THE INFLUENCE OF PARENTS EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND AND STUDY FACILITIES ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

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1 Ozean Journal of Social Sciences 6(2), 2013 ISSN Ozean Publication THE INFLUENCE OF PARENTS EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND AND STUDY FACILITIES ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS FUNMILOLA BOSEDE ALOKAN*, EUNICE OLUFUNMILAYO OSAKINLE & EMMANUEL OLUBU ONIJINGIN Department of Guidance and Counselling, Faculty of Education, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria * address for correspondence: Abstract: There has been an outcry against the poor performance of students in the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination in Nigeria. This study investigated the difference between the academic performance of students from parents with high educational background and students from parents with low educational background. It also investigated the influence of having study facilities at home on academic performance. The population for this study comprised all public secondary school students in Ondo State. The sample consisted of 240 students from 6 randomly selected schools. A questionnaire tagged Academic Performance Questionnaire was used to collect data. Expert judgements were used to ensure face and content validity. Test-retest method was used to determine the reliability and a reliability coefficient of 0.72 was obtained. Data collected were analysed by using t-test. The result revealed a significant difference between academic performance of students from parents with high educational background and students from parents with low educational background. A significant different was also found between the academic performance of students having study facilities at home and students with no study facilities at home. It can be concluded from the results that parental educational background and having study facilities at home have great influence on academic performance. Among others, it was recommended that the government at all levels should establish and equip more adult education centres for the training of illiterate parents. It was also recommended that principals of schools should discuss the importance of learning materials with parents of Parents Teachers Association meetings. Keywords: Parents, educational background, study facilities, academic performance, influence 27

2 INTRODUCTION Examinations have been accepted as an important aspect of the educational system. Examinations have always been used as the main basis for judging a student s ability and also as a means of selection for educational advancement and employment. A lot of students do not perform well in the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination. The poor performance has raised concern and efforts have been made to find out the reasons behind it. For poor performance of students in schools, many factors such as lack of facilities in school, lack of teachers, indiscipline unfavourable home environment, low intelligence, anxiety and students need to achieve have been found as being the causes (Cantu, 1975; Maundu, 1980; and Ndirangu, 2007). Home environment was found to be an important factor in determining academic performance of students. From the beginning, parents have been the major persons involved in raising children in every society. That is why the family is recognized as an important agent of socialization. Adekeyi (2002) observed that it is mainly through their efforts and abilities that children are socialized to become productive citizens. So, wherever parents possess the resources and skills; and apply them effectively and joyfully in raising their children, the entire society benefits. This brings joy and pride to the nation, and encourages development and peaceful co-existence. The children themselves feel good and bring happiness to their parents and the whole community. The home is the first place of learning for the child. The quality of home environment goes a long way in determining the eventual personality and achievement of the child. Psychologists had classified the factors that affect learning into two broad categories namely, nature and nurture. It has been discovered that the two categories play complementary roles. As nature determines the level of intelligence and inherited abilities of the child, nurture helps to maximize these innate abilities. According to Ekinne (2002), nurture involves the home, the school, the environment and peer groups to which the learner belongs. The home has far reaching influence on the child. Babara (1982) said that the child home environment influences attainment at school. Also, Touray (1982) suggested that the home environmental variables could be manipulated to enhance students academic performance. The level of educational attainment of parents could influence the academic achievement of their children. According to European Union Monitoring Report (2013), those students whose parents have a tertiary level of education perform, on average, significantly better in tests of science, reading and mathematical ability than do those whose parents have only basic schooling. In a family where both the father and mother are educated, their children are always taken good care of in their academic activities. Such parents know the importance of getting educational materials for their children is school. They may go through their children s exercise books after school, or even employ a private teacher to teach them after school. By so doing, their academic performance will be improved; whereas in the case of illiterate family, the need to supervise the children s exercise books is not there, hence their children s low academic performance in school. Educated parents may also have library at home, stocked with novels, encyclopedia and other educational books and educational audio visual tapes. When children make use of these materials, it will enhance their intellect. Also, hereditary factor could also influence a child s academic performance in school. This happens when a child inherits poor gene from either the mother or the father; such a child will not be able to achieve much even if the environment is conducive for effective learning. On the other hand, a child who inherits a very high gene from parents may perform very well even if the environment is not stimulating (Community Development, Sound Education, Good Health and Social Life Initiative, 2013). A conducive environment is necessary for a good academic performance of a child. A stimulating home environment could spur up a potential mediocre into an intellectual giant while an inhibiting environment could turn a genius child into a mediocre. The value that different families attach to education could affect the child s attitude to school and eventually affect his/her motivation for success in school work. Muola (2010) stated that the urge to achieve varies from one individual to the other. For some, the need for achievement is very high while for others, it is very low. He adds that achievement motivation is learnt through the socialization process. Those who have high achievers as their role models in their early life experience would develop a high need for achievement while those who have low achievers as their role models will hardly develop the need for achievement. The family is obviously a major socializing agent and therefore important in determining the child s motivation to achieve success. The motive to excel in academic work is an activating force, a drive or an urge to achieve good results and recognition which accounts to good academic performance. 28

3 Educated parents give early independence training and achievement training. Atkinson and Feather (1966) argued that successful parents tend to provide early independence training which is necessary in the development of achievement motivation. In independence training, parents insist on the child s self-reliance and autonomy in decision making situations. While in achievement training, they insist on high achievement through imposing high standards of excellence in tasks, setting high goals for the child and expecting the child to show competence in doing tasks well. Illiteracy of parents could have a negative effect on the academic performance of their children. Children whose parents are illiterates have been seen to lack home encouragement. This implies that as some illiterate parents refuse to provide their children with needed textbooks, they are discouraging them from learning. David (2007) stated that textbooks aid studies after normal school teaching. Students from illiterate parents lack assistance because of parents illiteracy and ignorance such parents fail to motivate, reinforce, give reward or punish their children on their academic performance which might have forced them to be serious in learning. On the other hand, literate parents have interest in their children s academic performance. They struggle to provide them with needed materials and give adequate encouragement. Having known the importance of education, they draw a reading time-table for their children and also arrange for part-time teachers to teach their children and check their workbooks from time to time. They provide adequate motivation and reward when the children perform better in class assignments tests and examinations. Taking care of children and making provision for their needs, especially educational needs, are very important in determining the academic performance of children. Statement of the Problem The importance of education in an individual can not be over emphasized. Education has a long lasting impact on one s life. The acquisition of knowledge and skills and all other things that is worthwhile which are transmitted to a person through formal and informal education determines his/her potential in future. At the end of every instructional period in school comes examination. Over the years, the society has been recording a persistent increase in the rate of poor performance in various school examinations such as the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE). If this trend is not nip in the bud, it will have grave repercussion on the lives of these students, their parents and the society at large. Comments from educators have shown that the blame from lack of good performance has been as a result of neglect and carefree attitude towards academic work by students and parents. Home is the first school for a child where he/she is taught the basic norms and values by the parents before the child leaves for the formal education. Contrary to the opinion that learning and reading begins in school, the first foundation of the child begins at home. A good and conducive home environment with adequate learning facilities would help to boost the intellectual and academic capability of the child. Well educated parents would always have good attitudes towards education and provide learning materials such as television, instructional video tapes, novels, books and journals that could facilitate the learning process. The motivation of any intelligent child towards learning is being accelerated by the positive influence of his/her environment while others are negatively affected in terms of their non-stimulating home environment. To this end, the following research hypotheses were generated. Hypotheses 1. There is no significant difference between the academic performance of students from parents with high educational background and students from parents with low educational background. 2. There is no significant difference between the academic performance of students who have study facilities at home and those who do not have study facilities at home. 29

4 METHODOLOGY The researchers used descriptive research design of survey type. The plan of study involved the use of questionnaire to collect data in order to test the hypotheses generated in the study. The target population for this study was made up of public secondary school students in Ondo State Nigeria who were in Senior Secondary School one. This class of students was chosen because the students faced a uniform examination throughout the whole state at end of previous session, that is at the end of their Junior Secondary School Three. Their results in this examination were used to measure academic performance. Stratified random sampling was used to draw out the sample. Three schools were chosen randomly from urban areas and three schools were also randomly chosen from rural areas. In each school, 40 students of both sexes were selected, making a total of 240 students. A self-designed questionnaire called Academic Performance Questionnaire (APQ) was used for the study. Part A was designed to collect information on background characteristics of respondents including educational status of parents. Parents who are illiterates, those who hold Primary School Certificate and those with Secondary School Certificate are considered as having low educational background. Parents who hold Ordinary National Diploma, Higher National Diploma and University Degree are considered as having high educational background. Part B consisted 27 items on environmental and psychological factors. The methods used in validating the instrument were face and content validity. Expert judgements were used to determine both. A reliability test was also carried out on 20 Senior Secondary one students who were not part of the sample. The scores obtained from two administrations of the questionnaire at two weeks interval were correlated by using Pearson Product Moment Correlation. A reliability coefficient of 0.72 was obtained. The instrument was found to be suitable for data collection. Copies of the questionnaire were distributed by the researchers and school counsellors to a sample of 240 students in six schools. Researchers presence during administration enhanced better understanding of the items in the instrument. Copies of the questionnaire were collected back immediately after completion by the researchers. The results of the external and uniform Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination were collected from the principal of the schools. The data generated were analysed using t-test for the two hypotheses. The hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. Testing of Hypotheses Hypothesis One H 0 : There is no significant difference between the academic performance of students from parents with high educational background and students from parents with low educational background. In testing this hypothesis, the mean total score and standard error obtained on academic performance of students from parents who were highly educated and those from parents who were not highly educated were subjected to t-test analysis at 0.05 level of significance. 30

5 Table 1: The t-test Summary of Parents Education and Students Academic Performance Group N Mean SD df tcal ttable High educational background Low educational background P < 0.05 Table 1 shows that the mean score of respondents from parents with high educational background is with standard deviation of while the mean total score of respondents from parents with low educational background is with standard deviation of The t-calculated is while the table value is The t-calculated is greater that t-table. The null hypothesis is rejected. This implies that there is significant difference between the academic performance of students from parents with high educational background and students from parents with low educational background. Hypothesis Two Ho: There is no significant difference between the academic performance of students who have study facilities at home and those who do not have study facilities at home. In testing this hypothesis, the mean total score and standard error obtained on academic performance of students with study facilities at home and those from students without study facilities at home were subjected to t-test analysis at 0.05 level of significance. Table 2: The t-test showing academic performance of students with and without study facilities at home Group N Mean SD df tcal t-table With study facilities Without study facilities P < 0.05 Table 2 shows that the mean total score of respondents with study facilities at home is with standard deviation of while the mean total score of respondents without study facilities at home is with standard deviation of The t-calculated is while the table value is The t-calculated is greater than the t-table. The null hypothesis is rejected. Therefore, there is significant difference between the academic performance of students with study facilities at home and students without study facilities at home. The result shows that there is a significant difference between the academic performance of students from parents who are highly educated and students from parents who are not highly educated. The probable explanation is that parents with high level of education and who know the importance of education would provide their children with necessary learning facilities and also assist their children with school work. Well educated people usually have small families. A parent with a small family will not only find it easy to provide for the physical needs of the child but will also be in a position to give him/her attention, encouragement, stimulation and support with his/her school work. This could have a motivating effect on a child from the small family in comparison with a child from a large family where the parents are always busy trying to find ways of meeting the basic needs of the family. The result also shows that there is a significant difference between the academic performance of students with study facilities at home and students without study facilities at home. A child whose effort to do well in school is supplemented by the provision of learning facilities at home would tend to do well and have high academic performance. This is moreso when the parents of such child encourage him/her to make use of the study facilities. 31

6 These findings support the observation made by Atkinson and Feather (1966) that children from favourable home environments tend to have a high need for achievement as opposed to those from unfavourable home environments. The findings are also in line with the report of Gottfried, Fleming and Gottfried (1998) that child rearing practices vary with parental level of education. CONCLUSION Evidence from the study has led the researcher to conclude that educational background of parents and provision of study facilities for children at home have significant influence on the academic performance of such children. RECOMMENDATIONS Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations were made: 1. Teachers, educationists and leaders should try to create awareness in parents on the importance of the home environment on their children s academic performance. Parents need to be informed that they can contribute to the education of their children through encouragement, provision of learning facilities and active assistance among other strategies. 2. Parents need to know their role in the education of their children so that they do not put the blame entirely on teachers when their children do not perform well in examinations. 3. Principals of schools should discuss the importance of materials in learning with parents at Parents Teachers Association (PTA) meetings. 4. The government at all levels should establish and equip more adult education centres for the training of illiterate parents. 5. Illiterate parents should be encouraged to go to school, in that their literacy will enhance their children s academic achievement in schools. 6. Parents should endeavour to encourage their children to read and do their home work at home rather than spending their time on things that will not benefit them academically. 32

7 REFERENCES Adekeyi, A. (2002). Teaching social studies in Nigeria Colleges. Ile Ife: University Press. Atkinson, J.W. and Feather, N.T (1966). The theory of achievement motivation. New York: John Wiley and sons. Babara, K.T. (1982). Home environment and learning quantitative synthesis. Journal of Experimental Education, 50(3): Cantu, I.S. (1975). The effect of family characteristics, parental influence, language spoken, school experience and self-motivation on the level of educational attainment of Mexican Americans. Dissertational Abstracts Int, 36(6): 3261 A 3262 A. Community Development, Sound Education, Good Health and Social Life Initiative (2013). The influence of family background on the academic achievements of pupils education in development initiative.blogspot.com David, W.I. (2007). Education psychology. New Jersy: Prentice Hall Inc. Ekinne, A.O. (2002). Influence of some home factors on primary school pupils achievement in Mathematics. Unpublished Masters Thesis, University of Ibadan. European Union Monitoring Report (2013). Students performance and parents education level. Maundu, J.N (1980). A study of the relationship between Kenyan Secondary School Pupils performance need to achieve and their performance in school subjects. Unpublished Master s Thesis, University of Nairobi. Muola, J.M. (2010). A study of the relationship between academic achievement motivation and home environment among standard eight pupils. Educational Research and Reviews, 5(5): Ndirangu, P. (2007). An investigation of the relationship between test anxiety and academic performance in secondary schools in Nyeri district, Kenya. Unpublished Master s Thesis, Egerton University. 33

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