The study examined the influence of socioeconomic background on the academic achievement of students in selected public secondary schools in Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State. The stratified sampling technique was used to select 120 students from five public schools, while the simple random sampling technique was used to administer the questionnaire (pre and post-test). Also, data on student’s academic achievement was obtained from student’s scores in four selected subjects. Data obtained was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. Multiple regression result revealed that parental socioeconomic background significantly influenced students’ academic achievement (p<0.05); as students whose parents had better jobs and higher levels of educational attainment and who were exposed to more educational and cultural resources at home tended to perform better than their counterparts without such opportunities. The study identified parental occupation as the main predictive variable influencing student’s academic achievement. However, increase in parental salaries in line with the current economic situation as well as the provision of adequate books and facilities in schools to breach the gap between the rich and the poor are recommended in order to improve the academic achievement of students.
1.1 Background of the Study
Academic achievement of students especially at the secondary school level is not only a pointer to the effectiveness or otherwise of schools but a major determinant of the future of youths in particular and the nation in general. The medium though which the attachment of individuals and the national educational goals can be achieve is learning.
Learning outcomes have become a phenomenon of interest to all and this account for the reason why scholars have been working hand to unravel factors that militates against good academic achievement.
Aremu and Sokau, (2002); this phenomenon has been variably referred to in literature as academic achievement, or scholastic functioning. Academic achievement of learners has attracted attention of scholars, parents, policy makers and planers. Adeyemo (2001) opined that the major goal of the school is to work towards attainment of academic excellence by students. According to him, the school may have other peripheral objectives; emphasis is always places on the achievement of sound scholarship. Besides, virtually every stakeholders in education places premium on academic achievement; excellent academic achievement of students is often the expectations of parents (Osiki 2001).
At the onset of an activity, students differ in learning as a function of their prior experiences, personal qualities and social supports. The later includes the extend that Parents and teachers encourage them to learn, facilitate their accesses to resources necessary for learning, and teach them strategies that enhances skill acquisition and refinement. Parents’ academic aspirations for their children influence their children’s academic achievement both directly and indirectly (Bandura & Pastorelli, 2001).
The influence of socioeconomic background on students’ academic achievement at the individual level is still prevalent but less strong in most of the literatures. In a study of mother only, mother extended family and two parents’ families with children enforced through third grades, concluded that two measures of parent’s expectations has a somewhat stronger influence than the economic variables. The effects of prior achievement are stronger that poverty in upper basic and basic school students in the study of data obtained from the longitudinal study of Nigeria Education Research Program (2011).
Nigeria, Africa and word over are particularly convinced that depends to a large extend to the type of education government can give to her citizens, because it is believed that the solutions to all nation’s social, economic and technological problems could be unraveled and solved through good educational strategies for her citizens.
In pursuant to this, the Nigerian government instituted programs like the 6 – 5 – 4, 6 – 3 – 3 – 4 and the 9 – 3 – 4 educational programs are also known as the educational basic education (UBE). The UBE was to provide free and compulsory universal education which promised to provide quality education in teaching and learning.
Despite the institution of these programs to meet the educational needs of Nigerians, there is a gross failure of these strategies due to the none preparedness of government to fund and monitor the programs, the failure of students of school age o appreciate and participate in the project and the gross shortage of qualified staff to pilot the programs. Besides the failure of the students to have interest in school, some parents practically engage their children during school hours to contribute to their survival need as some parents believe that education have no benefit, thus no need of allowing their children to go and waste time in school.
The home environment or family has been recognized as having a lot influence on the academic achievement of students (Ajiha & Olutola, 2000). Studies have been concentrated on the area of socioeconomic background of students. Other aspects of parental environment such as the structure of the family have been grossly neglected yet, Ichado (2000) stated that parents’ constant disagreement affects children emotionally and thus could lead to poor academic achievement in school.
Akow (2001) investigated rural-urban differential in academic achievements. He noticed that the high and middle socioeconomic status of parents does not only have higher expectations for their children, but also gives successes than low socioeconomic parents. In light of the foregoing, this research work is designed to investigate the influence of socioeconomic background on the academic achievements of upper basic students; thus laying emphasis on their parental and family influence in respect to the obtainable educational program in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In past years, it has been noticed that students’ academic achievement from socioeconomic disadvantage background is literally poor; disadvantaged UBE students does not enjoy equal level of success with students from advantaged socioeconomic family; this is attributed to the ability of parents to make available the basic amenities necessary to facilitate and improve a good learning environments for their children. As a result of the said disadvantage in social status, it has become ideally tough for children from poor socioeconomic background to attain degree level of education; those who do, suffers through tides and storm to make such achievement in life. They suffer lots of barriers which may sometimes cause them to defile their admission into higher institution of learning.
Despite the efforts of researchers, parents and other stakeholders in education, the poor achievement in the academic of upper basic students is still a recurring problem that is imperative at present generation.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to investigate the influence of socioeconomic background on the academic achievement of upper basic students in Benue State. Specifically, the study aims at determining the following objectives:
- To find out the influence of high and low socioeconomic background on the academic achievement of upper basic students.
- To study the positive and negative influence of socioeconomic background on upper basic students’ achievement.
- To find out the influence of high and low socioeconomic educational level of parent on the academic achievement of upper basic student in Makurdi local Government.
1.4 Research Questions
In a quest to achieve the stated objectives, the following research questions were raised to guide the research and make it a comprehensible area of study.
- To what extent does high and low socioeconomic background affect academic achievement of upper basic students?
- What are the positive and negative influences of socio economic background on upper basic students’?
- To what extent does high and low parental socio economic educational level affect the academic achievement of upper basic students?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance.
HO1: There is no significant influence of high and low socioeconomic background on academic achievement of upper basic students.
HO2: There is no significant difference between parental socioeconomic statuses on their children academic achievement
HO3: There is no significant relationship between parental educational level and students’ academic achievement
1.6 Significance of the Study
The usefulness of this research work; if the result of the study is properly utilized will be of enormous benefit to the students, teachers, parents and governments. It will expose the students to various influences of socioeconomic background on their academic pursuit.
This work will help the parents to understand the need for adequate parental care on their ward(s) academic pursuit. Nonetheless, serving as a mirror to parents; reflecting their attitudes towards their children education.
It will help instructors and education policy makers to develop better strategies and pedagogic programs for the students, thus providing a conducive learning environment for the students. Facilitators who really have the urge to make impact in the life of the students will find this work very beneficial as it will help them in appreciating the efforts of individual students with respect to their level of intelligent quotients.
Without doubt, this research work will be a springboard for other research works in related field or topic.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This research work is limited to Makurdi local government metropolis of Benue state, Nigeria. It focuses only on the effects of the socioeconomic background of the students in upper basic school level within Makurdi without further consideration of other factors that may possibly affect the achievement of the study.
The socioeconomic background of the students within Makurdi local government may differ completely with that of other local government of the same Benue state; as such the findings of this work may be used as a reference but not a conclusive result for other local government of Benue state or other states.
1.8 Definition of terms
Academic: Relating to education and scholarship.
Achieve: Bring about or accomplish by effort, skill, or courage.
Background: The circumstances prevailing at a particular time or underlying an event, a person’s education, experience and social circumstances.
Basic: Forming an essential foundation.
Research: the systematic investigation into and study of material and sources.
Parents: a father and mother.
Socio economic: relating to or concerned with the interaction of social and economic factors.
Upper: situated above another part. Higher in position or status.
Students: A person studying at the university or other place of higher Education; or a school pupil.
School: An institution for educating students.
Education: The process of educating or being educated.
Environment: the surrounding or environment in which a person, animal, or pant lives or operates.