Variability in Asian parents’ English and mathematics skills: A family-based study

Dora Jue PAN, Xiujie YANG, Yuk Yee Serena KU, Katrina May DULAY, Sum Kwing CHEUNG, Catherine MCBRIDE, Patrick Chun Man WONG, Connie Suk Han HO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


What explains parental English word reading and mathematics performance? The present study examined whether parent-, family-, and child-related variables explain parents’ English word reading and mathematics performances among two groups of Asian parents. The data were collected from 152 Hong Kong and 280 Cebu City (Philippines) parents who learn English as a second language. The academic performances of their children (Hong Kong: Mean age = 8.72 years; Cebu City; Mean age = 6.59 years) were also measured. Regression analysis results suggested that, across both groups, parents with higher education levels tended to perform better in English word reading. In addition, in Hong Kong, but not the Philippines, family income was a unique correlate of parental English word reading performance, whereas in the Philippines, but not Hong Kong, the parent’s own mathematics skill and the child’s own English word reading skill were also uniquely associated with parental English performance. Across both groups, parents’ mathematics skills were associated with better literacy skills. In addition, in Hong Kong, more positive attitudes toward mathematics were additionally predictive of better mathematics performance, as were children’s own mathematics performances. In the Philippines only, mothers tended to be poorer in mathematics than fathers. Such results underscore the complexity of family related literacy and mathematics, including family status and intergenerational effects. Copyright © 2022 Pan, Yang, Ku, Dulay, Cheung, McBride, Wong and Ho.
Original languageEnglish
Article number898201
JournalFrontiers in Education
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


Pan, D. J., Yang, X., Ku, Y. Y. S., Dulay, K. M., Cheung, S. K., McBride, C., . . . Ho, C. S. H. (2022). Variability in Asian parents’ English and mathematics skills: A family-based study. Frontiers in Education, 7. Retrieved from


  • Family status
  • Intergenerational effect
  • Parental academic performance
  • Philippines
  • Hong Kong


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