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Academic performance often determined the individual scores in relation to performance of other students’ class test or examinations. The school as a social institution is set up basically for learning to take place. But the family Size of students also play an important part in students’ learning. Thus, the study was therefore conducted on the influence of family size on the academic performance of secondary school students as perceived by teachers and parents.
The study had four objectives, four research questions and four null hypotheses. The population of the study comprised of 3,128 and a sample size of 486 SS 2 students. Ex-post facto design was used for the study. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire and students’ results were obtained from the school’s examination offices. Percentages, mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions. Regression analysis was used to test null hypotheses 1 and 2 while t-test statistic was used to test null hypotheses 3 and 4 all at 0.05 level of significance. The study findings showed that family size significantly influenced the performance of secondary school students in Cross river state, Nigeria (0.05>0.000). On the basis of the findings, the researcher concluded that small family size and provision of learning materials by parents improved secondary school students’ performance in Cross river state, Nigeria. It was recommended that students from large families should supported by teachers, private individuals and members of the community in order to improve their performance. Parents should also support and give special attention to their children through organizing extra lessons and provision of learning materials.
1.1 Background to the Study
It is acknowledged that many factors influence the performance of students in schools, some of which include societal factors, peer groups, government, teachers, the school and the students’ attitude to studies. The family is not left out because it is the unit through which every individual student comes from. But one of the striking issues about the family is the size of the family. The family size may contribute positively or negatively to influence the behavior of its members. Chudi (2012) reported that one of the contributing factors that determine the academic performance of students is family size.
Family size is the total number of people in a family, consisting of parents and their children. Tenibiaje (2009) saw family size as the total number of children in the child’s family in addition to the child himself. He stated that the family type that a child comes from either monogamous or polygamous family determine the size of the family and usually has impact on the child academic performance.
Information from literature on family size revealed that children from large families are found to do worse than children from small families (Iacovou, 2001). Studies have also shown that Parental attention to children declines as the number of sibling’s increases.
Children’s attainment depends on inputs of time, attention, resource and money from their parents: therefore the more children there are in the family the less of these inputs. This tend to put children from larger families to have lower levels of education (Booth and Kee 2009).
Parents’ behavior in the family could also have a great impact on the child’s performance in school. Parental support is one of such behavior pattern in which a parent invests time and energy in feeding and protecting the children. Adequate parental support means to provide the child with basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. It also ensures the child’s health and physical safety as well as the child’s mental, emotional and moral values is adequately taken care. Ogunshola and Adewale (2012) stated that other support of the parents lies in the responsibility of training a child. Ogunshola and Adewale (2012) further indicated that families, who were involved in their children’s education through homework, monitor their performance in school and ask questions have their children achieve success in school.
Durojaiye, in Adejumo (2011) and Ayodele (2017), opined that many African homes do not emphasize the value and language of the school. Also, parents see the need to send their children to school, but do not often see the need to encourage them to do well in neither school nor do they often see the need to provide facilities for the child to support what he/she has learnt at school. While some parents are too busy to get involved in what their children are doing in school.
Gbadebo, Ike, and Adamu (2009) posit that academic performance is a learning outcome which includes the knowledge, skills and ideas acquired and retained within and outside the classroom influenced by several factors. Performance of secondary school students can therefore be attributed to several factors.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Despite efforts to improve teaching and learning in Cross river state secondary schools, WAEC (2010) analysis of percentages performance of candidates in 10 popular subjects WASSCE 2008, 2009 and 2010 revealed 52.48%, 58.21% and 51.85% failed in the major subjects respectively. The Educational Resource Centre (ERC) (2011) report shows that in 2011 there was a mass failure in the senior secondary schools in the state. WAEC also reported that 70% of students failed the 2014 May/June West African Senior School Examinations. The report indicated that there was a marginal and consistent decline in the performance of candidates when compared to 2012 and 2013 May/June WASSCE diets which recorded 38.81% and 36.57% passes respectively.
The researcher’s interaction with students in some secondary schools in Cross river state revealed that, students find it difficult to comprehend the simple principles/rules. It was also observed that, parents of these students show lukewarm attitudes in the provision of learning materials to their children, visiting schools or attending Parent Teachers’ Associations (PTA) meetings, asking questions about their children’s performance, checking their children’s books, scripts and report cards. Some delay in paying school fees until children are send home while some simply pay school fees and have nothing to do again to encourage their children to perform well in school. Many students attend classes without the required textbooks, calculators and other writing materials. It is on the basis of the aforementioned that is unlikely factors other than family influence academic performance of students in secondary schools in Cross river state without considering family size and parental factors as it affects their performance. The researcher hence conducted the study on the influence of family size on the performance of secondary school students in Cross river state, Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study was to determine the influence of family size on the performance of secondary school students in Cross river state, Nigeria. The specific objectives were to:
1. determine the influence of family size on performance of secondary school students in Calabar and Ogoja, Nigeria.
2. find out whether any difference exists between the performances of secondary school students from large families who enjoyed parental support and those who did not in Calabar and Ogoja, Nigeria.
3. establish whether any difference existed between the performances of secondary school students from small families who enjoyed parental support and those who did not in Calabar and Ogoja, Nigeria.
1.4. Research Questions
In line with the specific objectives, the following research questions were raised.
1. What is the influence of family size on performance of secondary school students in Calabar and Ogoja, Nigeria?
2. What is the difference between the performance of secondary school students from large families who enjoy parental support and those who do not in Calabar and Ogoja, Nigeria?
3. What is the difference between the performance of secondary school students from small families who enjoy parental support and those who do not in Calabar and Ogoja, Nigeria?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
In line with the specific objectives and the research questions, the following null hypotheses were formulated.
1. Family size has no significant influence on performance of secondary school students in Calabar and Ogoja, Nigeria.
2. There is no significant difference between the performances of secondary school students from large families who enjoy parental support and that of those who do not in Calabar and Ogoja, Nigeria.
3. There is no significant difference between the performances of secondary school students from small families who enjoy parental support and that of those who do not in Calabar and Ogoja, Nigeria.
1.6 Significance of the Study
When the findings of this study is published in journal and other media, the result of this study would be of benefit to students, parents, teachers, government/school administrators and researchers in the following ways: The study will enable students to be aware of the family factors that can influence their performance in school. They can then take measures on their own to improve their performance. Also when young people can identify and analyze factors which influence family size, they would be able to make rational decisions about family size and its effect on standards of living. This information could be disseminated to students through the guidance and counseling units of schools.
The result of the study would also help parents to be aware that they have a greater role to play. Such knowledge might inform parenting practices that will support and encourage high academic performance of their children and to decide on the ideal family size. It 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. They would be able to adopt measures of bringing up their children in such a way that will improve good performance academically. Parents can be intimated on this important information during Parents teachers’ Association (PTA) meeting.
The result of the study would help to educate teachers especially teachers on how to handle students from different family size background in order to improve their performance. It will also help teachers to adjust their methods for effective teaching and to accommodate every student. They may also educate and motivate the students for better performance.
Result of the study would also enable government and school administrators to see the need for providing learning materials like books, computers etc in the school library knowing full well that the same students may not have the opportunity in their homes to have access to such materials due to either the size of the family or inability of the parents to provide for them. Lastly, it may serve as reference materials to researchers and may be of use for them to investigate new concepts, strategies and methodologies for use in further studies.
1.7 Basic Assumptions of the Study.
In this study, the following assumptions were made:
1. The influence of factors such as peers, teachers and school environment was constant.
2. The students were intelligent enough to study.
3. The students’ family size and the parental support they enjoyed were likely to influence their performance.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
The study covered only government senior secondary schools in the 2013/2014 session in Ogoja and Calabar. This was because the schools were mostly faced with challenges in core subjects. The study was also delimited to SS2 students because they had offered core subjects right from SS1 and had taken several examinations. Again, they were not facing any serious examination, unlike the SS3 students. The study was also delimited to family size (large and small), parental support (extra lesson and provision of learning materials). Finally, the work was delimited SS1 promotion examination in 2013/2014 session. This is because it is more of standard, more organized and the students are more serious about it than other terminal examinations.
1.8 Organization of the Study
The study comprises of five chapters. Chapter one consists of the background to the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, objectives, research questions, significance, limitation of the study, delimitation of the study, basic assumptions, definitions of key terms and organization of the study. Chapter two comprises of literature review theoretical and conceptual frameworks. Chapter three deals with research methodology, covering research sampling, procedures, research instruments and their validity and reliability, procedures for data collection and data analysis. Chapter four comprises of findings and discussions which were generated by the study. Chapter five presents summary, conclusions and recommendations.
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