BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Academic attainment is an important parameter in measuring success in students. Observations and reports have shown that success or high academic achievement has become a Herculean task to accomplish by students in recent times. Poor academic performance was recorded both at the secondary school and tertiary levels of education in Nigeria.
The performance of students at all levels in educational institutions in Nigeria has attracted much criticisms from all and sundry and from time immemorial. The decline in academic performance of students in Nigeria has been observed by Soyinka (1999), when he observed that education system in Nigeria need restructuring. He went further to say that academic standard had fallen drastically and the quality of graduates being produced by the nations’ schools is questionable and subject to re-examination.
Poor academic performance of students has been of great concern to educationists, guidance and counsellor in particular. Despite all guidance programmes and counselling strategies mounted in schools to improve the students’ academic performance were recorded yearly. It becomes necessary to find out the causes of such poor performance in Nigeria secondary institutions. Though these poor performances have been attributed to a lot of industries such as students’ factors, like student’s attitude to school, approach to learning and academic self concept. Apart from students’ factors, school factors and parent’s factors, there are other indicators that cause poor performance. on the part of the parents, there are certain factors which influence children’s success, such as parents’ social class, parents’ education as well as parental input and other factors, the family size and birth order may contribute positively or negatively to students’ academic performance.
Family size in this context refers to the total number of children in the child’s family in addition to the child himself, while the birth order refers to the child’s position in the birth order. However, family type that a child comes from either monogamous or polygamous family usually have impact on the child’s academic performance. It is important to note that either of the family type (monogamous or polygamous) family dictates the size of the family. Polygamous family is peculiar to Africa in general and Nigeria in particular in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, the data collected revealed that polygamous family is common among well educated family as well as among poorly educated families. It is equally among professional and managerial fathers of the top of the occupational hierarchy. It is the unskilled workers at the bottom of ladders that the practice of polygamy is prominent, but it is equally common among intellectually oriented families living in homes full of recent books as well as families without a single book in their houses.
Information from literature depicted that children from larger families are found to do worse than children from smaller families lower down the birth order do worse than those higher up the birth order (Lacovou, 2001). According to Adler cited in Uba (1989) first birth or the older child is usually advantaged by a good deal of attention and warmth during the early stage on age of life, which he entertains all alone. Observations and studies have shown that more attention and time are usually accorded the first born (Becker, 1980). Parental attention by parents decline as the number of children increase and later born children perform less well than their earlier born siblings. Studies carried out in the past on the relationship achievement and birth order have shown that there were negative relationships. For example Leoma (1982) on relationship of birth order and creativity, first born and configuration of oldest and only children are significantly more creative or verbal test of creativity than later born.
Nwafor and Ango (1988) observed that there was more significant outstanding academic performance amongst first birth children. Tenibiaye (2002) observed that there was a significant difference in intelligent capacity between the first and later born Spear (1982) in his study, investigated that birth order effect on intelligence with later born children revealed that later born children were less capable than earlier siblings when birth order controlled, family size was found to be negatively related to intelligence.
However, Powell and Steelman (1993) and Vanejik and Degraaf (1995) argued that children’s attainment depends on input of time and money from their parents. The more increase of children in a family the less of both inputs. These inputs are not money alone, but other essential things like time, attention, resource delusion and so on. However Booth and Kee (2006) confirmed that children from larger families have lower levels of education. Research on the effect of siblings, size and position has been based on a theory of the allocation of parental resources as presented in Becker (1981) and Spanta and Paulson (1995) confirmed that differences were found in birth order and family size of adolescent achievement in academic.
STATEMENT OF 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 problem 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. The truth is that the foundation of the child socialization is laid at home more so 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 contribute to the failure or success of a student in school, in the sense that when the family is large, there will be no adequate concentration on the child by their parents based on the academic performance of the child.
This study therefore considered the influence of non challant attitude of parents in child bearing on the academic performance, in other words, the study focuses on how the academic performance of the students can be influenced by the family size.
Based on the background to the study and problems discussed above, the following research questions were generated;
1) Does family size affect academic performance of students in secondary schools?
2) Does family birth order affect academic performance of students in secondary schools?
3) Does parents’ educational status affect the educational performance of their children?
As a result of the research questions stated above the following research hypothesis were formulated and tested of 0.05 level of significance.
1. There is no significance difference between family size and academic performance of students in secondary schools.
2. There is no significance difference between the family birth order and academic performance of students in secondary schools.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of family size and family birth order ion students’ academic performance in some selected secondary schools. It is designed to compare the level of academic performance of students from either large or low family size background. The study will give an insight on how and why some students perform better than others.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is designed to find out the influence of family size on students’ performance in some selected public secondary schools in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State. The study will be of significant help to educate on how to hand students from different family size background in order to increase their performance. it will also enable school administrator to see the need for providing books, newspaper and magazine in the school library know fully well that the same students may not have the opportunity in their house, may be as a re4sult of large children in the family and noise everywhere. The study will also help teachers in adjusting his/her method for effective to accommodating every student.
THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study will be used on selected public secondary schools in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State for the purpose of convenience, the area being an urban area was chosen so as to involve children from various family background four schools were used for the study, we find out that those from a polygamous home, majority of them are ignored and as such their performance academically is low as a result of lack of finance and they are made to struggle for themselves, comparing them with those from monogamous home and home not more for children are given attention to and parents are responsible for the financing of their children education.
The researcher encountered some limitations in the cause of research. Firstly, the research was restricted to some selected secondary schools in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State because of the limited time available to the researcher. Secondly, the financial aspect of the research cannot be over looked as one of the limitation of the study. The money for transport and cash tip to help the researcher to elicit more information that have been inadequate and finally the proximity of the researcher and the supervision is not left out. This affects the contacts, the researcher limit her visit because of fear of not seeing him or the money involve in transport.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Family size: the total number of children in the child’s family in addition to the child himself.
Birth order: this refers to the child’s position in the birth order i.e. the position of the child in the family.
Library: a building in which collections of books, Cds, newspapers etc. are kept for people to read, study and borrow.
Small size family: a family with not more than six (6) people i.e. the father, mother and four (4) children.
Polygamy: the custom of having more than one wife at the same time.
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