Background of the Study
Students’ academic achievement and educational attainment have been studied within different frameworks. Many of them have a focus on pattern of education, occupation or home background (like; family income, language of the home, activities of the family and work methods), while other studies looked at it from the teachers’ variables (such as teacher’s age, experience, education, gender, etc), school variables (such as environment, structures, buildings, location, etc), students’ variables (such as attitude, self-concept, self-esteem, study habit, interest, etc) or parents’ support (such as achievement motivation of wards, parental attitudes towards education, the aspiration of parents, etc). There is evidence that parents’ educational will affect students’ academic achievement.
Academic attainment is an important parameter in measuring success of students. Observations and reports have shown that success on academic achievement has become a major task to be accomplished by students in record times poor academic performance was recorded at both the secondary and tertiary levels of education in Nigeria.
Poor performance of students at all levels of education in Nigeria has attracted much critism from all and sundry from time immemorial, the decline in the academic performance of students in integrated science had being observed by Wole Soyinka (1999), when he observed that schools in Nigeria needs restructuring, he went further to say that academic standards had fallen drastically and the quality of graduates students being produced by the nation’s schools both at the secondary and tertiary levels is questionable and subject of poor level of educational standard from secondary schools.
Poor academic performance of students has been of great concern to educationists, guidance and counselors in particular, despite all guidance programmes and counseling in schools to improve the students academic performance yet poor results (performance) were recorded yearly, it becomes necessary to find out the causes of such poor performance in integrated science in Nigeria education.
According to Grissmer (2003), pattern of education is the most important factor affecting students’ academic achievement. Taiwo (2010) submits that parents’ educational background influence the academic achievement of students. This, according to him, is because the parents would be in a good position to be perform well in education and provide the necessary materials needed by him/her. This was supported by Musgrave (2000) who said that a child that comes from an educated home would like to follow the steps of his/her family and by this, work actively in his/her studies. He said further that parents who have more than a minimum level of education are expected to have a favoured attitude to the child’s education and to encourage the child to show examples in activities of intellectual type such as reading of newspapers, magazines and journals. They are likely to have wider vocabulary by which the children can benefit and develop language fluency.
Onoch (2005) concludes that a child from a well educated family with high socio-economic status is more likely to perform better than a child from an illiterate family. This is because the child from an educated family has lot of support such as a decent and good environment for academic work, parental support and guidance, enough textual and academic materials and decent feeding. He or she is likely to be sent to good schools where well seasoned teachers will handle his/her subjects. Children’s academic achievement was found to be affected by varying family processes. Campbell and Wu (2004) said that the home environment and family processes provide a network of physical, social and intellectual forces and factors which affect the students’ learning. According to them the family’s level of encouragement, expectations, and educational activities in the home are related to socio-economic groups create different learning environments that affect the child’s academic achievement. There is no doubt that parents’ attitudes help to condition their children’s attitudes. A parent who shows complete disregard for education might have some effect upon his/her children’s educational progress. Theories with different topics such as intrinsic motivation, self-concept, attribution, goal orientation, self efficiency, and expectations have been established in previous studies. Many studies have examined the relationships among those constructs and students’ achievement.
Schunk, Pintrich and Meece (2008) affirm the fact that there is a consistent finding of motivation being related to achievement behaviours. The impact of motivation on learning by a child cannot be undermined.
Hall (2009) believes that there is a need to motivate students so as to arouse and sustain their interest in learning. He further opines that Mathematics academic achievement should be considered a continuous process until there is evidence of improvement in interest and performance of the learners in the subject.
According to Gesindee (2000), academic motivation could be seen as self-determination to succeed in academic work. He posits that the urge to achieve varies from one individual to the other, while for some individuals, the need for achievement is very high and for others it may be very low. What could be responsible for the variation could be the fact that academic motivation is believed to be developed during socialization processes and learning experiences.
The parents’ interest and encouragement have a great impact on student’s performance in the school. More so, children’s school achievement is specially accounted for parents. Habel (1986) said that the psychological makes up of a child in the school. Lankard (2005) points out that where parental encouragement is low, relatively few students regardless of their intelligence or socio-economic status levels, plan to go to college. On the other hand where parental encouragement is high even when socio-economic status and intelligence are relatively low; more students plan to go to school. They concluded that the way and manner in which the family is organized and the direction in which the family system is changing is important is this reflects on the child’s performance in school.
Yee and Eccles (2008), different disciplines engaged in by parents through their various educations have different emphases on the education of their children. It thus appears that career modeling from parents could make a noticeable impression on children’s intellectual developments. For example, mothers who engage in menial jobs like hair dressing sewing, petty trading, farming, catering among others, are more likely to have less contact hours with their children. This can affect the vocabulary and communication skills of their children.
These mothers will most likely want their children to toe the line of their trade and as a result may not bother to lay much emphasis on the early intellectual development of their children. Lankard (2005), indicated that motivation, norms beliefs, values, habits and attitudes of people with the environment and the expectations the parents have for their children influence the latter’s educational performances of their wards. Maple and Stage (2001) similarly found that parental variables such as parental education and interest in the child’s school work contributed to choice of Mathematics/Science related majors.
Parents’ involvement has a significant positive impact on student’s outcomes throughout the elementary, middle school and secondary years. Several of these studies indicated that parents/family involvement have a lasting effect throughout the educational careers of students (Frendrich, 2009; Kasprow, 2010; Trustty, 2009; Wessberg, 2001). According to Lawrie and Brown (1992), parents’ perceptions of the abilities of their children may be a powerful developmental influence on how the children will come to view their ability. In turn, children’s perceptions of their abilities will influence expectations for success, achievement, interest in school subjects, and future careers (Eccles, 2009; Gross, 2008; Haladyna and Shaughnessy 2002). Bamidele (2007) asserts that parents’ aspiration for the child could affect his/her achievement in school while Morish (2005), believes that well educated parents will wish their own children to benefit as they have done from their good education and will provide the necessary cash in order that this may be accomplished.
Expressing this in terms of high socio-economic home, Ezewu (2003), said that in order for high socio-economic status’ families to maintain their status, they do everything possible to ensure that their children attend the best nursery and primary schools which guarantee admission to highly placed secondary schools. These highly placed secondary schools provide they best routes to university education, thus guaranteeing access to a prestigious occupation and high income for their children. Research by Rothman (2004), showed that the most important factor associated with the educational achievement of children is not race, ethnicity or immigrant status. Instead, the most critical factors according to him appear to be socio-economic factors. These factors as stated by him include parental educational levels, neighborhood poverty, parental occupational status and family income. He thus concluded that if we do not consider how educational policies complement or conflict with policies related to family welfare, work, poverty, housing and neighborhood conditions, then we will continue to face significant obstacles in attaining the goal of narrowing the achievement gaps. This conclusion clearly points to the fact that differences in socio-economic background of the students breed achievement gaps.
Broken home is a term used to describe a household, usually in reference to parenting, in which the family unit does not properly function according to accepted societal norms. The concept of broken homes contributed to the falling standard of education in the country. It is based on this premise that this research work dealt with the impact of broken homes and students` academic performance in secondary schools in Ekiti State.
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