Effect of Single Parenthood on Student’s Academic Performance in Mathematics




There is widespread interest in improving the levels of mathematics achievement in schools. There is the economic benefits that this would bring by better preparing young people for the numeric demands for modern workplaces and raising the overall skills levels of the workforce, there are also social benefits tied to improving access for larger numbers of young people to post-school education and training opportunities and laying stronger foundations so skills for lifelong learning. The interest in raising levels of achievement has led as understanding how these factors operate to limit or enhance the achievement of different groups of students. The impact of different groups of students is important because groups of students. The impact on different groups of students is important because social differences in mathematics performance persist, despite inequalities in some other areas of school having declined. A study of trends in mathematics achievement over the three decades. A study of trends in mathematics achievement over the three decades 1996, in Australia shows that substantial social class differences persist (Afrassa & Keeves, 1999). Similar results have been reported on the US for the same period, with differences related to social groups (measured by parental education) remaining strong (National Center for Education Standards, 2000). The evidence is a reminder that a time when there are weakening social trends on some broad indicators of educational participation, such as school retention rates, social differences in student progress and academic outcomes continue.

The early literature on school effectiveness placed an emphasis on the ability and social backgrounds of students as factors that shape academic performance, and suggested that schools had little direct effect on student achievement. Coleman et al. (2006), for example, in a major study of US schools seemed to cast doubt on the possibility of improving school achievement through reforms to schools. They found that differences in school achievement of student peer, and concluded that ‘schools bring little influence to bear on a child’s achievement that is independent of his background and general social context. A later analysis of the same dataset by Jericks and his colleagues reached the same conclusion: our research suggests… that the character of a schools’ output depends largely on a single input, namely the characteristics of the entering children. Everything else..the school budget, its policies, the characteristics of the teachers.. is either secondary or completely irrelevant’ (Jericks et al., 2002).

Criticisms of this early work suggested that the modeling procedures employed did not take account of the hierarchical nature of the data, and was not able to separate out accurately school, student and classroom factors (e.g. Raudenbush & Willms, 1991) More recent school effectiveness research has used multi modeling techniques to account for the clustering effects of different types of data.

Types of single parent families are generally categorized by the sex of the custodial parent (mother-only or father-only families). Mother-only families include widows, divorced and separate women, and never-married mothers. In the case of divorce, mothers are usually given custody in the United States and other developed countries. In Italy, 1997, for example, 90 percent of children whose parents divorced went into the custody of their mothers. Since the vast majority of single parents are mothers, most of the research focuses on female-headed families. However, regardless of sex, single parents share similar problems and challenges (Grief 1985).

Father-only families formed as a result of widowhood, desertion by the mother or wives refusing custody. The increase in father-only families is due, in part, to the effort of fathers to obtain custody of their children. Factors supporting their transition into primary parenthood include financial security, prior involvement in housework and child care during the marriage, satisfaction with child-care arrangements, and a shared sense of responsibility for the marital breakup (Grief 1985).


Much of the debate over single parent families focuses on how these trends affect children. Many social scientists contend that child raised in single-parent homes are more likely to experience a variety of problems which are aliens to children raised in two-parent homes. These problems include social, psychological, economic and financial problems. Long research history in this area has shown that children raised by two parents advantage in mathematics achievement are a universal phenomenon (Mullis, 2000). While early research (Fennema & Sherman, 2005) indicated that children from single parent can also do well in math achievement at the Junior high and high school levels if given right support by the school, parents and government. It is against this background that attempts to assess the effect of single parenthood on students achievement in mathematics.

Purpose of the Study

The broad objectives of the study are to find out the effect of single parenthood on students achievement in mathematics. However, specific objectives include;

  1. The identification of personal characteristics of respondents in the study area.
  2. Identification of factors affecting students learning of mathematics.
  3. Identification of the spillover effects of family structures on student’s achievement in mathematics.
  4. Make useful suggestions for policy makers and shareholders in the field of education.

Research Question

The following questions were tackled in the process of this research

  1. What are the social challenges of children from single parent family?
  2. Is there any significant relationship between the performance of students from single parent’s family and those from other types of family?
  3. Will the academic performance of children from single parent family significantly be affected by the social, economic, and psychological challenges faced by their parents?

Research Hypothesis

Ho1: there is no significant difference in the performance of students from single parents and their counterparts raised by both parents

Ho2: There are no significant differences between psychological and economic factor and student’s academic performance

Ho3: Students from single-parents family are not socially affected.

Significance of the Study

The essence of this research is to know the parent and children’s standard of living in single parent families in Ijebu-Ode local government. This will be of greater benefit to policy makers and stakeholders in the field of sociology. Again, the study will serve as an eye opener to youths looking forward to having their own family. The society will also exposed to the fact that single parenthood is not a disease and thus they should not be looked down upon.

Scope and Limitation of the Study

The study is delimited to Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area. The study would have best been carried out using the entire local government in Ogun State but for time and financial constraints. However, it was briefly narrowed down to Ijebu-Ode Local government area.

Definitions of terms

Family: The social group, whose members are related by ancestry, Blood, Marriage, or and who live together, cooperate Economically and Care for the young once.

Single parent: A parent lives with dependent children, either alone or in a larger household, without a spouse or partner.

Nuclear family: Two adults living together in a household with their own adopted children.

Extended family: These are grand parents, brothers and their wives, sisters and their husbands, aunts and nephews.

Mothers only families: The widows divorced and separated women, and never married mothers.

Fathers only families: Widowhood, desertion by the mother, or wives refusing custody.

Gender: This refers to the sex of a person or organism, or of a whole category of people or organisms (often euphemistic to avoid the word “sex”)

Achievement: The student’s performance in their school examination given by their scores. It also refers to something important that you succeed in doing by your own efforts.

Attitude: This means the way one behaves towards something that shows how you think or feel.


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