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This study will investigate the effect of socio-economic background of parents on students’ academic performance in some selected schools in Bariga local government area of Lagos State, Nigeria.

This is to find out whether the good or poor academic performance of students could be explained by socio-economic background and to determine if the assumption that students from high socio-economic background perform better in their academics than students from an average/low socio-economic background is true or not.

The research findings showed that parents’ socio- economic background have much effect on academic performance of students. Therefore, the good and poor academic performance could be greatly explained by certain variables of socio- economic background parents.

A sample of 80 students was selected randomly from the four selected secondary schools in Bariga local government area. A questionnaire that has items of family income, family educational background and family type was the only instrument used. Descriptive statistics was used for data analysis.

The result of the findings revealed that students from the high socio- economic background performed better than their counterparts from average and poor homes. Thus, socio-economic factor has great influence on students performance at school.

It is hoped that further researches on the extent to which socio-economic background affects the academic performance of students will be carried out to know if this factor affects most of the students in the country, so as to consider the factor when planning the curriculum and also proffering solution to this important factor.




Parent play an important role in their children’s learning, aside from being actively involved in their children’s education. Parents also provide a conducive home environment, educational resources that can affect learning. Socio- economic status depends on a combination of variables, including occupation, education, income, wealth and place of residence. Sociologists often use socio- economic status as means of predicting behavior. (www.answers.com).

Many researchers have tried to explain and analyze reasons why there are differences in academic performance of students by focusing on school/environment and hereditary without paying attention to effects of socio-economic background. Research indicates that children from low socio- economic household and community develop academic skills more slowly compared to children from higher socio- economic status. (Morgan, Farkas, Hillemeier, Maczuga, 2009).

Research also indicates that school systems in low socio- economic status and community are often under resourced, which is negatively affecting students’ academic performance. (Alscens and barbarian, 2008).The primary environment of students is the home and it stands to exert tremendous impact on students’ achievements. (Hoover Dempsey et al, 2005; Redding, 2006;  Nyarko, 2010). Moreover, the home is the primary agent of education for the child.

Thus the way the child lives, the food he/she eats and his/her lifestyle is influenced by the home. The type of family system the child is exposed to could influence his academic achievement in school. Kellaghan (1993) affirmed that academic success depends on what parents do at home. A person’s education is closely linked to their life chances, income and well being (Battle and lewis). Therefore it is important to have a clear understanding of what benefits or hinders one’s educational attainment.

Educationists of today are becoming more and more aware of the importance of knowing about the interests, needs, drives and background of students. Parent play an important role in their children’s learning. Aside from being actively involved in their children’s education, parents also provide a home environment that can affect learning and parent determine the educational resources available in the home.

For teachers to teach effectively there is need to study the personality of individual student since they are from different homes and backgrounds, therefore there will be distinct traits. The teacher needs to interact with these various groups of students in order to know and distinguish their performances and attitudes.The teacher must have interest in other aspects apart from intellectual training because students learn better when the learning experience are meaningful to them. He has to understand the economic and social background of his students.

There are three types of home that can be identified among students: the poor family, the rich family and the average family which is neither too rich nor too poor (Wilson, A.B. 1988). The researcher said that some students came from broken homes with many problems; there are students who have well educated parents while some have illiterate parents. All these groups have different behavior towards work and varied levels of academic performances in their class works but it depends on the influence of the environment.

He further explained that students from poor homes do not have radios, computer, television sets, libraries and no access to information on internet that gives certain educational background. Also there is little or no encouragement by parents, difficulty in paying school fees, little or no time for leisure and extra lessons and also parents have little or no education. For those students in higher class, there is enough money to pay school fees, availability of books, radios, libraries and newspaper to mention but few help in developing mental abilities of  those students. The third group of parents, which is the average class and they live in houses which are owned or rented. Parents in this group give some freedom to their children educational facilities enjoyed but all these cannot be compared with that of higher class people.

These various differences in socio-economic background affects the attitude of students in school, they affect the way they think, speak and academic performances. It is generally believed that children from high and middle socio- economic status parents are better exposed to a learning environment at home because of provision and availability of extra learning facilities.

This idea is supported by Becker & Tomes (1979) when they assert that it has become well recognized that wealthy and well educated parents ensure their children’s future earnings by providing them a favorable learning environment, better education and good jobs. In contrast to this belief, children from low socio-economic status parents do not have access to extra learning facilities; hence the opportunity to get to the top of their educational ladder may not be very easy, (Drummond & Stipek, 2004).

Drummond and Stipek. (2004) while discussing their “low income parents’ beliefs about their role in children’s academic learning” mentioned that a few of these parents indicated that their responsibilities were limited to meeting children’s basic and social- emotional needs, such as clothing, emotional support and socializing manners. The main objective is to find out the extent to which socio-economic situation of students affect their academic performance.


Backgrounds of students especially socio and economic have been recognized as the circumstances that influence life and academic performances.  Teachers often have inadequate information about their students’ background. They also find it difficult to inquire about their socio-economic background. Findings show that many students despite their exposure to extra lesson perform woefully in school, while their counterparts that have little or no extra lesson performed better than them.

 Moreover teachers find it difficult to know the problems of emotional instability tension, hostility and anxiety that students bring from poor environment.  As a result of this, it becomes imperative that a critical analysis for academic performances of students and their socio-economic background be undertaken


The result of the relationship between the socio-economic background and students’ academic performance will help to make useful recommendations to improve the teaching profession if need be.

The teacher would be able to take new dimensions to teach those less privileged from poor background if all these problems are identified, known and taken note of. For instance, an extra lesson could be given by the teacher to some sections of the class that are weak academically in certain aspects of their learning.

 Even instructional materials like television, radios, field trips and different programs might be provided for all the students and it will give those that come from poor environment some of the experiences which those students who come from rich environment have. Therefore from this type of study it can be noted that continual educational decisions could be made about students from, various social classes, cultural and economic background.


The broad objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between socio-economic background of parents and academic performance of students. This broad objective can be broken down into the following specific objectives;

1.     To examine the extent of conventional assumption that students from high socio-economic families are the highest educational achievers at school.

2.     To evaluate the acceptability that students from average socio-economic families are the average educational achievers while students from poor socio-economic background are low educational achievers.

3.To examine teachers attitude towards the use of socio- economic background of students.


This research work would be conducted in Bariga Local government area, Lagos State. The Selected four secondary schools that will be used are;

·        Ajayi Crowther Memorial Senior High School.

·        Lanre Awoloku Senior Grammar School.

·        Arch Deacon Adelaja Senior High School.

·        CMS Girls Senior Grammar School.

Information that would be gathered will be on issues including family environment, socio-economic status, and educational aspects and so on. Much of the data will be based upon responses of students to the items on the administered questionnaire.


The following research questions are examined;

·        To what extent is the conventional assumption that students from high socio-economic families are the highest educational achievers at school?

·        Is it acceptable to assume that students from average socio-economic families are the average educational achievers while students from poor average socio-economic families are the low educational achievers?

·        Is teachers’ attitude towards the use of students’ socio-economic background of students positive or negative?


The investigator has tried to define common terms that are to be found in the essay because an in depth knowledge of the meaning of some important terms will be necessary.

Educational level of parents is one of the aspect of socio-economic background and the educational level of parents is the degree of formal education. This means that the higher the parent’s educational level, the higher the educational achievement of the child.   

SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS: These are the various social strata or position of people in the society. It indicates the different standard of living in the economy. 

It is also a composite measure available in the data set, consisting of parents’ level of education, parents’ occupational status and family income.

The social position of people in the society socio-economic status is divided into three:

·        High Socio-economic Status

·        Low Socio-economic  Status

·        Average Socio-economic Status

Each status performs a number of roles. The different socio-economic status influences the educational performance of students differently.

 HIGH SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS: These are the high income earners who live comfortably.

LOW SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS: These are the low income earners who live in a room, or in slums and find it hard to provide the basic needs of life.

AVERAGE SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS: These are the average income earners, they are neither poor nor rich, and they live comfortable but not as comfortably as the high income earners.

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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