Family Variables And Students Cognitive Achievement In Social Studies In Junior Secondary Schools In Okobo Local Government Area

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The home is the ultimate and significant learning environment of every child. It is the foundation of education smell all early values skills norms and ideas are acquired in the family.

Various aspects of family background could be responsible for how week or badly a child performs in the school. Among these factors is the assumption that some children homes with adequate amount of wealth whose parents are highly, educated and are gainfully employed performed better in their academic attainment than their counterparts from low socio-economic status and uneducated parents.

Similarly parental interest motivation and aspirations for their children education pursuit are important factors. Balmecede (2004) maintained that favourable attitude and action by parent are crucial for education achievement. The fathers occupation, social status may also influence cognitive achievement of a child. Others include parents religious beliefs, their philosophies of life, political power and prestige which may have a considerable effects on the case or difficultly with which the child can gain a place among peers in school. Perceptual defect that is perceptual modality make up, may affect his performances. A child’s background affects his perception and his personality development, other personal factor include anxiety, worry, low self concept, low achievement and truancy which could emanates from home or problems from school. The school will be fighting a losing battle if these factors are not given adequate considerations.

The child’s home environment could either help to improve or impede a Child’s academic performance. According to Parrant (2004), the environment could have both positive and negative influences on the child. He says that a child whose environment is conducive is likely to develop his ingenuity to the fullest. Routtedge et al (2006) supports this fact and adds that the child home environment also affect the child’s academic achievement in school, his concentration and his whole attitude toward education. For a child to make the most of his education he needs to be provided with a good learning environment at home such as the availability of Educational Materials like textbooks. Educational pictures, radio, television, light and space in which to study. Lovell (2004) opines that conditions such as each of environmental stimulation may result in dullness and dull children are likely to be background in most school subjects.

He adds that the cause of educational backwardness and retardation are socio-economic background, poverty, poor feeding insufficient sleep and generate’ neglect.

Other factors in the family include the general standard of living, medical and health care, nutrition, cognitive-stimulation and motivation. The moral and emotional condition of the home may equally affect the child’s school work. For instance, if within the family, there is a general attitude of slackness irregularity and evasion the child himself is likely to developed poor attitude toward punctuality; furthermore, a child who hawks ”Akara” in the morning, to keep body and soul together  before coming to school is not fit to wrestle with intellectual task because he/she will definitely come to school treaty tired and worn out, hence he will become  inactive and dull in the class, which will greatly affect his performance as compared  to a child who enjoys good nutrition, medical care and sometimes driven to school  with car.

Moreover, the inequality in the distribution of facilities, social amenities and infrastructures in the society which some societies are mostly favoured and some at a disadvantage may also hinder a child academic performance. For instance, in the provision of pipe-born water, a child that has to go and struggle for water in a public pump or stream many meters away from home before going to school may be exhausted and drowsy in the class, his academic performance, will be poor as compared to a child that wakes up to have a warm bath with water from a tap in the house.

Polygamous homes are sometimes overcrowded and noisy, making it difficult for a child to find a suitable place to study. Educational resources such as books, magazines or newspapers may be lacking especially if parents are illiterate, such a child goes to school poorly prepared and his performance will be poor as compared to a child from monogamous and literate parents who is, provided with a conducive learning environment. People’s general perspectives is that children whose parents are educated and of high socio-economic status receive more parental motivation toward education than those who have illiterate parents and of low socio-economic status. However, this is not always the case as some children from low socio-economic status achieve well at school as a result their heredity, determination encouragement from parents. The family climate may also affect a Childs performance in school. In a family where the relationship between child’s parents is not cordial, where the child comes from a broken family or where the child is just seen and not heard, such a child may develop some emotional trauma which may affect his work in school compared to a child whose parents live together happily with the children such a child will have greater encouragement and his academic performance will improve greatly. Lovel (1993) adds that psychological and unfavourable home condition frequently seem to be the cause of academic failure in our secondary schools. Peer group also influence a child’s cognitive achievement, students from affluent backgrounds tend to display greater self confidence and have more position self concept which is an important factor of their acceptance by their peer group. On the other hand, bad gang” may have a negative effect on academic performance because it can lead to irregular attendance at school.


Student’s poor performance in social studies has been on the increase over the years, in spite of availability of trained social studies teachers in our schools. It has also been observed that most parents invest more and encourage their wards to take science courses probably to earn immediate employment after graduation. Thus, the number of students who register for social studies in external examination has declined over the years. A number of research studies have been carried out by people to examine the possible causes of poor performance in social studies and the number of students who offer or register for the subject in external examination. These students are based on foreign background and subjects. Since the home is important in the education of the child, it is important that the influence of the home in cognitive achievement of the child be investigated. Against this background this study examines home variables such as; parents occupation, economic status, family size and parent educational attainment.


This study examines the influence of family variables and cognitive achievement in social studies among junior secondary students in Okobo Local Government Area, Specifically the student aims at the following objectives.

  1. To examine the effect of birth order on student cognitive achievement in social studies
  2. To examine the effect of parents level of education on students cognitive achievement in social studies
  3. To investigate the effect of family size. On students cognitive achievement in social studies
  4. To examine the effect of parents occupational status on students cognitive achievement in social studies.


The following research questions were posed to guide the study:

  1. To what extent does birth order affect academic performance of students offering social studies subject in secondary school ­?
  2. To what extent does parent’s level of education affect academic performance of students in social studies?
  3. To what extent does family size affect the academic performance of students in social studies subject?
  4. To what extent do parents occupational status affect students academic performance in social studies subject?


The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:

  1. Birth order does not have any significant effect on students’ cognitive achievement in social studies.
  2. Parents’ educational achievement does not have any significant effect on students’ cognitive achievement in social studies.
  3. Family size has no significant effect no students’ cognitive achievement in social studies.
  4. Parents’ occupation has no significant effect on students’ cognitive achievement in social studies.


This study is expected to find out the extent to which family variables can affects students’ cognitive achievement in social studies.

This study; if successfully completed could enlightened parents on the need to encourage and provide social studies text books and other necessary educational materials to their wards to enable them learn social studies effectively.

It is also anticipated that the study could provide empirical basis for student families to provide conducive learning environment in their homes for their wards to enhance student achievement in school.

It may also be a guide for parents, who to large extent determine the tone of the home environment in which the family member exist and grow. The tone of home here includes both psychological and physical conditions that prevail in the home characterized by love, anxiety, fear, insecurity, trust, peace and provision of basic academic needs. To this end, parents will be able to decide whether they contribute to the academic performance of their wards.

By investigating the effect of family variables and students cognitive achievement in social studies, teachers will identify the individual differences in the class and will improve upon the teaching methods that will enhance student’s cognitive achievement in social studies. It could encourage students to develop more interest in learning social studies subject in school.

Finally, this research will add more to the existing literature and facilitate further research on this topic.


The study will be focused mainly on social studies students in junior secondary schools (JSS3) in Okobo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.


The study is delimited to family variables and student cognitive achievement in social studies in selected secondary schools in Okobo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.


In this research study, the following assumptions were made.

  1. Social studies is one of the approved subject to be taught in junior secondary classes in Akwa Ibom State
  2. There are differences in families tone which could encourage or deter academic performance of their wards
  • Home is a first school of a child, thus it has influence on the students’ academic performance in school.
  1. It is proper to examine how family contribute to a Childs’ academic achievement in school so as to correct negative influence


The following terms are defined in the way they are used in this study

Social Studies: This is the study of man and his physical and social environment.

Family: Family in this study means the combination of parents and children with or without relatives

Variables: These are different factors necessary for the execution of any experimentation. In these study variables refers to only family factors that influence student’s cognitive achievement in social studies.

Cognitive Achievement: This deals or refers to the mental and intellectual level of student.

Occupational Status: Occupational  status in this study refers to a person vocation or major means of earning a living. It is a business that occupies one’s time permanently.

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