Parental Socio-Economic Status and Students’ Academic Performance in Basic Science

Parental Socio-Economic Status and Students’ Academic Performance in Basic Science
Parental Socio-Economic Status and Students’ Academic Performance in Basic Science

ABSTRACT: The study examined parental socio-economic status on students’ academic performance in Basic Science. Three research questions and three research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. A survey research design was used for the study. The population of the study comprised 1246 junior secondary two (JSS2) Basic science students in three (3 )public secondary schools in Esit Eket Local Government Area. The sample size used for the study was one hundred students (100) draw from two public schools using simple random sampling technique. Parents’ Socio-economic Questionnaire (PSQ) and Basic Science Achievement Test (BSAT) were the instruments for data collection. Reliability indices of 0.74 and 0.75 were obtained using Pearson Product Moment Correlation.

Parental Socio-Economic Status and Students’ Academic Performance in Basic Science

Mean, standard deviation and independent t-test statistics were used to analyze the data. The result revealed that parental education, income and parental assistance of students in doing homework significantly influence the academic performance of students in Basic Science. Based on the findings, it is recommended that parents should show greater interest and support to the education of their children irrespective of their income and educational level.




1.1       Background of the Study

Science is the foundation upon which the bulk of present day technological breakthrough is built. Nowadays, nations all over the world including Nigeria are striving hard to develop technologically and scientifically, since the world is turning scientific and all proper functioning of lives depend greatly on science. Science is presented to students from the nursery to university in diverse methods and name. In the lower basic level, science is presented as Basic science and in senior secondary level, science is presented as different distinct subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Geography and science at the tertiary level of education is split into diverse broad and specialized fields such as Science Education, Biochemistry, Zoology, Botany, Engineering and Medical sciences. In view of this, science becomes a necessary tool for secondary school graduates to gain admission into science and science related courses in the university alongside English and Mathematics.

Owolabi (2004) defined science as an integral part of human society. Its impact is felt in every sphere of human life, so much that it is intricately linked with a nation’s development. Science as a field of study has done a lot for mankind. For instance, life has been made a lot easier for man as a result of the advancements in science. Through science, man has been able to better understand his environment and this has enabled him to manipulate the conditions of his environment to suit his own benefit.

Science has also made it possible for man to acquire his desired needs easily. It has reduced human needs to the barest minimum. Science is a dynamic human activity concerned with understanding the workings of our world. This understanding helps man to know more about the universe. Without the applications of science, it would have been impossible for man to explore the other planets of the universe. Also, the awareness of the existence, of other planets would not have been realized without science (Ogunleye, 2000).

Basic Science is one of the core-science subjects which prepare the young scientists for the task ahead. It has remained one of the most difficult subjects in the junior secondary school curriculum NERDC (2013). Therefore, the study of Basic science becomes necessary for students at the junior secondary level of education to study and understand so as to prepare them for further exploration in science at the senior secondary level of education.

The objective of the basic science as enumerated in Federal Ministry of Education 2007 to enable students develop interest in science and technology, apply their scientific and technological knowledge and skills to meet societal needs, take advantage of the numerous career opportunity offered by the science and technology, become prepared for further studies in science and technology, to avoid drugs abuse and to be safety and security conscious.

In general education provides knowledge, skills and attitude which are harnessed for the development of the nation. The development of the nation starts from the home, when the home succeeds in teaching and impacting good values in their children, the country becomes a better place to live. Education does not only provide knowledge and skills, but also inculcates values, training of instinct, fostering right attitude and habits.

Furthermore, since education start from the home this is the first place of contact of the child to the world and parent being the first teacher to the child, it can be posited that parent’s socio-economic background can have possible effects on the educational performance of secondary school students.

Home environment is one of such variables. The home environment involves the location of the house, the facilities in the house as well as the people in the immediate environment. When the environment where the child lives is motivating the child with ease will interact freely with the other members of such environment which indirectly influence their learning experiences.

Parents of different occupational classes often have different styles of child rearing, and disciplining their children as well as reacting to their children educational needs. These differences do not express themselves consistently as expected in the case of every home; rather they influence the average tendencies of parents for different occupational classes and the educational outcome of the children (Rothestain, 2004).Another socio-economic background of the parents is the parents’ education which is an important factor found in literature to have a positive relationship with students’ academic performance.

According to Smith and Francesconi (2010), in a study on impact of home background on educational attainment in high schools in San-Francisco, the finding showed that there is a significant relationship between each parent’s educational level and their children performance in school. They further explained that mother education has a strong association with the children academic performance than that of the father. This therefore means that children from parents who attain formal education do show self-involvement in the education of their children and this becomes the motivational factor for the students to study hard and aim high because their home environment has not expose them to the kinds of materials used in schools. If home environment is not intellectually stimulating, students find it difficult to cope in school and may eventually drop-out of school.

Thus researchers have shown that socio-economic status and host of other factor relating to home environments of students, such as educational level, income level, environment, means of recreation and parent’s interest in education could have effect on children academic performance(Okon, 2017, Anietie, 2015 and Edem, 2014).

Parental educational status refers to the level which the father and mother attain educationally and it is the qualification of the parents (father and mother). Some parents are formally educated which means they have formal education while some parents are not formally educated. Formal education involves education carried out in schools while the non-formal education is any organized educational activity that takes place outside the conventional school system with no specific target group such as carpentry, mechanics, tailoring, shoe mending, computer operating and blacksmithing (Inyang, 2016).

According to Percus (2011), the relationship between parental educational status and students’ academic performance in science has been widely reported that students from educated parents with good occupation perform better in schools. Formally educated parents do, however, share some unique demographic characteristics that differentiate them from non-formally educated parents. Formally educated parents assist the children in doing their assignment at home, pay for home teachers to teach the children at home after school, buy books that the children will read at home and monitor the level of their children academic performance in school in comparison to non-formally educated parents. 

On the contrary, formally educated parents do also tend to have specific challenges that impede their ability to effectively educate their children. These challenges may be evidenced across all homes, they are perhaps most potent in formally educated parents that they are too busy and handover the children to be taken care of by caregivers and home teachers without paying keen attention to children educational development, lack of motivation to the children and lack of steady parental care for their children (King, 2011).

The level of income of the parent is another factor which assists parents to be classified socially to different strata in the society which may play important role in the academic performance of the students in secondary schools and universities. According to Samuel (2014) the level of income is the amount of money the parents (father and mother) receive monthly, weekly or daily from their occupational activities. Samuel emphasized that the level of income of the parents may be determined by the level of education the parents attain and this may influence the level of exposure of the parents which make the parents to be versatile in encouraging the children academically. The children from these rich parents may be inherently motivated to be like their parents when they grow and this will make them to study well in school.

On the other hand children from poor parents are likely to experience learning disabilities and developmental delays than children from rich parents. Although some students from poor background are motivated and encouraged by their parents academically by providing home teachers for these children at home, this tends to increase the intrinsic motivation of the children and increase the academic performance in school.

Children from rich parents tend to be exposed to good learning materials at home which assist them in doing their homework and assignment as some parents have personal libraries at home where the children can sit and read comfortably. These students live mostly in the urban areas where there are adequate basic amenities like hospitals, public libraries, research centers and other educational resource centers. Contrary, parents who are poor may not be exposed to good learning materials at home to assist the children in doing their homework and assignment. These poor parents may not have personal libraries at home where the children can sit and read comfortably. These sorts of students live mostly in the rural areas where there are no adequate basic amenities (Utah, 2015).

Byoung (2012) stated that the students need safe, healthy and stimulating environment in which they grow and learn at home. During the secondary school stage, the students can spend long time at home where the environment plays a critical role in children’s formation and development. According to Enang (2012), the actions and how people behave depends on who the people stay with and where they stay; since the development of the child is determined by the environment and the biological make up of the child. This condition requires careful planning and arrangement of educational related activities at home such as home lesson to optimized experiences that support learning. Therefore, the home environment is of paramount importance in shaping and reshaping intellectual ability of the students.

This implies that supportive and favorable home environment enriched with enough learning facilities, favourable climate makes students more comfortable, concentrated on their academic activities that resulted in high academic performance. This educational process occurs in physical, social, cultural and psychological environment. A proper and adequate learning environment is very much necessary for a meaningful learning. Kainuwa and Yusuf (2013) stated that the home environment and home processes food preparation and washing of clothes provide a network of physical, social and intellectual forces and factors which affect the student’s learning. According to them, the home’s level of encouragement, expectations and educational activities in the home are related to socio-economic status of parents.

Apart from the socio-economic status such as educational status, income level and interest in education by parents, another socio-economic factor is the availability of facilities in the home which enable children to develop problem solving skills and promote interest in learning science. When students are not exposed to good facilities like home library, play materials, information and communication technology and garden precisely in the home, they tend to be performing high in school. These material like the information and communication technology facilities and play materials can be used by the students with their parents to during recreation and these may influence their performance in school. Udom (2009) identified recreational facilities as the major factor contributing to children motivation to learn at home and increases students’ academic performance in the school system.

Sign (2014) posited that learning takes place in a conducive environment within a web of social relationship as parents and children interacts. All aspects of the home environment provide survival, protection, development and participation in the learning process to the students. This means that the focus is on learning which strengthens the capacities of students to act progressively on their own behalf through the acquisition of relevant knowledge, useful skills and appropriate attitudes which help them to create for themselves and others a safety place, security and healthy intervention in promoting students’ academic performance in Basic Science.

It is against this background that this work is being undertaken to empirically investigate the possible effect of Parental Socio-Economic Status and Students’ Academic Performance in Basic Science in selected secondary schools in the study area.

Parental Socio-Economic Status and Students’ Academic Performance in Basic Science

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Home is the first point of contact of children in the world and the home consist of two important adults’ father and mother of which each of them occupy a specific position and function in the overall development of the children. When both parents are present, it implies that the child would derive much care from them and according to psychology; these children develop emotional and psychological attachment to their parents. However, in some homes a gap in a child’s life may be created when the child loses the support that would have emanated from the parent due to poverty, lack of formal education of the parents, poor environment and place of recreation of the parents.

Experience has shown that among the secondary school students, there exist some differences which influence student’s academic performance, such as some students being able to pay their school fees promptly, while others are often being sent away for non-payment of school fees. Some student have problem with the provision of school uniform but others do not.

Likewise, some students are motivated by their parents through the provision of educational materials like text books and exercise books and other parents do not; equally some students come to school properly fed, others do not. These then motivated the researcher to ask whether these differences among students which arises as a result of different home socio-economic background could influence the students’ academic performance in school. In the quest to provide answer to this question, triggers the investigation into Parental Socio-Economic Status and Students’ Academic Performance in Basic Science in selected secondary schools.

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