In this era of globalization and technological revolution, education is
considered as a first step for every human activity. Education plays a vital role in the development of human capital and is linked with an individual’s well being and opportunities for better living. It ensures the acquisition of knowledge and skills that enable individuals to increase their productivity and improve their quality of life. Saxton (2008) maintained that the increase in productivity also leads towards new sources of earning which enhances the economic growth of a country and the family. Education of the child begins at home and the importance of the home in the effective and systematic education of the child has long been recognized worldwide.
In the educationally developed countries of the world, parents and teachers know that the home and the school complement each other in the education of the child. Generally, if pupils have problems in social interaction in the school, the chances are that they are likely to be different in academic gains and achievement. This difference in the academic gain or achievement of students is sometimes attributable to parental socioeconomic status.
Socioeconomic status is a sociological classification indicating the close relationship between someone’s relative wealth and that person’s social status. It is also regarded as an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person’s work experience and of an individual’s or family’s income and social position in relation to others, based on income, education and occupation, (Kraus, 2008). It is also a categorization of people according to their economic, education and occupational characteristics, (Santrock, 2004). Ezewu (1985) sees socioeconomic status as the differentiation of individuals as well as families in a society into educational levels, occupation and income. From the above definitions however, socioeconomic status could be regarded as prestige or respect accorded to the members of the society based ontheir income, education and occupation.
Socioeconomic status is typically broken into three categories namely; High Socioeconomic status, middle socioeconomic status and low socioeconomic status, and when placing a family or individual into one of these categories, any or all of the three variables that describe socioeconomic i.e. income, education and occupation can be assessed, (Gottfredson, 2004).When analyzing the three levels of socioeconomic status, the household income, earners’ education and occupation are examined. Low socioeconomic status individuals often have less education, less power to influence a community’s institution such as schools, fewer economic resources; while the reverse is the case with individuals on high socioeconomic status.
Although there is general consensus that income, education and occupation of parents represents socioeconomic status better than any of these alone, there is no consensus on how best to use the three variables together, whether it works best to examine relationship between socioeconomic status and students’ academic achievement or outcomes using the variables together, or each variable singly and how best to measure each component. The predictive values of using the three variables together have been compared with inconsistent results (Krieger, Williams and Moss, 1997). In view of the above argument, the choice of how to measure socioeconomic status and its influence on academic achievement remains open. This is one of the reasons that prompted the researcher to carry out this study to ascertain the influence of parental socioeconomic status and home education environment on students’ academic achievement in senior secondary schools in Zone B education zone of Benue State, Nigeria.