Background of the study
Explaining the factors affecting student achievement in various lessons has become a subject that interest a great number of researchers. Studies of this kind are carried out intensively in the field of science, the reason for this is that studies have established that student achievement in the field of science is low.
In Nigeria today there is a high degree of failure among students in their academic work. Inequality of achievement has also been teaching issue. This problem has been attributed to the different social class in Nigeria. To this end, both the government and parents have been trying various avenues to correct these faults, but so far their effort have not yielded any significant results.
Recently, a great number of studies have been carried out to investigate the possible effects of low achievement and to increase students’ learning of the subject. Many variables considered to contribute to low achievement have been discussed. The variables of both cognitive and sensory quality.
Intelligence and achievement tests have played very important roles in modern education because they are sometimes used as sole basis for assignires students to class. They are also used in advising students with respect to causes and vocation guidance and diagnostics procedure and for measuring students’ abilities during research studies.
A further understanding of various factors affecting the performance of the child in the classroom, with a view to increase such performance has been great concern to educators and psychologists over the years (1 paye 1975). Socio-economic status has been to relate in a high positive way to the amount and quality of a person’s education (Warner Havighurst and Loeb 1944). This was perhaps why Jensen (1973) observed that socio-economic status today is largely a matter of educational and occupational status. It means that socio-economic status has direct relevance to and correlation with educational and occupational status.
The school does not and should not function in isolation. It is usually a reflection of the society which it is meant to serve and this has extraneus social forces which influence school outcomes. The ability to succeed does not depend on innate intelligence alone although it may be the most powerful influence in determining the level of student achievement at school (Avotri 1987). Kenneth Eslls et al (1950) also revealed further that significant relationships exist between students’ achievement in school subject and their environment factors.
Psychologists have carried out studies on various aspects of intelligence and have identified various factors that can affect the intelligence of pupils in schools. Some of the factors identified are hereditary and these include genetic characteristic within an individual which inhibit his ability to learn (Taiwo 1968).
Psychologists also believe that environment like hereditary begins to affect the child at the time of conception and continues thereafter till death. Such physical environmental factors include social set up. In general some of the factor affecting the performance of student are: parental background, some location, level of consumption, size of the family, teachers attitudes, sex and student attitude (Anastas 1956).
Studies have been conducted in an effort to identify positive parental influences on academic performance among students. Lavin (1965) as quoted in Erinoso (1984) stated that a long with ability and set, socio-economic status is regarded as a basic correlation of performance.
For instance, if both parents are intelligent, it can be inherited by the child and if it happens that both parents are not intelligent, there is the possibility that the child will be extremely dull.
The educators, psychologists teachers and the policy makers interviewed in Ashaolu (1985) stressed that some parents to a large extent have little concern about the performance and progress of their children in the schools. Some parents do not care about their responsibility and this may lead to low moral and truancy and this may have great effect on pupils academic performance. Both literate and illiterate parent and guidance are quilty of inadequate attention being paid to their children’s school work at home. As a result of this, pupils do not take their school work seriously and this will eventually lead to poor academic performance. Parents and guidance who fall in upbringing of their children cannot expect miracle to be performed in school (Ashaolu 1985).
In a study by Pafford (1973) as quoted in Erinoso (1984) to find the relationship between academic performance in science and father’s occupation. It was observed that children of professional fathers perform at a higher level than do the children of non-professional when individual science courses are considered. This factor leads to the size of the family and the pattern of consumption that is, if the child is deprived of good nutrition he may suffer ill health and even find it difficult to make satisfactory adjustment at school.
According to Anastasi (1956) the family size of the child can also affect the performance of the child. She asserts that a large family at least in certain socio-economic situations would reduce per capital funds available for education, recreation, suitable housing, proper food, medication attention and their environment factors. This means that any reduction in or non availability of the items mentioned above will normally affect the performance of the child in school. Douglas (1964) stated socio-economic background of student has effect on their academic performance in the school. It is agued further that student of higher social class performed letter than those from the lower student from the lower socio-economic class are assumed to engage in domestic works after the school hours. It is assumed that these students have little or no time to do the school work. They performed poorly in the school (Okoro 1988).
Moreover, it is argued that the children from the low socio-economic background are handicapped because there are some facilities that are lacking in their homes to prepare them for the school. This can not be compared with children from the high socio-economic homes who have every opportunity to educational facilities like textbooks comper assisted instruction chalkboard and so on (Okoro 1988).
It is also assumed that the high socio-economic parent employ house help to do the domestic work at homes. Student from the class of high socio-economic status probably have the opportunity of doing the school home work or any assignment given by the teacher and prepare for the next days work in the school. They probably perform better in the school (Okoro 1988)
It has been the view of Ogunlade (1973) Fajuyitan (1978) and Adelusi (1960) that academic aspiration of the school child is positively related to the socio economic status of his parents. This presupposes that the poor performance of a pupil is a function of economic factors like caring from a disadvantaged home. This does not necessary followed because most of the pupil from poor homes always struggle to study hard so that they can become somebody in future.
Teacher characteristics such as background knowledge cognitive development and teaching strategies could also influence the performance of students (Erinoso 1984).
Thompson (1979) report that boys have a more positive attitude towards science then girls. The difference between the attitude of boys and girls may be due to the certain nature of boys and tendency for girls to be shy it cannot be inferred from this study that boys have higher intelligence quotient (I.Q) than the girls.
It is the belief of most people that pupils rather waste time watching the television, ODS, video, movies and programmes that are often of little value to their education. This where parents can function as an effective check on their children. A pupils with low ambition a pupil given to a child limitation of others, a pupil whose attitude to study is generally poor is not likely to perform admirably well in his examination (Ashaolu 1985).
Statement of the Problem
The performance of students in both the internal and external examination in Nigeria has been divindling. This has been a cause of great concern to the stake holders in the educational system. One of the factors that could be responsible for this may be students socio-economic background. Therefore the study sought to investigate how students socio-economic background could influence academic performances of chemistry students.