The study examined the influence of
family background on the academic achievement of senior secondary school
student in babcock university high school, ogun state.
More specifically, the study sought to
assess the academic performance within sound family background and
paltry family background in Senior secondary schools.
The study consist of all senior
secondary school students in Babcock high school (SSS1-3), simple random
sampling technique was use to pick the respondents and 122 senior
secondary school students were selected.
100% respondents duly participated in
the survey. A well- developed questionnaire was designed to elicit
information from the respondents.
The data collected were analyzed using
the descriptive statistics technique and the analysis of variance
(ANOVA) was employed to test the stated hypotheses at 0.05% significance
Result from the study indicated that
parents’ educational level, occupation, family size and level of
motivation are key variables of family background that significantly
influences the academic achievement of students.
Also students’ from sound family background naturally tend to perform better than their peers from paltry family background.
Base on this, the study advised that
Students should be encouraged, monitored, motivated and supported by
their parents and teachers.
1.1 Background of the Study
Education is the best legacy a nation
can give to her citizens especially the youths. This is because
education is very important in the development of any nation or
community. Education is the process of transmitting what is worthwhile
to members of the society. According to Okafor (1981). Education
embraces all those experiences of the individual through which knowledge
is acquired and intellect enlightened. For Nwabachili and Egbue (1993)
education is what goes on from one generation to another generation. In
this context, education is the process of socializing the child to grow
up as a fulfilled member of the society through informal, formal and
non-formal process. Informal education is the process of acquiring
knowledge about the environment and beyond through living with one
another. According to Nwabachili and Egbue (1993) formal education is a
consciously planned form of socialization in a formal setting such as
school. They stressed that non-formal education involve all those
systematic programme? and processes of education and training that is
done outside formal education settings. All these forms of education
cannot be achieved without the influence of the family.
Family is the first social environment
the child finds itself. According to Clifford (1981) family remains the
primary environment of the child. The author emphasized that family
environment has more chances of increasing or decreasing the
intellectual achievement of the child. Akubue and Okolo (2008), defined
family as a small kinship structural group with the key function of
natural socialization of the new born. Similarly, in Okunniyi (2004),
family is defined as a primary social group of parents, offspring and
possibly other members of the household.
Family background refers to all the
conditions and circumstances in the family which influence the child
physically, intellectually and emotionally Muola (2010). Children coming
from different family backgrounds are affected different by such family
conditions, that is why some children have good family background while
some have poor background. Citing fleege, Eke (1999) noted that with
some families, the background way vary from time to time for the same
Formal education therefore remains the
vehicle for human development which must start from the family. There
are different categories of families. The major categories of families
according to Anderson and Taylor (2000) includes: Traditional
families-where the father is the major breadwinner and mother at home
rearing children; divorced families-families that have been
reconstituted following the breaking of marriage; single parent
families-likely headed by women; step families-with new siblings and new
parents stemming from re-marriage.
A family could also be categorized as
extended or nuclear. Extended families are those in which large group of
related kin in addition to parents and children live together in the
same household. This is the type of families prevalent in African
countries. Nuclear families are families where married couple resides
together with their children. Thin type of family is common in Western
countries (Andersen and Taylor 2000).
Families are of various sizes. Family
size has to do with the total number of people in a single family which
may include the father, mother, children and even the extended members -
all living in one hamlet. According to Alio (1995) family size has
implication for education. The author emphasized that the size of the
family determines to a great extent the relative amount of physical
attention and time which each child gets from his parents. Large
families are more common among the lower class of the society. Children
in large families may suffer poverty and lack parental encouragement and
stimulus which motivate their academic achievement (Eamon, 2005).
Similarly, smaller family size has been linked with high academic
achievement (Majoribank 1996) Majoribank further stressed that students
with fewer siblings are likely to receive more parental attention and
have support that leads to better school performance Family (small or
large size) remains the primary environment of every child. The families
begin the process of education and provide physical and psychological
needs of the child. This supports the view of Maduewisi (1982), that the
environmental experiences from family, peer group and school location
have great influence in determining child's intellectual ability. She
maintained that bright children from under-privileged family environment
may turn dull due to impoverished family environment. She added that
mental development influence, intellectual development. This is in line
with Hebb (1987) who observed that the innate potentials of children
cannot be attained without adequate stimulating family environment
because the child cannot do well intellectually. The implication is that
a proper stimulating family environment with intellectual potential and
appropriate teaching methods will definitely enhance maximum
performance of the child.
Durosaro and Durosaro (1990) in their
study attempted to investigate therelationship between students'
family size and their academic achievement; they found out that family
size influenced academic achievement. Their study reveals that children
from small size families performed better at school than their
counterparts from both average size and large size families.
Furthermore, Yoloye (1989) conducted a study to see if the family
background variables might be useful in explaining their academic
achievement. Some aspects of family background variables examined in the
study include family size and parents' educational status. His findings
were that the polygamous family sizes which were naturally large,
reduces the chances of children going to school in the first instance.
In addition, children from such backgrounds who are in schools have
reduced chances of achieving their goals. Thirdly, parents of such
families are mostly illiterate and incapable of providing adequate
motivation for their children in schools as compare with the literate
The economic implication of large family
size is better explained in Okuniyi (2004) who observed from his study
that as families get larger, parents cannot give their children the same
amount of individual attention. They could not afford to provide them
with so many of the things which will help them to make the best
possible use of their years at school such as educational aids, and
quiet comfortable rooms in which to do homework undisturbed by the
television, outings to places of interest, leisure lime pursuits, and
opportunities for traveling. What is most probably important of all,
according to him is the fact that the parents of large families were
found not to talk with their children to the same extent as parents of
Another aspect of family environmental
factor is the structure of the family. Structurally, a family is either
broken or intact. A broken family in this context in one that is not
structurally intact for various reasons; such as death of a parent,
divorce, separation, desertion and illegitimacy in which case, the
family was never completed (Coukline 1996). Life in a single parent
family can be stressful for both the child and the parent and such
families are faced with the challenges of diminished financial
resource?!, assumptions of new roles and responsibilities, establishment
of new pattern in intra- familial interactions and reorganization or
routines and schedules, (Agulanna 1999).
In single parent families, children may
suffer some psychological and social problems which affect their
academic performance. Danesy and Okedian (2002), in theirstudy, lamented
that street hawking among secondary school students have
psychologically imposed other problems, such as sex networking behavior,
juvenile delinquent behavior, which take much of the student school
time that necessitated the poor academic performance and drop out
syndrome noticed among young school students. They also lamented that
the maternal and paternal deprivation of essential needs of the young
students have promoted their poor performance in public examination as
JSCE, WASSCE and NECO. Similarly, (Okunniyi 2004) asserted that a child
who suffer maternal and paternal deprivation may experience academic
problems including truancy in the school. This is because the child may
lack some necessities like school fees, books and uniforms. These
conditions, according to the authors, are not conducive for effective
parenting because when the single parents are overburdened by
responsibilities and by the own, emotional, reaction to their situation,
they often become irritable, impatient and insensitive to their
Apart from the structural pattern of the
family, another powerful variable in the family that determines the
students’ academic achievement is the family socio-economic status
(SES). According to (Jeynes 2002), the socio-economic status of a child
h most commonly determined by combining portent's educational level,
occupational status, and income level. Social class and economic status
of the parents determine the type of school and the standard of training
they desire for their children. The occupation or profession of the
parents, the educational level and whether the mothers are working or
non-working mothers places them at an advantage or disadvantage to
evaluate their children's academic work and monitor their progress.
Status is often determined by the
individuals’ economic attainment, though it is sometimes ascribed on the
individual. Okunniyi (2004), identified three distinct socio-economic
groups or status which are common in many countries. They are: upper
class- which is made up of rich business men and top government
officials among others; middle class- which consists of skilled workers,
professionals and middle ranked government workers and the lower class-
which is made up of manual workers, petty trader and low income
Francis (2007) opines that the lower
income families may be aware of the importance of education in the
society, but at the same time, they are also aware of their limited
resources to measure up with such educational demands. According to the
author, a family that can scarcely provide for the basic needs of the
family which include rood, shelters and clothing will hardly motivate
the academic excellence of their children, instead they will pressurize
their children so seek for job opportunities with the little education
they acquired so far to support the family. The implication of the
agreement is that for families are likely to give their children poor
academic background because- ol lack of financial support.
The socio-economic status of a family is
capable of affecting the behavior of the children and determines their
aspiration. Families with high socio-economic status often have more
success in preparing their children for school because they typically
have access to wide range of providing their young children with high
quality child-care books and encourage children in various learning
activities at home. They also have easy access to information regarding
their children's health, as well as social, emotional and cognitive
development (Ojo and Yilma 2010),
Ojo and Yilma also noted that in all
socio-economic groups, parents face major challenges when it comes to
providing optimal care and education for their children and these
challenges are more pronounced in poor families. This, according to
them, is because sometimes, when the basic necessities are lacking,
parents must place top priority on housing, food, clothing and health
care, regarding education materials and books as luxuries. They added
that poor families may also have inadequate or limited access to
community resources that promote and support children's development and
school readiness. They further asserted that these disadvantages can
negatively affect families’ decisions regarding their children
development and learning. This situation, according to Ojo and Yilma,
may also expose the infants in poor families to a greater risk of
entering kindergarten schools unprepared, unlike their peers from rich
Parents' motivation is another family
background factor which influence the academic achievement of students.
Students under motivated condition, exhibits purposeful behavior aimed
at achieving academic set goals. The achievement of these goals
determines the motive, Hickey and Lindsey (1995) clearly distinguished
two- perspectives of motivation; these are situational and dispositional
perspectives. According to them, disposition perspective asks questions
about students' general orientation to learning which relates the
students' priority and students' nature. The situational perspective
according to the scholars focuses on learning context. These scholars
further identified to factors that greatly influence students'
motivation. These are: interpersonal factors such as curiosity,
perseverance, and autonomy (intrinsic-factors) and environmental factors
such as parents, peers and sibling (extrinsic factors).
Research shows that supportive and
attentive parenting practices positively affect academic achievement
(Eamon, 2005). In addition, high parental aspirations have been
associated with increasing students' interest in education (Majoribanks,
2005). The effect of parental motivation and involvement in their
children's school has on academic achievement is less clear (Domina
2005), parental motivation and involvement in schoolhas been linked to
both positive and negative influences on academic achievement (McNeal,
2001, Domina, 2005). Explanations for this discrepancy are not
conclusive. It is thought that the type of involvement and motivation
may make a difference and that in some cases parents become involved
after their child has already academic difficulties (Domina, 2005,
McNeal, 2001). Other recent research has found more conclusively that
while parental motivation may not help academic achievement, it does
help prevent behavioral problems (Domina, 2005).
Students with fewer siblings are likely
to receive more parental attention and motivation and thus have more
access to resources than children from large family. The additional
attention and motivation leads to better school performance
(Majoribanks, 1996, Thondike, 1997 and Samon, 2005).
Thondike reorganized seven ways of
motivating students viz: awareness on the part of the parents of the
value of education whether such parents are literature of illiterate;
existence of books, newspapers, comic books; good nutrition am' sleeping
habit; adequate facilities for sleep, for study and for rest;
satisfaction physical needs like food, shelter and clothing; objects in
the home which challenges the child's curiosity.
Douglas (1984) established a positive
correlation between children's academic achievement and motivation. The
author laid considerable emphasis upon interest as a factor governing
children's chances of being awarded grammar school admissions. For the
author, the simple most important factor that influence educational
attainment of children appears to be the degree of parents interest in
their children's education. Douglas further stated that middle class
parents express great interest in their children's education as
indicated by more frequent visits to school to discuss children’s
progress, buying relevant textbooks and other necessary materials needed
in the school for their children. The author also found from his study
that parental interest and encouragement become increasingly important
as a spur to high attainment as the children grow older. He also
attached importance to the child's early years, since in many ease:*,
performance during the first years of school is reflected throughout the
secondary school. He suggested that during primary socialization,
middle-class children receive greater attention and stimulus from their
parents. This forms basis for high achievement in the educational
Students from low socio-economic status
families may not be strongly motivated to do well in school and may not
be knowledgeable about techniques of being successful in school. High
socio-economic status parents who have benefited in a variety of ways
from education serves as effective and enthusiastic advocate of
schooling (Carlson, 2003). In line with this Qkwulanya (2003) opines
that motivation from educated parents strengthens the academic
aspiration and language development in their children to perform better
in their academic work. According to the scholar, some children may come
from homes were academic is much valued, where there are books around
them and most of the time, they see their parents reading. Their parents
may give them books as Christmas presents. They encourage them to read
many books wither by organizing mini, library for them at home or by
encourage to use the state library. The author went further to emphasize
that some children may come from illiterate homes, where no importance
is attached to books. In such families children scarcely see their
parents at home.
In all, the researcher's conclusion is
that motivated students are likely to engage in an activity more
vigorously and more effectively than unmotivated one. Motivation is
always goal orientated. The importance of parental level of education to
academic achievement of students cannot be over emphasized. Students
from professional and to a lesser extent managerial occupational
backgrounds exhibit higher academic performance (Gary, 2001). In support
of this view, Onochie and Okpalla (1985) opined that educational level
of parents which is an indicator of socio-economic status has direct
influence on child's values and academic achievement in the school. They
mentioned that children from illiterate families may learn little or
nothing from home that can help them develop interest in academic. This
is in contrast to what is obtainable from children from literature
families where parents provide atmosphere conducive for the formation of
good study habits (Qeca, 1980).
Parental occupation is also an important
family background variable. The occupation of one's parents may
determine to a large extent one's opportunity to attend secondary school
or not. Ezeji (2001) noted that parents like their children to take to
their occupation, like parents who are lawyers, doctors, musicians among
others. Examples of such people in the country- include Gani faweiheni,
the prominent human right lawyer, Oliver Akalite (Oliver De coque) and
Osita Osadebe who were famous musicians each of these great men had one
or more of his children in his type of occupation. Uwaomn (2066)
asserted that most vocational students were children whose parents are
farmer or craftsmen. In Nigeria most children whose parents cannot
afford to pay for high cost of formal education enroll into
apprenticeship programmes such as carpentry, brick laying, petting
trading and others. In the study area, there is a seeming general poor
performance among secondary school students. Evidences of the poor
performances are seen in both students' internal and external
examination. For instance, the available records of WAEC result analyses
from 2005 to 2011 indicate downward trends in student'
academicachievement. According to the analyses, the achievement levels
of students arc as follows: 2005-27.53%, 2006-15.56%, 2007-25.54%. 2008
13.76%, 2009-25.99%, 2010-24.94% and 2011 -30.99% (source: WAEC Lagos).
It is against this background that the
researcher is interested investigating the influence of family
background on students academic achievement in Nsukka education zone of
Enugu state. The researcher intends to investigate the variables in the
family background with a view of assessing their relative influence on
academic achievement of senior secondary school student in Nsukka
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Most students in Nigerian secondary
schools are in greater risk of poor academic achievement in both
internal and external examinations (WAEC and NECO). For instance, the
available records of WAEC result analysis from 2005-2011 show a
continuous decline in students overall performance in school certificate
Government, parents, teachers and
students blame one another for students' poor performance in schools.
Parents blame teachers for lack of dedication to duties. The teachers
blame government for poor salaries hence they are poorly motivated,
parents also accuse government for not equipping the schools with
learning materials, government blame parents for not doing good homework
and the students are blamed for lack of discipline and dedication to
In light of the above issues, the
outstanding and relevant question is: what is the influence of family
background on academic achievement of secondary school students?
1.3 Purpose of the Study
Generally, the purpose of the study was
to find out the influence of family background on students' academic
achievement among senior secondary school students in Nsukka.
Specifically, the purpose of the study is to find out:
1.The influence of parental level of education on academic achievement of senior secondary school students.
2. The influence of parental occupation on students' academic achievement,
3.The influence of parental income on students academic achievement.
4.The influence of family size on students' academic achievement.
5.The influence of parental motivation on students' academic achievement.
1.4 Significance of the study
Theoretically, the findings of this
study are considered significant because it can help in providing
empirical information in identifying and explaining the various family
background variables and the influence of the variables on students
academic achievement. This will help in better understanding of the
phenomenon. Moreover, it is expected that the findings will help to
explain the functionality of the theoretical postulations Maslow's
motivational theory. According to Maslow, motivation is very important
in learning, and a learner under motivated condition, exhibits
purposeful behaivour aimed to achieving the set goal. The students is
motivated to learn when their physiological need like shelter, food,
water, rest and safety needs like love and belonging. The satisfaction
of these needs leads to the quest to satisfy higher needs which boarder
on self-esteem and self-actualization. The understanding of this theory
especially as it relates to students teachers and parents would be of
particular significance to researchers in the field of education and
Practically, the finding of this study
will be useful to the following: the teachers, students, parents, school
guidance counselors, Parents Teachers Association (PTA), educational
administrators and the society at large.
The finding of the study will be of
immense help to the teachers. The teachers will realize the necessity of
individualizing their teaching by structuring their teaching methods
and instructional resources to take care of the divergent parental
backgrounds of the students. This method may yield more positive result
than the traditional system which assumes that all children have similar
family background. The findings of the study will also help teachers to
exercise patience with slow-leaners as they vary methods of instruction
to accommodate divergent family background.
The findings will be of immense
importance to students. The students will realize that their poor
performance might not necessarily be their fault alone, especially those
from low status families.-Such knowledge will go a long way to reduce
frustration in the students and also reduce drop-outs which occur as a
result of frustration. Rather, thestudents should be made to adjust and
help themselves by studying hard at home and also make proper of the
books and materials that are provided for them at the school library.
Through the findings of this study,
parents will realize the import acne of improving their educational
standard so as to influence their children's academic performance.
Parents will also understand the need for them to improve their
socio-economic status so as to be able to provide the necessary
motivation in form of learning materials and other things which will
enhance their children's learning and their academic performance. They
will equally acknowledge the importance of positive motivations
andencouragement and provide some, by making the family environment more
conducive for their children.
The school guidance counselors will also
benefit from the findings of this study. They will be in position to
guide and counsel students in the area of personal social interactions,
academic performance and career choice.
The findings of the study will help
Parents Teacher Associations (FTA) of school in promoting the academic
performance of student. This is because FT A snorting, parents know
their functions and responsibilities at home, to help solve their
children's problems both home and school environment.
The findings of the study will be of
immense help to educational administrators. They will use the findings
in the formulation of policy that will regulate equal educational
opportunities for all children irrespective of their family background
in the distribution of equipment, facilities and amenities to schools.
The findings of this study will help the
society at large in identifying how family environmental variables -
such as what parents' level of education, parents' income, parents'
occupation, parents' motivation and family size on student's academic
performance. This will act as a check on increasing low academic
performance among students, occasioned by the fact that some parents,
teachers and counselors do not have adequate knowledge/input required of
1.6 Scope of Study
The study is limited to Babcock
University High School Students. The context scope of this study is
limited to finding the influence of family background on academic
achievement of students with particular regards to parental level of
education; parental occupation, parental income, family size and
1.7 Research Questions
The study will provide answers to the following research questions:
1. What is the influence of parental level of education on students' academic achievement?
2. What influence does parental occupation have on students' academic achievement?
3. What is the influence of parents' income on students' academic achievement?
4. What is the influence of family size on studentsacademic achievement?
5.What influence does parental motivation have on students' academic achievement?
1.8 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses will guide the studying and will be tested at 0.05 level of significance.
H01: Parents’ education level has no significant influence on the academic achievement of Babcock University High School Students.
H02: Parents’ occupation has no significant influence on the academic achievement of Babcock University High School Students.
H03: Parents’ income level has no significant influence on the academic achievement of Babcock University High School Students.
H04: Family size has no significant influence on the academic achievement of Babcock University High School Students.
H05: Parents’ level of
motivation has no significant influence on the academic achievement of
Babcock University High School Students.