This research work was a comparative study of student’s performance in mathematics among students from wealthy home and poor home background. The primary objective of this research was to investigate the influence of home background on academic performance of Ekiti Metropolis students in mathematics. The research methodology utilizes Spearman Correlation coefficient in the analysis and synthesizing of primary sources of data collected via questionnaire and Academic records, as well as diverse literature on the area of study. To test the hypotheses (1 and 2), the Spearman Correlation was applied to test if financial status of parents is significantly correlated with students’ academic achievement in mathematics and if Parents educational background is significantly correlated with students’ academic achievement in mathematics. However, the findings revealed that there is a significant relationship between Parent’s financial status and students’ achievement in mathematics and that there is a significant relationship between Parents educational background is significantly correlated with students’ academic achievement in mathematics. It is therefore, recommended that, Schools should be provided with adequate books and facilities to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in the society. This will give students from poor homes the opportunity to learn and improve on their performances; Parents should not allow their social status be a barrier to their children educational opportunities.
1.1 Background of the Study
Academic achievement is undoubtedly a research after the heart of educational psychologists. In their attempt to investigate what determines academic outcomes of learners, they have come with more questions than answers. In recent time, literature has shown that learning outcomes have been determined by such variables as; family, school, society, and motivation factors (Aremu, 2000). Academic performance (most especially of secondary school students) has been largely associated with many factors. Most students in secondary schools in Nigeria are daily confronted with challenges of coping with their academics under serious emotional strains occasioned by long walk to school, poor school environment, and been taught by unmotivated teachers. Couples with this, most students encounter different problems in their academic achievement but some may not face such problems because of their backgrounds. (Aremu, 2000).
Families with high socioeconomic status often have more success in preparing their young children for school because they typically have access to a wide range of providing their young children with high-quality child-care, books, and toys to encourage children in various learning activities at home, they also have easy access to information regarding their children’s health, as well as social, emotional, and cognitive development. Across all socioeconomic groups, parents face major challenges when it comes to providing optimal care and education for their children. For families in poverty, these challenges can be formidable. Sometimes, when basic necessities are lacking, parents must place top priority on housing, food, clothing and health care. Educational toys, games, and books may appear to be luxuries, and parents may not have the time, energy or knowledge to find innovative and less-expensive ways to foster their children’s development. Families with low socioeconomic status often lack the financial, social, and educational supports that characterize families with higher socioeconomic status. Poor families also may have inadequate or limited access to community resources that promote and support children’s development and school readiness. (Ojo & Tsehaw, 2008).
Parents may have inadequate skills for such activities as reading to and with their children, and they may lack information about childhood immunizations and nutrition. Having inadequate resources and limited access to available resources can negatively affect families’ decisions regarding their young children’s development and learning. As a result, children from families with low socioeconomic status are at a greater risk of entering kindergarten unprepared than their peers from families with median or high socioeconomic status. (Ojo &Tsehaw, 2008).
According to Stone and Sarah, (1991) as cited in (Ojo &Tsehaw, 2008) various studies have revealed that a relationship existed between parental involvement and academic achievement of children in mathematics. It was found that the problem of achievement is not a simple thing rather it needs considerable attention. It was also found that high and low achievers differ in their way of motivation, interest, ability, etc. it was revealed that parents of higher Social Economic Status are more involved in their children’s education than parents of lower Social Economic Status and that greater involvement fosters more positive attitudes toward school, improves homework habits, reduces absenteeism and dropping out, and enhances academic achievement. Thus, some of the association between students’ outcomes and parents’ background is probably attributable to different levels of parental involvement in school-related activities. If this is the case, then strategies that increase parental involvement may be an effective means of improving schooling outcomes and of reducing inequalities in achievement among students with different social-class backgrounds especially in subjects like Mathematics.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Most students are at greater risk for poorer out comes in mathematics as a result of various variables like home factors, their attitude towards learning mathematics, and teacher factors. (Ojo (& Tsehaw, 2008). Academic performance in mathematics of students in schools in EkitiMetropolis is of great concern. Information obtained from the school administration indicates that there is evidence to show that student’s performance in mathematics is influenced by different factors in and out of school. Among the factors influencing performance in mathematics is the home background of the children. Information obtained also indicates that children from wealthy background usually perform in mathematics compared to those from poor home background. (Nyamwange, 2012).
In the same vein, the highly educated or parents in the higher social class send their children to private schools where everything is provided for the children to learn. Relevant academic materials such as internet services, textbooks and the like are made available. This category of students have good learning environment and are often motivated to learn. A growing speculation holds that some of these children from the highly placed homes do not perform well at schools.
This research is therefore geared towards examining and unravelling the fundamental influence of home background on children’s academic performance in mathematics.