Parental Socio-Economic Background And Students’ Academic Performance

Project and Seminar Material for Sociology

Parental Socio-Economic Background And Students’ Academic Performance


This study analysed the parental Socio-Economic background and students’ academic performance in Public Senior Secondary Schools in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State, using the descriptive research design and the population of all the teachers and students in the Public Senior Secondary Schools a sample of 40 students and 10 teachers were randomly selected from all the four Public Senior Secondary Schools out of the 13 in Ojo Local Government Area through stratified random sampling.

Data were collected from the sampled schools through the use of questionnaire. Findings reveal significant difference in the academic performance of students from high socio-economic background and those from low Socio-Economic Background; significant relationship between parental moral, financial and material support, parental occupation and students’ academic performance. Sequel to the findings of the study, increased parental and governmental support to enhance students’ academic performance was recommended amongst others.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

A person’s education is closely linked to their life chances, income, and wellbeing (Battle and Lewis 2002), therefore it is important to have a clear understanding of what benefits or hinders one is educational attainment. Several topical areas are mostly commonly linked to academic performance of student, such as school factors, family factors and peers factors. Generally, academic performance is how well a student an individual achieves a set objectives.

School environment factors such as school size, neighborhood and relationship between teacher and student also influence test score (Crosnoe, Johnson and Elder 2004). Also, family background has been found to influence student’s academic performance and socio-economic statues, parental involvement, and family size are particularly important factors (Majoribanks, 2006). Peer influence can also affects student’s performance in that peer pressure and peer conformity can lead to an individual participating in risk taking behavior which has negative effect on academic performance.

Hunt, 2005 and Miller et al, 2005 define social class as literacy of social order or group more or less hereditary but with provision for movement up and down the ladder, all the class are endowed in unequal degree with right and privilege, obligation degree duties in accordance with their position in the social scales. In the Nigerian society, the social class one belongs depends on the educational level, occupation and environmental factors such as circumstance of birth, thus the home becomes and important socializing agent especially in the important socializing agent especially in the early development of the person’s education (Aguokogbuo 2005). At birth an individuals is totally dependent on his/her parent and others grown-up individual in his/her immediate family for guidance. Man is an embodiment of nature and nurture, nature here means biological inheritance from biological parent while nurture is environmental influences. At birth an individual is firmly rooted in or dependent on the parent for socialization process and such a way, social attitude, value norms etc are captured by the individual. According to Locke as cited in Augokogbuo (2005) a man at birth has no innate ideas but rather his mind is tabula rasa (clean slate) thus the original nature of man is neither good or bad but neutrally. A child becomes whatever the society makes of him.

Education is regarded as an important tool for achieving national objective, it is a venture that every society and individual needs. In line with the April 2000 education for all commitment, the Nigerian government in the National Policy for Education (2004) section I, sub-section c posited that every Nigerian child shall have a right o equal educational opportunities irrespective of any real or imagined disabilities each according to his ability.

1.10 Statement of Problem

Low socio-economic status or poverty, which forms a specific culture and way of life, is a growing issue in Nigeria, the number of Nigerians living in poverty is continually increasing, poverty indicates the extent to which an individual does without resources. Resources can include financial, emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical resources as well as support systems, relationship, role model and knowledge of hidden rules. Poverty or low socio-economic directly affects academic achievement due to the lack of resources available for student success.

Low achievement is closely correlated with lack of resources, and numerous studies have documented the correlation between low socio-economic status and low achievement. Even in the United States of America (USA) the gaps in achievement among poor and advantage students are substantial (Rowan 2004).

Through multiple studies, the U.S department of education (2001:8) has indicated result that clearly demonstrated that student and school poverty adversely affected student achievement the US department of education (2001) found the following key findings regarding the effect of poverty on student achievement in a study conducted on third through fifth grade student from 71 high poverty schools. The student scored below norms in all years and grades tested, student who lived in poverty scored significantly worse than other students. Schools with the highest percentage of poor student scored significantly worse initially, but close the gap slightly as time progressed. Similar individual studies have found similar results. In his fiscal 2010 budget proposal; President Obama called for neighborhood modeled after the Harlem children’s zone to improve the lives of their children living poverty (Aaron 2009).

The difference in performance has also been found in the United State of America among students whose parent receives welfare or cash income through the aid of families with independent or private source of income. Also in Nigeria, the performance of secondary student in internal and external examination such as West Africa Examination Council (WAEC), NECO etc in the past five to six years have been abysmal and nothing to write home about, this poor performance has been attributed to poor school facilities, lack of school needed material, poor standard of living and poverty. These are the problems that has warrant this research work, in other to know how this challenges can be tackled and lasting solution to be proffered the roles of the family in promoting the academic performance of their children good standard of living for the people, as well as the provision of adequate learning facilities for our schools.

1.11 Purpose of Study

The purpose of the study is to:

  1. Find out the difference in academic performance between students from poor socio-economic background and those from high socio-economic background.
  2. Find out the extent to which parental moral, financial and material support affects student academic performance.

1.12 Research Question

  1. Is there any significance difference between the performance of student from higher socio-economic background and those from lower socio-economic background?
  2. To what extent does parental moral financial and material support affect the academic performance of students?

1.13 Research Hypothesis

H1: There is no significant difference between the academic performance of student from poor socio-economic background and those from high socio-economic background.

H2: There is no significant relationship between parental moral, financial and material support and student academic performance.

H3: There is no significant difference in parental occupation and student academic performance.

1.14 Significance of the Study

The significance of this study lies in the fact that it will help to look into the effect of the socio-economic status of parent on the academic performance of the secondary school students. It all serves as a clue to the problem of low standard of living and poor academic performance of students in Nigeria. It also helps to make recommendation as to how student from low socio-economic background can be stimulate to achieve better academic performance.

1.15 Scope of the Study

The study will cover the performance of senior secondary school in Ojo local government area and look at the effect of parental status on their academic performance. Hence, research will be restricted to secondary schools in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.16 Limitation to the Study

Due to the limited time available for the research this study will be limited by finance, inavailability of data.

1.17 Definition of Terms


A process of teaching, training learning and transmission of one’s culture, knowledge, skills and information from one generation to another.

Social Class:

Social classification is a large category of people within a system of social stratification who have similar socio-economic statues in relation to other segment of their community or society.


Family is a group of person united by the ties of marriage, blood, adoption, consisting of single households, interacting and intercommunicating with each others in their respective social role of husband and wife, mother and father, brother and sister creating common culture.

Parental Socio-Economic Background And Students’ Academic Performance

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