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THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AMONG SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS


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THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AMONG SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

ABSTRACT

The study examined the influence of socio-economic status of parents on students’ academic performance at the secondary level in selected public secondary schools in Surulere Local Government Area of Lagos State. Also, this study reviewed some relevant and related literatures under sub-headings. The descriptive research survey was applied in this study for the assessment of the opinions of the selected respondents for this study, with the use of the questionnaire and the sampling technique. A total of 200 (n=200) respondents were sampled for this study. Five null hypotheses were formulated and tested, with the application of the t-test and Pearson Product Moment Correlation tools at 0.05 level of significance. Some of the research hypotheses that were formulated and tested are as follows: there is a significant influence of parental socio-economic status on students’ social orientation; there is a significant relationship between parents’ socio-economic status and children’s academic achievement in the school; there is a significant relationship between the academic performance of children who come from high socio-economic status families and those from low socio-economic status homes.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1Background of the Study

Parents are the greatest single influence on their children’s development in two indisputable ways. Parents act as socializing agents in providing goals and value system from which the child develops various patterns of behaviours.

In some situations, parents adopt care free attitude towards the learning of their children, even their social orientation, and this has in many instances, caused the low academic performance of children even their maladaptive behaviours in their immediate society (Hake, 1999). According to Ndubuisi (2005) there is a positive correlation between parental attitude and children’s social orientation and academic achievement. Ndubuisi is of the opinion that parents’ dimensions of value placement on their children’s well-being or otherwise, significantly affects the child’s positive or negative adaptation to his/her society and even the way he/she carries out his/her academic work in school.

Many factors contribute directly or indirectly to the educational development of a child both within and outside the school system. These factors stem from either heredity or environment. Many psychologists such as Freud and Adler now de-emphasize the significant role of heredity in the total development of the child while underlining the prominence of the environment. Craft et al (2002), made some contributions to the understanding of the relationship between the child’s home background and his academic performance in school. A child is the product and reflection of the society. While the school runs the formal education system, the home provides formal and non-formal educational experiences.

Many psychologists have advocated that the immediate environment (Home) should be made quite stimulating so as to enhance the development of a child’s intellect and good academic performance. According to Locke (1970) we are like a clean slate at birth and that the environmental influences determine what fills the vacuum. This is what he referred to as “Tabula Rasa”. In other words, whatever we inherited from our parents may be enhanced or dampened by the kind of environment we live in.

Studies carried out by Mudock and Mudock (2004), show that the first six years of a child are very important because whatever goes wrong at this stage will have long lasting effect on the child when he grows up. It is during this early period that the personal characteristics and mental health of the child are established. The child learns how to love and be loved and how to cope with sibling rivalry. Also, it is at this time that the child develop feelings of hostility and aggression if the environment is not conducive. This early socialization process is important because it helps a child adjust to places outside his home.

Psychologists and sociologists like Jersild (2005), Hurlock (2006), believe that if solid foundations are not laid for the acquisition of basic skill when the child is young, learning becomes a problem later in life as it is often unsuccessful.

Joyce and others (2005) have long established that in effective schools where high quality education is provided, there is usually frequent communication between the school and parents and this is mainly positive, such as at award days and parent days and two-way, with parents often initiating contact with the school.

This should involve parents monitoring efforts to accountability and acting as advisors in school improvement efforts. This may be achieved by having parents serve on standing and ad-hoc special committees and boards of the school such as special events committee, disciplinary committee and governing board. This way, parents get first hand knowledge of the needs and problems of the school and work co-operatively with the school in resolving them (Aloe, 2006).

When parents possess the necessary knowledge and skills relevant to the school curriculum such parents may serve as information sources, the audience for school academic activities and/or class assistants. There also seems to be ample evidence to suggest that parental involvement in home work and assignments may improve children’s performance in school.

Parental positive and co-operative attitude towards the development of the school has been found to influence positively on children’s learning outcomes in school. Such parental behaviours are reflected in good attendance at PTA meetings, sending children to school on time, fees are paid on time, children are made to complete homework on time and parents visit the school regularly to monitor the progress of their children. Teachers have a remarkably difficult job and will appreciate any one who supports them and acknowledges their work.

1.2Statement of the Problem

The problem of low socio-economic status among parents, and its attendant effect on the academic achievement of students cannot be overemphasized. Most parents in Nigeria today are poor, and majority of them are unemployed. This can be linked to poor economic situation in the country and the world economic recession. As a result, parents lack the wherewithal to maintain themselves and their children. Most Nigerian parents fail in their duties to send their children to school. Many of them whose children are in school, do not take adequate care of them because they lack the financial power to carry or foot their children’s school bills. This has caused many children whose parents are poor to constantly absent themselves from school, while majority of the children have finally dropped out of school. These parents do not purchase relevant books for their children or foot other school expenses for the child (Jimoh, 2006).

Not only that, the children of the poor are not properly cared for. For instance, children whose parents are not rich, do not feed well before and after school. Thus most of them go to school on an empty stomach, and while in school, they do not pay attention to what is going on in the classroom. A child needs proper feeding to complement cognition, but children of the poor do not feed adequately not to talk of balanced diet. For lack of money, children whose parents are poor, are meant to live in an unfriendly environment where they are incapable of reading freely and the materials to study are not available for them to carry out meaningful academic work. As a result of these, the children record poor academic achievement at school. The above problems therefore, necessitated this study.

1.3Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to examine the influence of socio-economic status of parents on the academic achievement of students in selected five senior secondary schools in Surulere Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria.

The specific objectives of the study include:

1.           To examine whether parents’ socio-economic status affect their children’s social orientation.

2.           To determine whether parents’ socio-economic status affects their children’s academic achievement.

3.           To examine whether there is relationship between parents’ socio-economic status and children’s academic achievement.

4.           To investigate whether gender difference exists in the academic performance of students due to parental socio-economic status.

5.           To determine the difference between the academic performance of children who come from high socio-economic status and those from the low socio-economic status families.

1.4Research Questions

The following research questions were raised in this study:

1.           Does parents’ socio-economic status affect their children’s social orientation?

2.           Does the socio-economic status of parents affect their children’s academic performance in the school?

3.           Is there any relationship between parental socio-economic status and children’s academic performance?

4.           Does gender difference exist in the academic performance of students due to parental socio-economic status?

5.           Is there any relationship between the academic performance of children who come from the high socio-economic status families and those from the low socio-economic homes?

1.5Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were formulated to guide this study:

H01:  There is no significant influence of parental socio-economic status on student’s social orientation.

H02:   There is no significant relationship between parental socio-economic status and academic performance children in the school.

H03 There is no significant relationship between parents’ socio-economic status and children’s academic achievement in the school.

H04:  There is no significant gender difference in the academic performance of students due to parental socio-economic status.

H05: There is no significant relationship between the academic performance of children who come from the high socio-economic status families and those from the low socio-economic status homes.

1.6Significance of the Study

This study will be of great benefit to the various segments of individuals and group of individuals in the society. For instance:

(1)         The students will benefit from this study because its findings and recommendations will help them to appreciate that they need parental care and positive values for them to be successful in school and society at large. It will make the students to be more adaptive to parental control and care.

(2)         Parents would also benefit from this study because it will enable them to be up and doing in the upbringing of their children if they want them to be successful in both academics and in life. This study will enlighten parents on the best methods of bringing up a child in the home.

(3)         Teachers would be beneficiaries of this study because, it will enable them to be more enlightened on how best to train their children in the home and at school, as surrogate parents.

(4)         The society will undoubtedly, benefit from this study because it will enable the adults members of the society to learn that parental value system has something to do with the child’s behaviour and his/her academic success in the school.

1.7Scope of the Study

The study examined the influence of socio-economic status of parents on the academic achievement of students in selected five senior secondary schools in Surulere Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria.

1.8Definition of Terms

Operational definitions of terms were appropriately provided in this study. Virtually, all the variables in the study were defined accordingly.

(1)         Parents: This means father, mother or ancestors e.g. our first parents (Adam and Eve).

(2)         Students: This means a person who is studying at a college, polytechnic or university; boy or girl attending schools; anyone who studies or who is devoted to the acquisition of knowledge.

(3)         Academic Performance: This refers to the level or rate at which students in school perform in their academic career. It also shows the level at which students carry out their school works at a given period of time and the result of it.

(4)         Socio-Economic Status: This refers to the level of social stratification of individuals in a given society. It is the socio-economic distinction amongst members of the society.

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