The Influence of Home Environment on the Academic Performance of Secondary School Students in Nigeria


Abstract

This study examined the impact of parental involvement on the academic performance of secondary school students using some selected schools in Ago-Iwoye Metropolis, an area of Ogun State as case study. Forty respondents comprising twenty students and twenty parents were randomly selected from the study area. Two hypotheses were developed to test the correlation between home environment and academic performance of students in secondary school. Questionnaire was used to gather data on gender, age, students’ study skills, socio-economic status of parents, and family description. To determine parenting style, parents completed the Parental Involvement and Dimension Questionnaire. Data was analyzed using chi square. Also, as hypothesized, academic performance of students in the selected schools was significantly positively correlated with a good home environment in the students’ education. The research contends that parental involvement at all grade levels can assist in the academic and behavioral performance of students. Hence, it is suggested that similar research with relevant research methodology should be used in carrying out research in other states of the Federation to ascertain the degree of conformity which this research have on the correlation between home environment and academic performance of students in Nigeria.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 1.1   Background to the Study                        

                   There have been several studies done within and outside Nigeria on the effects of home environment as well as the socio-economic status of parents on the academic achievement of students (Ajila  & Olutola,  2007; Uwaifo, 2012).  Research has found many factors that influence how well a student does in school and the amount of confidence the students have for themselves. However, in Nigeria, like other growing economies, families are finding it more difficult to stay connected with their children’s education. This is most common to families living in mega cities such as Lagos where both parents work outside of the home. Carmen (2007) noted that the extended family has become significantly less extended as mobility has increased. Parents are becoming isolated from their children and finding it difficult to keep a careful watch on what needs to be done to help them succeed in school. Many families are not even led by a parent, but by a grandparent, guardian, or some other adult.

                Prior to this time, in what is sometimes called a traditional Nigerian family environment, parents were able to monitor the school work of their children carefully  and actively participated in Parents-Teachers Associations purposely to monitor the progress of their children. Report cards were valued and trusted in the home as an accurate reflection of academic achievement. Parents were able to keep in touch with the school and the life of their children in the school, and to monitor success or lack thereof. When children came home from school, homework was completed, assignments finished, and other school works were done.

            With the changes in family life and indeed in societal makeup, schools are now finding it increasingly difficult to keep parents informed of and  actively engaged in the day-to-day progress of their children (Deslandes & Bertrand,  2005). Teachers and administrators are discovering that the support they once received in getting students to do their homework is not there, because the parents are not home to insist that students complete their assignments.

         It must be noted that while there are so many factors influencing the ability of students to progress academically, Ozmert (2005) emphasized the importance of environmental influence as a major factor in the development of students academic performance. The family background of the student, however is the most important factor that affects the student’s academic performance. In view of this, Hussain (2006) noted that secondary school students in public schools often come from economically poor and average income families. These families face various problems causing emotional disturbance among their children. They have poor academic performance. This singular factor shows how important the family is to academic achievement of students in secondary schools as well as the centrality of parents to the academic performance of students.

             Influence of home environment in students’ education has been a major topic of study for the later part of the twentieth century.  Baumrind (1971) has been credited for defining three specific parental involvement and their consequences for children. These are (a) authoritative, (b) authoritarian, and (c) permissive involvement of parents in children’s schooling based on levels of warmth and control used by the parent in disciplining the child.  According to Baumrind (1991), parental involvement is meant to capture normal variations in parents attempts to socialize children.  Parental involvement can be both supportive and unsupportive in their tone, both of which affect developmental outcomes and consequences to personality development. Baumrind described how parental involvement affect measures of competence, achievement, and social development.

         Although, students are primarily the ones for whom curricula are designed, textbooks are written, and schools built, parents are primarily the ones held responsible for preparing students for learning – preparation physically, psychologically, behaviorally, attitudinally, emotionally, and motivationally, just to name a few.

        Over the years, numerous theories and associated constructs have been formulated and have evolved to describe and explain these two independent variables, that is, home environment and students academic performance. For example, the behavioral learning theories of Thorndike, Watson, Skinner and, Hull, the cognitive learning theories of Piaget, Kolhberg, and Vygotsky, and the social learning theories of Bandura, have been used to pose and answer questions about students and parents. Dornbusch (1996), found empirical evidence of what most parents and educators know from experience – that parents have a strong influence on secondary school students.

        Steinberg and his colleagues conducted surveys, focus groups, and individual interviews with high school students and parents to better understand how parents, peers and communities influence students’ commitment to school.  The 10-year longitudinal study collected data from 20,000 students and 500 parents in nine ethnically diverse school and communities.  These researchers found that parents’ behaviors send clear and decisive messages about their thoughts and feelings on the importance of schooling.  They also found that parenting style helps or hinders a child’s engagement in school; that encouraging a child to do well in school or insisting that homework be completed were important forms of promoting engagement. These three tenets – communication, influence, and parenting style – are subsets of a larger domain, parental involvement.

           The aforementioned studies are not the only ones that speak to the issue of parenting involvement, but, here, serve only as a way of introducing the broader sphere. In this present study, home environment was studied in reference to its influence on the academic performance of students  in secondary school.

 1.2 Statement of the Problem

        Although, scholars have identified the correlation between parental influences on children academic performance in the primary school, it must be noted that secondary school students are different from the typical elementary-aged children and therefore reacts differently to direct parent involvement in their academics. The focus and indeed the intent of this study concern the relationship between home environment, with particular reference to parenting style and socio-economic status of parents; and secondary school students’ academic performance.

 1.3. Objectives of the Study

The primary aim of this study was to examine the influence of home environment on students’ academic performance. This general aim is expressed in the following specific objectives which are to:

  1. Examine the correlation between home environment and academic performance of students in secondary school;
  2. Examine factors determining the  home environment;
  3. Investigate the effects of the socio-economic status of parents on student’s academic performance;
  4. Examine the perceptions of students towards their parents in regards to parenting style and their academic performance.

1.4    Research Questions

  1. What relationship exists between the type of parental involvement and secondary school student academic achievement?

2.  Do socio-economic and educational background of parents affect their involvement in their children in secondary schools?

3       Do parenting style and parental involvement directly affect students academic performance?

4 Do perceptions of students about their parents affect their academic performance?

 1.5 Research Hypotheses

H01: There is no statistically significant difference between home environment and academic performance of students in secondary school.

H02: There is no statistically significant difference between socio-economic and educational background of parents and involvement in their children’s education

 1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The study was limited by a convenience sample of approximately 20 (twenty) students from five secondary schools and 20 (twenty) parents from Ago-Iwoye Metropolis In Ogun State.

Apart from the shortage of fund and time frame, the following limits were found in the study:

1.  It is recognized that not every parent will fit neatly into a particular parenting style.  These parent-child pairs will be discarded from the sample.

2.  Some children will rate their parents as fair when in actuality they are not, therefore there will be some bias in the parents nominations.

3.  It is recognized that a parenting style may be chosen by a family due need rather than desire.

4.  The study was limited to the students whose parents gave consent for their participation, as well as, receiving the students’ assent.

5.  The accuracy of the data was limited by the skills of the researcher and validity of the tests administered.

 

1.7     Significance of the Study

This study will be useful to many people who may want to know the factors that could make or mar student’s academic performance. Therefore, the study is significant in the following regards:

  1. It has provide empirical evidence to schools, parents, and students about the nature of parental involvement and how it affects the academic performance of students
  2. It offers a reference for future research that might investigate the same variables.

1.7     Operational Definition of Terms

Home Environment: Home environment refers to aspects of peoples domestic lives that contribute to their living conditions. These factors may be physical (poverty, psychological conditions due to parenting; social circumstances (single parenting) or wider cultural patterns of life related to the location (Urban or rural environments).

Parent:  The term parent as used in this study includes, in addition to a natural  parent, a legal guardian or other person standing in loco parentis, such as a grandparent or  stepparent with whom the child lives, or a person who is legally responsible for a child’s welfare.

 Parental Involvement: any form of verbal or non-verbal communication or assistance in reference to a child’s homework.

 Parenting Style: The overall emotional climate of the parent-child relationship- an affective context of sorts that sets the tone for the parents interactions with the child.

 Student academic achievement: This term refers to the student’s overall average  in science, social studies, English, and math, expressed as a percent grade. 

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