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1.1   Background of the Study

No matter how strong the disrupting influence of men may be, it is likely that the bond of home will be last to be broken. As such, home cohesion is bound to present serious influence on educational achievements of students.

It is an incontrovertible fact that learners in schools like every mortal come from a home. The home provides what a learner takes with him to school. Hence, the significant of home background in the academic and behaviour pattern of students in school cannot be overemphasized. Apart from serving as a breeding ground for human continuity, it is the institution that sets the socialization process on course. It was in acknowledgement of the unique position of the family that Okoroma (2004) asserted that the family is the foundation of the values, which the child internalizes from the very tender age.

However, students’ performance in school is a function of the interaction between his ability and the home motivation (Shabanga 2001). Ability includes skills development, knowledge as well as attitude. Motivation on the other hand is the various ways that parents use to encourage their children to develop interest in learning. It is therefore the obligation of the parents to continue to support educational effect of the child by providing the stimulating and attraction environment where the child can work and learn at ease.

Malu (2006) emphasizes that the home background of a learner has a significant influence on his educational achievement in school. He maintained that the home is the most important primary group and the smallest social unit in the society. It has its roots in biological and social nature. As such it is universal in the sense that no human society could possibly exist or as ever existed without some forms of home organization. This is because parents, siblings and family members help to shape the character, behavioural pattern and personality of the young child.

In privileged situation, the home is able to provide more than the minimum required for a good learning situation. According to Jacob (2006), the standard of living is high and the material comfort provided may be luxurious in the privileged homes. Children have all the necessary opportunity for education in the home, although it is not impossible that the child fails to make full use of these facilities if the parents concentrates too much on its wealth and social position. He opines that children from such family may think that they are a race separate from others and for this reason, fail to benefit fully from social interaction with other children at school.

However, a number of researcher and hitherto been conducted on home background in relation to students’ academic performance in school. This specifically has been in the areas of socio-economic status of the family, educational background as well as parental occupation. Apparently, apart from the fore-going, the family size as well as birth order also exert a great influence on the academic performance of students in school. In a family with large number of children, the parents may not be able to cater for the educational needs of all the children. There is bound to be differences in the level of academic performance of members of such family because children of first order birth are likely to be given much attention than others in terms of educational needs especially in poor and average homes while the materials educational needs of other members of the family may not be given much attention or totally neglected. This however, presents an area for investigation.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Over the years, teachers, parents and researchers have expressed serious concern over the poor performance of learners in schools. Worried by the under-performance of students in both internal and external examinations. A lot of works have been carried out and several factors have been implicated. These include teaching methods, instructional materials, school location, parental background of learners and many others.

However, researches on academic performance in relation to students’ academic performance in schools concentrates on the socio-economic status of parents, educational background, occupation of parents as well as marital status with little or no emphasis on the family size and birth order. It is on the expectation that family size and birth order could also exert an influence on academic performance of learners that this study is conducted on birth order and academic performance of students in agricultural science of selected secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area with a view to suggesting ways by which the academic performance of students in agricultural science can be improved regardless of birth order.

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