The Influence of Parental Factors on the Academic Achievement of Pre-primary School Children in Selected Nursery and Primary Schools
The study examined the effect of parental care on children’s academic performance at the primary levels in selected public primary schools in Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State. Also, this study reviewed some relevant and related literatures under sub-headings.
The descriptive research survey was applied in this study for the assessment of the opinions of the selected respondents for this study, with the use of the questionnaire and the sampling technique.
A total of 200 (two hundred) respondents were sampled for this study. Four null hypotheses were formulated and tested, with the application of the Pearson Product Moment Correlation tool at 0.05 level of significance.
At the end of the analyses, the outcome indicated that:
1. A significant relationship exists between parental level of education and child’s academic performance in the schools.
2. Hypothesis two revealed that there is a significant relationship between parent’s supervision of school work and the academic performance of their children.
3. Also, it was found in hypothesis three that a significant relationship exists between parental provision of remedial lessons and academic performance of pupils in school.
4. Finally, it was revealed that there is no significant relationship between family size and academic performance of pupils in school.
1.1 Background to the Problem
The problem of decline in the academic achievement of children in the pre-primary and primary school levels has become a social problem for the Nigerian educators today.
The importance of the early years intellectual development in the individual’s life cannot be over emphasized. A successful education of the child during the schooling periods depends a great deal on the king of environment the child is exposed to, the experiences the child had and most of all, the kind of assistance the child gets from his/her parents.
What a person becomes later in life depends largely on the acceptance or welcoming as well as the attention the child or the individual receives from the parents and the environment in which the child grows. This could make or mar the academic performance or achievement of such an individual all through the stages/levels of education.
Osanyin (2002) has it that “A child’s intellectual or academic achievement is dependent on the active engagement the child is involved in the environment”.
This means that the child therefore needs things to play with, talk about, look at, reach out for and kick. The child also needs to be exposed to objects of different colours, sounds, shapes, sizes and materials. There is also the need for an adult to play with, talk to, touch, suspense, attend to and respond to the child in question. It was also stated that the quality of intervention and stimulation the child is provided with go a long way to influence the child’s total development be it physically, socially, academic etc.
As the child grows, his parents, siblings, peers and other members of his immediate environment have a great influence on him. They help the child to develop or form attitude, beliefs and habits.
In Nigeria today, just like in many other countries in the world, comes the pressure by organizations like United Nations Organisation (UNO) or its agencies United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the government that parents should be more concerned and committed to the care and well-being of their children. In 1973, Nigeria’s former Head of State Genera Yakubu Gowon expressed the Nation’s concern during his address on the occasion of the children’s day celebration:
“Children constitute the most important assets to a nation as the future building of any nation defends on how well they have been groomed at different stages of development until adulthood. It is here that our responsibilities for the children whether as parents, guardian, institutions/schools or guardians or institution/schools or government come into play.
Our foremost tasks therefore, is to provide the child to the best of our ability with all the essential needs for his or her harmonious and healthy development” (General Yakubu Gowon, 1973).
An individual is expected to make his or her contributions towards the children’s development in any given society. But whatever societal expectations are, there is need for a strong and functional support as well as motivation from the home, since it seems that the role of parents in the education of their children have been ignored. The family role with particular reference to parental involvement in the child’s education has long be recognized in writings.
For instance, Hess and Caft (1981) qualified parents as “first school”. Also parental influences seem to children (Olneck and Bills, 1979; Musgroe, 1968).
Several reasons are associated to either positive or negative academic performance (Hess and Caft, 1981). These include the influence of the home such as social class, parental education, occupation, family size, economic status, parental attitude towards education, instability at home and emotional disturbance. Other factors are school’s distance and change one school to the other, non-provision of extra moral coaching and so forth. However, whatever the factors or influences are always in the centre of the picture is the child; but on each side of him is a parent. This brings closer to us what this study is all about; that is the influence of some parental factors on academic performance of the child.
It seems some parents are careless about their children’s progress in school. This concern is greatest about the time of transition from the earliest to the latest level of education. Therefore, parents should be more concerned about the nature of the influence they have on their children. Dale et al (1965) supported by saying: although the school provides the machinery, the main spring comes from the home. Therefore, behind the failure of a child often lies the failure of a home, conversely, the success of a child often springs from the support given by understanding and loving parents.
Parents fare varied as human race. Some are not, some are educationists and some would refute the description with vigour but nearly all are interested in the children.
It now depends on how the interest is being dispensed by different parents on their children to enhance intrinsic motivation towards effective learning in children.
Spedek (1973) identified certain limitations among parents with respect to their contributions towards the education of their children. He observed that some parents do not know that they are or should be their children’s teachers to complement the effort of the school.
Some do not understand what behaviours on their part help a child to learn things and what they can do to inhibit learning.
Furthermore, the parents who seem endowed with many material possessions may also fail to provide specific opportunities that might enable their children and develop to match their aspirations. Some parents own needs and concern sometimes take precedence over their children’s need and this may prevent them from providing what one will think so natural.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Having experience and having close contact with children in my few years as a teacher, this has given the researcher this opportunity to encounter children with different intellectual abilities. It was observed that some children have problems with identifying objects or numbers (figures), reading, writing and manipulation of objects while some children can manipulate toys and other play materials, read and write very well compared to some other children.
This has motivated the researcher to go into this study in order to find out some likely factors responsible for the shortcoming in these children and suggest possible solutions that will help the children that have poor or low academic achievement and encourage or motivate those that are doing well with their academics.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
In view of the problem stated above, this study is to address the extent to which some parental factors that are responsible for the academic achievement of pupils. It is assumed that the parental factors will have some implications on the academic performance of pupils in any pre-primary and primary institutions.
This study is to find out:
2. The roles parents play in a child’s education.
3. How parents can influence their children positively to achieve in school and
4. Suggest steps to be taken by parents in order to avoid poor or low academic achievement of their children in school.
1.4 Research Questions
This study will profer solutions or provide answers to the following questions:
1. Does the parental level of education have any effect on their children’s academic performance?
2. Do pupils whose parents surprise their school work perform better than students who do not have that privilege?
3. Do pupils whose parents provide remedial lessons perform better than pupils who do not have such attention?
4. Do pupils from small family size perform better than those from large family size?
2. There will be no significant relationship between the academic performance of pupils and parental level of education.
3. There will be no significant relationship between parental supervision of school work and academic performance of pupils.
4. There will be no significant relationship between parental provision of remedial lessons and academic achievement of pupils.
5. There will be no significant relationship between family size and academic performance of pupils.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Investigation into the past performance of pupils in the pre-primary and primary has shown that some children still find it difficult to perform above average in their academics.
This study is aimed at finding out the effect that parental factors have on the academic achievement of their children and suggest possible solutions to these factors.
It is hoped that the findings of this research will help parents to realize their roles towards the performance of their children in schools. Hence, it is to enable them identify these important aspects of parental factors that influence academic performance of children in school. It will therefore be left to parents to create favourable home environment within their limit or reach.
It will also contribute to help them identify and examine the extent to which parents influence the academic performance of their children in school.
This investigations or findings will also be beneficial to teachers, educators and school counsellors in their dealings with pupils’ problems during their school time.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
Time, personnel and finance have really limited the scope of the study. Time is seen as a constraint because of the short period within which the study is to be completed.
Lack of personnel and finance to carry out the research on a large population has also restricted the study to a few locations in Ikeja Local Education District of Lagos State, it is hence recommended that the result of this study should be generalized to other local government areas within Lagos and its immediate environs.
Care should be applied when making generalization beyond this scope.
1.8 Scope of the Study
The research was carried out using parents from four locations in Ikeja Local Government Education District.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Some term require vivid clarification for ease of comprehension in their contextual use. The terms are defined and delimited for this study only. They include the following:
Parental Factors: This refers to parental educational qualification, occupation, supervision of children homework, provision of remedial lessons and family size.
Academic Performance: This is the display of knowledge attained on a skill developed in school subjects, usually designated by test scores, by marks assigned by teachers or by both. For the purpose of this study academic performance will be used interchangeably with academic achievement.
Family Size: This means the number of people in a family, which includes the father, mother, the children and other family dependents.
Reinforcement: The process of adding a stimuli into a situation or remaining a stimulus from situation.
Positive Reinforcement: This is a process of adding any stimulus (reward) into a situation to increase the probability of its re-occurrence.
Negative Reinforcement: This is a process whereby a stimulus is removed from a situation to increase the probability of its occurrence.
Parental Supervision of Homework: This means when parents create enough time to review the children’s academic activities.
Remedial Lessons This is the provision of extra-moral classes apart from the children’s registered school lessons.
Parental Occupation: Is parent’s job or profession through which the family earns their living.
Parental Education Qualification: This is the level of educational attainment of parents.