelli-

gence quotients (IQs) show that out of every one thou-

sand children tested approximately

1 child will have an IQ above 145

22 children will have IQs between 130 and 145

136 children will have IQs between 115 and 130

341 children will have IQs between 100 and 115







40

341 children will have IQs between 85 and 100

136 children will have IQs between 70 and 85

23 children will have IQs below 70

Based on this information what would be your best esti-

mate of your child's IQ? Please keep in mind that an

IQ score is a relative measure. That is, it reflects

how well a child performs on the test as compared to

other children of his same age. Also keep in mind that

the average IQ score is 100. The majority of children

score within 15 points plus or minus 100 (between 85

and 115). Scores within this range are considered

normal.

This information was provided in order to maximize the

chances that the mothers would give accurate and sensible

estimates of their children's IQ scores. The mothers were

also provided with a definition of a percentile score before

they were asked to give the percentile estimates of their

children's IQ scores. This definition was provided in ques-

tion #8 and read as follows:

A percentile indicates where your child's IQ score

ranks in comparison to other children who have taken

the same IQ tesL. A percentile score of 50 would mean

your child's score is in the middle. Half of the other

children who took the test would have scored above him

and half would have scored below him. A percentile

score of 80 would mean your child did better than 00%

of the other children who took the test and worse than

20%. A percentile score of 25 would mean your child







41

did better than 25% of the other children who took the

test and worse than 75%.

Again, the above definition was provided in order to

maximize the chances that the mothers would give accurate

and sensible percentile estimates of their children's IQ

scores.

In this study it was essential to obtain a valid meas-

ure of the mothers' perceptions of their children's intel-

lectual abilities since the purpose of the study was to de-

termine how accurate these perceptions were and whether or

not they predicted the children's academic achievement. The

three types of estimates that the mothers were asked to give

were included in the questionnaire for the above reason.

Theoretically, all three of these measures should correlate

highly with each other since they are basically asking the

same thing in three different ways. It was decided before-

hand that the numerical estimate would be used to determine

the mothers' accuracy scores as long as it correlated highly

with the mothers' ratings of their children's abilities,

that is, as long as it appeared to be a sensible and valid

measure of the mothers' perceptions. The numerical estimate

was preferred because the mothers' accuracy scores could be

easily computed from it by taking the difference between

each mother's numerical estimate and her child's real IQ

score. The percentile estimate would be used to compute the

accuracy scores only in the event that they appeared to be

better measures of the mothers' perceptions than the numeri-

cal estimates.







42

8. Accuracy of the mothers' perceptions of their chil-

dren's abilities. The accuracy scores of the mothers were

computed by taking the difference between the mothers' nu-

merical estimates of their children's IQ scores and their

children's real IQ scores. The accuracy scores obtained by

using this procedure were negative if the mothers had under-

estimated their children's IQ scores and positive if they

had overestimated their children's IQ scores. Also, the

closer these accuracy scores were to zero, the more accurate

the mothers had been in estimating their children's IQ

scores.

The mothers' numerical estimates of their children's IQ

scores were used to compute the accuracy scores because the

preliminary analysis of the data suggested that these esti-

mates were relatively sensible measures of the mothers' per-

ceptions. The correlation between the numerical estimates

and the mothers' ratings of their children's abilities was

fairly high (r = -.75, p = .0001). Table 11 in the Results

chapter shows the intercorrelations obtained for the three

different type of estimates and the children's real IQ

scores. More will be said about these intercorrelations in

the Results chapter.

Perhaps it should be mentioned here that although the

mothers' numerical estimates appear to be fairly valid meas-

ures of their perceptions, the reliability of the accuracy

scores derived from these estimates remains in question. As

mentioned before, these accuracy scores were obtained by

taking the difference between the mothers' numerical







43

estimates of their children's IQ scores and their children's

real IQ scores. Difference scores of this type, and differ-

ence scores in general, tend to be less reliable measures

than single scores. The unreliability of difference scores

is mainly due to the fact that the errors of measurement

associated with each measure used to compute the difference

score contribute to the overall error variance of the dif-

ference score. Usually, if the measures used to obtain the

difference score have high initial reliabilities, then the

reliability of the difference score will be considerably

higher than if the measures had poor initial reliabilities

(Mehrens & Lehmann, 1975). In the case of the accuracy

measure computed for this study, only the reliability of one

of the measures used to derive this score is known (the

average standard error of measurement for the WISC-R full

scale IQ score is 3.19 points)(Wechsler, 1974); therefore,

it will not be possible to estimate the reliability of the

accuracy scores. Not knowing the reliability of the moth-

ers' accuracy scores may be a problem in this study since

one of the main hypotheses has to do with the relationship

between these accuracy scores and the children's academic

achievement. It is possible, for example, that no relation-

ship between the accuracy of the mothers' perceptions and

their children's level of academic achievement is found

simply because the accuracy scores were too unreliable

rather than because no relationship actually exists. In

order to be able to discern which of these interpretations

is more likely if such negative results were found, it would







44
be helpful if it could be shown that the mothers' accuracy

scores correlate with another measure which theoretically

should be related to them. The two measures that follow

were included in the study for this reason.

9. Frequency of the mothers' opportunities to observe

their children's intellectual abilities. This measure was

included in the study to determine whether the accuracy of

mothers' perceptions varied as a function of how frequently

the mothers had the opportunity to observe their children.

As mentioned before, this measure was also included hoping

it would help clarify the results in the event no relation-

ship was found between the accuracy of mothers' perceptions

and their children's academic achievement. Theoretically,

the amount of time mothers spend observing their children's

intellectual abilities should correlate positively with how

accurately they predict their children's IQ scores. That

is, mothers who spend more time with their children should

be more accurate than mothers who spend less time with them.

The measure of the frequency of the mothers' opportunities

to observe their children's intellectual abilities was

derived from question #9 of the questionnaire. This ques-

tion read as follows:

The following is a list of instances in which

parents have had the opportunity to observe their

child's intellectual performance. Please indicate

whether or not you have had the opportunity to ob-

serve your child's intellectual abilities under

these circumstances. Also indicate how frequently







45

you have had this opportunity by putting a number

from 0 to 5 by the activity to reflect the follow-

ing frequencies:

0 = never

1 = very infrequently, less than once a month.

2 = not very often, at least once every two weeks.

3 = regularly, at least once a week.

4 = often, at least three times a week.

5 = very frequently, almost every day.

listening to your child name letters of the

alphabet or read.

explaining to your child the meaning of a

word.

listening to your child count or solve

arithmetic problems.

-observing your child work on a jigsaw

puzzle.

helping your child with his school work or

looking over his school work.

teaching your child the words to a song,

poem or prayer.

discussing with your child the plot of a

television program, movie or book.

playing reasoning-type games with your child

or observing him play these games with other

children.

playing games that require remembering a set

of rules or observing your child play these







46

sort of games (e.g., table games, card

games, sports).

teaching your child how to do a specific

task

observing your child put something together

or working on a craft.

observing your child talking and interacting

with other children.

looking over your child's art work.

playing video games with your child or ob-

serving him play these games with other

children.

A global score reflecting the total frequency of oppor-

tunities mothers have had to observe their children's abili-

ties was computed for each mother. This global score was

computed by adding up all the frequency ratings for all 14

situations. The possible range of scores was from 0 to 70.

A score of zero would be given to a mother who indicated

never having the opportunity to observe her child's intel-

lectual abilities under any of the 14 situations listed. A

score of 70 would be given to a mother who indicated having

had the opportunity to observe her child's abilities under

all 14 situations "very frequently."

10. Frequency of mothers' opportunities to compare

their children's intellectual abilities with those of other

children. This measure was also included in the study to

help clarify possible negative results. Again, it was ex-

pected that this measure would correlate positively with the







47

mothers' accuracy scores. This measure was derived from

question #10 of the questionnaire which read as follows:

The following is a list of instances in which you

may have had the opportunity to compare your

child's intellectual abilities to the abilities of

other children of your child's same age. Please

indicate whether or not you have had the opportu-

nity to compare your child's performance with that

of other children under the following circum-

stances. Also indicate how frequently you have

had these opportunities by putting a number from 0

to 5 to indicate the following frequencies:

0 = never

1 = very infrequently, less than once a month.

2 = not very often, at least once every two weeks.

3 = regularly, at least once a week.

4 = often, at least three times a week.

5 = very frequently, almost every day.

listening to other children of your child's

age name letters of the alphabet or read.

explaining the meaning of a word to other

children of your child's age.

listening to other children of your child's

age count or solve arithmetic problems.

observing other children of your child's

age working on a jigsaw puzzle.









helping other children of your child's age

with their school work or looking over their

school work.

teaching other children of your child's age

the words to a song, poem or prayer.

discussing the plot of a television program,

movie or book with other children of your

child's age.

playing reasoning-type games with children of

your child's age or observing them play

these games.

observing children of your child's age

playing games that require remembering a set

of rules.

teaching other children of your child's age

how to do a specific task.

observing other children of your child's age

putting something together or working on a

craft.

observing other children of your child's age

talking and interacting with each other.

looking over the art work of other children

of your child's age.

playing with or observing other children of

your child's age playing video games.

A global score was also computed for this measure by

adding up all the frequency ratings given by the mothers for







49

all 14 situations listed. As before, the possible range of

scores on this measure was from 0 to 70.

11. Mothers' demands for their children's academic

achievement. Two measures of the mothers' demands for their

children's academic achievement were included in the study.

These measures were derived from questions #2 and #3 of the

questionnaire. These questions read as follows:

How low would your child's grades in school have

to get before you let him know that your are not

satisfied with his school work?


I would be dissatisfied

A's.

I would be dissatisfied

A's and B's.

I would be dissatisfied

B's.

I would be dissatisfied

than C's.

I would be dissatisfied

C's.

I would be dissatisfied

than D's.


with more B's than



with grades lower than



with more C's than



with grades lower



with more D's than


with grades lower


I would never let him know that I am dis-

satisfied.

How high would your child's grades in school have

to get before you let them know that your are very

pleased with his school work?







50

very pleased


with mostly A's and a


I would be

few B's.

I would be

few A's.

I would be

few C's.

I would be

few B's.

I would be

few D's.

I would be

I would be


very

very


pleased

pleased


with

with


no F's.

whatever grades


he brought.

The responses given by the mothers to the first ques-

tion represent the minimum level of demands mothers make of

their children. The responses given to the second question

represent the pleasing level of demands, that is, the mini-

mum level of grades the children have to get in order to

please their mothers. Numbers from one to seven were as-

signed to each of the responses to both of these questions.

A score of one on the minimum demands measure was given to a

mother who answered that she would be dissatisfied if her

child got more B's than A's. A score of seven was given to

a mother who answered that she would never let her child

know that she was dissatisfied with her child's school per-

formance. Likewise, a score of one on the pleasing level of

demands measure was given to a mother who answered that she

would be very pleased if her child got mostly A's and B's.


very pleased with mostly B's and a



very pleased with mostly B's and a



very pleased with mostly C's and a



very pleased with mostly C's and a







51
A score of seven was given to a mother who answered that she

would be very pleased with whatever grades her child brought

home.

In addition to all of the above measures derived from

the questionnaire, a few other questions were included in

the questionnaire for other purposes. Question #1 was

included mainly as a warmup question in order to get the

mothers thinking about their children's school performance.

This question read as follows:

What are your child's grades in school?

he gets mostly A's with very few B's.

he gets mostly A's and B's only.

he gets mostly B's with some A's and C's.

he gets mostly C's with some B's and D's.

he gets mostly D's with some C's and F's.

he gets mostly F's with some D's and C's.

Numbers from one to six were assigned to each of the

responses given to this question. A score of one was given

to the mothers who answered that their children were getting

the highest grades and a score of six to those who answered

they were getting the lowest grades.

A couple of open-ended questions (#4 and #6) were also

included in the questionnaire. The answers to these ques-

tions were not included in the main data analyses. These

questions were included to generate hypotheses for future

studies dealing with parents' perceptions of their chil-

dren's intellectual abilities. These questions read as fol-

lows:







52

#4. Please comment on your child's school work.

If he is doing well in school, why do you

think he is doing well? If he is not doing

well in school, why do you think he is not

doing well?

#5. Can you describe any of the things that your

child does or has done in the past which have

led you to believe that his intellectual

abilities are at the level that you have

indicated in question #5?

Perhaps it should be mentioned that the majority of the

mothers filling out this questionnaire had no problems

understanding the questions. When they did have a problem,

it usually had to do with questions 9 and 10 of the ques-

tionnaire. These were the two measures of the frequency of

opportunities mothers have to observe and compare their

children's intellectual abilities. Usually the mothers men-

tioned that when their children were younger they had had

the opportunity to observe their abilities more frequently

than now that they were older. The mothers usually wanted

to know whether their answers should reflect how frequently

they observe their child now at his present age, or how

frequently they had observed their child in the past. When

this question was asked the experimenter told the mothers

to answer how frequently they had the opportunity to observe

their children now, at the child's present age.















CHAPTER THREE
RESULTS

The results of this study will be presented in three

parts. The first part will include the descriptive statis-

tics of each of the variables used. The second part will

include a description of how these variables intercorrelate

with each other. Finally, the third section will cover the

results of the regression analyses performed to answer the

major questions of the study.

Descriptive Results

1. Age of the children. The children ranged in age

from 6-3 to 12-6 years. The mean age was 9-5 and the

standard deviation was 1-10. The age distribution of the

children was very similar in all three of the schools sam-

pled. A one-way analysis of variance was conducted with

"school" as the independent variable to make sure the age of

the children did not differ by school. The results of this

analysis indicated that there were no significant differ-

ences among the schools in terms of the age of the children.

It should be mentioned that five additional separate

analyses of variance were conducted to determine whether the

following variables differed by school: the IQ scores of

the children, the children's SAT and GPA scores, the

mothers' level of education, and the families' SES levels.

Since none of these variables were found to differ







54

significantly among the schools the data for all three

schools were pooled for the remaining analyses.

2. Sex of the children. There were 34 males and 36

female children in the study. Table 1 shows the sex distri-

bution of the children by age. As can be seen, there were

comparable number of male and female children throughout the

different age groups in the sample.

3. Socio-economic status of the children's families.

The Hollingshead's index of social position scores computed

for the children's families ranged from 11 to 73. The aver-

age score was 32.17 and the standard deviation was 15.16.

Tables 2 and 3 show the percentage of the children's fathers

falling into the different levels of the Hollingshead's edu-

cational and occupational scales. As mentioned in the

Method chapter, the ratings on these two scales were used to

compute each family's index of social position score.

4. Mothers' level of education. The number of years

of formal schooling the mothers had achieved ranged from 9

to 20 years. The mean was 13.87 years and the standard

deviation was 1.81 years. Table 4 shows the percentage of

mothers at several different education levels. As can be

seen, the majority of the mothers had educations beyond the

high school level (over 68%).

5. Children's intelligence quotients (IQs). The chil-

dren's full scale IQ scores on the WISC-R ranged from 81 to

139. The mean was 109.08 and the standard deviation was

11.92. Table 5 shows the percentage of children at five

different levels of IQ. As can be seen from this table, the




















Table 1

Age and Sex Distribution of the Children



Age

Sex 6-7 8-9 10-12 Total



Males 11 10 13 34


Females 10 10 16 36



Total 21 20 29 70














Table 2

Percentage of the Children's Fathers at Each Level of the
Hollingshead's Educational Scale


1. Professional
(M.A., M.S., M.E.,
M.D., Ph.D., LL.B.)


2. Four-year college
graduate


3. 1-3 years of college


4. High school graduate


5. 10-11 years of school


6. 7-9 years of school


7. Under 7 years of school



Total


Percentage
of the
total sample


20.00




18.60



35.70


22.86


0.00


2.86


0.00



100.00


Number
of
fathers


14


25


16


0


2


0



70


Note. The seven scale positions for the Hollingshead's
Educational Scale were listed in Bonjean et al.,
1967, p. 383.











Table 3

Percentage of the Children's Fathers at Each Level of the
Hollingshead's Occupational Scale



Percentage Number
of the of
total sample fathers


1. Higher executives of larger 22.86 16
concerns, proprietors and
major professionals


2. Business managers, proprietors 18.60 13
of medium sized businesses
and lesser professionals


3. Administrative personnel, 20.00 14
owners of small businesses
and minor professionals


4. Clerical and sales workers, 18.60 13
technicians and owners of
little businesses


5. Skilled manual employees 11.43 8


6. Machine operators and semi- 7.14 5
skilled employees.


7. Unskilled employees. 1.43 1



Total 100.00 70



Note. The seven scale positions for the Hollingshead's
Occupational Scale were listed in the Bonjean et al.,
1967, p. 383.


















Table 4

Percentage of Mothers at Five Different Education Levels


Percentage Number
of the of
total sample mothers


1. Professional 5.71 4
(17 years of school or more)


2. College graduate 14.29 10
(16 years of school)


3. Some college 48.57 34
(13-15 years of school)


4. High school graduate 30.00 21
(12 years of school)


5. No high school 1.43 1
(under 12 years of school)


Total 100.00 70




















Table 5

Percentage of the Children at Five Different Levels of IQ


Classification


Very Superior


Superior


High Average


Average


Low Average


Percentage
of the
total sample


5.71


11.43


22.86


54.29


5.71


100.00


Note. The IQ classifications were taken from Wechsler, D.,
1974, p. 26.


130+


120-129


110-119


90-109


80-89


Total


Number
of
children


4


8


16


38


4


70










majority of the children had average to above average IQs.

At least 80% of the children had IQ scores of 100 or more.

6. Children's academic achievement. The children's

scores on the Stanford Achievement Test ranged from the 17th

to the 99th percentile. The mean SAT percentile score was

71.23 and the standard deviation was 19.85. Over 84% of the

children had SAT scores above the 50th percentile. Thus,

the sample as a whole performed well above national averages

on the 1983 administration of the SAT. The children's grade

point averages also showed above average performance in aca-

demic achievement. They ranged from 0.69 to 4.0 with a mean

of 2.94 and a standard deviation of 0.69. According to the

scale used to compute the children's GPA scores, a GPA of

2.94 would fall between a B- and a B letter grade. At least

90% of the children had GPAs above a 2.0 or a C level and

approximately 50% of them had GPAs above a 3.0 or above a B

level.

7. Mothers' perceptions of their children's intellec-

tual abilities. The mothers' ratings of their children's

intellectual abilities ranged from 1 (exceptional) to 6

(slightly below average). The average rating was 3.49 which

would fall between a 3 (above average) and a 4 (slightly

above average) rating. The standard deviation was 1.21.

Approximately 4% of the mothers rated their children as

exceptional; 19% rated them as well above average; 29% rated

them as above average; 23% as slightly above average; 24% as

average and only one mother (1.43%) rated her child as







61

slightly below average. These results indicate that when

using this rating scale the mothers were very reluctant to

rate their children's abilities as anything but average or

better. A slightly different picture emerges from the re-

sults of the mothers' numerical estimates of their chil-

dren's IQs. These estimates ranged from 75 to 143. The

average IQ estimate given by the mothers was 114.86 and the

standard deviation was 14.01. Although the majority of the

mothers still answered that their children's abilities or IQ

scores were above average (over 91% estimated their chil-

dren's IQs to be at or above 100), a greater percentage of

them gave below average estimates than when using the rating

scale. Over 8% gave IQ estimates below 100. The mothers'

percentile range estimates of their children's IQ scores

ranged from "40-49th" percentile to "over 95th" percentile.

The average percentile range estimated by the mothers was

80th-89th and the standard deviation was over 10 percentile

points. As with the rating scale, when giving percentile

estimates of their children's IQs the mothers were very re-

luctant to say their children's percentile IQs were below

average or below the 50th percentile. Only one mother said

her child's percentile IQ would fall below this level.

8. Accuracy of the mothers' perceptions of their chil-

dren's abilities. As mentioned in the Method chapter, the

mothers' accuracy scores were computed by taking the differ-

ence between their numerical estimates of their children's

IQ scores and their children's real IQ scores. The mothers'

accuracy scores indicated that a great number of them were










fairly accurate in predicting their children's IQ scores.

Approximately 37% predicted their children's IQs within six

points (plus or minus) of their children's real IQs. The

majority of the mothers, however, were wrong by more than

six points. When the mothers were wrong, they usually erred

in the direction of overestimating their children's IQs.

Over 47% of the mothers overestimated their children's

scores by more than six points. These overestimations

ranged from 7 points to 39 points. The average overestima-

tion was 15.88 points and the standard deviation was 7.77.

Although the majority of the mothers overestimated their

children's IQs, at least 16% of them underestimated their

children's IQs by more than six points. The average under-

estimation was 13.18 points and the standard deviation was

9.80. One mother underestimated her child's IQ score by as

much as 41 points! Table 6 shows the percentage of mothers

who were accurate within six points and the percentage of

those who overestimated and underestimated their children's

IQ scores.

Perhaps it should be mentioned that although many of

the mothers were fairly accurate in predicting their chil-

dren's IQ scores,the majority of them expressed a great deal

of uncertainty when giving their estimates. Many of them

told the experimenter when filling out the questionnaire

that they had no idea what their child's IQ was and that

their estimate was simply a "wild guess." When asked to

give the numerical estimates the mothers were also asked to



















Table 6


Percentage of Mothers Who Were Accurate and Who
and Underestimated their Children's IQ Scores


Overestimated


Percentage
of the
total sample


Overestimated by 15 points
or more


Overestimated within 7-14
points


Accurate within 6 points


Underestimated with 7-14
points


Underestimated by 15 points
or more


18.57 13



28.57 20



37.14 26


12.86 9



2.86 2


Total


Number
of
mothers


100.00







64
give a range of IQ scores within which they thought their

child's IQ would fall. The majority of the mothers gave

very wide ranges which probably reflect the uncertainty they

felt about their estimates. The size of the ranges given by

the mothers ranged from 5 to 45 IQ points. The average

range size was 23.67 IQ points and the standard deviation

was 11.14.

9. Frequency of the mothers' opportunity to observe

their children's intellectual abilities. The global fre-

quency scores computed for each mother ranged from 17 to 62.

The average score was 40.24 and the standard deviation was

11.27. An average global score of 40.24 when divided by the

14 different situations listed in question #9 of the ques-

tionnaire yields an average frequency score of 2.87 per sit-

uation. That is, mothers reported having the opportunity to

observe their children with some degree of frequency falling

between "not very often" (equivalent to a rating of 2) and

"regularly" (equivalent to a rating of 3). Table 7 shows

the average frequency rating given by the mothers for each

of the 14 situations asked about in question #9. As can be

seen from this table, the mothers reported having the oppor-

tunity to observe their children "talking and interacting

with other children" more often than any other type of situ-

ation. They also reported having very few opportunities to

observe their children "working on a jigsaw puzzle" or

"playing video games."

10. Frequency of the mothers' opportunities to compare

their children's intellectual abilities with those of other









Table 7

Average Frequency Ratings Given by the Mothers to Each of the
14 Situations Listed in Question #9


Listening to your child name letters
of the alphabet or read

Explaining to your child the meaning
of a word

Listening to your child count or solve
arithmetic problems

Observing your child working on a
jigsaw puzzle

Helping your child with his school work

Teaching your child the words to a
song, poem or prayer

Discussing with your child the plot of
a TV program, movie or book

Playing reasoning-type games with your
child or observing him play these games

Playing games that require remembering
a set of rules

Teaching your child how to do a specific
task

Observing your child put something
together or working on a craft

Observing your child talking and inter-
acting with other children

Looking over your child's art work

Playing video games with your child or
observing him play these games


Mean


3.46 (1.55)a


3.17 (1.35)


2.97 (1.31)


1.61 (1.20)


3.96 (1.32)

2.24 (1.42)


3.19 (1.26)


2.43 (1.24)


2.71 (1.32)


2.91 (1.13)


2.68 (1.14)


4.01 (1.10)


3.17 (1.19)

1.81 (1.63)


Note. A frequency rating of 1 = very infrequently, 2 = not
very often, 3 = regularly, 4 = often, 5 = very
a frequently.
Numbers in parentheses indicate the standard deviations.










children of the same age. Overall, mothers reported having

less frequent opportunities to compare their children's

intellectual abilities than to observe them. The average

global frequency score for this measure was 18.99 with a

standard deviation of 14.20 as compared to an average fre-

quency score of 40.24 for the previous measure. An average

global score of 18.99 is equivalent to an average frequency

score of 1.36 for each of the 14 situations asked about in

question #10. That is, mothers reported having the oppor-

tunity to compare their children's abilities with some

degree of frequency falling between "very infrequently"

(equivalent to a rating of 1) and "not very often" (equiva-

lent to a rating of 2). Table 8 shows the average frequency

rating given by the mothers for each of the 14 situations

asked about in question #10 of the questionnaire.

11. Mothers' demands for their children's academic

achievement. The minimum level of demands mothers reported

making of their children ranged from "I would be dissatis-

fied with more Bs than As" (equivalent to a rating of 1) to

"I would never let him know that I am dissatisfied" (equiva-

lent to rating of 7). The average minimum level of demands

for the sample as a whole was 2.88 and the standard devia-

tion was 1.17. An average demand level of 2.88 would fall

somewhere between "I would be dissatisfied with more Cs than

Bs" (equivalent to a rating of 3) to "I would be dissatis-

fied with grades lower than As and Bs" (equivalent to a

rating of 2). Table 9 shows the percentage of mothers at









Table 8

Average Frequency Ratings Given by the Mothers to Each of the
14 Situations Listed in Question #10


1. Listening to other children of your child's
age name letters of the aphabet or read

2. Explaining the meaning of a word to other
children of your child's age

3. Listening to other children of your child's
age count or solve arithmetic problems

4. Observing other children of your child's
age working on a jigsaw puzzle

5. Helping other children of your child's
age with their school work

6. Teaching other children of your child's
age the words to a poem, song or prayer

7. Discussing the plot of a TV program, movie
or book with other children of your child's
age

8. Playing reasoning-type games with other
children of your child's age

9. Observing children of your child's age play
ing games that require remembering rules

10. Teaching other children of your child's
age how to do a specific task


Mean

1.51 (1.43)a


1.52 (1.28)


1.40 (1.40)


1.00 (1.20)


1.00 (1.42)


0.82 (1.07)


1.27 (1.29)



1.25 (1.31)


1.71 (1.41)


1.24 (1.26)


11. Observing other children of your child's 1.12 (1.19)
age putting something together

12. Observing other children of your child's age 2.75 (1.75)
talking and interacting with each other

13. Looking over the art work of other 1.27 (1.11)
children of your child's age

14. Playing with or observing other children 1.04 (1.05)
of your child's age playing video games

Note. A frequency rating of 1 = very infrequently, 2 = not
very often, 3 = regularly, 4 = often, 5 = very
frequently.
Numbers in parentheses indicate the standard deviations.















Table 9

Percentage of Mothers at Each Level of Minimum Demands for
Academic Achievement


Dissatisfied with more Bs
than As


Dissatisfied with grades
lower than As and Bs


Dissatisfied with more Cs
than Bs


Dissatisfied with grades
lower than Cs


Dissatisfied with more Ds
than Cs


Dissatisfied with grades
lower than Ds


Never dissatisfied


Total


Percentage
of the
total sample


12.86



27.14



22.86



35.71



0.00



0.00



1.43


100.00


Number
of
mothers


9



19



16



25



0



0



1


70







69

each level of minimum demands. It should be noted from this

table that almost all the mothers (except for one who

answered she would never let her child know that she was

dissatisfied) demanded grades of at least Cs or better from

their children.

The pleasing level of demands mothers reported making

of their children were, on the average, higher than the min-

imum level of demands. The pleasing level of demands ranged

from "I would be pleased with mostly As and a few Bs" to "I

would be very pleased with whatever grades he brought home."

The average pleasing level of demands was 2.2 and the stand-

ard deviation was 1.31. An average demand level of 2.2

would fall between "I would be very pleased with mostly Bs

and a few As" to "I would be very pleased with mostly Bs and

a few Cs" (equivalent to ratings of 2 and 3, respectively).

Table 10 shows the percentage of mothers at each pleasing

level of demands. As can be seen, over 71% of the mothers

reported they would be pleased with As and Bs only (equiva-

lent to ratings of 1 and 2). Only two mothers answered they

would be pleased with whatever grades their child brought.

12. Responses to the warm-up and open-ended questions.

As was mentioned in the Method chapter, a warm-up question

asking the mothers about their children's grades in school

was also included in the questionnaire as well as a couple of

open-ended questions. The mothers' responses to the warm-up

question indicated that the mothers knew and remembered

accurately what kind of grades their children were getting

in school. The responses to the warm-up question ranged
















Table 10

Percentage of Mothers at Each Level of Pleasing Demands



Percentage Number
of the of
total sample mothers


1. Pleased with mostly As and 32.86 23
a few Bs


2. Pleased with mostly Bs and 38.57 27
a few As


3. Pleased with mostly Bs and 15.71 11
a few Cs


4. Pleased with mostly Cs and 7.14 5
a few Bs


5. Pleased with mostly Cs and 2.86 2
a few Ds


6. Pleased with no Fs 0.00 0


7. Pleased with anything 2.86 2


Total 100.00 70









from "he gets mostly As with very few Bs" to "he gets mostly

Ds with 'some Cs and Fs." The average response on this

question was a rating of 2.53 with a standard deviation of

1.0. A rating of 2.53 in this scale translates to grades

mostly above a C letter grade which is exactly what the

majority of the children were getting (90% had GPAs above a

2.0 or a C level). The correlation between what the moth-

ers said their children's grades were and the children's

actual grades also indicates that the mothers were very

aware of their children's performance in school. More will

be said about the correlation between these two variables

later in this chapter.

The mothers' responses to the first open-ended question

were rather interesting. This question asked them why they

thought their children were doing well or poorly in school.

Approximately half of the mothers (52%) said their children

were doing well in school. The remainder said their chil-

dren were not doing well or not doing as well as they could.

The mothers who responded that their children were doing well

usually attributed their children's good school performance

to some specific personality characteristic of their chil-

dren. Over 58% of the mothers' responses made mention to

personality characteristics such as maturity level, ability

to concentrate, self-confidence, possession of good study

habits, eagerness to learn and eagerness to please parents

and/or teachers. The most common response was eagerness to

learn. Interestingly enough, the children's natural








abilities or intelligence was mentioned only by two of the

mothers. Over 24% of the responses given by the mothers

attributed the children's good school performance to some

particular behavior of the mother or the teacher toward the

child. The mothers usually mentioned that they gave their

children extra attention or described certain discipline

rules they had established at home (e.g., the children have

to do their homework before they are allowed to play).

Other mothers mentioned some characteristics of the teachers

or the school environment as the reason that their children

were performing well in school. Finally, over 12% of the

responses given by the mothers attributed their children's

good performance to the amount of "effort" the children were

putting into their school work.

It should be mentioned here that some of the mothers

gave more than one reason why they felt their children were

doing well or poorly in school. The percentages given above

reflect the percentages in terms of the total number of dif-

ferent type of responses given rather than the percentage of

mothers giving the different type of responses.

The mothers who responded that their children were not

doing well in school also attributed their children's poor

performance to specific personality characteristics of the

children. The personality characteristics more commonly

mentioned were the lack of ability to concentrate, immatur-

ity or a lack of a sense of responsibility, poor study

skills, introversion and boredom. At least 44% of the

mothers' responses made mention to these characteristics as










the main reason why their children were not doing well in

school. Approximately 37% of the mothers' responses attri-

buted the children's poor performance to a lack of effort or

a lack of motivation to achieve on the part of the children.

The remainder of the mothers' responses (16%) blamed the

teachers or the schools for their children's poor grades.

They usually said the teachers were not spending enough time

with the children, not giving them enough positive rein-

forcement or were putting too much pressure on the children

to do well. None of the mothers mentioned their child's

lack of natural ability as a possible reason why their child

may not be doing well in school. One mother did say that

she did not know why her child was doing so poorly in school.

The second open-ended question asked the mothers to

describe the things their children do or have done in the

past which have led them to believe their children's intel-

lectual abilities are at the level they indicated in the

rating scale in question #5 of the questionnaire. The

majority of the mothers answered this question by giving

positive examples of their children's intellectual abili-

ties. At least 19% of the responses given by the mothers

alluded to the children's grades as an indicator of their

children's intellectual abilities. It should be pointed

out, however, that most of the mothers mentioned grades in

combination with some other ability they had observed in

their children as an indication of their overall intellec-

tual ability. The specific abilities the mothers said they







74

had observed in their children included

1. The speed with which their children learned new concepts

and ideas (15% of the responses made mention to this speci-

fic ability).

2. The children's reading skills and early interest in

reading (14% of the responses).

3. The children's inquisitive nature and the sophisticated

level of the questions they asked (9% of the responses).

4. The children's memory skills and retention abilities (8%

of the responses).

5. The children's imaginations and ability to come up with

innovative ideas on their own (6% of the responses).

6. The children's vocabularies and communication skills (5%

of the responses).

7. The children's reasoning abilities, logic, and analytic

skills (4% of the responses). The remainder of the re-

sponses made mention of other more specific characteristics

of the children such as a special interest in solving

puzzles or certain hobbies, social maturity, a competitive

nature, the ability to learn a specific skill on their own,

etc. Only four parents described negative characteristics

of their children. These parents said their children were

slow in learning and/or did not try hard enough to learn.

Intercorrelations among the Variables

Intercorrelations were computed for all 16 variables

included in the study. The matrix of Pearson product moment

correlation coefficients is included in Appendix D. Out of

a total of 120 correlations 57 were found to be significant










at the p 4 .05 oc level of significance or better. This

is not surprising given the nature of some of the variables

included in the study. Many of the variables were different

measures of the same construct and were expected to corre-

late highly (e.g., GPAs and SATs were both measures of

academic achievement). Other variables were known to be

highly related to each other from previous research but

were included to be used as control variables in subsequent

analyses (e.g., IQ is a well known predictor of SATs and

GPAs). Finally, some measures were theoretically expected

to correlate with each other (e.g., the mothers' estimates

of their children's abilities were expected to correlate

with the actual measure of the children's abilities). For

the purpose of simplicity, rather than comment on all 57

significant correlations separately, comments will be made

on certain clusters of variables which were expected to cor-

relate with each other for any of the above reasons.

The following variables were expected to correlate be-

cause they were measures of the same or similar constructs:

1. The children's GPAs and SAT scores. These two measures

were expected to correlate because they were both measures

of the children's academic achievement. The correlation

coefficient for these two variables was r = .74, p .0001.

2. The three different type of estimates of the children's

intellectual abilities given by the mothers. These were ex-

pected to correlate because they were all measures of the

mothers' perceptions of their children's abilities. The







76

intercorrelations among the three types of estimates (rating,

numerical IQ, and percentile IQ) are given in Table 11. As

can be seen, these correlations were all highly significant.

It should be mentioned that the negative signs in these cor-

relations are an artifact of the way the questions in the

questionnaire were set up. The rating scale, for example,

was set up so that the lowest numerical rating (#1) was

equivalent to the highest ability level ("exceptional").

These correlations, although carrying a negative sign, are

really positive in nature. That is, each two related

variables covary in the same direction (they increase and

decrease together). This is also true of many of the

correlations listed in Appendix D. For simplicity purposes,

the reader should assume that the correlations listed are

positive in nature (regardless of their sign) unless

otherwise stated in the text.

3. The measure of the frequency of opportunities mothers

have to observe their children's abilities and the measure

of the frequency of opportunities mothers have to compare

their children's abilities to those of other children. Both

of these variables can be thought of as measures of how

often mothers have a chance to form an impression of the

level of their children's intellectual abilities. The cor-

relation between these two variables was expected to be sig-

nificant. The actual correlation found was r = .48,

p .0001.

4. The minimum and the pleasing level of demands. Both of

these were measures of the mothers' demands for their


















Table 11


Intercorrelations among
Children's Intellectual
Scores


the Mothers' Estimates of their
Abilities and their Children's Real IQ


Children's
real IQs


Rated
intellectual
abilities


Percentile
IQ
estimate


Children's
real IQs


Rated
intellectual
abilities


Numerical
IQ
estimate


Percentile
IQ
estimate


1 .00


-0.52
(.0001)



0.53
(.0001)


1 .00


-0.75
(.0001)


-0.41 0.68
(.0005) (.0001)


Note. Numbers in parent
significance.


eses indicate the C. level of


Numerical
IQ
estimate


1 .00


-0.57
(.0001)


1.00










children's academic achievement and were expected to be re-

lated. The correlation between these two variables was also

highly significant (r = .64, p .0001).

Among the variables which were expected to correlate

because they are known to be highly related to each other

from previous research were the following:

1. The children's IQ scores and the academic achievement

measures.

2. The families' SES and the children's academic achieve-

ment measures.

3. The families' SES and the children's IQ scores.

4. The families' SES and the mothers' level of education.

5. The mothers' level of education and the children's aca-

demic achievement measures.

6. The mothers' level of education and the children's IQ

scores.

The intercorrelations among these variables are shown

in Table 12. As can be seen, most of the above expected

correlations were replicated in this study. The only excep-

tions were the relationship between the families' SES and

the children's academic achievement and the relationship

between the mothers' level of education and the children's

academic achievement. It is possible that since the sample

used in the study was highly selective, the variability in

the mothers' levels of education and the families' SES

scores may not have been enough to facilitate the finding of

significant correlations.


















Table 12

Intercorrelations among the Children's IQs, GPAs, SATs, the
Mothers' Level of Education and the Families' SES



IQ GPA SAT SES Mothers'
education

IQ 1.00


GPA 0.50 1.00
(.0001)

SAT 0.61 0.74 1.00
(.0001) (.0001)

SES -0.30 0.01 -0.15 1.00
(.0119) (.9325) (.2240)

Mothers' 0.25 0.08 0.20 -0.47 1.00
Education (.0369) (.4979) (.0979) (.0001)


Note. Numbers in parentheses indicate the . level of
significance.







80

The following variables were expected to correlate with

each other for theoretical reasons:

1. The mothers' estimates of their children's intellectual

abilities and the children's actual IQ scores. As can be

seen in Table 11 all three types of estimates given by the

mothers were highly related to the children's actual IQ

scores. This supports the finding that the mothers had

somewhat accurate perceptions of their children's abilities.

It should be mentioned here that since the mothers' three

types of estimates correlated highly with the children's IQ

scores, these estimates also correlated with some of the

other measures which are known to correlate with IQ.

Examples of these measures are the children's GPAs, SATs,

the families' SES and the mothers' level of education. It

makes sense that since all these measures correlate highly

with the children's IQ scores they should also correlate

with the mothers' estimates of these scores. The above

reason explained at least 11 of the 57 significant correla-

tions found. The specific correlations for these variables

can be found in Appendix D.

2. The mothers' estimates of their children's intellectual

abilities and the demands for academic achievement they make

of their children. Again, it makes sense that the mothers'

levels of demands would correlate with their perceptions of

their children's abilities. Table 13 shows the intercorre-

lations among these variables. As can be seen, all the cor-

relations are significant. The mothers' demands also corre-

lated with the children's actual IQ scores. The correlations






















Table 13

Intercorrelations among the Mothers' Demands for Academic
Achievement and the Mothers' Estimates of their Children's
Abilities


Rated intellectual
abilities


Numerical IQ
estimates


Percentile IQ
estimates


Minimum
demands


0.31
(.0080)


-0.26
(.0269)


0.40
(.0007)


Pleasing
demands


0.27
(.0214)


-0.38
(.0014)


0.34
(.0040)


Note. Numbers in parentheses
significance.


indicate the 0C level of










between the minimum and the pleasing level of demands and

the children's real IQ scores were r = .50, p .0001 and

r = .29, p .0153, respectively.

3. The mothers' demands for academic achievement and the

children's actual level of academic achievement. These

variables were also expected to correlate with each other

and they did. The correlations between the children's GPAs

and the mothers' minimum and pleasing level of demands were

r = -.45, p .0001 and r = -.29, p .0157, respectively.

Likewise, the correlations between the children's SATs and

the mothers' minimum and pleasing level of demands were

r = -.42, p .0003 and r = -.32, p .0075.

4. The mothers' accuracy scores and the measures of the

frequency of opportunities they have to observe and compare

their children's abilities. The mothers' accuracy scores

unfortunately were not found to correlate with either of the

frequency measures. This was contrary to what was expected.

It is not clear why these variables were not found to be

related. An item analysis was performed on each of the fre-

quency measures to determine whether the global frequency

scores computed were accurate reflections of how the mothers

had answered each of the items of the measures. The item

analyses were performed by computing the correlations be-

tween the global frequency scores and the frequency ratings

given to each of the items of the measures. The item

analyses showed that both frequency measures had high inter-

nal consistencies. That is, each and every one of the items







83

in each of the measures correlated significantly with its

respective global frequency score. Table 14 shows the cor-

relations obtained for the item analyses of both frequency

measures. It is important to point out that although both

measures were shown to have high internal consistencies, it

is still not clear whether they are valid indicators of the

frequency with which the mothers observe and compare their

children's abilities.

These frequency measures showed several unexpected cor-

relations with other variables. The measure of the frequen-

cy of opportunities mothers have to compare their children's

abilities, for example, was found to correlate significantly

with the children's IQ scores, the children's GPAs, the

mothers' percentile IQ estimates, and the mothers' ratings

of their children's abilities. These correlations indicated

that mothers whose children had high IQs and high GPAs re-

ported having more frequent opportunities to compare their

children's abilities than mothers whose children had low IQs

and GPAs. Also,mothers who reported having more frequent

opportunities to compare their children's abilities rated

their children's abilities higher and gave higher percentile

IQ estimates than mothers who reported having less frequent

opportunities. These relationships may have emerged for

many sensible reasons. For example, the relationship be-

tween the frequency of opportunities mothers have to compare

their children and their children's IQs may have emerged be-

cause the children with the higher IQs may have mothers who

are more intelligent and spend more time comparing their











Table 14

Correlations between the Global Scores of the Frequency
Measures and Each of their Respective Items



Frequency measures


Item Frequency of
number opportunities to observe
the children's abilities


0.62

0.64

0.71

0.52

0.75

0.69

0.65

0.66

0.57

0.53

0.49

0.69

0.36

0.70


Frequency of
opportunities to compare
the children's abilities


0.82

0.77

0.89

0.67

0.82

0.82

0.86

0.85

0.82

0.83

0.68

0.78

0.38

0.79


Note. All the correlations
.0001.


were significant at p < than










children to other children. It should be pointed out,

however, that many mothers were not as careful when answer-

ing this frequency question as they were when answering

other questions. Some mothers, for example, indicated that

they had very few opportunities to compare their children to

other children. They then proceeded to assign frequency

ratings of one across all situations asked about in the

question without taking care to read each particular situa-

tion and adjust their ratings accordingly. Thus, the valid-

ity of these frequency scores is questionable and it is not

clear whether the relationships found between this measure

and the other variables are reliable. The measure of the

frequency of opportunities mothers have to observe their

children did not show this problem. The mothers did answer

this question carefully. This measure was found to be nega-

tively related to the age of the children (r = -.30,

p .0124). That is, the mothers reported having more fre-

quent opportunities to observe the younger children than the

older children. This relationship, although unexpected, is

a sensible one.

It could also be argued that the frequency measures

failed to correlate with the accuracy scores because the

accuracy scores themselves may not be valid or reliable

measures. This, of course, remains a valid possibility.

The accuracy scores were found to be significantly related

to all three types of estimates of the children's abilities

given by the mothers (rated abilities, r = -.33, p .0050; IQ







86
numerical estimate, r = .61, p .0001; and IQ percentile esti-

mate, r = -.24, p .0426). All three of these relationships

were positive in nature. Mothers whose estimates were high

tended to overestimate their children's abilities while

mothers whose estimates were low tended to underestimate

their children's abilities. The accuracy scores were also

found to be related to the children's IQ scores (r = -.36,

p .0024). This relationship indicated that mothers with

high ability children tended to underestimate their chil-

dren's abilities and mothers with low ability children

tended to overestimate them. More will be said about the

mothers' accuracy scores and their relationship with the

other variables later in this chapter.

5. The children's academic achievement and the warm-up

question which asked the mothers what their children's

grades in school were. These two measures theoretically

should correlate with each other. The correlation found

between the mothers' reports of their children's grades and

their children's actual grades or GPAs was r = -.79, p .0001.

This shows that the mothers were very aware of their chil-

dren's performance in school. The mothers' reports of their

children's grades also correlated with several variables

which had already shown to be related to the children's

actual grades. The following are examples of these vari-

ables: the children's SATs (r = -.73, p .0001), the

children's IQ scores (r = -.59, p .0001), the mothers'

ratings of their children's abilities (r = .54, p .0001),

the mothers' numerical IQ estimates (r = -.38, p .0011), the










mothers' percentile IQ estimates (r = .53, p .0001), the

mothers' minimum demands (r = .58, p .0001) and the mothers'

pleasing demands (r = .33, p .0060).

Finally, it should be mentioned that a negative rela-

tionship was found between the children's age and the chil-

dren's GPAs (r = -.25, p .0370). It appears that at the

younger ages the children's GPAs are higher than at the

older ages. This may be a reflection of the grading poli-

cies of the teachers who may be more lenient when grading

the work of the younger children. Since age will be in-

cluded as a control variable in all subsequent analyses,

this relationship should not be a problem.

Results of the Multiple Regression Analyses

In order to answer the main questions raised in this

study it was necessary to conduct several multiple regres-

sion analyses. A multiple regression analysis allows for

the evaluation of the relationship between several indepen-

dent variables (Ys) and a dependent variable (X). Since so

many of the variables used in this study were interrelated,

this type of analysis was necessary in order to be able to

determine the relative contribution made by each of the in-

dependent variables to the variance observed in the depen-

dent variable. In this section of the chapter the results

of the regression analyses will be presented. These results

will be organized around each of the main questions raised in

the study.







88

The first question of interest in this study has to do

with the accuracy of the mothers' perceptions of their chil-

dren's intellectual abilities. More specifically, the

question asked whether the mothers' accuracy scores varied

as a function of the children's age, sex, IQs, the mothers'

level of education, and/or the families' SES. It was pre-

dicted that the mothers' accuracy scores would vary as a

function of the children's age. That is, the mothers were

expected to be more accurate in perceiving the abilities of

the older chidlren than the younger children. Mothers with

higher levels of education were also expected to be more

accurate than mothers with lower levels of education.

Finally, the mothers of the children in higher SES families

were expected to be more accurate than the mothers of the

children in lower SES families. A multiple regression

analysis was conducted to answer the above questions.

The multiple regression analysis was conducted with the

accuracy variable coded in such a manner that positive accuracy

scores indicate errors of overestimation, negative scores indi-

cate errors of underestimation and scores of zero indicate per-

fectly accurate predictions. It should be noted, that the

accuracy variable could have been coded such that no distinc-

tion is made between the two different types of estimation

errors. That is, rather than use the difference scores with

their respective signs, the absolute value of the difference

scores could have been used such that zero scores would still

represent perfectly accurate predictions but anything greater

than zero would represent increasingly greater estimation









errors. In the analysis performed in which accuracy is not

coded in a truly linear manner, the possible linear relation-

ships between accuracy and any other variables were examined

by including a quadratic term in the regression model. This

quadratic term was really testing for linear relationships of

the type that would emerge if the accuracy scores had been

coded in a truly linear manner. The linear term included in

the regression model was testing whether the two different

types of estimation errors (i.e., overestimations and under-

estimations) differed in the way they related to the other

variables included in the analysis. It should be noted that

linear and quadratic terms were included in all the regression

analyses which included the accuracy variable.

The results of this analysis indicated that the

mothers' accuracy scores did not vary as a function of the

children's sex. Contrary to what was predicted, the

mothers' scores also did not vary as a function of the

children's age or the families' SES scores. A relationship

was found, however, between the accuracy scores and the

children's IQ scores. It appears that the mothers were less

accurate in predicting the IQ scores of children with either

very high or very low IQs and were more accurate in predict-

ing the IQs of the children with average scores. The par-

tial correlation between the mothers' accuracy scores and

the children's IQ scores after controlling for the effects

of all the other independent variables in the analysis was

r = -.39, p .0013. This relationship was negative in nature.







90
That is, the mothers of children with low IQs had a tendency

to overestimate their children's IQs and the mothers with

children with high IQs had a tendency to underestimate their

children's scores.

It should be mentioned here that the correlation obtained

between the mothers' accuracy scores and the children's IQs may

be slightly inflated. This is so because whenever a correla-

lation is computed between a variable x and a difference score

which has been derived using that same variable, the error of

measurement associated with the variable x will inflate the

correlation in the negative direction. It should be noted also

that it is possible that this relationship between the mothers'

accuracy scores and the children's IQ scores is artifactual in

nature. That is, if, for example, there was a tendency for

the majority of the mothers to predict their children's IQs

to be average or even slightly above average, then mothers

with children with very high or very low IQs would appear

less accurate since their children's actual IQ scores would

be further away from the average predicted scores. The re-

lationship would arise not necessarily because the mothers

were less accurate in perceiving the abilities of the chil-

dren with either very high or very low IQ scores but rather

because of a response bias on the part of the mothers who

may have preferred to give average or slightly above average

IQ predictions. A closer examination of the mothers'

predicted IQ scores, however, indicated that the mothers did

not exhibit such a response bias. The mothers gave a wide

range of IQ predictions and the distribution of their










predicted IQ scores closely parallels that of the actual IQ

scores of the children. Approximately 23% of the mothers

predicted their children's IQs to be in the 85 to 100 range

(24% of the children actually had IQ scores in this range),

30% predicted IQs between 101 and 115 (44% actual IQs fell

in this range), 25% predicted IQs between 116 and 129 (25%

actual IQs fell in this range). In addition, 19% predicted

IQs of 130 or higher (only 6% of the actual IQs were that

high) and only one mother predicted her child's IQ score to

be under 85 (only one child in the sample had an IQ score

that low). A response bias that would result in the type of

relationship found between the accuracy scores and the chil-

dren's IQs is not clearly apparent.

A 'relationship was also found between the mother's

level of education and their degree of accuracy in esti-

mating their children's IQ scores. The partial correlation

between these two variables after controlling for the

effects of all the other independent variables in the

analysis was r = .28, p .0245. This relationship indicated

that the higher the education level of the mother the more

likely she was to overestimate her child's IQ and the lower

the education level the more likely the mother was to under-

estimate her child's IQ. In other words, contrary to what

was predicted, mothers with higher education levels did not

estimate their children's IQs more accurately than those

with lower education levels. They were, in general, more

inaccurate and more likely to overestimate their children's







92

IQs. Table 15 shows the percentage of mothers at three edu-

cation levels who were accurate in predicting their chil-

dren's IQ scores within 6 points and the percentage of those

who overestimated and underestimated their children's IQs.

As can be seen, a greater percentage of mothers with high

school educations were accurate than those with some college

or completed college. Also, the higher the education level

of the mother, the greater the percentage of overestimations

found.

The second major question raised in this study dealt

with the possible relationship between the mothers' accuracy

scores and the children's academic achievement. It was

hypothesized that children whose mothers had accurate

perceptions of their abilities would perform better in

school than those whose mothers had inaccurate perceptions

of them. Both overestimations and underestimations of the

children's abilities were expected to predict lower academic

performance than accurate perceptions. In order to test the

above hypothesized relationship, two parallel regression

analyses were conducted. One used the children's SATs and

the other used the children's GPAs as dependent variables.

The following independent variables were included in both

analyses: the mothers' accuracy scores, the children's age,

sex, IQs, the families' SES and the mothers' level of educa-

tion. The last five of these variables were included for

control purposes. The linear models used in both analyses

included a linear and a quadratic term for the accuracy

variable. The results of these analyses showed that there




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