Publication: Ife Psychologia
Date published:
Language: English
PMID: 93408
ISSN: 11171421
Journal code: FPSY


Parental educational level is known as a factor positively related to children's academic achievement (Grissmer, Kirby, Berends & Williamson, 1994). The family is the main factor influencing the lives and outcomes of students (Okantey, 2008). The educational level of parent is a powerful factor influencing children's academic success. It has been established that generally, the educational level of parents is greatly connected to the educational Attainment of their children (Sarigiani, 1990).

Parents play an immense and significant role in the academic performance of their children. Educated parents would have increased emphasis on educational excellence. Educated parents are equipped by virtue of their education to take cognizance of the fact that parent- student- school- community relationship is important in order to promote educational attainment and academic achievement of their children and so they make the partnership a priority (Okantey, 2008).

Douglas (1964) concluded in his research that the attitudes of children given encouragement via their parents, particularly the educated ones are better. Similarly, Musgrave (1983) established that parents who visit the school often and wish their children to enjoy diversity and protected education in general, give an enhancement to their children's educational programme and it is particularly the educated parents who could confidently visit their children's schools without feeling intimidated or timid. It is

worthy of note, however, that there is an exception to everything, so to all the point raised previously, there is bound to be an exception in terms of individual learner. Ezewu (1987) found that one of the reasons for poor performance in 1985 by secondary school pupils in Nigeria was "poor learner characteristics" which he identified in terms of attitudes, enthusiasm, self concept as well as study habit.


The educational levels as well as income of parents are interconnected; this is because educated parents by virtue of their educational background possess the potential for increased income. Thus, educated parents have the capacity to build bridges out of poverty and benefit from better quality of life (Okantey, 2008). Parental education which leads to good income empowers parents to give their children a solid foundation for school and life success and enables them to build up strong partnerships between parents and schools in order to sustain achievement standards. It also heightens parents' feelings of competence and confidence in guiding their children's education (Okantey, 2008).

Wilson, Smeeding and Haveman (2007) said that parental education andoccupational class are more strongly associated with student's educational attainment. It has been put forward that parents of high socio-economic status have more positive attitudes towards their children's schooling and have high expectations for the children since they have the economic empowerment to buy the advantages that money can buy. Money may encourage or discourage going to school. The children from comfortable homes eats balanced diet and thus have a good health. Again, the values he/she is exposed to at home are similar to the ones he finds in school and therefore he is able to adjust easily to school life. A feeling of belonging to a comfortable social school environment further helps him/her to show his best. Payne, (1998) believes that students from poverty lack cognitive strategies needed to be successful in the educational system. Conger and Elder (1994) asserts that families at a variety of income levels who suffer economic stress of any kind are more likely than families that are not economically stressed to experience depression, marital clashes and to be harsh with their children which points to the fact that, poverty and economic stress are associated with parent- child conflict which leads to poorer grades and weakens emotional and social growth. The disparity in home learning environment of higher and lowerincome children is a reason for nearly half of the effect income on the achievement scores of preschool children (Klebanor, 2002).

Ezewu and Okoye (1981) found that educated parents who most often fall into high or middle- socio- economic class families tend to show more concern over their children's poor performance at school either by teaching them in those subjects in which they performed poorly or they appoint lesson teachers to further coach them. Even if non educated parents who most likely fall into the low- socio- economic status families were worried over their children's poor performances at school, they are not always able to coach their children as they themselves had little or no education and they may not have the financial capacity to hire lesson teachers for their children.

Ezewu (1990) said that on the average, children from high socioeconomic status homes which most likely are the homes with educated parents are more likely to achieve better outcomes at schools. Children from high socio-economic status families are likely to improve on their academic achievement even if they have been performing poorly before because they can be provided with the incentive to do better.


Parents who have a high level of education tend to have higher aspirations and higher education plans for their children than lower or non educated parents (Sarigiani, 1990). Family environments are very significant in controlling the aspirations of children (Wilson, 1992). Swift (1973) asserted that parental stance towards children's education was found to account for 26% of the variation in education performance. Okoli sighting Taiwo (1981) said clearly that the function of the home in education is clear, it is to lay the foundation, moral, spiritual and intellectual on which the children are to build upon latter in life which implies that unless the foundation laid by the home is sound and solid, the school would have nothing to build upon and the child could later become a problem not only to his parents but also to the community.

The children of the educated group are liable than the children of the lower or non educated groups to have higher aspirations and higher education plans (Wilson, 1992). Parents accounted that their obligation to educational value is having a direct impact on their children's educational aspirations (Okantey, 2008). Research has shown that academic aspiration of schoolchildren is positively related to the standing of their parents. This is so because children tend to imitate their parents and so aspire to be as highly educated as their parents. There is an indication that children of parents with high level of education are likely to follow the modern ideas while the children from parents with low level of education are likely to follow old tradition i.e. not to appreciate the value of education (Matanmi, 1989).

The study of Ezewu et al (1981) showed that more pupils from high socio-economic status groups which usually fall into the well educated groups aspire for highly rated professions such as medical profession, etc in Nigeria more than the lower socioeconomic status groups which mostly fall into the low or non educated groups. Children are on the other way round at a disadvantage when their parents have a lower education as well as this could possibly form a cycle of uneducated family members making every generation of the family not to go much higher than the previous parent owing to the aspirations shown to them by their parents. Children of more highly educated families are more ambitious and attain higher levels of education.



The respondents in this study were selected from population of SSl and SS2 students, their teachers, and parents from six (6) secondary schools in Ogun state, Nigeria. The samples were picked from schools which emerged from a stratified and simple random sampling technique. A total number of two hundred and sixty (260) respondents from six

(6) randomly selected secondary schools from Yewa North, Ifo, and Abeokuta Local Government Areas all in Ogun State, Nigeria formed the sample for this study. One government school and one private school were selected from each of the three local government areas.


Survey research was used for this study.


Data collected through the use of questionnaires were three types, i.e. Students' questionnaire, Teacher's questionnaire as well as Parent's questionnaire. They sought information like: educational qualifications/ level of parents, family size; number of children at home; the parent- child interactions, etc., their performance in the JSSCE exams and last three terms' exams, etc.


GenStat Software Version 11 for windows was used to generate the relevant Chi- square test values in the analysis of the responses/ data.


Hypothesis One

Ho: There is no significant relationship between parents income group and school success.

Table 1: Response of Three Groups: Teachers, Parents and Students on the Relationship between Parent's Income Group and school success.

Chi-square test for association between C2 and C3

Pearson chi-square value is 46.98 with 2 d.f.

X^sup 2^ Calculated Value = 46.98

X^sup 2^ Table Value = 5.99

Degree of Freedom (DF) = 2

Significant level = 0. 05

From the table above, the X^sup 2^ calculated value (46.98) is greater than X^sup 2^ table value (5.99) at significant level of 0.05 with degree of freedom (DF)=2. Therefore the null hypothesis is rejected. This shows that there is a significant relationship between parents' income group and students' school outcomes.

Hypothesis Two

Ho: There is no significant relationship between parents' educational background and

students' academic achievement.

Table 2: Response of Three Groups, Teachers, Parents and Students on The Relationship Between Parents' Educational Background and Students' Academic success.

Chi-square test for association between C2 and C3

Pearson chi-square value is 25.24 with 2 d.f.

X^sup 2^ Calculated Value = 25.24

X^sup 2^ Table Value = 5.99

Degree of Freedom (DF) = 2

Significant level = 0. 05

From the above table, the X^sup 2^ calculated value (25.24) is greater than X^sup 2^ table value (5.99) at significant level of 0.05 and degree of freedom (DF) =2. Therefore, the null hypothesis is rejected. This implies that there is a significant relationship between parents' educational background and students' academic performance.


This study has revealed from Teachers, Parents and Students views that parental education attainment has a great effect on students' outcome. This is in corroboration with the findings of Okantey (2008) who said that the family is the main factor influencing the lives and outcomes of students. This study also shows that the higher the income of parents, the more likely it motivates its children to learn at school and consequently to succeed in learning which corroborates with the assertion of Ezewu et al (1981) who said that educated parents who most often fall into high or middle-socio-economic class families tend to show more concern over their children's performance thereby encouraging better academic outcomes. Wilson et al (2007) also agreed that parental education and occupational class are more strongly associated with student's educational attainment.


Parents' educational background could affect the children's success in school. Therefore, there is need for parents to realize the importance of education and the role they are expected to play in the actualization of better academic achievement/ outcomes of their children.


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Conger, R. D., Ge, X., Elder, Jr., G.H., Lorenzo, F.O., & Simons, R. L. (1994). Economic Stress, coercive family process, and developmental problems of adolescents. Child Development, 65, 541-561.

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Okoli, J. F. (2004). Influence of Parental S ocio -Economic Status on Academic Achievement of Students in mathematics. (Unpublished M.Ed Thesis) University of Lagos.

Payne, R. (1998). A Framework For Understanding Poverty. Highlands: RFT Publishing

Sarigiani, P.A. (1990). Review of Child Development Research, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Klebanor, K.P. (2002). Neighbourhood Effects and Cultural Exclusion, Bauder Urban Studies.

Wilson, K., Smeeding, T., and Haveman, R., (2007). A Glimpse Inside the Black Box-of Social Mobility. October, 2007.

Author affiliation:

Olanike S. Nicholas-Omoregbe*

College of Human Development

Covenant University

Author affiliation:

* Mobile Phone/Email Address: +234 803 241 121 8/

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