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AN ASSESSMENT OF FAMILY BACKGROUND CHARACTERISTICS AND SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTS ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT
1.1 Background to the Study
Education is the best legacy a nation can give to her citizens especially the youths. This is because education is very important in the development of any nation or community. Education is the process of transmitting what is worthwhile to members of the society. It is noted that different factors contribute or influence the performance of students but the main focus of this research is on family background and school environment.
Family backgrounds have been of great important in shaping the performance of children in schools worldwide. This is because; academic performance is usually as a result of motivation that children get from the people they interact with in their initial stages of life. A study conducted in the U.S.A by Rouse and Barrow (2006) revealed that years of schooling completed and educational achievement of students, varied widely by family backgrounds. Rouse and Barrow (2006) found out that students who came from less disadvantaged families had higher average test scores and were more likely to have never been held back a grade as compared to students from the more disadvantaged families. However they highlighted that it was not clear to reflect the causal effect of family backgrounds on the child’s educational achievement which creates a gap that this study sought to fill by finding out the influence of family backgrounds on the students’ academic performance. Further McIntosh (2008) in his study concluded that in Canada, children who came from low income households, having divorced or separated parents, would actually perform better than average scores if they came from homes that had positive attitudes and that strongly supported their children. This was supported by another study on Children and Youth in Canada that was carried out by Ryan (2000) who reported that there was a significant effect of family background variables, parental support, and teacher support on a child’s educational achievement.
The school environment is an essential factor to be considered in child’s ability to learn. School environment is one of the factors that affect the nature of teaching process and its outcome that in turn may or may not be productive in achieving the desired educational goals and objectives. The efficiency of a school system in achieving its organizational objectives depends on the effectiveness of the various environmental factors to which the components of the system are subject to. According to Oluchukwu (2000) and Ajayi (2001), the school environment which include the classroom, libraries, technical workshops, laboratories, teacher’s quality, school management, teaching methods, peers etc. are variables that affect student’s academic performance. Hence, the school environment remains an important area that should be managed and well-studied to enhance student’s academic performance. The quality of education is not only dependent on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties, but also in the effective co-ordination of the school environment (Ajao, 2001). Stewart (1990) he defined school environment as an atmospheric environment built by the inhabitants of the school, perceived differently, depending perhaps on their status within the institution, but affecting them all and communicated to observe. Thomas (1980) defined school environment as the general conditions pervading in the entire school as perceived by the students, teachers and principals. To him, it is the organizational characteristics of the school as a community. These characteristics includes; interpersonal relationship, decision making, communication structure, sensitivity to teacher’s problems, attitudes, values and morals of the entire school. Some of the environmental factors that militate against academic performance of students in economics are non-availability of school facilities such as chairs, tables, good library, teaching aids, textbooks etc, school location, school size and class size, dilapidated building and poor indoor ventilation. According to Evans and Matiu (1991), this factor may be affecting physical health of children because the dilapidated building has been found to exhibit clear signs of sensory irritation, skin rashes and mental fatigue, and all these factors have been found capable of reducing the ability of students to perform very well. (Ogbeifum and Olisa, 2001).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Poor academic performance at the s secondary level of education particularly at the terminal stage has been a serious problem in the education sector. The public’s unhappiness becomes more prominent, following the annual release of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination results, every year students’ outcomes do not match the government and parental investment. All stakeholders are concerned about why the system is turning out graduates with poor results. Ogunsaju (2004), states that the academic standard in all Nigerian educational institutions has fallen considerably below societal expectations. Among the reasons for this downward trend in achievement of students are the various effects the family background, environment and poor teaching has on students. Previous studies have investigated the relationship of family background, poor school environment including problems with student-teacher ratio, school location, school population, classroom ventilation, poor lightning in classroom and inconsistent temperatures in classrooms with students health problems, student behaviour and student achievement.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objectives of this study is to assess the effect of family background and school environment on academic performance of students in Abeokuta, specifically the study intends to;
1. Examine the effect of family background characteristics on academic performance of students
2. Find out the different school environment factors that affects academic performance of students
3. Analyze the effect of family background characteristics and school environment on the academic performance of students
1.4 Research Questions
1. Is there any effect of family background characteristics on academic performance of students?
2. What are the different school environment factors that affects academic performance of students?
3. Is there any effect of family background characteristics and school environment on the academic performance of students
1.5 Research Hypothesis
Ho: there is no effect of family background characteristics and school environment on the academic performance of students
Hi: there is effect of family background characteristics and school environment on the academic performance of students
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study is of importance to different individuals who include: To parents; in order to make them aware of the importance of family background in shaping the academic performance of their children’s; To the school management in order to enlighten them on the important factors in the children’s family background and school environment so as to be able to deal with or pay more attention to those factors which may affect adversely the students’ academic performance; The study will also benefit other future researchers in the same field with the literature to support their arguments and hence improved knowledge. These will have enriched available information on family background and school environment specific factors and how they affect students’ academic performance in secondary schools
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study is limited to secondary schools in Abeokuta south LGA in Ogun state. The context scope of this study is limited to finding the influence of family background and school environment on academic achievement of students with particular regards to parental level of education; parental occupation, parental income, family size and parental motivation, school location, school population, classroom ventilation etc.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
Finance for the general research work will be a challenge during the course of study. Correspondents also might not be able to complete or willing to submit the questionnaires given to them.
However, it is believed that these constraints will be worked on by making the best use of the available materials and spending more than the necessary time in the research work. Therefore, it is strongly believed that despite these constraint, its effect on this research report will be minimal, thus, making the objective and significance of the study achievable.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Academic: The process of teaching and learning in school. It involves reading, studying and examinations.
Family background: refers to circumstances and past events that help to explain how a child develops.
Family background relationship: refers to any positive or negative impression or effect that families exercise on their children while studying in the schools.
Family size: it is the total number of children in the child’s family in addition to the child himself.
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