Influence of Parental Involvement and Peer Group on the Academic Performance of Students: Case Study of Some Selected Schools in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area of Ogun State


1.1      Background to the Study

           There have been several studies done within and outside Nigeria on the effects of parenting involvement as well as the socio-economic status of parents on the academic achievement of students.  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.

Parental involvement 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, parents and students. 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.

In ways similar to the community, the peer group becomes an agency of enculturation and learning. Even very young children develop a sense of self from their perceptions of important people in their surroundings, including relatives, teachers, and peers. Socioeconomic status, ethnic identity, and parents’ occupations affect how families view themselves and the process by which they socialize their children (Bornstein, 2002). Later, as children leave the home setting, their self-perception and socializing skills become influenced by how their peers view them. When children move out from family to child-care centers, school, and the community at large, they begin to form attachments, and friendships emerge through their play. These relationships influence behavior. Even infants and toddlers are observed reacting to other infants by touching them, by crying when others cry, and later by offering nurturance or comfort. By about age three, early friendships begin to form and children’s peers begin to have a  more lasting influence (Parke, 1990).

Peer influence on behavior gradually becomes more dominant. Harris (2002) maintained that peer groups have an even stronger influence than that of parents, although that extreme position has been refuted by other researchers (Berk, 2005). Gradually, children discover that others can share  their feelings or attitudes or have quite different ones. The perspectives of others will affect how children feel about their own families. Children usually have a “family” view of their own and of other cultures. So, when confronted with other perspectives, they often need to rethink their own viewpoints. It is often difficult for children to adjust to the idea that other families can function radically differently from their own and yet hold many of the same attitudes and beliefs and be equally nurturing and secure. The peer group serves as a barometer for children examining themselves and their feelings about self and family.

The peer group also influences development of children’s socializing skills. These early friendships help children learn how to negotiate and relate to others, including their siblings and other family members. They learn from peers how to cooperate and socialize according to group norms and group-sanctioned modes of behavior.

The peer group can influence what the child values, knows, wears, eats, and learns. The extent of this influence, however, depends on other situational constraints, such as the age and  personality of children and the nature of the group (Harris, 1998; Hartup, 1983).

The aforementioned studies are not the only ones that speak to the issue of parenting involvement and peer group inlfuence, but, here, serve only as a way of introducing the broader sphere. In this present study, parenting involvement and peer group 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 and peer group 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 parenting style, socio-economic status of parents and peer group influence on secondary school students’ academic performance.

1.3. Objectives of the Study

The primary aim of this study was to examine the influence of parenting style  and socio-economic status on students’ academic performance. This general aim is expressed in the following specific objectives which are to:

  1. Examine the correlation between parental involvement and academic performance of students in secondary school
  2. Examine the relationship between peer group pressure and academic performance of adolescents
  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 peer group affect the academic performance of students?

 

1.5 Research Hypotheses

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

H02: There is no significant difference between peer group pressure and academic performance of adolescents

1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The study was limited by a convenience sample of approximately twenty (20) students from five secondary schools and 20 (twenty) parents (comprising of teachers with children)  from Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area of Ogun State. The sample was limited to students in secondary school from Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area of 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
  1. It offers a reference for future research that might investigate the same variables.

1.7 Operational Definition of Primary Variables

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. 

Peer group: A peer group is a primary group of people, typically informal, who share a similar or equal status and who are usually or roughly the same age, tended to travel around and interact within the social aggregate

Peer influence:  peer influence can be described as the pressure adolescents feel from their peers. Also, it can be the pressure planned or unplanned.

Adolescence: refers to the transitory period where a child moves to adulthood. The adolescent years fall within 12-18 years.

 

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