This study was undertaken to test the impact of parent’s socio-economic status on academic performance of biology students in secondary school in Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State. It was anchored on the fact that student from high socio-economic status perform better than student from low socio-economic status. Two hundred (200) respondents were drawn from 10 selected secondary school in the study area. Data was collected using the questionnaire and analyzed using the frequency distribution table to seek answers to the three (3) research questions. From the analysis it was found out that the social status of biology students affects their academic performance in secondary school in Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State, however the study revealed that parental educational background has an effect on the academic performance of students in biology. Parents socio-economic status was discovered to significantly affects  biology students’ academic performance in the study area, therefore, recommender among other things that Government at all levels should give adequate attention to school by equipping them with required learning facilities so that students from poor background can also acquire a qualitative education like their counter parts from well to do families. Again biology teachers were advised to ensure uniformity in their dealing with the students, their background notwithstanding, so as to carry students from both low socio-economic status and high socio-economic status along.




1.1       Background of the Study                                                                                            

Education is the best legacy a nation can give to her citizens especially the youth. This is because; the development of any nation or community depends on the youth. Education is aimed at developing the well-integrated person so as to enable him to get adjusted in the society. Hence, the aim of education may be put as bringing out board personality changes in the individual which include attitudes, interest, ideas, ways of thinking, work habits, personal and social adaptability etc. besides imparting subject matter knowledge to him/her.

The education of a child starts at very young stage in the family. The parents are the first teachers of a child. This education is called informal education. The education plays the role of an instrument of social change which is imparted to the children initially in the home environment.

Here it is of great consideration that the socio-economic status of parent plays an important role in the academic performance and social behavior of the students. The performance variation and the emerging adverse decline of biology student performance in secondary schools have become issues of serious concern and discomfort to parents, policy makers and school administration. The increasing disparity and discouraging performance of students in Makurdi local. Government Area of Benue State has provoked serious concerns on the socio economic factor that affect student’s academic performance in school. There are societal factors which may enhance the academic performance of the children in spite of other variable such as genetic influence, the school environment, government, education policy. However, parents attitude towards their children’s education constitute the most crucial factor affecting the motivation and expectation of academic performance in secondary schools.

In every society, people are classified according to their social classes to which they belong. They can be classified according to wealth, power, prestige, poverty and intellectual capacity. According to Danladi (2005) the society is stratified along the rich and poor dichotomy, some student come from rich families while others come from poor families which ever family they come from, their social class tends to determine and influence their behavior and academic performance in secondary schools.

Johnson (1996), lamented that parents become poor such that they can no longer provide shelter, clothing and special need of their children in school such as provision of textbooks, school uniforms and good medical care. High level of illiteracy, poverty and low socio economic status coupled with high rate of parental and maternal deprivation of student academic needs which is necessitated by poor socio economic situation of the country has thrown away farmers and other ruler dwellers into untold financial problems such as lack of money to obtain working materials for their kids. Also many rural and sub-urban dwellers can no longer pay their students school fees so the students engage themselves in subsistence farming and become housemaids or engage in other mental jobs to support their academic pursuit. Hence, many students have taken schooling as a secondary assignment and school attendance on rational basis.

The resultant problem posed by this poor academic performance in school examinations such as National Examination Council (NECO) and West Africa Examination Council (WAEC). This trend is posing huge problems to parents, government, political parties and stakeholders in education. Home background according to PISA (Programme Internal Student Assessment) (2000), influences academic and educational success of students and school work, while socio economic status reinforces the activities and functioning of the teachers and students. From the above, it is reversed that quality of parents and home background of students go a long way to predict the quality and regularity of the satisfaction and provision of a child’s functional survival and academic needs. Poor parental care with gross deprivation of social and economic needs of a child usually yield poor academic performance of the child. Similarly, good parenting supported by strong economic background could enhance strong academic performance of the child. This further predicts academic performance where the child is properly counseled in the choice of his/her course and vocation that matches his mental ability, interest and capacity. Whereas children under the care of illiterate mothers will find themselves roaming about the street laboring to make ends meet.

Learning environment that is not free of barriers, obstacles or distraction such as noise, gas/smoke pollutions and so on can constitute a health hazard, which in turn affect or reduces student concentration or perceptual or conceptual focus of learning Thrall (2005). Therefore, for an effective learning and high academic performance, schools in both rural and sub-urban and urban areas should be located off zones characterized with smoke/gas pollutions, market centers or garages.

A conducive learning environment stimulates learning, understanding and high perception. Other factors according to Danes (2004), complementing environment and socio-economic factors to produce high academic achievements and performance include good teaching, good counseling, good administration, good seating arrangement, and good building. Danes however, lamented that innovative environment do stimulate head start learning and mental perception, not only that, it has also been proved that students that come for simulative environment with laboratory equipment or those that are taught with rich instructional aids, pictures and allowed to demonstrate using their functional nerves like eyes, hand and sense of taste perform better than those trained under theoretical and canopy of abstraction. Thus, teaching and learning should be done under organized, planed and fortified environment with learning instructional aids to stimulate student’s sense of conception and concentration to facilitate systematic understanding and acquisition of knowledge in them.

Furthermore, research has shown that some factors which are present in the family contribute greatly to the academic performance of the student. Among these are parental educational background, income, exposure, parental relationship, strength of the family, population, religion, sex difference, occupation etc. These factors all determine to greater extent the readiness of the child to learn. Nevertheless, the influence of other factors like mental and physical disabilities can account for poor academic performance in biology. On the whole, the family background being an umbrella in the inflation of the child into the world should provide favorable conditions which will improve the academic performance of the child irrespective of the constraints encountered in his/her academic pursuits.

 It appears that the academic performance of students in biology has declined over the past years and this forms the basis for the choice of the topic of this research which is to determine the impact of parent’s socio-economic status on student’s academic performance in secondary schools.

1.2       Statement of the problem

It has been observed from examination bodies like WAEC, NECO and JAMB which revealed that a high percentage of secondary school students continue to do poorly in biology examination. This has been a matter of concern to all stakeholders in education. Students’ performance in secondary schools appears to be affected by their parent’s socio economic status.

However, it is speculated that the socio-economic status of a family has an influence on the academic performance of the student. It is argued that, the difference in socio-economic status of family affects student’s performance in school. However one cannot jump to conclusion that children from well-to-do families are always better academically than those from poor family background.

It is against this background that the researcher has decided to undertake an investigation into the impact of parent’s socio-economic status on biology student academic performance in secondary schools in Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State.


1.3       Purpose of the study

The aim of this research work is to determine the impact of parent’s socio-economic background on student academic performance in secondary school.

Specifically the study is to find out:

  1. To find the effect of socio-economic status of biology students on their academic performance in Makurdi, L.G.A of Benue State.
  2. To determine the extent to which parental occupation affect the academic performance of biology student.
  3. To determine the impact of parents educational background on student academic performance in biology in Makurdi L.G.A of Benue State.
  4. To find solution to impact of socio-economic background on students academic performance.

1.4        Research Question   

In order to facilitate the study, the following research questions have been raised.

  1. What impact does parent’s social status have on the academic performance of biology students?
  2. In what ways does parental income influence biology student’s academic performance?
  3. To what extent does parental educational background affect biology student academic performance?

1.5       Research Hypothesis

In order to enhance the study, the following hypotheses were tested:

  1. There is no significance relationship between parent’s educational attainment and students’ academic performance.
  2. Parent’s income does not significantly affect their students’ academic performance in secondary school.
  3. Parent’s social status does not significantly affect the academic performance of their students in secondary schools.

1.6       Significance of the Study

Nigeria is a developing country and her future depends solely on the quality of education she can offer to her citizens. The usefulness of this research work in the educational system cannot be over emphasized. If the result of the study is properly utilized, it is going to be beneficial to the students, teachers, parents and government.

  1. The research work will expose the students to various impact of socio-economic status on the academic performance of biology students.
  2. The findings of the study will help parents understand the need for adequate parental care on their school children.
  3. The findings will educate the teachers on how to attend to students since their parental background is not the same, it will also help the school administrators to adjust their time table.
  4. The study also aimed at suggesting ways of bringing the academic gap between the poor and rich families so that children of both parents can achieve high academic standard irrespective of their background.

1.7       Scope of the Study

The study will be carried out in Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State. The study is limited to the impact of parent’s socio-economic status on the academic performance of students in senior secondary schools who take part in biology.

1.8       Operational Definition of Terms

Biology: is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisim including their structures, functions, and growth.

Secondary School: A place where students usually at the age of 18 and below go to learn and can also be referred to as High school.

Student: A person who goes to acquire knowledge in a school.

Impact: This is something that is produce by a cause or the result of an action. It is also a change that is as a result or consequence of an action or other causes either natural or artificial phenomenon.

Status: It is a person’s legal, social rank or wealth in the society.

Socio-economic: Is the combination of social and economic factors that determine income and social position and also measure ones status.

Upper Class: This is the richest group from the economic views that may be workers on grade level 10 and above. They are professional managers, business tycoons and some graduate workers.

Middle Class: This is the social class whose members are   neither very rich nor very poor and that include professionals and business people.

Lower Class: These are the poor. They may be worker on grade level 0-6 and below. They include petty traders, subsistent farmers, messengers, typist, driver and laborers.

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