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1.1   Background to the Study

The responsibility of training a child always lies in the hands of the parents. This is congruent with the common assertion by sociologists that education can be an instrument of cultural change which is being taught from home. It is not out of place to imagine that parental economic background can have possible effects on the academic achievement of children in school. Whatsoever affect the development environment of children would possibly affect their education or disposition to it. Parental status is one of such variables. When a woman’s nutritional status improves, so too does the nutrition of her young children (Lisa cited in Ogunshola and Adewale, 2012).

Parents of different socio economic classes often have different styles of child rearing, different ways of disciplining their children and different ways of reacting to their children. These differences do not express themselves consistently as expected in the case of every family; rather they influence the average tendencies of families for different occupational classes (Rothestein, 2004). The home has a great influence on the child’s psychological, emotional, social and economic state. In the view of Ajila and Olutola (2000), the state of the home affects the individual since the parents are the first socializing agents in an individual’s life. This is because the family background and context of a child affect his reaction to life situations and his level of performance.

Education being one other major means of providing an opportunity in life and belong to a suitable social class, modern Nigeria family now plays crucial roles in the performance of children in school. It is widely recognized that many factors are involved in child’s academic performance such factors as parental educational level, occupation, income, social class and type of parenthood for instance the socio-economic characteristics of the family in school. All these factors have a bearing also on the duration of the student stay and achievement at school. On this premise, Hill (2004) pointed out that socio-economic status of parents has some influence on the academic performance of children.

Academic attainment is an important parameter in measuring success in students. Observations and reports have shown that success or high academic achievement has become a herculean task to accomplish by Secondary School Students in Biology in recent times. Hence, poor academic performance were recorded both at the junior and senior secondary school WASSCE levels of education in Nigeria (Tenibiaje, 2009).

The performance of students at all levels in educational institutions in Nigeria has attracted much criticisms from all and sundry from time immemorial. Poor academic performance of students has been of great concern to educationists, guidance and counsellors in particular. Despite all guidance programmes and counseling strategies mounted in schools to improve students’ academic performances, poor performances are recorded yearly.

Table 1:  Performance of Candidates in SSCE Biology


No. of


No. that


% that


No. that


% that






































Source: National Examination Council, 2001-2006 Annual Report.

From the above results, performances in the secondary school students in Biology have not been encouraging. This can be traced to as far back as 1986 where the then Minister of Education, Professor Jubril Aminu expressed his utmost disappointment over students’ poor performances in WAEC examination (Agboghoroma and Oyovwi, 2015).

Students’ academic performance in Biology has been largely associated with many factors. In Nigeria, agitations abound these days over the fallen standard of education. Although it is yet to be realized that education is every person’s business apart from the parents whom educationists describe as one of the three legs of educational tripod, while the teachers and the students constitute the other two legs (Uchechukwu, Jeribe, Opara, Christopher and Chinyere, 2013). Inyanga (2010) in his analysis noted that every society stands on a tripod. According to him, education is the formation of the mind and the character of the human person.

Education at secondary school level is supposed to be the bedrock and foundation for higher education. It is an investment as well as instrument that can be used to achieve a more rapid economic social political technological scientific and cultural development in the country, (Osonwa, Adejobi and Iyam, 2013). The National Policy on Education (2010) stipulated that secondary education is an instrument for national development that fosters the worth and development of the individual for further education and development, general development of the society and equally of educational opportunities to all Nigerian children irrespective of any real or marginal disabilities. In most African Countries and Western world, it is believed that economic status of a family is usually linked with the family’s income, parents’ education level, occupation and social status among the kits and kin and even at the global level.

The importance of achieving the objectives of education programmed among the general populace cannot be over emphasized. Thus, Laosa (2005) asserts that “the educational achievement gap has deep root; it is evident very early in child’s lives; even before they enter schools. Socio–economic differences – such as health and nutrition status, home environments that provide access to academically related experiences, mobility rates, and financial assets can certainly influence academic achievements”.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Students having financial problems have to face various hurdles. Their financial problems perhaps may distract them from their studies and they fail to get high grades and consequently have to suffer for finding a job. The low parental socio-economic status causes environmental deficiencies which results in low self esteem and academic performance of students (US Department of Education, 2003).

It is put that across all economic groups, parents face major challenges when it comes to providing optimal care and education for their children. For poor families, these challenges can be formidable, as parents are required to place top priority on housing, food, clothing and health care. Educational materials, such as: laptops, games and books may appear to be luxuries and parents may not have the financial resources.

Family of lower socioeconomic status often lacks the financial, social and educational support that characterizes families with high socioeconomic status. Lower income families have inadequate or limited access to community resources that promotes and supports children’s development and school readiness.

It is against this backdrop that the research seeks to explore the effects of socio-economic background on the academic performance of secondary school students in Biology with a special reference to Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.3   Purpose of the Study

The study will be conducted with the following objectives;

     i.        To examine the effects of parental income on the academic performance of secondary students in Biology

    ii.        To assess the impact of parental educational status on students academic achievement.

  iii.        To find out if family type has effect on students learning outcomes.

  iv.        To assess the influence of type residential home on student’ academic performance.

1.4   Research Questions

This research project will beam its searchlight on the following research questions;

Q1;     Is there any effect of parental income on the academic performance of     secondary students in Biology?

Q2:   Could parental educational status be responsible for academic attainment            of students?

Q3:      Does family type have effect on students learning outcomes?

Q4:   Does the type of residential home of affect their academic performance?

1.5   Research hypotheses

The following research hypotheses will be tested.

    H01:    There is no significant relationship between parental income and the                       academic performance of secondary students in Biology.

          H02:    There is no significant relationship between parental educational                                   status and the academic performance of Biology students.

          H03:  Family type is not having effect on students learning outcomes.

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

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