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THE IMPACT OF PARENTS LITERACY LEVEL ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF PHYSICS STUDENTS
- BACKGROUND TO STUDY
Examinations have been accepted as an important aspect of the educational system. Examinations have always been used as the main basis for judging a student’s ability and also as a means of selection for educational advancement and employment. A lot of students do not perform well in the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination. The poor performance has raised concern and efforts have been made to find out the reasons behind it. For poor performance of students in schools, many factors such as lack of facilities in school, lack of teachers, indiscipline unfavourable home environment, low intelligence, anxiety and students’ need to achieve have been found as being the causes (Cantu, 1975; Maundu, 1980; and Ndirangu, 2007).
Home environment was found to be an important factor in determining academic performance of students. From the beginning, parents have been the major persons involved in raising children in every society. That is why the family is recognized as an important agent of socialization. Adekeyi (2002) observed that it is mainly through their efforts and abilities that children are socialized to become productive citizens. So, wherever parents possess the resources and skills; and apply them effectively and joyfully in raising their children, the entire society benefits. This brings joy and pride to the nation, and encourages development and peaceful co-existence. The children themselves feel good and bring happiness to their parents and the whole community.
The home is the first place of learning for the child. The quality of home environment goes a long way in determining the eventual personality and achievement of the child. Psychologists had classified the factors that affect learning into two broad categories namely, nature and nurture. It has been discovered that the two categories play complementary roles. As nature determines the level of intelligence and inherited abilities of the child, nurture helps to maximize these innate abilities. According to Ekinne (2002), nurture involves the home, the school, the environment and peer groups to which the learner belongs. The home has far reaching influence on the child. Babara (1982) said that the child home environment influences attainment at school. Also, Touray (1982) suggested that the home environmental variables could be manipulated to enhance students’ academic performance.
- THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The level of educational attainment of parents could influence the academic achievement of their children. According to European Union Monitoring Report (2013), those students whose parents have a tertiary level of education perform, on average, significantly better in tests of science, reading and mathematical ability than do those whose parents have only basic schooling. In a family where both the father and mother are educated, their children are always taken good care of in their academic activities. Such parents know the importance of getting educational materials for their children is school. They may go through their children’s exercise books after school, or even employ a private teacher to teach them after school. By so doing, their academic performance will be improved; whereas in the case of illiterate family, the need to supervise the children’s exercise books is not there, hence their children’s low academic performance in school. Educated parents may also have library at home, stocked with novels, encyclopedia and other educational books and educational audio visual tapes. When children make use of these materials, it will enhance their intellect.
Also, hereditary factor could also influence a child’s academic performance in school. This happens when a child inherits poor gene from either the mother or the father; such a child will not be able to achieve much even if the environment is conducive for effective learning. On the other hand, a child who inherits a very high gene from parents may perform very well even if the environment is not stimulating (Community Development, Sound Education, Good Health and Social Life Initiative, 2013).
A conducive environment is necessary for a good academic performance of a child. A stimulating home environment could spur up a potential mediocre into an intellectual giant while an inhibiting environment could turn a genius child into a mediocre.
The value that different families attach to education could affect the child’s attitude to school and eventually affect his/her motivation for success in school work. Muola (2010) stated that the urge to achieve varies from one individual to the other. For some, the need for achievement is very high while for others, it is very low. He adds that achievement motivation is learnt through the socialization process. Those who have high achievers as their role models in their early life experience would develop a high need for achievement while those who have low achievers as their role models will hardly develop the need for achievement. The family is obviously a major socializing agent and therefore important in determining the child’s motivation to achieve success. The motive to excel in academic work is an activating force, a drive or an urge to achieve good results and recognition which accounts to good academic performance.
Educated parents give early independence training and achievement training. Atkinson and Feather (1966) argued that successful parents tend to provide early independence training which is necessary in the development of achievement motivation. In independence training, parents insist on the child’s self-reliance and autonomy in decision making situations. While in achievement training, they insist on high achievement through imposing high standards of excellence in tasks, setting high goals for the child and expecting the child to show competence in doing tasks well.
Illiteracy of parents could have a negative effect on the academic performance of their children. Children whose parents are illiterates have been seen to lack home encouragement. This implies that as some illiterate parents refuse to provide their children with needed textbooks, they are discouraging them from learning. David (2007) stated that textbooks aid studies after normal school teaching. Students from illiterate parents lack assistance because of parents’ illiteracy and ignorance such parents fail to motivate, reinforce, give reward or punish their children on their academic performance which might have forced them to be serious in learning. On the other hand, literate parents have interest in their children’s academic performance. They struggle to provide them with needed materials and give adequate encouragement. Having known the importance of education, they draw a reading time-table for their children and also arrange for part-time teachers to teach their children and check their workbooks from time to time. They provide adequate motivation and reward when the children perform better in class assignments tests and examinations. Taking care of children and making provision for their needs, especially educational needs, are very important in determining the academic performance of children.
- STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The importance of education in an individual can not be over emphasized. Education has a long lasting impact on one’s life. The acquisition of knowledge and skills and all other things that is worthwhile which are transmitted to a person through formal and informal education determines his/her potential in future.
At the end of every instructional period in school comes examination. Over the years, the society has been recording a persistent increase in the rate of poor performance in various school examinations such as the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE). If this trend is not nip in the bud, it will have grave repercussion on the lives of these students, their parents and the society at large.
Comments from educators have shown that the blame from lack of good performance has been as a result of neglect and carefree attitude towards academic work by students and parents. Home is the first school for a child where he/she is taught the basic norms and values by the parents before the child leaves for the formal education. Contrary to the opinion that learning and reading begins in school, the first foundation of the child begins at home. A good and conducive home environment with adequate learning facilities would help to boost the intellectual and academic capability of the child. Well educated parents would always have good attitudes towards education and provide learning materials such as television, instructional video tapes, novels, books and journals that could facilitate the learning process. The motivation of any intelligent child towards learning is being accelerated by the positive influence of his/her environment while others are negatively affected in terms of their non-stimulating home environment. To this end, some research hypotheses were generated as we would see in section 1.6 in this chapter.
- PURPOSE OF STUDY
The purpose of this research was to critically ascertain the influence of parental level of education and study facilities on academic performance of students in Calabar Municipal area of Cross River State. The research hopes to find out whether there is any relationship between parents academic background and children academic performance.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The main question in this research is can parental literacy and study facilities at home influence the educational outcomes of students? In this regard three pertinent questions; first is to what degree is parental education associated with achievement of students? Secondly what aspects of parental education and study facilities help students the most in their academic performance? Thirdly does the relationship between parents literacy and students achievement hold true across all classes?
- STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESES
The following hypotheses were formulated to guide the study;
1. There is no significant difference between the academic performances of students from parents with high literacy level and students from parents with low literacy level.
2. There is no significant difference between the academic performances of students who have study facilities at home and those who do not have study facilities at home.
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The research study discussed the influence of parental education and study facilities on the academic performance of the secondary school students.
It is important because it will enable the student to be aware of the factors that can lead to their poor academic performance.
It will also help the teachers to give proper education to students on the effect of home environment on their academic performance. Students are the future builders of our nation; therefore if they are not given proper education on the effect of home environment on their academic performance, they will continue to perform poorly and as a result of the goals of education as powerful tool for a nation will not be achieved.
And again, parents will be aware that they have greater role to play for high academic performance of their children.
1.8 SCOPE OF STUDY
The research has its scope within the Calabar Municipal Council area of Cross River State, concentrating only on the urban schools within the area. The research focus was on the influence of parental education and study facilities at home on the academic performance of Secondary School students.
1.9 LIMITATIONS OF STUDY
The study was limited by the difficulty in getting accurate information from students as some of the students gave limited details about their homes and parents background. Secondly the researcher was limited by time as the timeframe to turn in this study was too short to accomplise a more detailed research. Thirdly financial limitations made the research to be restricted to few schools within the locality of the researcher and so the findings and outcome of the research may not provide an authoritative basis for necessary intervention.
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