Background to the Study

Over the years, the investigations of the factors that influence academic performance of students have attracted the interest and concern of teachers, counsellors, psychologists, researchers and school administrators in Nigeria. This is because of the public outcries concerning the low standard of education in the country (Imoge, 2002).

The declining quality of education in the country and the breeding of graduates with little technical know-how have resulted in serious setbacks to the industrial development of the nation.

Different factors are capable of influencing the academic performance of university students. Such factor may be the student’s internal state (intelligence, state of health, motivation, anxiety etc.) and their environment (availability of suitable learning environment, adequacy of educational infrastructure like textbooks and well-equipped laboratories). Investigation of these factors has produced several findings by researchers. For example, Emeke (1984) have attributed the cause of poor academic performance to a combination of personal and institutional factors.

Personal factors relate to the individual’s intelligence, knowledge and ability. While institutional factors are family or parental influences, societal influences, institutional influences and school related factors – student/lecturer rapport, teacher related factors, accommodation and living conditions. In the same vein, Wiseman (1973) Sogbetan (1981) and Hassan (1983) among others have examined the causes of poor academic performance among secondary school students, Some of the factor identified are intellectual ability, poor study habit, achievement motivation, lack of vocational goals, low self-concept, low socio-economic status of the family, poor family structure and anxiety. The consequences of these include indiscipline in schools and low level of educational standard.

A Daily Sketch Publication on “Causes and Cures of Poor Performance at WAEC Examinations” in 1985 identified and categorized problems responsible for students’ poor performance to problems of teachers, problems of inadequate facilities in the schools, problem traceable to students, problems caused by parents and society at large and problem of government policies and funding of education (Ajila & Olutola, 2000). Reviewed literature indicated that there is an awareness of the importance of the home environment or family on pupil’s/students’ academic performance.

The home has a great influence on the students’ psychological, emotional, social and economic state.

In the view of Ajila and Olutola (2000), the state of the home affects the individual since the parents are the first socializing agents in an individual’s life. This is because the family background and context of a child affect his reaction to life situations and his level of performance. Although, the school is responsible for the experiences that make up the individual’s during school periods, yet parents and the individual’s experiences at home play tremendous roles in building the personality of the child and making the child what he is. Thus, Ichado (1998) concluded that the environment in which the student comes from, can greatly influence his performance in school.

Although, the home environment or family has been recognized as having a lot of influences on the academic performance of students (Nzewuawah, 1995; Ajila & Olutola, 2000). Previous studies have been concentrated on the area of socio-economic status of parents. Other aspects of parental environments such as the structure of the family has been grossly neglected.

Yet, Ichado (1998) stated that parent constant disagreement affects children emotionally and this could lead to poor academic performance in school. The family lays the psychosocial, moral and spiritual foundations in the overall development of the child. While the” mother’s significant role in this cannot be over-emphasized. Studies on father-child relationship suggest that the presence of a father in the home influences significantly the development of a child (Agulanna, 1999). Thus, parenthood is a responsibility requiring the full cooperation of both parents who must ensure the total development of their offspring(s).

Structurally, a family is either broken or intact. A broken family in this context is one that is not structurally intact for various reasons-death of a parent, divorce, separations, dissertation and illegitimacy in which case, the family was never completed (Conkline, 1996). This analysis becomes necessary because life in a single parent family can be stressful for both the child and the parent. Such families are faced with the challenges of diminished financial resources (Children Defence Fund, 1994), assumptions of new roles and responsibilities, establishment of new patterns in intra-familial interaction and reorganization of routines and schedules (Agulanna, 1999). These condition are not conducive for effective parenting. This is because when the single parent is overburdened by responsibilities and by their own emotional reaction to their situation; they often become irritable, impatient and insensitive to their children’s needs (Nzewunwah, 1995).

Dornbuseh, (1996) also stated that empirical evidence of what most parents and educators knows from experience that parents have a strong influence on student. Steinberg and his colleagues conducted surveys, focus groups, and individual interviews with high school students and parent to better understand how parents, peers and communities influence student’s commitment to school. The 10 years longitudinal study collected data from 20, 000 students and 500 parents in nine ethnically diverse school and communities. These researchers found that parent’s behavior to send their wards to school are clear and decisive messages about their thoughts and feelings on the importance of schooling. They also found that parenting styles helps or hinders a child’s amazement in school; that encourage a child to do well in school or insisting that homework be completed were important forms of promoting engagement. These three tenets- communication, influence, and parenting styles- are subsets of a larger domain, parental involvement. The aforementioned studies are not the only ones that speak to the issue of parenting styles, but, here, serve only as a way of introducing the broader sphere. In this present study, particularly style was studying in reference to its influence on the academic performance of student in secondary schools.

Statement of the Problem

Societies all over the world strive to achieve quantitative education for her citizenry. In order to achieve this noble course, so many factors must be put into consideration. Among them is the family background of the student. The family has a great role to play on the overall development of the child and his educational upbringing in particular.

The gap in performance between students and academic excellence constitute a great source of worry and serious concern as well as discomfiture to parents, schools mangers, policy makers and various governments responsible for the education of students’ in tertiary schools.

Experience has shown that among the Health Education students’ there exist some differences which influence students’ academic performance, such as some students’ being able to pay their school fees promptly, while  others  were often sent away for nonpayment of school fees, some students have  problem with the provision of course registration but others do not. Likewise, some students were motivated by their parents through the provision of educational materials like text books and exercise books, others were not, where as some students’ come to school properly feed, others not. One then wonders whether influence of family background had played a in these issues.                                          In the light of this, the main problem of this research is to find out if there exist in among Health Education Students’ University of Nigeria Nsukka, Ikere Campus between family background and the students’ academic performance.

Purpose of the Study         

There is no gain for any country whose educational planners, and policy makers stands and watch the falling standard and steady decline of education at a given rate. They must identify the causes for such decline with a view of proffering solution to them. This research work is set to accomplish the following objectives;

  1. To investigate the effect of family background on the educational performance of students
  2. To find out if social-economic status of parents influence their student’s academic performance
  • To find out whether educational attainment of parent affect their students academic performance


Significance of the Study

The work of this nature when completed may help the parents to be aware of the effect the family has on children and how such affect the child positively or negatively in relation to their academic performance. From the available recommendations, they will be able to adopt measures of bringing up there in such a way that they will perform well academically.

Similarly, it is likely to encourage parents to make their children relatively comfortable in schools. This study also could aid children of various families to be aware and bear in mind with their parents in ability to provide them with all the necessary requirements in schools, and also sympathize with them in family problems and situations.

More so, educational and curriculum planners could be guided in planning the curriculum without rigidity to suit diverse cultural environments. In addition, the teachers would be aware that a cordial teacher parent relationship may in a way improve the influence of family background on the academic performance of a child in school.

The research of this nature is likely to help the state, nation and the world in general benefit from as adherence to the recommendations and implementation will help produce youths who would be better leaders of tomorrow.

Finally, the research when completed may add to available literature and may encourage further research on the topic.

Research Questions

            The following research questions were raised to guide this research work;

  1. What is the effect of family background on the educational performance of students’?
  2. Does social-economic status of parents influence students’ academic performance?
  • Does educational level of parent have effect on their children academic performance?

Scope of the Study

It would be much demanding to undertake a complete study of the effects of family background on the academic performance of students, schools are scattered all over Ekiti State and due to logistics constraint on the researcher, only Health Education Students, University of Nigeria, Ikere Campus in Ikere local government area of Ekiti state will be sampled, sampled school are selected based on their metropolitan population characteristics.



This chapter review literature related to the research topic under the following sub-healing;

  • Concept of Home and Education Attainment
  • Importance of the Home background and child socialization
  • Effect of family background of parents towards the academic performance of students.
  • Influence of Broken Home on Academic Attainment of Student
    Effect of literate and illiterate families on academic performance of students.
  • Relationship between home environment and academic performance of students.LOGISTIC ADDRESS



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