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Presenting Findings

Students Working on Fullerton Longitudinal Study Make Presentations at WPA Conference

April 7, 2009

By Mimi Ko Cruz

For the past 30 years, more than 100 subjects have been followed as part of the Fullerton Longitudinal Study, landmark research directed by Allen W. Gottfried, professor of psychology. During that time, students have participated in the research and produced scores of papers and made presentations of their findings.

This year is no exception. A trio of Gottfried's students — Amy N. Ho, Anthony Rodriguez and Erin Arruda — will make presentations at the 2009 Western Psychological Association's annual convention April 23-26 in Portland. Each student received a grant to attend and participate.

Erin Arruda

Erin Arruda

"Parental Educational Expectations as Related to Children’s Educational Attainment: A Long-term Longitudinal Study" is the title of Arruda’s presentation.

The senior psychology major, who plans to pursue a master’s degree in psychology, said it is a look at parental expectations for their child’s post-secondary academic achievement from age 5 to age 17.

“I compare parental expectations with the actual level of education achieved by their child at age 29,” Arruda said. “I found a positive correlation, meaning the higher the expectation, the higher the actual educational level the child achieved. I also looked at consistency of parental academic expectations for their child across ages and found it remained relatively stable. And, I looked at parental behaviors when the child was 8 years old, and found that parents who provided emotional and verbal responsivity, provision for active stimulation and family participation in developmentally stimulating activities, were associated with the higher academic expectations for their child and the higher degree of academic attainment of the child.”

Amy N. Ho

Amy N. Ho

Ho, a graduate student in psychology, will present “Parents’ Perceptions and Beliefs as Related to Parenting Behaviors and Children’s Achievement.”

“The study examines the interrelationships among parent involvement constructs, as well as their relationship to academic intrinsic motivation and achievement during elementary school,” she said.

Ho, who graduated cum laude from Cal State Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2007, has been working on the Fullerton Longitudinal Study since she was an undergrad. She's already published and presented six other papers as a result. The topics ranged from predictors of academic functioning in high school and college and how children’s beliefs about goodness affect their reactions to difficulties to the role of intrinsic motivation and math achievement in taking advanced math courses throughout high school and parents’ perceptions of children’s academic engagement.

Ho is completing her master’s degree this semester and has been offered admission with full scholarships to doctoral programs at Columbia University, New York University, University of Maryland, UCLA, UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara.

She credits her research experience to her success.

“I have gained a great deal of knowledge and skills from my experience, working in the lab and with Dr. Gottfried,” Ho said. “The close mentorship with my advisers in the lab has given me the opportunity to research several studies exploring concepts of academic intrinsic motivation, academic achievement and parental influence.”

Anthony Rodriguez

Anthony Rodriguez

Rodriguez, a senior child and adolescent studies major, said he too is learning valuable lessons on research that are preparing him for graduate school.

He has received various scholarships and awards and will be working as a research intern at the University of Maryland this summer.

Rodriguez will make a three-part presentation at the WPA convention: “Toward the Development of the Construct of Academic Self-Press”; “Predicting Successful Transitions Into and Out of School: A Longitudinal Analysis of Adaptive Behavior and Intelligence”; and “Preschool-Age Temperamental Predictors of Adaptive Behavior: A Longitudinal Investigation Spanning Ages 3-9.”

His first paper examines “the relationship between applying pressure to one’s self academically and how it is predictive of post secondary education,” he said. “It also analyzes the origin of academic self press and how it is developed by the continuity of parental expectations, self-competence, goal orientation, self-perceptions, and other self-beliefs. In the end, this study finds that self-press is predictive of post secondary success and is created by the intertwining network of relations through early and later adolescent development.”

The other two papers focus on what predicts successful transitions into and out of school and how children adapt to new situations.

Rodriguez, who recently presented a paper on how children who are exposed to intellectual stimulation at home score high on IQ tests, has been working with Gottfried for two years. He plans to graduate next year, continue at Cal State Fullerton in pursuit of a master’s degree in psychology and then pursue a doctoral degree. His goal is to become a professor and researcher of developmental psychology.

“Working on the Fullerton Longitudinal Study has opened so many opportunities for professional development and scholarships for me,” he said. “It also has provided me with a foundation on how to properly raise and interact with children for optimal cognitive, behavioral and social development.”

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