The objective of this project was to investigate the effects of family background variables on academic achievement of students in selected secondary schools in Lagos State.

The information given by and opinions of the participating students formed the premises on which the results and conclusion were based. The investigation was conducted with four hypotheses, which formed the nucleus around which information gathered rotated.

There were 150 students selected randomly from three secondary schools in Lagos State. The instruments used were a validated questionnaire and an Index of Family Research. The responses formed the data used for the calculation and analysis used to test the stated our hypothesis. Pearsons Product Moment Correlation was the statistical method used for this study. The results of the statistical analysis revealed that there exists a relationship between academic achievement and family background variables such as parental level of education, family background relations and also a relationship between socio economic status and family relation.

All these variables have effect on the academic achievement of students. The parents and the school should be aware that factors in the home can either improve or hinder the learning of their children and students respectively.

Parents were advised to make the home environment conducive for their children.

CHAPTER ONE 1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study.

The family is important in many ways in the life of an ordinary child. A family refers to the household or all those who live in a house such as parents and their children. When a child is born, his first contact(s) with the world is family (parents). He is first exposed to before any contact with the outside world.

The family background of a child plays a distinctive role in a child’s growth and development of a child depends solely on his/her physical inheritance and the powerful influences emanating from the environment i.e. nature and nurture (Osarenre, 1996).

The family background and environment in which a child grows up determine what he inherits from nature and what he gets from nurture. According to Plomim (1990), shatter (1993), human attributes and personality are end products of the interaction between heredity and environment.

There are two factors that affect school performance of students these are these home related factors and the school related factors. The home related factors include parental education occupation, family size, parental attitude to education and their expectation, parental involvement in child’s academic, parenting style and so on. The home is a factor that makes a difference in school environment (Banjo, 1961, Plowdem 1967, Bowler and Levim 1968, Marijobanks, 1973, Parke, 1978, Taiwo, 1981).

The report of Plowden (1967) revealed that ‘a students’ family background proves to be a more significant predictor of his/her achievement than the input provided by the school system. Bowler and Levim (1968) observed that the family background characteristics of a set of students determine not only the advantages with which they come to school but they are also associated closely with the amount and quality of resources that are invested in the school. As a result of this, they argued further that children from rich family background have two distinctive advantages over the children from poor family background. First, the combination of material advantages and strong educational interest provided by their parents stimulate high achievement and education motivation and second, their parents’ relatively high income and interest in their education lead to stronger financial support for and greater participation in the school that their children attend.

According to Lam, Shui Fong (1997) there are several variables in students’ family background that has direct influence on their academic performance among which are the socio-economic status of students’ parents and family relationship i.e parent-child relationship. Socio-economic status influences educational achievement. Naturally, some students will perform better than others in the class, but the degree to which family background factors contribute to this natural phenomenon should be studied to reduce the effect of socio-economic differences on the natural event.

The level of parental education as a family background of home related factor is also a contributing factor. According to Fafunwa (1963), the level of education of those with whom a child lives influences his/her academic achievement. If there is a considerable number of educated people in the home in which a child grows, he will be able to discus his/her academic problems with them.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

The problems of mass failure and rampant cases of examination malpractices among youths at the secondary level of education in Nigeria is a factor that has been working against expansion of education at all levels of education in Nigeria. in the bid to contribute to the explanation on students performance, the study sought to examine the effect of family background variables in secondary school students’ Academic performance in Biology.

1.3 Research Questions

1. Do the relationships that exist among the students and members of their family affect the students’ academic performance in Biology?

2. Is there a relationship between that parents’ educational level and the students academic performance in Biology?

3. What is the effect of parents socio-economic status as measured by their occupation, residence and properties owned on the academic performance of the students in Biology?

4. Does the socio-economic status (SES) of the parents of the students has effect on the quality of the support the parents provide for the students to enhance their academic performance in Biology?

1.4 Purpose of Study

This study is an attempt to examine the effect of family background variables, socio-economic status, and family relations an academic achievement of SS2 students in Biology in selected secondary schools in Onigbonbo Local Government Area of Lagos State.

The study is designed to find out:

1. The relationship between parental socio-economic status and academic achievement of respondents in Biology.

2. The relationship between family relation and academic achievement of respondents in Biology.

1.5 Definition of Terms

1. Socio-economic status: This is defined as the educational qualification, occupation and income of an individual or a family.

2. Family Background variables: These are the differences in the socio-economic status of the different families that make up a community or society.

3. Family relation: This refers to the relationship that exist between parent and their children.

4. Academic achievement: This refers to the performance of students in school as shown by their continuous assessment record.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study is significant in that:

1. The data collected will provide information on the perceived relationship between family background variables and academic achievement of secondary school students in Biology. This study should help parents to create an appropriate learning environment at home to enhance academic performance of their children.

2. This study will also enable parents and teachers to appreciate the difficulties the students encounter during learning process and how these can affect their academic performances. This will in other words, help to foster interaction and understanding between teachers and students, parents and students since both parents and teachers have the knowledge and understanding of the effect of the family background on academic achievement.

3. It will help in improving the relationship between parents and their children (students).

4. The outcome of this study will be beneficial to teachers, educators and school counselors in dealing with students’ problem.

5. The study is also significant in that it will make good contribution to existing literature on effects of family background on academic achievement.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study is limited to three secondary schools in Onigbongbo Local Government Area of Lagos State. The work studies the effect of parents’ socio-economic status on the academic achievements of the students in Biology.

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