The study investigated the effect of single parenting on the academic performance of senior secondary school students in physics in Makurdi Local Government, Benue State. A survey method of research design was adopted aimed at collecting data for the purpose of interest and knowing the effects of single-parenthood on the academic performance of secondary school students. The population of the study comprises of all senior secondary school Physics students in Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State who are about 6,934. The sample size for the study was 200 respondents. This was selected using a simple random sampling technique. Ten (10) secondary schools were selected from the population of the study to make up the sample population. The questionnaire had a four-point response options of strongly agree (SA), agree (A), disagree (D), strongly disagree (SD) with a corresponding nominal values of 4, 3, 2 and 1 respectively. The data obtained from the trial testing was subjected to reliability analysis using Cronbach alpha method and a reliability coefficient of 0.986 was obtained. The data collected was analyzed using simple descriptive statistics of mean and standard deviation and the research hypotheses were tested using chi-square test at 0.05 level of significance. The findings in this study statistically revealed that there exist a significant difference in the mean responses on the difference between the academic performance of students from single-parent homes and intact homes and that there exist a relationship between single-parents and intact parents that affect students’ academic performance among secondary school students in Physics in Makurdi, Benue State. This study has confirmed that academic performance and single parenting are negatively related, hence the more cases of single parenting the poorer the academic performance. It was recommended based from the study that academic performance and single parenting are negatively correlated, therefore Schools can devise special teaching strategies such as group studies, practical activities to meet the needs of the unfortunate students. It would be proper for every school to assign teacher mentors to the students who suffer from trauma as a result of single parenting; preferably those of same sex of parents lost to complement the vacuum lost at home.










1.0                                                       INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study

Processes   through   which   trained   teachers   use   child-centred   teaching approaches  in  well-managed  classrooms  and  schools  and  skillful  assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities; Outcomes  that  encompass  knowledge,  skills  and  attitudes,  and  are  linked  to national goals for education and positive participation in society are known as education (UNICEF, 2000).

In  all  aspects  of  the  school  and  its  surrounding  education  community,  the rights   of   the   whole   child,   and   all   children,   to   survival,   protection, development and participation are at the centre.  This means that the focus is on  learning  which  strengthens  the  capacities  of  children  to  act  progressively on  their  own  behalf  through  the  acquisition  of  relevant  knowledge,  useful skills  and  appropriate  attitudes;  and  which  creates  for  children,  and  helps them  create  for  themselves  and  others,  places  of  safety,  security  and  healthy interaction (Willms, 2000). Physically and psychosocially healthy children learn well. Healthy development in early childhood,  especially  during  the  first  three  years  of  life,  plays  an  important  role in providing the basis for a healthy life and a successful formal school experience (McCain & Mustard,  1999).

Parenting involvement is one factor that has been consistently related to a student's increased academic performance (Topor, 2010; Kgosidialwa, 2010). While this relationship between parent involvement and a student's academic performance is well established, studies have yet to examine how parent involvement increases a student's academic performance.

Research has revealed that, married individuals have better outcomes on a variety of measures of well-being compared to their single counterpart (Waite et al., 2004). For example, married adults experience greater affluence, fewer substance abuse problems, less depression, lower suicide rates, better physical health, live longer and overall has greater rates of happiness (Gillmore et al., 2008). In addition, married couples tend to look out for each other and remind one another of medical and general appointments (Karasu, 2007), thereby increasing awareness about health. Marriage has positive effects on children and it affects many domains in their life, one of the most important being education (Waite et al., 2004). Children and adolescents do better in married households (Gillmore et al., 2008). They are less likely to be involved in accidents, drug or alcohol-related deaths, suicides, or crime. They are also less likely to have a child at a young age and out of wedlock (Karasu, 2007). In addition, children from single-parent households are four times more likely to be of lower socioeconomic status (SES) than children in married households (Karasu, 2007).

Research on single-parent families has changed over the years. During different periods, research in the area has followed one of the two models; The Family Deficit Model or the Risk and Protective Factor Model. Family Deficit model which dates back to the 1970s views the nuclear or two-parent family (otherwise known as intact family) as the ideal family structure. According to this model, single-parent families have a negative impact on children simply because they do not have a nuclear family structure. It is therefore considered an aberration, which lacks the capacity to produce a psychologically balanced offspring (Azuka-Obieke, 2013).

Jacobs (2011) and Berh (1990) state that academic achievement depends largely on the quality of teaching and motivation. Positive motivation of the child is expected to start from the home. Education of a child is a combined effort by parents and teachers; however parents take the lead at home by educating the child the norms and values of the society. A child that is being taught at home cannot be same as the child that is not being thought at home as a result of either of the parents not being available to help. There is a saying that charity begins at home. As such the child should be exposed to some academic work at home to enable him/her meet up at school.

For adolescents to achieve their potentials whether from single parents or intact family, the learner must adjust to the environment physically, socially and otherwise. Single parent has to take the role of a mother, father, baby-sitter and also a tutor and this is not an easy task.

Parent involvement refers to the teacher's perception of “the positive attitude parents have towards their child's education, teacher, and school” (Topor et al., 2010).

In the Makurdi Metropolis there are lots of factors that cause students from single parent homes to perform poorly in academics and pick up truant lifestyles and they include the following, emotional scarring left by separation that disrupts the child’s development and performance, absence of the other adult may interrupt a child’s natural growth and mental development, the children may be inadvertently forced to take on the duties of the absent adult, limited time and income become an issue as in how much time is focused on homework or whether money is spent to enjoy cultural activities and educational goals and aspirations may not be set as high.

The goal of the present study is to test the variables that may mediate, or explain how, parent involvement is related to a student's academic performance.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Jointly, parents have important roles to play in ensuring that their children acquire appropriate and balanced social, psychological, moral and academic development. Each of the parents has indispensable and unique responsibility for the psychological, educational and career development of their children. However the advent and subsequent societal acceptance of single parenthood has distorted these complementary roles. This has in turn impacted adversely on the total upbringing of the children including their psycho well-being and educational performance. It is to this effect that the present study seek to investigate the effect of single parenting on the academic performance of senior secondary school students in physics in Makurdi Local Government Area, Benue State.

1.3       Aim and Objectives

The aim of this study is to find out the effect of single parenting on the academic performance of senior secondary school students in Physics in Makurdi Local Government Area, Benue State.

Specifically, the objectives of this study is:

  1.         i.            To investigate the effects of single-parenting on the academic performance among senior secondary school students in Physics
  2.       ii.            To find out the relationship between single-parents and intact parents on students’ academic performance among secondary school students in Physics

1.4       Research Questions

The following research questions were raised based on the background of the study.

  1. Is there any difference between the academic performance of students from single-parent homes and intact homes?
  2. How does the relationship between single-parents and intact parents affect students’ academic performance among secondary school students in Physics?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were tested with suitable statistical techniques at 0.05 level of significance.

H01: There is no significant difference between the academic performance of students from single-parenting homes and those from intact homes.

H02: There is no significant difference in the relationship between single-parents and intact parents on students’ academic performance among secondary school students in Physics

1.6       Significance of the Study

The finding of the study will be of immense help to the teachers. The teachers will realize the necessity of individualizing their teaching by structuring their teaching methods and instructional resources to take care of the divergent parental backgrounds of the students. This method may yield more positive result than the traditional system which assumes that all children have similar family background. The findings of the study will also help teachers to exercise patience with slow-learners as they vary methods of instruction to accommodate divergent family background.

The findings will be of immense importance to students. The students will realize that their poor performance might not necessarily be their fault alone, especially those from low status families. Such knowledge will go a long way to reduce frustration in the students and also reduce drop-outs which occur as a result of frustration. Rather, the students should be made to adjust and help themselves by studying hard at home and also make proper of the books and materials that are provided for them at the school library.

Through the findings of this study, parents will realize the importance of improving their educational standard so as to influence their children’s academic performance. Parents will also understand the need for them to improve their socioeconomic status so as to be able to provide the necessary motivation in form of learning materials and other things which will enhance their children’s learning and their academic performance. They will equally acknowledge the importance of positive motivations and encouragement and provide some, by making the family environment more conducive for their children.

The school guidance counselors will also benefit from the findings of this study. They will be in position to guide and counsel students in the area of personal social interactions, academic performance and career choice. The findings of the study will help Parents Teacher Associations (PTA) of schools in promoting the academic performance of student. This is because at PTA meetings, parents know their functions and responsibilities at home, to help solve their children’s problems both home and school environment.

The findings of the study will be of immense help to educational administrators. They will use the findings in the formulation of policy that will regulate equal educational opportunities for all children irrespective of their family background in the distribution of equipment, facilities and amenities to schools. The findings of this study will help the society at large in identifying how family environmental variables such as what parents’ level of education, parents’ income, parents’ occupation, parents’ motivation and family size on student’s academic performance. This will act as a check on increasing low academic performance among students, occasioned by the fact that some parents, teachers and counselors do not have adequate knowledge/input required of them.

1.7       Scope of the Study

This research work is limited to the effect of single parenting on the academic performance of senior secondary school three (SSS3) students in Physics in Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State.




1.8       Definition of Terms

The following key words have been defined as used in this study by the researcher:

Academic Performance: is the level and quality of attainment shown by an individual after a given learning task. This is comparable to (Coetzee, 2011).

Intact Family: is two-parent family, husband and wife being together. This is an implied meaning by Nyarka, (2010) and many other researchers.

Single Parenting: is a phenomenon whereby the care and training of a child is undertaken by only one of father or mother as a result of death of spouse, divorce, separation, and never-married (Klaush and Own, 2009).