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Publication: Gender & Behaviour
Date published:
Language: English
PMID: 93409
ISSN: 15969231
Journal code: GNBV

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Over the years, the investigations of the factors that influence academic performance of female students have attracted the interest and concern of teachers, counselors, psychologists, researchers and school administrators in Nigeria (Wiseman, 1973; Sogbetun, 1981). This is because of the public outcries concerning the low standard of education in the countiy (Imoge, 2002). The declining quality of education in the countiy and the breeding of graduates with little technical know-how have resulted in serious setbacks to the industrial development of the nation. Different factors are capable of influencing the academic performance of female students. Such factors may be the student's internal state and other environment factors like; availability of suitable learning environment, adequacy of educational infrastructure like textbooks and well-equipped laboratories, and so on (Eamon, 2005).

The home has a great influence on students' psychological, emotional, social and economic state. In the view of Ajila & Olutola (2007), the state of the home affects the individual since the parents are the first socializing agents in an individual's life. This is because the family background and context of a female child affect her reaction to life situations and his level of performance. Although the school is responsible for the experiences that make up the individual's life during school periods, yet parents and the individual's experiences at home play tremendous roles in building the personality of the child and making the child what she is (Uwaifo, 2008). Thus, Ichado (1998) concluded that the environment from which a student comes from can greatly influence their performance at school.

In the same vein, Wiseman (1973), Sogbetan (1981) and Hassan (1983) among others have examined the causes of poor academic performance among female secondary school students. Some of the factors identified are intellectual ability, poor study habit, achievement motivation, lack of vocational goals, low self-concept, low socio-economic status of the family, poor family structure and anxiety. The consequences of these include indiscipline in schools and low level of educational standard.

Family Educational Background and Socio-Economic Status

Family background plays major role in students' life and outside of the school, is the most important influence on student learning and include factors such as socioeconomic status, two-parents versus singleparent households, divorce, parenting practice and aspirations, maternal characteristics, family size and neighborhood (Majoribanks, 1996). The environment at home is a primaiy socialization agent and influences a child's interest in school and aspirations for the future (Bali, 2003).

The socio-economic status of the parents is most often determined by their educational level, occupational status and income level (Jeynes, 2002). Studies have revealed that socio-economic status of parents affect students academic achievement (Jeynes 2002; Eamon 2005; Majoribanks 1996 & Hochschild 2003) Students from rich family background have been found to perform better in internal and external examinations than their colleagues from poor family background (Bali, 2003). It is believed that low economic status of parents negatively affects academic achievement of their children because it prevents student access to vital resources and creates additional stress at home (Eamon 2005; Majoribanks 1996 & Jeynes 2002).

Socio-Economic Stratification in the Society

It is assumed that the society is divided into different strata based on the possession of social and economic resources. The stratum which an individual occupies in this socioeconomic stratification represents his social class. Status based on socio-economic factors represents one of the major systems of stratification. Social stratification arises out of the recognition that in all societies, people are ranked or evaluated at a number of levels. Social class is common to most societies, ancient or modern. Following the idea of Maxweber, socio-economic status is usually determined by wealth, power and prestige. Generally, when comparing and evaluating people we rank those who are wealthy in terms of material possessions, type and size of house, area of residence, and number of cars, quality of clothes. Wealth is strongly correlated with education and occupation and when socio-economic status is measured these other factors are usually included. Hence in any society, there is social stratification that is the organization of society in hierarchical order which deals with inequality in society in terms of services, obligation, power and prestige (Morrish, 1977).

In a study conducted by Asikhia (2010) on effect of socio-economic status of parents on academic achievement, it was revealed that the Nigerian society is divided into two major strata:

1. High socio-economic status (HSES) - consists of upper and middle classes - the 'rich'.

2. Low socio-economic status (LSES) - consists of lower class - the 'poor'.

In terms of rearing children, middle class parents are probably more permissive, that is democratic, while the lower class parents are more rigid, that is autocratic. Reasons for these atributes could be traced to the level of education and nature of work or personal experience (Asikhia 2010).

Types of Discipline at Home

Research works have shown that nature of parental discipline affect academic output of children (Aremu, 2000). Parents, in their bid to instill discipline in their children, have been found to be authoritative, democratic or permissive. Children whose parents are authoritative more than not live in constant fear of such parents and might most likely transfer such fear to other aspects of their academic life. Aremu and Oluwole (2000) found that the degree of self-efficacy and anxiety manifest by learners determine their academic performance. On the other hand, children from permissive homes are too complacent, unmotivated, and lack personal will to succeed. The democratic style of parenting has been found to be veiy helpful to teaching-learning situation (Asikhia, 2010). Here, children receive punishment that is commensurate with the offence committed. Such children are strong willed and ready for success.


Research Type

The study adopted descriptive research design of ex-post facto. This research design allowed the researcher to find out the effect of socio-economic status of parents on educational attainment of secondary school students in Rivers state, Nigeria. Socio-economic status of parents stands as the independent variable while educational attainment served as the dependent variable.

Population / Sample

The populations of this study comprised 30 male parents, 41 female parents and 24 academic staff which comprised 20 teachers and 4 principals. Thus, the total participants were 95 and they were randomly selected from the following communities: Akabte, Erema and Eginta in Egbema / Ogba Ndoni Local Government of Rivers state.

Psychometric Properties

The psychometric properties of the instruments are based on the validity and reliability of the research instrument.

Validity: Content validity was obtained for the instrument through the help of professionals in the Department of Counseling Education, Measurement and Evaluation in Lead City University. These persons ascertained that the instruments measured what it was expected to measure.

Reliability: Test-retest was conducted for twenty participants in Ogbo community in Ahoada East Local Government in Rivers state and reliability coefficient of 0.783 was obtained for student achievement scale.


For the purpose of this study, students academic achievement scale (SAAS) was constructed and used by the researcher to measure the effect of socio-economic status of parents on educational achievement of secondary school students.

Students Academic Achievement Scale (SAAS)

The scale was constructed by the researcher and it comprised 25 items with response format ranging from Strongly Agree, Agree, Strongly Disagree and Disagree. The items measured through this scale include the following; financial status of the parents, effect of broken homes, interest of parents in academic achievement of their children, parents-children relationship, educational status of the parents. Other factors such as peer group influence, teachers-pupils relationship were also measured. The scale measured how these variables affect the academic achievement of the secondaiy school students.


The instruments were administered on the participants in the various communities in the local government used for the study in Rivers state. The researcher with the aid of four trained research assistants administered the instruments on the participants in their various communities. This facilitated easy collection of the instruments, the administration of the questionnaire lasted four weeks.

Data Analysis

The hypotheses raised for the study were tested at 0.05 level of significance. Chi-square statistical analyses were used to test the hypotheses raised for the study

Hypothesis: 1

Ho: There is no significant effect of financial status of parents on educational attainment of female secondaiy school students.

Hi: There is significant effect of financial status of parents on educational attainment of female secondary school students.


At 0.05 level of significance, 6 degree of freedom the tabulated chi-square value X2 - tab = 285


Since X2cal < χ 2 tab = 26.681 < 12.59, we reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternative hypotheses which says that financial status of parents have significant effect on educational attainment of students.

Hypotheses Two:

H0 : There is no significant effect of educational status of parents on educational attainment of female secondary school students.

H2 : There is significant effect of educational status of parents on educational attainment of female secondary school students.


At 0.05 level of significance, 6 degree of freedom the tabulated chi-square value X2 - tab = 12.59 DECISION RULE

Since the calculated chi-square value is less than the tabulated value X2 calculated < x2 tab 21.17 < 12.59. We reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternative hypothesis which says that educational status of parents has significant effect on educational achievement of their children.

Discussion of Findings

The finding of the study shows that financial status of parents has significant effect on the educational attainment of their female children. The finding tallies with the report of Asikhia (2010) that the children from well-to-do families show superior cognitive abilities, competence and other similar skills while those from poor families exhibit poor performance in their educational attainment.

The finding shows that educated parents focus more attention on the educational development of their female children than the children of the less privilege. This agrees with the view of Ezewu and Okoye (1981) who asserted that educated parents tend to show more concern over their children's poor performance at school either by teaching them in those subjects where they are veiy weak or they engage the services of private teachers at home for their children.

The finding shows that poor academic performance of the female students is also traceable to poor methods of teaching, lateness to school, and unsavoiy comments about student's performance that could damage their ego. The finding correlates with (Asikhia, 2010) who opined that students' responses to their studies and teachers' attitude to their official duties was traceable to poor performance of students in their internal and external examinations.

The study revealed that laziness on the part of the teachers often lead to poor performance of the female students, this tallies with the view of (Asikhia, 2010) that the quality of service rendered by an unmotivated teacher could affect academic achievement of learners.


Parents' educational background could affect the children success in school. Therefore there is need for parents to realize the important of education and the roles they are expected to play in the actualization of better academic achievement or outcome of their children.


Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations have been proffered:

There is the need to keep enlightening the parents of the importance of the home structure on the life of the children. This is necessaiy so that parents can understand the implications and consequences of parental separation and thus mobilize all resources to curtail the problems arising from the situations. Parents should understand the psychological development of their children and they should provide cognitive stimulating environment for the children. Parents should imbibe learning-enrichment and achievement-sustaining behaviors to be able to help their female children acquire the same.

Generally, there is the need for Federal and State Government to make education free from primaiy school to tertiary institutions. This will give the female children from less privilege homes the opportunity to acquire basic primaiy education to university level.

The parents as well as the government should engage in programmes that can motivate the female students to improve their academic performance. It is therefore hoped that these findings will serve as resource materials for parents, government and other stakeholders who are concerned with the academic progress of the students.


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Author affiliation:

Okoji Onweazu Olufemi

Department of Educational Management

Lead City University, Ibadan


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