Mathematics is one of the basic requirements for admission into the institutions of higher learning. Deficiency in Mathematics can retard one’s speed of academic achievement in life as some may be required to re-sit several times before proceeding with academic pursuit.
Lack of Mathematics, which is the bedrock for further studies and the employment, becomes a threat to human development. Its prospects and constraints can be traced to the socio-economic background of parents (Milne &Plourde, 2006). According to Orhungur (1990) in Orokpo (2015), the cultural background of the family is determined to a large extent by its socio-economic background. As the child grows up and moves out to the wider society, his interaction with it and perception of it are largely determined from her earlier experiences at home. The family setting and its socialising influence mould the personality of the child. Nigeria is a society with diverse ethnic groups with various cultural backgrounds in areas like family size, occupation and in extreme cases, religion. These pose some restrictions on educational upbringing of children. Onah, Onyishi and Elise (2014) opined that the social setting or mode of settlement of the family and extended family system may equally influence the academic achievement of a child.
According to Ipem, Paul-Cookey and Jimoh(2014), home is a factor that cannot be thrown to the trashcan when looking at the influence of parents on the academic achievement of students in Senior Secondary Schools in Mathematics. Okubanjo (2006) lamented that many parents do not make themselves available at home to engage their children academically. This makes some students not to do their homework and taking it to school the next day undone. When these unwholesome attitudes prevail for a long time, the children may grow up not having interest in studying Mathematics.
The influence of parents’ educational background could have a positive or negative effect on the academic achievement of students in Mathematics. Children whose parents are illiterates lack home encouragement. This implies that as some illiterate parents refuse to provide their children with needed textbooks, they are discouraging them from learning. Markus and Corner (2013) stated that textbooks aid studies after normal school teaching. Students from illiterate parents lack parental assistance because of their parents’ illiteracy and ignorance, and such parents mayfail to motivate, reinforce, give reward or punish their children on account of academic performance, which might have forced them to be serious in learning (Orokpo, 2015).
On the other hand, literate parents have interest in their children’s academic achievement. They struggle to provide needed materials and give adequate encouragement. Having known the imperativeness of education, they draw a reading timetable for their children and also arrange for part-time teachers to teach their children extra-lessons and they check their children’s books periodically. They provide adequate motivation and reward when the children perform better in class assignments, tests and examinations. Taking care of children and making provision for their needs, especially educational needs, are very important in determining the academic achievement of children.
Motivation is most needed in order to perform more efficiently in one’s area of endeavour. When certain factors are eminent in a child’s family background, it is clear that the child will be motivated and driven towards high academic goal. Denga (1986) in Etim (2006) advised that praises, incentives, recommendations and other forms of reward system should be employed as motivational factors to stimulate students to higher achievements. It is observed that the much a child achieves during his school days is largely dependent on the kind of family he belongs.
Ushongo Local Government Area is the abode of agrarian and large families, these have accounted for the polygamous life of the people. The larger the size of the family, the more economic and other social responsibilities the parents bring upon themselves. And more often than not, the educational achievement of students from such family suffer serious setback (Benue State Diary, 2014). This is because such parents might not be able to afford the cost of funding education of the children (Adegbenga, 2010).
Mohammed (2015) pointed out many factors that affect the academic achievement of students in mathematics due to socio-economic background of parents include; separation on grounds of different workstations, divorce and even natural death which can bring adverse effect on the growth and development of a child academically. It is observable that students who are from well-to-do families seemed to understand Mathematics more than those students from the less privileged families (Onwamana, 2000, Adegbenga, 2010). Again, students in the urban areas seemed to understand Mathematics more than those in the rural areas, and hence, the need to delve into investigation on the disparity. On the other hand, students of parents in the urban centres enjoy social amenities like hospitals, pipe borne water, electricity, public solar system that provide illumination all night, which enable them to study more than those in the rural areas who sometimes may not afford the cost of candle stick.
Furthermore, Orokpo (2015) posits that economic position of parents is one major factor that can influence greatly the educational upbringing of a child. Parents whose incomes are low do not afford the cost of boarding schools and other costly schools for their children.Hence, this adversely affects the academic achievement of their students in Mathematics.
According to Sakiboh (2003) in Orokpo (2015), numerous factors have been identified in various research studies to being responsible for the continuous decline in achievement in Mathematics; classroom-size, poor teacher-student ratio, inadequate instructional materials; attitudes of teachers towards work and lack of seriousness on the part of students. Even with the availability of more qualified mathematics teachers, improved technology and facilities for teaching and learning, mathematics is still losing in its value expectation. The value of Mathematics study and application in the contemporary society is imperative and nothing should hinder its smooth assimilation by the students of Senior Secondary Schools, because it is the bedrock of every academic achievement and a basis for technological advancement of any country.
The researchers embarked on this study because of the fact that some students are found to be exceptionally good in their work, while some students are extremely bad.When such variations are traced, becomes imperative to find possible reasons. The researchers intend to find out whether the disparity exists because of the socio-economic attainment of parents that influence their children’s achievement in Mathematics. It is therefore, pertinent that the levels of such contributions and the influence of socio-economic background have on children be examined so that useful recommendations could be madeto parents, teachers, education planners and government.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The gap in performance between students and academic excellence constitute a great source of worry and serious concern as well as confusion to parents, school managers, policy makers and various governments responsible for the education of students in Senior Secondary Schools.
Experience has shown that among the secondary school students, there are some differences that influence students’ academic achievement such as students being able to pay their school fees promptly, while others were often sent away for non-payment of school fees, some students have problems with the provision of school uniform but others do not. Likewise, some students were motivated by their parents through provision of educational materials like textbooks and exercise books, others were not, whereas some students come to school properly fed, others do not. One then wonders whether impact of family background had played in these issues.