Author: Alika, Henrietta Ijeoma
Date published: June 1, 2012
The family is the child's first place of contact with the world. The child as a result, acquires initial education and socialization from parents and other significant persons in the family. Agulana (1999) pointed out that the family lays the psychological, moral, and spiritual foundation in the overall development of the child. Structurally, family/homes is either broken or intact. A broken home in this context, is one that is not structurally intact, as a result of divorce, separation, death of one parent and illegitimacy. According to Frazer (2001), psychological home conditions arise mainly from illegitimacy of children, the label of adopted child, broken home, divorce and parental deprivation. Such abnormal conditions of the home, are likely to have a detrimental effect on school performance of the child he asserts.
Life, in a single parent family or broken home can be stressful for both the child and the parent. Such families are faced with challenges of inadequate financial resources (children defense fund, 1994). Schultz (2006) noted that if adolescents from unstable homes are to be compared with those from stable homes, it would be seen that the former have more social, academic and emotional problems. Scales and Roehlkepartain (2003), are of the opinion that the family and its structure play a great role in children's academic performance. Levin (2001), also states that parents are probably the actors with the clearest undimentional interest in a high level of their children's academic performance. To some extent, there is simple evidence to show that marital instability brings about stress, tension, lack of motivation and frustration. Obviously, these manifestations act negatively on a child's academic performance. Johnson (2005) asserts that children of unmarried parents/separated families often fail and are at risk emotionally. However, this may not be completely applicable in all instances of broken homes. Some children irrespective of home background or structure may work hard and become successful in life. Moreover, Ayodele (2006) stated that the environment where a child finds himself/herself goes a long way in determining his learning ability and ultimately his academic performance in school.
Gender and Academic Performance
The influence of sex (gender) on academic performance has, also, been an issue of concern to most researchers. This is because "gender" appear to have some powerful effect on learning. However, studies by Fausto-Sterling ( 1995) and Friedman (1985) suggest no significant difference in cognitive ability between males and females. Although research results vary widely, the following conclusions have been drawn. Males are more abstract learners, females have more anxiety about study success, males are more intuitive, females are more analytical and organized (Bielinskia & Davidson, 2001). Supporting the finding above Hamilton (1999) finds that boys consistently scored higher than girls on questions requiring knowledge learned outside of schools. On the other hand, Orestein (1995) finds that there is a decrease in confidence and academic risktaking as girls get older. Okoye (1983) postulated that sex differences may have little or no effect on academic performance, rather, he submit that eventual achievement by learners is predicated more on personal effort than sex variable. However, the overall picture suggests that males and females may learn differently.
Socio-economic Status of Parents & Academic Performance
Another factor that may affect academic performance of students is socio-economic background, This background refers to parents' educational attainment, occupation, level of income and social class placement. When a child's needs are not properly addressed, his learning ability could be affected due to lack of motivation. Bliss (2004) is of the view that many students from low socio-economic homes respond uncomprehensively to classroom teaching because their home environment has not exposed them to the kinds of materials used in schools. If home environment is not intellectually stimulating, some students find it difficult to cope in school and may eventually dropout of school. Health (1990) asserts that irrespective of national equality of opportunity, children of parents in higher socio-economic status tend to achieve greater academically than children of parents from lower socio-economic status.
Furthermore, the home has been identified as an overwhelming factor affecting student's performance academically. It would appear, then, that, broken homes may present a very real danger to the emotional, personality, and mental adjustment of the young adolescent. These impinge on students' academic achievement.
There is a global awareness of the importance of the home environment on students' academic achievement. In Nigeria, most homes are not intact as a result of issues of incompactibility of the couples, death of a parent and the quest for oversea trips to make more money, and at times marital infidelity. This has resulted in the separation of couples and children. In some states in the federation, this is quite prevalent, in that most young ladies abandon their homes, and embark on oversea trips with a view to making money. Some men who travel abroad, abandon their homes and would not communicate with families back home, so children from such homes are in a dilemma, especially in terms of adjustment. Ichado (1998) notes that the environment in which the students come from can greatly influence his performance in school. Ajila and Olutola (2007), Nzewuawah (1995) are of a similar opinion that the home environment has been recognized as having a relationship with the academic achievement of students.
The effects of broken homes may impact greatly on the internal organization of the family and by extension, affect a child's emotion, personality and academic achievement. Bearing in mind the role of the family in a child's education, the failure of the family to perform its duties could hinder the child's academic achievement. Any nation that is desirous of advancing technologically will no doubt ensure that the future of her future leaders (the adolescents) is well guided, protected and guaranteed. Efforts would be made by such a nation to ensure that children from broken homes are identified, counselled and encouraged so as to develop their innate potentials, and contribute towards national development. Therefore, there is the need for this study in Nigeria, as the issue of broken homes are with us in the society, moreso, as economic hardship has been seen as a contributory factor to this phenomenon (Ordedi 2001 & UNICEF, 2004). It becomes imperative that a study on the relationship between broken home and student academic achievement should be investigated, in view of the fact that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow. Their academic and emotional well-being, if given the appropriate attention, will go a long way in ensuring that their potentials are harnessed, and put into use for national development
Consequently, the major problem of this study is to determine the relationship between broken homes and students' academic achievement.
Purpose of the Study
The objective of this study is to determine the relationship between broken homes and academic achievement of students, and also to find out the relationship between broken homes and academic achievement of males and females. The study will also determine the relationship between socio-economic status of parents on academic achievement of students from broken homes.
To guide the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated:
1. There is no significant relationship between broken homes and academic performance of secondary school students.
2. There is no significant relationship between gender and academic achievement of secondary school students from broken homes.
3. There is no significant relationship between socio-economic status of parents and academic achievement of students from broken homes.
The study was correlational because the study sought to establish the extent of relationship between the independent variable and the dependent variables. Correlational studies investigates mutual relationships of interdependence between two or more variables, this is what the study was designed to investigate.
The population of the study consists of all adolescents in senior secondary school in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State. This local government area has high concentration of private and public secondary schools.
The sample comprised of 150 students from broken homes, who were volunteers, and from six (6) randomly selected secondary schools in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State. It was observed that certain schools in the population area are either Boys only or Girls only, while others are co-educational (Mixed). The researcher then, adopted the use of stratified random sampling by sharing the schools on this basis into three groups and then selected two schools from each group. However, in selected mixed schools, both sexes were used. This was done to maintain an equal distribution of sample. The research study was restricted to only senior secondary school class, because the researcher felt they are more predisposed to respond to the questionnaire appropriately.
The instrument used was a questionnaire which was designed to elicit information from students on the relationship between broken homes and academic achievement of students. The instrument is based on a four point modified likert scale of strongly agree (SA), Agree (A) Disagree (D), Strongly disagree (SD).The research hypotheses served as the controlling factor in preparing the questionnaire, this was to ensure that the items in the questionnaire reflect on the hypotheses of the study. The questionnaire was made up of three sections:
Section 1 was designed to elicit information on the demographic data of the respondents. Selected students were requested to indicate their sex and whether they are from single parent homes. The academic performance of the students was determined using the Junior School National Examination result scores in their cumulative record folders. Selected students overall performance in ten subjects were computed, and the average score of each student was recorded, this served as a basis for ranking their performance very good, good or poor.
Section 2 was designed to elicit information on the level of academic achievement of both male and female students from broken homes also Junior School National Examination scores were used.
Section 3 was designed to elicit information on the effects of socio-economic status of parents on the academic performance of children from broken homes. The socio-economic status of parents was determined by sending through the respondents a form to their parents to indicate their monthly income, information given by parents was later incorporated into a categorized salary structure based on high, middle and low socio-economic status. This was done in order to obtain an accurate information on income of respondents parents.
Validity of the Instrument
Content validation was carried out in order to determine what proportion of the test items, reflects the expected subject matter content. To this end, experts in the area of study, modified the instrument by removing certain items that were not necessary.
Reliability of the Instrument
To determine the reliability of the questionnaire, it was administered to two groups of senior secondary school students in Oredo Local Government Area, these schools were not included in the study. A two week test re-test reliability method was carried out on the sample. The two weeks interval was to ensure that the respondents do not remember exactly their previous responses and that the traits being measured are relatively stable among respondents in order to show consistency in scores in both tests, hence the use of test retest method. The scores obtained were correlated and the reliability co-efficient of 0.76 was obtained, thus indicating that the instrument was adequate for the study.
Method of Data Collection
The researcher with the aid of three research assistant and teachers from the selected schools administered the instrument, so as to ensure orderliness and honesty. Instruction on how to fill the questionnaire followed their distribution. The respondent filled the questionnaire immediately and returned them on the spot.
The data generated from the study were analyzed by testing the research hypotheses formulated for the study. The statistical method employed was Pearson product moment correlation coefficient (r).
The data collected from the respondents are presented in the table above.
Hypothesis I states that there is no significant relationship between broken homes and academic performance of secondary school students.
Table I shows that when academic achievement was correlated with broken home of secondary school students, academic achievement had an r value of .125 at p < 0.05 which was a negative significant relationship. The r value indicates that there was a negative significant relationship between academic achievement and broken homes. Consequently, the null hypothesis is rejected. This indicates that broken home negatively determine academic achievement of secondary school students which translates to poor academic achievement.
Hypothesis 2: There is no significant relationship between gender and academic achievement of secondary school students.
The table reveals that when sex of students was correlated with academic achievement the r value was .260 at p < 0.05 which shows a significant relationship. Findings indicate that females from broken homes perform better in terms of academic achievement than their male counterparts.
Hypothesis 3: there is no significant relationship between socio-economic status of parents and academic achievement of students from broken homes.
The table reveals that when socio-economic status of parent was correlated with the academic achievement of secondary school students from broken homes it had an r value of .296 at p < 0.05 which shows a significant relationship. This indicates that socio-economic status of parents plays a vital role in determining academic achievement of secondary school students from broken homes. In order words, the higher the economic status of parents the more likely it is that students will perform better in school and the lower the socioeconomic status of parents the less likely it is that students may perform well academically in school.
The study has attempted to investigate the relationship between broken homes and academic achievement of students. The findings showed that there was a negative significant relationship between academic achievement and broken homes. This finding is in agreement with that of Scales and Roehlkepartain (2003) who found that the family and its structure play a great role in students' academic performance. A broken home could be a great obstacle to a student, his ability and maturation to succeed academically. Moreover, this finding is in agreement with that of Ayodele (2006) who asserted that the environment where a child finds himself goes a long way in determining his learning ability and ultimately his academic performance in school.
The study also revealed that there was a significant relationship between gender and academic achievement of students from broken homes. It was found that a higher percentage of males from broken homes have a low academic achievement when compared to females from such homes, with high academic performance. This finding does not agree with that of Fausto-Sterling (1995) and Friedson (1985) who found no significant difference in cognitive ability between males and females. That female from broken homes performed better academically when compared to the males, could be attributed to the assertion that females have more anxiety about study success. As a result of the anxiety to succeed the female child may work harder in order to perform well academically.
The study also revealed that the socioeconomic status of parents determines academic achievement of students from broken homes, because students of single parents with low socio-economic status did not perform well academically. This finding is in line with the findings of Bliss (2004) who found that many students from low socio-economic homes respond uncomprehensively to the lessons teachers try to develop in the classroom, because their home environment has not exposed them to the kinds of materials used in schools. Their home environment is less intellectually stimulating; therefore, they sometimes find it difficult to cope in school. Supporting the finding, Munsincer (1999) found that the socio-economic status of parents may affect students academic achievement, as the purchase of vital school materials, attending good schools, may depend largely on the financial state of the parents because, if there is limited finance to take care of the family, schooling therefore will be affected. This implies that the socio-economic status of parents significantly affects academic achievement of students from broken homes.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The conclusion drawn from this study is that broken homes significantly determines academic achievement of students from such homes. Moreover, it was also found that girls from broken homes perform better in school than boys from broken homes. The study also revealed that the socio-economic status of parents significantly relates to academic performance of students from broken homes. It is recommended that secondary schools should have guidance counsellors, who could counsel students from broken homes, experiencing challenges from home, especially the boys who may be adversely affected as a result of broken homes. Parents should be made to stand up to their responsibilities by making provision for adequate school materials for their wards. There is the need for personal social counselling in group or on individual basis where children with challenges from broken homes are counselled.
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HENRIETTA IJEOMA ALIKA PH.D
Department of Educational Psychology and Curriculum Studies
Faculty of Education
University of Benin
OGBORO SAMSON EDOSA
Department of Educational Psychology and Curriculum Studies
Faculty of Education
University of Benin