The influences of selected socio-economic factors of parents and parenting attitudes on the academic achievements of their wards

The case of pupils in Archbishop Porter "A" Primary School, Effia Kuma

by Gifty Esi Barnes (Author) James Sunney Quaicoe (Author)

Bachelor Thesis 2012 59 Pages

Pedagogy - Pedagogic Sociology







Background of the Study
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Significance of the Study
Organisation of the study

Conceptual bases of parental roles, economic status and student academic achievement.
Empirical review on influence of parental variables on pupils’ performance
Issues about education, parenting, socio-economic status and
students’ achievement

Research design
Sample and Sampling Technique
Data Collection Procedure
Data Analysis Technique

Background information
Academic performance of pupils
Socio-economic status of parents
Parenting attitude/responsibilities
Socio-economic status of parents and pupils’ academic performance
Parenting attitudes and pupils’ academic performance
Socio-economic status of parents and their parenting attitudes/responsibilities

Suggestions for further research


A Questionnaire
B Pupils’ Score


The purpose of the study was to explore the relation between selected Socio-economic and parenting factors on the academic performance of pupils. The study used a descriptive research designed type. A total of twenty-nine (29) pupils who are in Basic two were used for the study.

Questionnaires and test were the instruments used in gathering data on pupils and their parents. Responses from the pupils and their parents were treated statistically using frequency tables, percentages, mean, standard deviation and Pearson’s Correlation as the tools.

Major findings from the study indicated that pupils’ academic performance is just above average; and that the Socio- economic and parenting factors of the parents of the pupils’ are also average. The study further established that there is a significant, medium and positive relation existing between the Socio-economic status of pupils’ parents and pupils’ academic performance; the parenting attitudes and pupils’ academic performance. Finally, the study again established that there is a significant, medium relation between the Socio- economic status of pupils’ parents and their parenting attitude or responsible parenting. Based the findings, suggestions in the form of recommendations were offered, which included; the need for deepened teacher - parent collaboration and the school undertaking activities to attract parents to the school.


This work would not have been possible without the help and support of some very important individuals and I am indeed indebted to the them. My supervisor - Joseph Tuffour Kwarteng - deserves my commendation for the courage and motivation he imbibed in me when he approved my proposal and subsequently moderating the entire exercise.

My spouse deserves a special mention for his support, encouragement and serving as time keeper to ensure that I meet all standards set for my assignments and this project - I am so grateful.

I am also grateful to all to all my course mates for their motivation - few of them deserve special commendation for the significant roles they played in making me enjoy this course and been such great friends and mothers.

My appreciation also goes the pupils of Archbishop Porter ‘A’ school, Effia Kuma for the joy and efficiency exhibited during the study. I equally thank the parents for their cooperation.

My final appreciation goes to members of staff of my school and members of my church for their various roles in motivating me to stand up to challenging moments and aspire to higher heights - I will forever be grateful to each one of you.


To the Late Christina Pobee (Maa) and the Late Dorothy Ada Payne (Mamaa) may their souls rest in peace.


1. Statistics on the academic performance of pupils

2. Highest qualification of one of parents

3. Occupational status of one of your parents

4. Position of the bread winner in his/her work place

5. Estimated income of family at the end of the month

6. Families with car

7. Families with Television

8. Families with fridge

9. Parents holding Religious positions

10. Families affording three meals a day

11. Families with siblings attaining tertiary education

12. Overall Socio-economic status of parents

13. Overall results of parental attitude/ responsibilities to pupils

14. Descriptive Statistics parenting attitude/level of responsibility

15. Relation between socio-economic status of parents and pupils’ academic performance

16. Relation between parenting attitude and pupils’ academic performance

17. Relation between socio-economic status of parents and parenting attitude


Background of the study

An individual’s educational achievements is closely linked to numerous factors for which some may be known and others not. Battle and Lewis (2002), share the view that one’s life chances, income and his/her overall well being is determined by his/her education. Education is therefore viewed as the medium through which mankind gains a full capacity of his/her potentialities - through integrated activities such as teaching, learning, assessment, remedial activities and classification of pupils’ achievement levels for placement and/or decision making. Consequently, the significance of education in the overall development of children cannot be overemphasised.

In Ghana, the education of children of all school going age can be said to be a national priority. This is evidenced in the implementation of the Free Compulsory Basic Education (fCUBE) policy. Practically, governments- both past and present - have displayed commitment to the implementation of this policy in the form of “creating opportunities and strengths in primary education” (Mankoe 2001:12). Some of the opportunities in primary school education include; payment of capitation grant of GHc 4.50 per pupil per year(GHc 1.50 per term), provision of free meals, provision of teachers, provision of free textbooks and in some cases exercise books and syllabuses - including other teaching learning materials and support for pupils. All these injections are virtually free and aimed at alleviating if not completely to the barest minimum the financial obligations of parents on the basic education of their wards. This comes with the assumption that parents have very little financial obligations when it comes to their wards primary education.

Many researchers (Barry 2005; Crosnoe, Jonhson & Elder 2004) in their works have identified that the academic achievement of children in school have links with the Socio-economic status (SES) of their parents. Some of these socio-economic variables used by Barry for the study included the following; sex, race, family backgrounds, neighbourhood, parents’ educational attainment, nature of work and family incomes, among other things. Majoribanks, (1996), have observed that there are direct links between family backgrounds and the achievement of pupils.

Conditions at the home of children or pupils basically constitute the fundamental social agent influencing the interest aspirations and performances. Linking this assertion to that of the study conducted by Jeynes (2002), it has been established that the SES of parents and the extent of their responsible parenting influence the academic performance of their children in the school and in their engagement in extracurricular activities of these as well .

Researchers have concluded that economic hardships that arise in families and which eventually either motivates or derail the learning attitudes of children have their roots in the SES of parents (Baharudin and Luster, 1998; Jeynes, 2002; Majoribanks, 1999; Eamon, 2005). In each of the literature cited their conclusions point to the fact that SES of parents do influence the total development of their wards to a large extent. That the effects of the SES of parents predisposes the pupils to conditions that may either enhance or derail their learning and schooling attitudes.

The SES of parents has been described by Ainley et al, (1995) as a parent’s overall social and economic position as a result of his/her education, kind of profession, income levels and wealth - among other indicators that go to establish his/her social and financial independence or self reliance.

Literature reviewed gives the implication that the SES of parents do not only influence the learning habitats of their wards, but also spill over to determine the kind of parenting they offer to their children. This latter assertion is made in the context of the level of interest shown by parents in the educational activities and issues of their wards. The resultant outcome of the combination of the SES of parents and the kind of parenting they offer their children in no doubt go a long way to determine the academic achievements of their children (Baharudin and Luster, 1998; Jeynes, 2002; Majoribanks, 1999; Eamon, 2005; Ainley et al, 1995). That parents with low SES tend to have their children performing below the required standard of achievement, whiles children of parents with high SES may perform either up to the standard achievement levels or even beyond. In each of the cases illustrated above, SES of parents has been identified to have a bearing on the kind of parenting attitudes exhibited towards their wards - with the resultant being that their wards may either meet the academic and educational standards confronting him/her or miss out.

Notwithstanding, the research findings (Baharudin and Luster, 1998; Jeynes, 2002; Majoribanks, 1999; Eamon, 2005; Ainley et al, 1995) do not constitute a predictive indicators operating as definite yardsticks for the well being and academic achievements of pupils in the Archbishop Porter Primary School in Effia Kuma in the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis. The reasons being that children from low SES parents who happen to receive the right parenting attitude and support for teachers could do well in their academic performances in school; whiles as a pupil a from parent with high SES who may encounter a non supportive school conditions - either from parents, or class teacher or both may not do well in his/her academic pursuits.

It is therefore a worthwhile venture for teachers and the academia to undertake various academic exercises capable of bringing to the fore empirical facts on the subject-matter under discussion in a customised manner. Through this teachers will be better and professionally placed to offer learners the relevant support towards their academic pursuits and further map out schemes to enhance effective collaboration with parents for the welfare of their wards. It is in this light, that this study is being initiated to specifically investigate primary school pupils in the context of how selected parental based factors influence their academic performances in school.

Statement of Problem

Governments’ commitment and support in the direction of providing Free Compulsory Basic Education to all Ghanaian children have been massive over the years. This is evidenced in the provision of funding and materials to children free of charge. Parents therefore do not have excuse when it comes to access to education for their wards. Financial constraint as an inhibitor to primary education can no longer be considered a key factor. The reason being that Capitation Grants is paid to run the schools; pupils are fed on free meals during school and free school uniforms and exercise books are occasionally given to pupils free of charge. In addition, textbooks and teaching learning materials are supplied by the Ministry of Education through the Ghana Education Service.

These interventions therefore seem to suggest that greater percentages of the financial burdens of parents who have their wards in the Archbishop Porter “A” School are lessened dramatically. It is therefore assumed that the key responsibility of parents therefore is to show much interest in the school activities and learning of their wards - by way of good parenting.

Presently, the general outcry amongst teachers at the Archbishop Porter Primary School is that parents are not supportive when it comes to the learning of their wards; as a result the children are not performing well academically. However, there is no definite evidence to this assertion, no literature exist that empirically accounts for the relation between the performance of pupils and the attitude of parents with specific reference to the primary school children in Archbishop Porter “A” School at Effia Kuma.

The problem therefore is that with the numerous interventions made by governments to make primary education free over the years, is there still a relation between the SES of parents and the academic achievements of their wards; and what kind of parenting is being received by the pupils of Archbishop Porter Primary School; and to what extent are the two variables named influencing the academic achievements of the pupil. In an attempt to find answers to these enquiries this study was initiated, so as to find out the extent to which SES of parents and the parenting attitudes influences pupils’ academic achievement.

Purpose of the study

The general objective of the study is to establish the relation between a parents’ SES, parenting attitudes and the academic achievement of their wards. In a more detail form the specific objectives of the study was as follows;

1. To identify the level of academic achievement of pupils in the subjects areas studied regularly in school,
2. To find the SES of parents based on some selected factors,
3. To find the extent to which parents are offering responsible parenting to their wards,
4. To find the relation between the SES of parents and the academic achievement of their wards,
5. To find the relation parenting attitudes and the academic achievement of their wards,
6. Establish the relation between the SES of parents and their parenting attitudes.

Research Questions

The study was guided by the following research questions;

1. What are the levels of academic achievement of pupils in Archbishop Porter “A” Primary School?
2. What is the SES of parents of the pupils in Archbishop Porter “A” Primary School?
3. To what extent are parents supporting the school activities of their wards in the form of responsible parenting?
4. Is there any statistical relation between the SES of parents and the academic achievements of pupils?
5. Is there any statistical relation between parenting attitudes and the academic achievement of the pupil?
6. Is there a statistical relation between the SES of parents and the kind of parenting they offer to their wards education?

Significance of the Study

Every research work potentially have the capacity to unravel new knowledge or better still describe a prevailing situation and further attempt to suggest possible interventions or recommendation. The significance of this study therefore lies in its ability to satisfy the above named assertions within the school system in the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis. On a more specific note, the study will be useful to parents, class teachers, head teachers and circuit supervisors in the form of providing information on factors influencing the academic achievements of pupils in the schools.

Again, the study has the potential to inform school authorities; SMCs and PTA of the school on the SES of parents and their parenting attitudes; and how it is affecting the general profile of the school’s activities and their wards; and how the situation could be addressed in favour of the pupils.

The documented report of the findings of the study will be a reference material in the educational circles - precisely offer new and additional knowledge in research and development on educational issues in the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis.

Finally, the study has the capacity to inform teachers on the needs an challenges facing their pupils and resultantly guide them to effectively their needs professionally.

Delimitation of the study

The study was delimited to Archbishop Porter Primary School at Effia Kuma in the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis; and further restricted to the primary school. The study did not cover upper primary pupils and students at the Junior High School level.

It took the form of a case study of pupils in a sampled class and the scope will be as follows; established the SES of their parents, explored the kind of concern parents’ show to their wards’ education in the form of their parenting attitudes and established the academic achievement of the pupils. The study established the correlation between the named parental variables and the academic achievements of pupils.

The scope for the measuring of the pupils’ achievement will be on the six subjects studied by primary school pupils, namely; Mathematics, Language and Literacy, Natural Science, Information Communication Technology, Religious and Moral Education and Creative Arts.

The study will not attempt to predict the future performance of the pupils, but basically relate the parental attitudes and SES to the academic performance of their wards by way of computing the statistical relations among the variables.

Limitations of the Study

Due to time and financial constraints the study was restricted to the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis and precisely to the Effia Tanokrom Circuit. These limitations raises reliability and validity questions .To ensure the validity and the reliability of the study the following steps were taken in the course of the study, (a) questionnaires and items therein were derived from the literature review so as to measure what the study indented to investigate - in this case explore the SES of parents, their parenting styles and the academic performance of their wards, (b) the sampled class had all its members participating in the study to give the room for generalization of the findings, (c) the main subjects of the study were given ample time to give their responses and again their anxiety about the exercise were allayed with the assurance that they were part of an academic exercise and not under investigation and that their responses will be treated confidential.

Finally, the internal consistency of the instruments was tested using Cronbach’s Alpha Coefficient. The results were as follow;, 39 item questionnaire (α = .91) and the 18 test results (α = .94).

Organisation of the Study

The report of the study is organised into five chapters, followed by references and appendices. The first chapter is the introduction and contains the background information, statement of problems, research questions, the purpose and significance of the study. Information on limitations and delimitations of the study is also catered for in this chapter. Organisation of the study as a sub-topic closes the entire chapter.

The second chapter is titled literature review and looks into concepts, research findings and publications relevant to issues on Socio-economic status, parenting and student performance. It is followed by Chapter Three which outlines the methods that were used for the study. It describes the research design type used, population and the sample for the study; instruments used and procedures for data collection; and then ends with the methods used for analysing collected data.

Chapter Four is titled as results and discussions and comes after chapter three. It covers the results or findings of the study together with their corresponding discussions. It offers medium for inferences to be made by virtue of responses gathered from the participants of the research. This chapter is immediately followed by Chapter Five which contains the summary, conclusions and recommendations of the study. References and appendices are provided at the back of the report and that close the entire document.



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Title: The influences of selected socio-economic factors of parents and parenting attitudes on the academic achievements of their wards