Family Background And It’s Influence On The Child Performance In School

Project and Seminar Material for Education

Project and Seminar Material for Education


This research work was set out to examine the family background and its influence on the child academic performance. If the child family background has any effect on his performance at school, some selected primary schools in Oredo local government area of Edo State as a case study in the process of carrying out this research work, certain thought in the vain of questions came to mind which are:

  1. To what extent does the students’ family structure (family size) affect his performance academically?
  2. To what extent does the parents educational position influence the students academic performance
  3. How far does the family background affect their academic performance?
  4. Does the socio-economic class of parents influence the students’ academic performance?

In the same vain, through or during the process of carrying out this research work, there was certain discovery vis:

  1. That the structure and position of students in the family has effect on his academic performance
  2. That student from a more conducive family background performed better than those in non conducive background for a conducive background facilitate the learning situation and improved the academic performance of students.
  3. It was also discovered that family structure (monogamous or polygamous) has the ability to affect the students academic performance either positively on negatively o the basis of discovery, recommendations were made in order to improve the academic performance of students.

Table Of Content

  • Title page i
  • Certification page ii
  • Dedication iii
  • Acknowledgement iv
  • Abstract v
  • Table of content

Chapter One

  • Introduction
  • Background of study
  • Statement of the problems
  • Objectives of the study
  • Research questions
  • Significance of the study
  • Scope / limitations of study
  • Definition of terms

Chapter Two

  • Literature review
  • Chapter Three
  • Methodology
  • Design of study
  • Area of study
  • Study population
  • Sample / sampling techniques
  • Instrument of data collection
  • Method of data

Chapter Four

  • Data analysis and discussion of results

Chapter Five

  • Summary, Conclusion and recommendations
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

Every child is unique and so he must react to the school environment in his own way. Since a child behaviour is the product of heredity and environment (a child family background, his upbringing, his peer group and al forces of his own environment) must play a major role in his school performance. The family unit is the first and primary foundation of the child learning process. Apart from the materials stimulation, needed by the child and provided by his family for his intellectual development a child also is expected to be emotionally balanced. This will enable him to cope with all the social tolerant that would disturb him at school. All families do not have equal economic and social status and since children from different homes attend different problems therefore the various children under this condition would be disturbed at school much effect is therefore required of the teachers in identifying the child’s problems which may be traceable to his family. The teacher should study the child’s family background and correlate them with the child performance at school.

1.1 Background To The Study

In the recent past, sociologist achieve tried to identify the characteristics of family background which are directly related to cognitive development and achievement in schools. The impact of family background on the academic achievement of pupils in schools today is receiving wide acknowledgement in many educational circles in the world. Family background plays an important role in the students’ performances because it is the foundations of education. The family is an institution which provides for the child’s primary socialization and initial education. The initial stage of child socialization depends on the influence of people around him of all the agents of socialization. The family is the most immediate and most important.

The problems of why students achieve or fail to achieve success in school has always been an issue to psychologist, educationist etc. family background has a significant influence on the socialization of the child. Some writer like Lovell P. (1999) are of the view that parents who are educated and economically well off are likely to have fewer children than parents who are not only poor but are illiterate or semi illiterate and ignorant. Rich children they opined do lack attention from their parents in matter relating to education.

At home life for such children is comfortable with amenities like house helps television sets, video sets, stimulating cognitive materials and all sorts of things to play with while at school, the child does not have to think of where his next fee will be coming from. Simply because the child is assured and therefore feels confidents and is alert also scholars like Lovell P. (1999) are also of the view that a child whose parents are illiterate and poor is not likely to attract such attention from their parents. Children from the above mentioned different family background come together to study in the same school under the same class teachers using the same curriculum. It is in the light of this that the researcher intends to find out the effect which family background has on the pupils performance in primary schools.

1.2 Statement Of Problem

In Nigeria today, the standard of education has fallen thus leading to lots of arguments among scholars, traders, stake holders, educationalist, civil servants etc as to the immediate and the remote cause of the fallen standard and the factors hindering high standard of education, while we blame government, teachers and pupils the family which the pupils came from have much to be desired. It is of great importance to note that we cannot exonerate the family which the child comes from when we are talking about pupils performance in school. This is based on either the family background which is either polygamous or monogamous in nature social economic status of the parents or level of education of parents or of the family and health facilities may also be involved.

1.4 Research Questions

To deal with the influence of family on the academic performance of the child in selected primary schools in Oredo local government area of Edo State certain questions are to be asked for example:

  1. To what extent does the level of education of parents influence the academic performance of the pupils?
  2. Does the socio-economic status of parents influence the pupil’s performance academically?
  3. Does the family structure in terms of monogamy and polygamy influence the academic achievement of pupils?
  4. How far does the attitude of parents and siblings affect the academic performance of pupils?

1.5 Purpose Of The Study

Family background is one of the factors that influence the academic achievement of children at school. The family is the bedrock of the child’s socialization process. A child starts leaning about life as soon as she came into the world from the family background, the school as a source of western education. It has been argued that a child family background influence his educational outcomes by affecting her attitude in school. It has been observed that the pupils’ poor performance in their school work could be traced to their parents educational status, the parents socio-economic status, and the family structure of the pupils. It is therefore the purpose of this study to investigate the background of family on the academic achievement of the pupils.

1.6 Significance Of The Study

Every parent wants a successful result from the child who goes to school. Children succeed in school when certain factors are put into place some of these include: ensuring that the child feeds well at home, does his homework, provided with the required textbooks and writing materials and has her work checked regularly. Unfortunately many pupils fail in school owing to no fault of theirs. However, some parents are ignorant of what they are expected to do, to help the pupil perform well academically in school. Teachers themselves are not left out. As young children, there is need for proper guidance and education on the relative benefits of schooling to the pupils. The study will assist parents to have an insight into the behaviour needs of their children.

This study also will enable the teachers to know that pupils are not solely responsible for their poor performance in school. The teachers will be able to come to grip with some of the problems that affect pupil’s performance. It will avail the teacher the corrective measures which if adhered to will help both the teachers and pupils achieve greater academic excellence. This study intends to reveal the factors that impede or enhance the progress of the child at school.

1.7 Scope Of The Study

This study, is limited to findings out family background and its influence on the child’s academic performance in some of the primary school selected in Oredo ;local government area of Edo State are: Emotan, Oguola, Agbado, Emokpae, and Payne primary schools, Benin City.

1.8 Definition Of Terms

Family Background:

This involves the condition I the home created by parents. These include educational background, home status, and family structure in terms of monogamy and polygamy and provision of educational materials.

Social Class:

The group that people belong to which is defined by property ownership and control of health.

Academic Performance:

The scores an individual obtain in a class, test or examination based on his learning experience in school.

Chapter Five

Discussion And Interpretation Of Result

In this chapter, data presented in the previous chapter are discussed under the following sub-heading: Discussion and interpretation of findings, Implication of the Study, Recommendation of study, Limitation of the study, Areas for further studies, Summary and Conclusion.

Discussion of the Findings

The findings of this study are discussed and compared with empirical studies done previously by other researchers. These discussions are carried out based on the issues relevant with the research question and null hypotheses that guided the study.

Influence of parental level of education on students’ academic performance.

The focus of this research question was to establish the influence of parental level of education on students’ academic performance. The result of these findings as summarized in table 1 (one) showed that students (respondents) overwhelmingly agree that parental level of education is a contributory factor in students’ academic performance. The findings of this study tend to agree with the opinions expressed by Onochie and Okpalla (1985) that educational level of parents which is an indicator of socio-economic status has direct influence on child’s value and academic performance in the school. The scholars further maintained that children from illiterate families may learn little or nothing from home that can help them to develop interest in academics.

The result of the study also indicates that educated parents provide conducive atmosphere for studies at home. This is in line with Qeca (1980) who asserted that children from literate families where parents provide atmosphere conducive for the formation of good study habit are in better chance of performing well in schools. Again the result also agrees with Izundu (2005) who asserted that there is significant relationship between the level of parents’ education and the academic performance of the students. Again, Gary (2001) said that the importance of parental level of education to academic performance of students cannot be over emphasized. Accordingly the scholar, students from professional and to a less extent managerial occupational backgrounds exhibit higher academic performance.

Influence of Parental Occupation on Students’ Academic performance

With reference to research question two, it is the view of students (respondents) that parental occupation is not a contributory factor in students academic performance. This finding is contrary to the view of Ezeji (2001) who noted that parents like their children to take to their occupations. Such parents include lawyers, doctors, musicians among others. Uwoma (2006) in her study was also the opinion that most vocational students were children whose parents were farmers or craftsmen. However the findings do not agree with Eke (1999) who observed that parental occupation does not significantly influence academic performance of students. The difference in the findings of this scholars and others may be as a result of data analysis. For example, while Eke (1999) used product moment correlation coefficient method, other researchers (Uwoma 2006 and Ezeji 2001) use t-test for data analysis.
The researcher do not agree that parental occupation can determine students’ academic performance. This is because of the fact that variables that determine one’s occupation may not be the same in parents and children. For instance a child may not be as brilliant as his/her parents who are doctors or lawyers and vice versa.

Influence of Parental Income on Students’ Academic performance

With regard to the third research question, the students (respondents) agreed that parental level of income influence students’ academic performance. This is in conformity with Francis (2007) who 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 food, shelter and clothing will hardly motivate the academic excellence of their children. Instead, they will pressurize their children to seek for job opportunities with the little education they acquired to support the family.

The result also indicate that students whose parents are on high income status higher academic aspiration than children whose parents are on low income status. This findings is in conformity with the view of Ojo and Yilma (2010) that the Socio-economic status of a mainly is capable of affecting the behaviour 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, and books. They also encourage their children in various learning activities at home.
Research question four examines the influence of family size on students’ academic performance. The respondents disagree in all the three items. This is an indication that the size of family does not necessarily influence students academic performance. Also, children from small size families do not necessarily perform better academically than those from large size families.

The above findings are contrary to the findings of Durorsaro and Durosaro (1990) who found out in their study that family size influence students’ academic performance. Their study revealed that children from small size families perform better at school than their counterparts from both average size and large size families. This is also in line with Yoloye (1989), who concluded from his study that polygamous family sizes which were naturally large reduces the chances of children going to school in the first instance. Again, children from such backgrounds who were in schools have reduced chances of achieving their goals. Parents in such families are mostly illiterates and incapable of providing adequate motivation for their children in schools as compared with the literate nuclear families.

The researcher attributes the varied opinions of the respondents in his study and that of the former researchers (Durosaro and Durosaro) to difference in Areas of study. The present study had most of its respondents who live Urban areas and parents are wealthy and could provide their children with necessary facilities and amenities needed to facilitate academic work despite their family size. Again there were still some other parents in rural areas who were rich and could provide for their children in large families.

Research question five examined the influence of parental level of motivation on students’ academic performance. The respondents agreed on all the seven items that parents’ level of motivation influences students’ academic performance. This result is in conformity with Douglas (1984) who identified motivation as the most important factor that influence educational attainment. The scholar observed that the simple most important factor that influence educational achievement 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 text books and other necessary materials needed in the school for their children.

In support of this view, Agu (2010) asserted that motivation is an integral aspect of learning, indicating that different motivational constructs are correlated with effective classroom learning and achievement. This view implies that motivational patterns relate to students’ academic performance.


From the findings of the study, it was concluded that family background factor influence academic performance of students in schools. Prominent among the family background factors include parental educational level, parental income and parental motivation. Educational statuses of the parents and students’ academic performance have a close relationship between them. This is because parents themselves having being to school realized the importance of being educated. They stand better chance to support their children for better academic performance.
On parental motivation, it was found that students who received encouragement and motivation from the family perform better in schools than their counterparts from non encouraging families. The major reasons for the observed difference in performance are the motivation and positive attitude of the parents towards their children’s academic progress.

The acceptance of hypotheses two and four was based on the result of statistical data from the field. Personal observation equally showed that parental occupation cannot determine student academic performance. This is because education which is the major determinant of occupation may not be the same in the parents and children. Again, a child from large family size, who has strong determination can compete favorably with another child from small family size. Moreover, most children from small families are over pampered and undetermined.

Educational Implication of the Findings of the STUDY

The findings of this study have some implications for the parents, students and the teachers.
The first hypothesis revealed that students from educated parents perform better in academics than students from uneducated parents. This phenomenon is as a result of intellectual stimulation and direct involvement of educated parents in their children’s education. This helps students from such background perform better than those from uneducated parents.

This phenomenon can be corrected by stimulating school environment and teachers’ positive reinforcement strategy which can compensate for non stimulating and negative reinforcement prevalent in an uneducated families. For students from uneducated families, this school situation aids to maintain the same home conducive atmosphere for academic career and facilitates learning and academic performance.

Another major finding revealed that students from parents of high income status posses most of the necessary materials for their learning, unlike students from parents of low income status. This is an indication that children come to school from different background and these backgrounds presents their own problems for the children. The teacher having realized this condition should be conscious when dealing with the students. Students who came from low income class parents should not be mocked or compared with their counterpart from high income status parents when they failed to meet up in providing most of the materials needed for their studies. If such comparison occurs the students from low income status parents would feel inferior and that will affect their academic performance the more, and may even lead to the exhibition of abnormal behaviour trait.

All the above facts not withstanding, more efforts are still required from the parents, especially from the low income group in ensuring that adequate facilities are provided for the students. Students from low income parents requires virtues like dedication, honesty, determination, integrity and tolerance to pursue their career by making use of school facilities during and after school hours to enable them attain high academic performance.

Findings of the study also revealed that parental motivation is one of the major determinants of students’ academic performance. Therefore, the need for parents to learn how to encourage their children cannot be overemphasized. There is equally the need for parents to be involved in the teaching-learning process of their children, particularly this period where most of the students come to school from their respective homes.

There is also the need for teachers to be more motivational in their teaching. This is possible when they vary their method of teaching and teaching aids to take cognizance of the individual differences inherent in the students from their different family backgrounds. Teachers can ameliorate through filling the parental motivational needs by individualizing instruction and taking special interest in the slow learners who suffer from deficient parental motivational pattern.

Another vital implication from this study is that school authorities should try to avoid grouping or streaming the school children especially according to ability and intelligence. Since the student come from different family background, there is every tendency that they differ in many respects. To have balanced and competitive class, the students should be randomly distributed, avoiding grouping intelligent ones one side and dull ones the other side.
This study equally implies that there is a greater need for more literacy and awareness campaign than before to awaken illiterate parents and instill awareness in literate parents who seem to attach much importance to education. The programme should be extended to rural areas where it is needed most.


Education is an important instrument of change in modern societies. Provision of adequate and relevant education is the best thing a nation can do for its citizens. This is more so, because education is a virile weapon against ignorance, disease, poverty and as a means of producing enlightened, responsible and industrious citizenry and prosperous nation.

Based on this background, the researcher makes the following recommendations:

  1. One of the major findings of this study is that parental income level has a great influence on students’ academic performance. For example, most cases, parental income is proportional to students finding which also determine to a large extent, the level of academic performance of students. In this case, it is recommended that parents as a matter of importance should diversify their sources of income so that they can be able to provide fund their children in school for better academic performance.
  2. Parents should be made to realize the importance of motivation in determining their children academic performance in schools, especially the realization that most of the male students are abandoning school for business. Parents should be actively involved in encouraging students to learn and also in supervising students academic work at home
  3. Students’ should give serious attention to studies at home, in addition to other various works done, since the amount of effort they put in their studies influence their academic performance.
  4. Teachers should understand that teaching is a job of conscience. Teachers should handle the students as their own children; try by all means to meet the students’ academic social and psychological needs. They should be motivational in their teaching and use different teaching methods so as to go along with all categories of students. This will help bridge deficiencies from negative family background.
  5. The state and Federal Governments should legislate against examination malpractices. Such situation will force students to sit up and take their studies serious. Again, the various governments should create employment opportunities for the graduate of various institutions of higher learning. Lack of job opportunities contributes to the loss of interest and zeal for education by students. The current situation in Nigeria where graduates are left with little or no hope of employment gives no encouragement to the secondary school students for further education. Rather, the students see going to school is a waste of time.

Limitation of the Study

Like any other human endeavour, this study faced certain limitations.
Some of these limitations include:

  1. Choosing the topic for this study, constructing and administering the instrument and getting it validated were not easy exercise.
  2. The researcher paid repeated visits to some schools before he was permitted to interact with the students (respondents).
  3. Although the researcher and the research assistants gave the students adequate instructions and guidance for completing the questionnaire, some of the students awarded scores arbitrarily to the questionnaire items.
  4. The researcher’s zeal for the study was initially seriously undermined by the intermittent strikes of secondary school teachers and university lecturers.

Suggestions for Further Research

Research work remains an important exercise as far as human existence on earth continues. Such being the case, the following areas have been suggested for further research work:

  1. Influence of peer pressure on academic performance of senior secondary school students.
  2. Academic and environmental stress affecting academic performance of secondary school students.
  3. Gender and Age as predictors of academic performance in secondary school.
  4. Influence of poverty on students’ academic aspiration.
  5. A similar study should be carried out in other parts of the country to compare the findings.

Summary of the Study

The problem of this research is whether there is influence of family background on students’ academic performance among senior secondary school students in Oredo L.G.A of Edo state. Although many think that students perform poorly in academic because the teachers did not teach well, some other people believe that this problem is not caused by teachers. They traced the problem to the family background of students which has the capacity to promote or retard students’ achievement.

Bearing this problem in mind, the focus of this study is to find out whether there is any influence of family background on students’ academic performance by examining the influence family background variables like parental education level, parental occupation, parental income level, family size and parental motivation on students’ academic performance.

To Achieve the Objectives:

This study was carried out on fifty three (53) public secondary schools in Oredo L.G.A with a total population of Seven thousand, nine hundred and forty five (7945) students. However, twelve (12) schools were sampled for the study. In each of the twelve schools, senior secondary two (SS2) students formed the subject for the study giving a sample size of eight hundred and sixteen (816) respondents (subjects).

Five research questions and five research hypotheses tested at 0.05 level of significance were used. The instrument for data collection was questionnaire designed by the researcher through the review of related literature and validated by experts. The questionnaire contained twenty six (26) items. Likert-type of scale was used to rate the responses. The reliability of the instrument was established using trial test method. The data were analyzed using mean and standard deviation to answer the research question and t-test statistics to test the null hypothesis at 0.05 level of significance. The results showed that: Students’ academic performance is influenced by parental level of education, parental level of income and parental motivation while parental occupation and family size are not significant determinants of students’ academic performance.

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