The Impact Of Parental Socio-Economic Status On Nursery School Pupils’ Academic Achievement

Project and Seminar Material for Child and Basic Education

The Impact Of Parental Socio-Economic Status On Nursery School Pupils’ Academic Achievement


Although the government provides trained teachers and Education funds to each pupil in public schools, disparities have continued to exist in academic performance in each school. Academic achievement of pupils in Nigeria has remained low in comparison with other neighbouring countries, yet studies linking poor performance with socio economic status of parents in this particular area are limited. The purpose of this study was to establish the impact of parents’ socio economic status on nursery school pupils’ academic achievement particularly in Ogun State. The objectives were to establish the impact of marital status of parents, determine the impact of education level of parents, establish the impact of income level of parents, and to determine the impact of occupation type of parents on pupils’ academic achievement. It was conceptualized in the study that pupils’ academic achievement depends on socio economic status of parents. Descriptive survey and correlational research designs were adopted for the study. Target population was 50 head teachers, 53 class teachers, and 2340 parents whose children were enrolled in class. Through Yamane’s formula, a sample size of 44 head teachers and 46 class teachers was selected. Random sampling was used to select 40 parents. Questionnaire was used on head teachers and class teachers, while interview schedule was used on parents whose children are in class. Reliability of the instruments was determined by test re-test method whereby head teachers questionnaire had a coefficient of .78 and teachers questionnaire was .83 at p- value of .05. Validity was determined by experts from educational management and foundations. Quantitative data was analyzed by use of frequency counts, means, percentages, and regressions analysis. Qualitative data was transcribed and analysed. The study established that marital status had moderate impact on pupils’ academic achievement, indicated by an overall mean of 2.96. Parental level of education and income level have positive impact on pupils’ academic achievement, accounting for 25% and 20% change in achievement respectively. Occupation type of parents had high impact on pupils’ academic achievement, indicated by an overall mean of 3.84. The study concluded that parental socio economic status moderately impacts nursery school pupils’ academic achievement. It is recommended that single parents should inculcate discipline among their children to control truancy behaviour among them so as to enhance their academic achievement. The study findings are of significance to school administrators, policy makers, and parents on ways of contributing to students’ academic achievement.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Successful learning in a child is dependent upon many factors. Similarly, child development involves multiple interactive systems of impact and dynamic interactions between the child, the education system, and wider social contexts over time (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW, 2012). From a broader perspective, education is represented as a shared responsibility between parents, educators, governments and others, rather than being the exclusive domain of schools. Socio economic status of parents is vital for pupils’ academic achievement since children look up-to their parents for guidance, protection and motivation to live a great life (Ntitika, 2014).

It has been argued that children brought up in less favourable conditions obtain less education, despite the large financial returns attributed to schooling (Heckman & Masterov, 2005). Indeed, there is a large correlation between the education level of parents and their children (Björklund & Salvanes, 2011). De Lange, Dronkers, and Maarten (2014) investigated the impact of single family parent forms on children’s educational performance among secondary school students from European countries using Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The study revealed that there is impact of form of family on educational performance:

Students living in single-mother families’ score nearly 14 points lower than students living with a mother and father, while those living with a mother plus guardian score on average 10 points lower. On the other hand, Abudu and Fuseini (2013) examined the impact of single parenting on pupils’ academic performance with a focus on whether academic performance differed between child from single parents’ home and those from two parent homes. Data analysis involved using cross tabulation and t – test. The results showed that there is a significant difference between the academic performance of pupils from single parent homes and those from two parent homes. The main conclusion drawn from this study is that single parenting has negative impact on a child’s academic performance. However, both studies did not focus on how other aspects of marital status (like being widowed, separated, or divorced) other than single parents impact academic achievement. Moreover, the gender of the single parent could also impact academic achievement of the child. The current study assessed the impact of various aspects of socio economic status of parents on pupils’ academic achievement.

Chevalier, Harmon, O’ Sullivan, and Walker (2013) investigated the relationship between early school-leaving and parental education and income using UK Labour Force Survey data- a quarterly survey of households in the U.K. Using children aged 16 to 18 living at home, so as to match parental information to the child’s record only when children are living with their parents. They found that, when using paternal occupation as instrumental variables, the results showed that one year of paternal education increases the probability of his daughter staying on in school by seven percent. In contrast, maternal education has no statistically significant impact on the probability of remaining in education for either sons or daughters.

A similar study in Malaysia by Jabor, Krissana, Kungu, Yahya, and Mohd (2011) sought to determine if parent educational status impacts the achievement in high school science.

This study utilized the student’s grade point average (GPA) for science during high school years to measure achievement. It was found that majority of graduating high school students were either parent graduate from college. Most of graduating students attended public schools. Most graduating high school students had better than C grade in science. “Either Parent College Graduate” students had higher GPA scores on science than the scores of “Neither Parent College Graduate” students. The study concluded that parents play an important role in their children’s learning. Aside from being actively involved in their children’s education, parents also provide a home environment that can affect learning. Parents serve as a model for learning, determine the educational resources available in the home and hold particular attitudes and values towards education.

It is, however, critical to note that the two studies reviewed did not indicate the level of academic achievement that a pupil is capable of attaining due to a particular parental educational level. There was therefore need to compare the academic achievement of pupils under the lenses of particular education levels of their parents.

Dahl and Lochner (2012) used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) and the main NLSY sample of mothers to assess the impact of family income on child achievement over the last two consecutive years. The sample size composed of 4,412 interviewed children born to 2,401 interviewed mothers. Achievement was measured through scholastic performance in math and reading based on standardized scores on Peabody Individual Tests (PIAT). It was found that a $1,000 increase in income raises combined math and reading test scores by 6 percent of a standard deviation in the short run. Test gains are larger for children from disadvantaged families and robust to a variety of alternative specifications. On the other hand, Lacour and Tissington (2011) reviewed multiple studies by the U.S. Department of Education to assess the effect of poverty on academic achievement of students. The focus was on third through fifth grade students from 71 high-poverty schools.

Their findings confirmed results from similar individual studies in the U.S., that: students scored below norms in all years and grades tested; students who lived in poverty scored significantly worse than other students; schools with the highest percentages of poor students scored significantly worse.The two studies, however, have not indicated how particular income level of parents is able to affect pupils’ academic performance; that is, indicators of academic achievement that can be impacted by specific income levels. The current study sought to appropriately bridge this gap through a survey in Ogun state.

Furthermore, the relationship between occupation of parents and academic achievement has also been investigated, although results seem not to have been consistent. Castillo, Ruiz, Chillón, Jiménez-Pavón, Esperanza-Díaz, Moreno, and Ortega (2011) examined the associations between parental occupational levels and cognitive performance in Spanish adolescents. Cognitive performance was measured by a validated Scholar Aptitudes test in 2,162 participants. Parental occupational levels were found to be positively associated with all specific cognitive abilities and the overall score (p< 001 to .04). The odds ratios were 1.9 to 2.4 times higher for adolescents with high parental occupational level. These findings suggest an association between parental educational/occupational levels and cognitive performance in Spanish adolescents and support the parents’ role in the creation of a stimulating intellectual environment. Similarly, Akinsanya, Ajayi, and Salomi (2011) investigated the relative effects of parents’ occupation, among other variables, on students’ achievements in senior secondary school Mathematics in Ogun State, Nigeria. The study employed ex-post facto type of research and the sample was selected using the multi-stage sampling technique. Two thousand four hundred students from 60 selected schools in nine local government areas within Ogun State, Nigeria were involved and two research instruments namely; Students’ Questionnaire; (r = 0.81) and Mathematics Achievement Test; (r = 0.84) were used. Data were analyzed using multiple regression at a 0.05 level of significance. The result reveals that parents’ occupation has significant impact on the academic achievement of students in Mathematics while the effect of academic motivation had the least effect among the variables which exerted significant effects on students’ academic achievement in Mathematics.

Critical to note from the two studies (Akinsanya, et al., 2011 & Castillo, et al., 2011) is that they havenot revealed the impact of occupation of parents on children’s academic achievement in their respective areas of study. It is however essential to note that similar studies need to be done in places like Ogun state, owing to the fact that academic achievement of pupils has remained low compared to other states in Kisumu County. The need to focus upon Ogun state thus informed the present study.

The performance achieved by pupils in the 6 states (Seme, having been created in 2013, is left out of the study) indicate that Ogun state has the lowest mean score between 2011 and 2014 without any concrete explanation to support it. These disparities exist despite the fact that the Nigeria Government has been posting trained teachers to both regions in proportion to the number of enrolled learners. In addition, Education funds are being disbursed to each school in proportion to enrollment in each school, to finance education of each child. These have ameliorated parents from the burdens of paying for the child’s education hence each pupil is expected to attend class lessons with minimum failure or inconveniences.

Although researchers (Ntitika, 2014; Abudu and Fuseini, 2013; Dahl and Lochner, 2012; Akinsanya, et al., 2011) have revealed that there is some relationship between parental socio economic variables and academic achievement of pupils, the same has not been established in areas like Ogun state. Itwas therefore important to establish the impact of parental socio-economic status on nursery school pupils’ academic achievement

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Studies have revealed that socio economic status of parents like marital status, level of education, level of income, and occupation impact pupils’ academic achievement. For instance, father’s education level has been found to have the potential of influencing academic achievement. Students’ academic performance remains a top priority for educators. It is meant for making a difference locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Educators, trainers, and researchers have long been interested in exploring variables contributing effectively to equal or unequal performance of learners. These variables are inside and outside the school and they affect students’ quality of academic performance. The factors may be termed as student factors family factors, school factors and peer group factors (Crosnoe, Johnson, & Elder, 2014). Besides other factors, socioeconomic status is one of the most researched and debated factor among educational professionals that contribute positively or negatively to the academic performance of students. The most prevalent argument is that socioeconomic status of learners affects the quality of their academic performance.

Most of the experts argue that the low socioeconomic status has negative effect on the academic performance of students because the basic needs of students remain unfulfilled as a result they do not perform better academically (Adams, 2016). But in the other way around, scholars also maintained that students or children from rich home or well to do family are not always academically sound because of the over petting from their home or family.
It was against this background that the core problem for this research emanates. The problem is to the impact of parental socio-economic status on nursery school pupils’ academic achievement.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to investigate the impact of parental socio-economic status on nursery school pupils’ academic achievement.

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study were to:

  1. Establish the impact of marital status of parents on academic achievement of nursery school pupils.
  2. Determine the impact of parental level of education on academic achievement of nursery school pupils.
  3. Establish the impact of income level of parents on academic achievement of nursery school pupils.
  4. Determine the impact of occupation type of parents on pupil’s academic achievement in primary schools.

1.5 Research Questions

For the researcher to achieve the objectives of the study, the following questions were answered:

  1. What is the impact of marital status of parents on academic achievement of nursery school pupils?
  2. What is the impact of parental level of education on academic achievement of nursery school pupils?
  3. What is the impact of income level of parents on academic achievement of nursery school pupils?
  4. How does occupation type of parents impact academic achievement of nursery school pupils?

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study was confined to public schools in Ogun state which have. The study focused on the impact of marital status, level of education, income level, and occupation type of parents on academic achievement of pupils inOgun State.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

Some teachers might have feared giving out information about socio economic status lest they are judged to be disclosing confidential information. This was countered by assuring them of the confidentiality of the information they gave.

1.8 Significance of the Study

Good academic achievement is a concern of every parent. By highlighting socio economic status which might impact academic achievement of pupils, parents would be in a better position to adjust or improve their attitude (character change), thus help in improving pupils ‘academic achievement. Similarly, teachers, having an insight about socio economic status of parents (of pupils who they teach) based on the findings of the study, could develop suitable strategies to ensure that home environment does not disrupt class achievement of learners. This study is also significant to the management of primary schools in that by understanding parental socio economic status and how the same relate with academic achievement of pupils, they might design intervention measures to aid achievement of good grades.

Policy formulators would also benefit from the findings of this study. By highlighting socio economic status which seriously impact academic achievement of pupils, policies might be formulated which cushion learners from negative effects of such relationship. Finally, this study is significant to the academia in two ways. First, recommendations for further research that the researcher offered provide a new area or new areas to be studied. Secondly, this study adds to the body of research on factors that impact academic achievement of pupils, and the findings provide new knowledge in the relationship between home environment and academic achievement of pupils.

1.9 Definitions of Terms

Academic Achievement:

Means knowledge and skills acquired in the eight years of study measured in mean scores in NPCE examinations.

Income Level:

The approximated amount of earnings (measured in terms of money) on a monthly basis by a parent.

Parental Socio Economic Status:

Refer to education level, marital status, income level, and occupation type of a parent which impact pupils’ academic achievement.

Occupational Type:

Career of a parent.


Nigerian Primary Certificate examination

Chapter Five

Summary of Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

This section presents the summary of the study findings, conclusions as well as recommendations for improvement in academic achievement of pupils and areas for further research.

5.2 Summary of Findings

The purpose of this study was to establish the impact of parents’ socio-economic status on nursery school pupils’ academic achievement. Socio economic status of parents was measured with regard to parental marital status, education level, income level, and occupation type. The following is the summary of the study findings:

5.2.1 Marital Status of Parents and Academic Achievement

Marital status of parents had a moderate impact on pupils’ academic achievement with an overall mean of 2.96. Parents interviewees indicated that textbook and other learning materials that parents provide promote learning because learning continues in the absence of a teacher. This is only realized when mother and father living together put in effort to assist the learner at their income.

5.2.2 Education Level of parent and Academic Achievement

Parents interviewees indicated that noticing areas where their children had difficulties at personal level looked and purchased relevant books and other learning materials which were easy to read and understand. This helped their children in improving academic performance in subjects which were previously difficult.

5.2.3 Income Level of Parent and Academic Achievement

Parental income level explains 20% of variations in pupils academic achievement and parents interviewees indicated that they normally work for longer hours without getting much time tom guide their children during homework so that we might be in a position to provide food and other basic needs for the upkeep of the family.

5.2.4 Occupation type of Parents and Academic Achievement

Parental occupation type had a high impact on pupil’s academic achievement with an overall mean of 3.49. Parents’ interviewee indicated that parents often wake up very early in the morning to go to their jobs and return late at night, probably when the children are asleep. Such parents hardly have time to monitor academic performance of their children.

5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of the study the following conclusions were made; –

  1. Marital status had moderate impact on pupils’ academic achievement. In this respect dual parenthood had high impact on pupils’ academic achievement while separate, single, divorced and widowed had moderate impact.
  2. Parental education level accounted for 25% variation in pupils academic achievement. Nevertheless, it was a significant predictor of pupils’ academic achievement.
  3. Parental income level accounted for 20% of variation in pupils academic achievement and was a significant predictor.
  4. Parental occupation type had a high impact on pupils academic achievement, with Banking, law, teaching, medical, farming having high impact while vending had moderate impact on pupils.

5.4 Recommendations

Based on the findings and the conclusions of the study the following recommendations were made;

  1. With regard to the finding that marital status impact moderately pupils academic achievement and that dual parenthood enhances pupils performance by providing textbooks and other learning resources, the study recommends that parents should be advised by head teachers to double their effort in enhancing pupils academic performance, while single, widowed, separated and divorced parents should be advised to pay special attention to pupils studies by providing the basic requirements like extra textbooks and other resources required for enhancement of pupils performance.
  2. In view of the findings that parental level of education accounted for 25% of the variation in pupils’ achievement, parents had a minimum academic achievement, the study recommended that, parents be encouraged by the head teachers and teachers to fully provide academic guidance and counselling to their school going children with a view to going beyond their parents level of education. Furthermore, the highly educated be encouraged to serve as role models to the pupils.
  3. In view of the findings that parental level of income accounted for 20% variation in pupils’ achievement the study recommended that, parents be advised by the teachers
    and head teachers to invest more in their children’s education by using the income to provide promptly the education resources required by their children to perform better.
  4. With regard to the finding that parental occupation type had high impact onpupils’ academic achievement. The study recommended that, parents of different occupation type be advised by the head teachers, teachers and school boards to encourage their children to understand what entails different occupations in terms of talents and encourage them to enhance performance that will enable them to achieve their dreams.

5.5 Recommendation for Further Research

The study exposed the following areas that require further studies.

  1. Impact of single parenting on pupils’ academic performance. This study is required because during interviews there were contradictory revelations on single parenting and pupil discipline.
  2. Impact of parental occupation on pupils’ academic performance. The study should focus on ranking of occupation type on impact of pupils’ academic performance. This is because the current study did not seek to establish the degree of impact across occupation type with a view to generating a model.

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