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Family size and academic performance in social studies among primary school pupils

Family size and academic performance in social studies among primary school pupils

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Abstract

This study was designed to investigate family size and academic performance in social studies among primary school pupils’ in Essien Udim Local Government Area. Two research questions were formulated for the study. A detail literature review was obtained from the published and unpublished books, journals and news articles; the review was aimed at developing appreciation on the previous studies in these areas.

The instrument used was structured questionnaire for collection of data from the pupils. The population consisted of all pupils of public primary schools in Essien Udim Local Government Area. A total of two hundred (200) pupils’ formed the sampled size for the study selected from six (6) primary schools which were randomly selected. All the questionnaires were duly collected and the data obtained were analyzed through simple percentage. Therefore, the data analyzed and subsequent interpretation revealed that all the variables as they relate to family size affect the academic performance of pupils in social studies either positively or negatively.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Family setting and structure are playing a crucial role in strengthening or devastating pupil’s academic performance. Family is the primary socializing agent which moulds the child in the society. Academic attainment is an important parameter in measuring success in pupils. Observations and reports have shown that successes or high academic achievement has become a herculean task to accomplish by pupils in recent times.

The performance of students at all levels in educational institutions in Nigeria has attracted much criticisms from all and sundry from time in memorial. The decline in the academic performance of students in Nigerian Universities had been observed by Soyinka (1999), that educational system in Nigeria needed restructuring. He went further to say that academic standard had fallen drastically and the quality of graduates being produced by Nigerian Schools is questionable and subject to re-examination. Despite all the guidance programmes and counseling strategies mounted in schools to improve the students’ academic performances yet poor performances were recorded yearly.

It becomes necessary to find out the causes of such poor performance in Nigeria higher institutions. Though, these poor performances have been attributed to a lot of indicators such as pupils’ factors, like pupils’ attitudes to school, approach to learning and academic self-concept.

Apart from pupils’ factors, school factors and parents’ factors there are other indicators that affect poor performance.  One of these is family size of the individual child. Family size in this context refers to the total number of children in the child’s family in addition to the child himself. However, the family type that a child comes from either monogamous or polygamous family usually has impact on the child academic performance. It is important to note that either of the family type (monogamous or polygamous, family dictates the size of the family.

Spears (1982) in his study, which investigated that birth order have effects on intelligence with later borns children, revealed that later children were less capable than earlier siblings, when birth order effects were controlled, family size was found to be negatively related to intelligence.

However, Powell and Steelman (1993) and Van Ejick and DeGraaf (1995) argued that children’s attainment depends on inputs of time and money from their parents: the more children are in the family, the less of both inputs. These inputs are not money alone, but other essential things like time, attention, resource dilution and so on. However, Booth and Kee (2006) confirmed that children from larger families have lower levels of education. Research on the effect of sibling’s size and position has been based on the theory of the allocation of parental resources as presented in Becker (1981), and Spauta and Paulson (1995) confirmed that differences were found in birth order and family size of adolescent’s achievement in academic.

Family size and academic performance in social studies among primary school pupils

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Today, teachers are often blamed for low academic performance of the students, without actually finding out

other related factors that can contribute to the students’ problem as far as academic is concerned. Most people are quick in pointing accusing fingers on both the child and the teachers, should the whole blame be heaped on the teachers who always want the best from their students? One would like to find out the justification the people have for blaming the teachers as regard the low performance of the students in their academic work.

The truth is that the foundation of the child’s socialization process is laid at home; moreso, children spend more time at home than in school. Many factors associated with the family could have contributed to the high or low performance of the students with the family size as one of them. The family size in one way or the other contributes to the failure or success of a student in school, in the same way that when the family is large, there will not be adequate concentration on the child by their parents, based on the academic performance of the child.

This study therefore considered family size and academic performance in social studies among primary school pupils in Essien Udim Local Government Area.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between family size and academic performance in social studies among primary school pupils in Essien Udim Local Government Area. Specifically, the study was to:

  1. Determine the relationship between small family size and academic performance of pupils in social studies.
  2. To examine the relationship between large family size and academic performance of pupils in social studies.

1.4 Significance of the Study

The study is designed to find out the influence of family size on academic performance in social studies among primary school pupils in Essien Udim Local Government Area. The study will be of significant help to educate teachers on how to handle pupils from different family size, background in order to increase their performance. It will also enable school administrator to see the need for providing books, newspapers and magazines in the school library and to ascertain fully well that the same pupils may not have the opportunity in their houses, may be as a result of large number of  children in the family coupled with noise everywhere. The study will also help the teacher in adjusting his/her method for effective teaching to accommodate every pupil.

1.5 Research Questions

Based on the background to the study and problems discussed above, the following research questions were generated:

  1. How does small family size affect academic performance of pupils in social studies?
  2. To what extent does large family size affect academic performance of pupils in social studies?

Family size and academic performance in social studies among primary school pupils

1.7 Limitation of the Study

In carrying out this research, certain problems were encountered. These were financial constraint, inadequate related literature and shortage of time. These led to my limiting the study to primary schools in Essien Udim Local Government Area.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Family Size: The total  number of children in the child’s family in addition to the child himself/herself.

Large Family Size: A family with more than six (6) people i.e. the father, mother and many children.

Small Family Size: A family with not more than six (6) people i.e. the father, mother and four (4) children.

Monogamy: The custom of having one wife.

Polygamy: The custom of having more than one wife at the same time.

Academic Performance: This refers to the level of a pupil’s ability in measuring up to the goals of a given curriculum. It is often measured using tests and examinations and interpreted as the Grade point Average (GPA).

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