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The Effects of Parental Social-Economic Status on the Academic Performance of Secondary School Students

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Background to the Study
It is an undebatable fact that the home is the fulcrum around which the early years of a child revolves. The central figures are the parents. While child-bearing and child-rearing cannot be divorced one from the other, the type of child-rearing practiced in a family has a tremendous impact on the entire life of the child including his or her academic life. Generally, the social climate or environment in which an individual finds him or her self to a large extent determines his or her behaviour and personality development. Consequently, parental guidance and discipline usually influence the behaviour of the children and at the apex of this parental influence is the mother.

According to Olayinka and Omoegun (2001), the word "family" has its origin in the Latin word which could be translated to mean "domestic group". A domestic group is a group of people who habitually share a common dwelling and common food supply. According to Murdoch (1965) family is a social group characterized by common residence, economic, cooperation and reproduction; it includes adults of both sexes, at least two of who maintains a socially approved sexual relationship and one more children, own or adopted by the sexually cohabiting adult.
The family provides for the physical maintenance of the child, offers him his first and most continuing social contracts, and gives him affection and other emotional satisfaction including quality education that will last for a life time, teaches him most of social requirement of his behaviour and often put him in contract with other specializing institutions. Omoegun (1995), while writing on adolescent behaviour claimed that aggressive teenagers invariably came from unstable and conflict ridden home in which fights and argument were very common occurrences. In the history of the growth of the family, prior to the mid 1980s, family guidelines took the form of philosophical speculations.

According to Oloko (1987), the onset of family fountain is either through marriage or parenthood. Coleman (1962) as well maintained that the family provides most of the only frustrations in life, some of which may cause unhappiness and even mental imbalance in life since they sometime fail to provide the child with sufficient sense of security and emotional maturity coupled with inadequate socialization. Hence the common saying "charity begins at home.

In our modern complex society in which adolescents and adults leave the security of their traditional homes and seek employment opportunities in our big towns, cities, and industrial centres, married couples are often confronted with many problems that may affect the stability of their marriages. The current instability of some marriages tend to be the result of educational, social, economic and cultural changes which have affected societal values and outlook to life. These changes have occurred and continue to occur so rapidly that they are not yet fully absorbed into our way of life. Thus, the growth of the factory and industry in our towns and cities, the continuing migration of people from the rural to urban centres, the mobility and frequent changes of residence of workers, the entry of some women into industry, employment and business, and the changing economic roles of husbands and wives, tend to constitute a threat to marriage stability. Youths are often far away from their parents and relations who can guide them through the initial problems of life. Consequently, with individual revolution, family lives have been shattered. The end result is that the children become social liabilities with little or no cause for moral training or basic education. The effect on the children’s academic performance in schools is therefore better imagined. This is because the much needed parental care, love, affection and guidance are lacking in required proportion.

It is very important that children come closely in contact with their parents during the period of infancy to adulthood. The warmth which can only be provided by the parents gives the child a sense of belonging and affections which enhances their mental, physical, moral and educational growth. If children are denied this much needed parental affections and warmth during the vital period of their lives, they become negatively affected in all aspects of life.

Education has to do with the development of individual potentials or the development of intellect and character, it is to develop or reform an individual's sense of responsibility thereby making him a better man. Education is described as the best investment that one can ever make as educated children will be able to have good jobs, meaningful life for themselves as well as increase the National Productivity. The National Policy on Education (1998) refers to education as an instrument par excellence for effecting National development. It is also a dynamic instrument of change. Ukeje (1978), referred to education as "one of the most powerful instruments ever invented by modern civilization". Education prepares one for life and it is a process of accumulating knowledge for future use.

On the other hand, academic performance describes the maximum level of performance which a child or an individual can reach or attain in school academic activities if given every necessary support and opportunities by parents as well as the school authorities and teachers.

Nevertheless, the environment under which a child is nurtured plays major part in his or her development even at the pre-natal stages of life. Besides, inadequate cares, hostile interrelationship in the place of a child’s immediate environment most times create a state of anxiety and emotional distress in the child; which also impact greatly on the rest of the child’s future life. The physical environment under which a child studies, can as well influence his or her learning. In this regard, parents have a lot to do to ensure that the mental, emotional and psychological balance, value orientation, aspiration and personality, as well as the academic status of their children are properly developed in life.
However, the attainment of the above qualities varies from one child to another depending also on the home and conditions he finds himself. Problematic home conditions drastically affect educational success and performances in children. One-parent child, that is, a child being raised up by a single parent, example a male parent rearing a female child, and vice-versa, children raised in the absence of mother, those others lacking maternal or paternal attention most often have levels of difficulties in adjustment on studies and in life. A child psychologically and emotionally deprived, can hardly be sufficiently motivated to achieve high academic success. Linking parents’ socio-economic status with the children’s performance in school work, Holcomb (2002) argues that infants who receive enough attention and affection from a loving and caring parents right from start are most likely to succeed socially and emotionally; whereas Peters (2002) asserts that children from with working mothers tend to have a higher reading score as well as better language and cognitive ability. Given the background, this study attempts to substantiate the above divergent claims by determining the truth underlying the influence or non-influence of parents’ socio-economic status on secondary school students’ academic performance in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State.

Statement of Problem
If education is a weapon of liberation from ignorance, poverty and diseases, then the education of the child means giving the child the potential to improve himself. And the educational standard will in no small way improve the child’s worth; hence the child would be able to play his or her own role in the building of his or her nation. The need to improve on the educational standard by all means stems from the fact that education will not only develop the personality of the individual in full but will equally prepare him to take specific jobs which will change his or her environment.

Due to the vital role education plays in nation building, many people concerned about the quality of education given to the child. For instance, the National Policy on Education lays much emphasis on qualitative education for the development of a strong and virile nation. For this dream to be realized, many factors have to be considered, one of which is the home environment and family background of the child.

Many researches on the influence of family background on the academic performance of students have been conducted in most advanced countries like Europe, America and Italy. In order to be able to correlate with these former researches, there is the need to investigate the relationship between parents’ socio-economic status which is one of the family variables and academic performance of secondary school students in our own environment. Besides, observations have shown that not all children are bright, some are dull, some average and others bright. The fact that some children perform poorly academically may not necessarily be as a result of poor quality of teaching and lack of basic teaching and learning facilities in the school. Hence, the need to survey how the socio-economic status of parents affects their children’s academic performance and possibly aid in finding solution to children's poor academic performance and help in the improvement of the quality of education.
Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study includes:

1. To examine the influence of parents’ educational background on their children’s academic performance.

2. To ascertain the extent to which secondary school students’ academic performance is influenced by their parents’ cultural background.

3. To examine whether secondary school students’ academic performance is influenced by their parents’ religious belief.

4. To determine whether parents’ economic status affects their children’s academic performance.

Research Questions

In order to achieve the above objectives, the questions below were raised to guide the study.

1. Does parents’ educational background affect their children’s academic performance?

2. Is secondary school students’ academic performance influenced by their parents’ cultural background?

3. Does parents’ religious belief affect their children’s academic performance?

4. Is secondary school students’ academic performance affected by their parents’ economic status?

Research Hypotheses

The hypotheses below were stated and tested during the study.

1. The secondary school students’ academic performance is not significantly affected by their parents’ educational background.

2. The secondary school students’ academic performance is not significantly affected by their parents’ cultural background.

3. The secondary school students’ academic performance is not significantly affected by their parents’ religious belief.

4. The secondary school students’ academic performance is not significantly affected by their parents’ economic status.

Significance of the Study
Parents through the findings of this study would be aware of the ways their beliefs and activities can influence their children's performance in school work and thereby try to adjust immediately the ones impacting on their children negatively.

The findings of the study will also be helpful to remind policy makers and curriculum planners of the fact that children come from diversified cultural settings and so the policies made and the curriculum should be planned with a reasonable amount of flexibility to take care of that.

The study would as well put into the teaching profession a sound understanding of why children perform the way they do in schools. It would also enable the teachers adopt a variety of teaching methods so as to allow all categories of students benefit from their teaching.

The Nigerian nation as a whole would benefit from the study because adhering to the recommendations and trying also to carry them out, will bring out a set of qualified and socially qualified matured youths who will be future leaders. This work may also add to the existing knowledge base in order to provide a framework for further researches in this area of study especially in Nigerian secondary schools.

Scope of the Study

This study was limited to assessing the effect of parents’ socio-economic status on the academic performance of secondary school students in Lagos State. It was limited to ten (10) randomly selected secondary schools in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State and involved only hundred and twenty (120) students.

Definition of Terms

Certain key words were used in this study, which were explained for the purpose of clarity. The words include academic performance.

Academic performance: This is regarded as the display of knowledge attained or skills, shown in the school subjects such achievements are indicated by test scores or by marks assigned by teachers. It is the school evaluation of students’ classroom work as quantified on the basis of marks or grades.
Socio-economic factors: This refers to factors such as culture, religion, education background, financial status, etc.

The reviews of other scholars’ work that are related to this study are based on the following sub-themes. ▪ Parents’ Interest and Motivation on Students’ Academic Performance; ▪ Parental Educational Level and Academic Performance; ▪ Socio-Economic Status of Parents and Academic Performance; and ▪ Summary of Literature Reviewed.
Parents’ Interest and Motivation on Students’ Academic Performance
Parental interest is one of the variables of the environment that contributes positively to academic performance. Previous studies in this field such as that of Douglas (1970) and Bond (1973) have shown that parents can transfer to their children some kind of characteristics which include self-reliance, drive for independence, self confidence and competence that are necessary for strong achievement orientation. Also, parents deliberately and indeliberately play a guiding role in their children’s success in school. Parenthood therefore involves communicating worthwhile ideas to children as well as encouraging them. Parents owe their children the duty of explaining out certain things/natural phenomena and other issues as they arise during their developmental stages. Parents also have the responsibility to set standards for their children as well as work seriously towards their realization.

Donatus in his findings, points out that parental attitude and interest have greater correlation with students’ performance than with material circumstances or variations in school and classroom organization of structural materials and teaching aids. Parental interest includes showing concern in whatever activity the child engages in, such as home work, hand writing, school work and class work. It had also been stated by Grinder (1978) that the most significant environmental factors that influence intelligence include cultural interest, parental encouragement, parental educational level and home reaching facilities. He cited as an example the result of the Berkeley Growth Study, which is one of the longitudinal studies initiated at the university of California some years ago that provided a well documental analysis of the relationship between family background, intellectual growth and academic achievement .

In another research, Honzik (1967) reported that parental educational achievement was positively related to intelligence test scores of both boys and girls from three to thirty years of age. This means that when parents are really concerned and involved, children are likely to be more education conscious and as such they put more effort in their educational quest. The implication of all the above is that no matter what the schools are like, the quality of a child’s mind is basically nurtured at home by his parents.

Heyua (1986) in his series of longitudinal studies pointed out that 50 per cent of the child’s general intelligence is developed by age four, 30 percent by the age of eight and the remaining 20 per cent by the age of seventeen. He also noted that about one-third of general learning growth based on achievement indices takes place between birth and age six. Seventeen percent of this growth takes place between ages four and six, while the remaining seventeen percent of growth takes place between ages six and nine. It appears then that education is working against over whelming odds to effect changes in students who show deficits in learning since much of their potentials have already been developed before they come to school.

One spectacular finding which is worthy of note in Douglas (1964) discovery was that at both eight and eleven years, the highest average scores in tests were made by children whose parents were most interested in their education while those whose parents were least interested in their education made the lowest scores. In the same line of reasoning Kat Kersky Preston and Crondail (1964) indicated that parents’ orientation towards their own achievement may impact their relationship with their children. Katkorsky, et al (1964) also noted that the greater the value both parents placed on intellectual achievement for their offspring, the better their children’s performance academically.

Olayinka (1980) emphasized that motivation is of great importance to parents in determining the achievement of students and concluded that if the father is an engineer and the mother an accountant, the two parents are likely to motivate their children in school to become an engineer or an accountant, a lawyer or any other prestigious profession. Olayinka went further to assert that “there are situations where some parents who are illiterates and whose occupations range from petty trading to bricklaying may vow to sponsor their children’s education to higher level believing that their children could raise the economic and social standard of the family in future through their educational achievement. He went further to say that the realization of parents’ dream depends on whether such children inherited superior intelligence as well as enjoyed parents’ motivations and support. He therefore inferred that parents play a vital role in the academic achievement of the children; and as such should be seen as educational agencies whose work are almost similar to that of the school.
Parental Educational Level and Academic Performance
Ogunlade (1973) carried out a research in two urban centres in western Nigeria on the influence of parental educational status on the academic performance of their children. Three hundred children of illiterate and semi-literate parents were selected from one urban centre and school certificate, ordinary level was the highest educational qualification of parents from this group.

Another three hundred children, this time of literate parents were selected from another urban centre and for this group, their parents’ educational qualification ranged between higher school certification (HSC) and university degree. A one hundred item intelligence test was administered to the children and the performance of these two groups in the test were compared and the findings were that children from highly educated parents performed better in the test than those from illiterate and semi-literate parents. The researcher equally noted that children from educated parents or educationally advantaged homes performed better and left school earlier than their counterparts from un-educated or educationally disadvantaged homes.

The conclusion therefore was that parental educational level influenced their children’s educational attainment. Also worthy of note is the study by Douglas and Ross (1964). In their study, they found out that parents with better educational achievement provide their children with pre-school education, the nursery school for instance and they also provide them with toys and other play school facilities. The study confirmed that those children whose parents gave them incentives in their study had high achievement scores; hence parental educational level influenced the educational attainment of children. Obemeata (1971) carried out a comparative study of the number of candidates from urban and rural areas who qualified for inclusion in the ‘short lists’ of three secondary grammar schools. The lists were compiled on the basis of performance in the council. Out of the seven hundred and twenty four (724) names prepared by the three secondary grammar schools, only twelve (12) 1.66% came from primary schools in the rural areas where the bulk of peasant farmers live. It may however be worthy of note to say here that it is the level of parental education among other factors that determine the kind of occupation they secure hence their income and social class. Majoribanks (1979) said that there is a unique relationship between parental educational level and their children’s academic performance. He also said that it is only when parents are academically sound that they can motivate their children to succeed.

Lovell (1973) asserted that lack of environmental stimulation may cause dullness and this can affect most academic subjects. Educated parents, he went on to say try the much they can, to create harmony between the home and school and thus discourage backwardness. Good and Brophy (1977) said that the educational level of parents is probably the most important family effect towards appropriate cognitive development. Parents who are educated themselves value education and expect and desire that their children become well educated, perhaps better than themselves. Hence, the educational climate in which a child finds himself helps a great deal in determining his academic performance.
Socio-Economic Status of Parents and Academic Performance
Socio-economic background or status refers to a person’s position in a given group, society or culture as determined by wealth, occupation, education and social class. Vernon (1965) said that children, whose mental development was handicapped by poor socio-economic, cultural and linguistic environment, by defective education and family instability, show this to a greater extent in some abstract non-verbal abilities than they do in actual educational achievement. Halsal (1973) while reviewing the studies that were carried out by the international association for the evaluation of educational achievement found that the correlation that existed between the children’s academic performance and their parents’ socio-economic status was lower than that between the children’s academic achievement and their family size.

Copel (1973) asserted that the higher a child’s socio-economic status, the higher his educational aspiration and accomplishment. Children from high parental socio-economic status obtained better grades in school than those from low socio-economic status and they tend to pursue higher education above secondary school level. Copel’s findings may not completely apply to the Nigerian situation where the reverse may be the case though statistical testing in subsequent chapter would prove this to be true or not, particularly in Ojodu Local Government Area where this study is being carried out.

Russell (1977) said that children whose parents are rich also have both physical and psychological needs like every other child, which when provided, contribute positively to their academic achievement. These needs include good food, a study, a conducive atmosphere at home, a play ground and good educational aids like radio, newspapers, television and magazines in the home. A child who has the above can perform well in school, but a child who is unfortunate not to have them because of the poor status of his parents both economically and otherwise stands the risk of relatively poor performance in school. This is so, because many children grow up in large families with very low income and are beset by multiple, interrelated and interacting disadvantages which have detrimental effect on the level of their academic attainment.

Curry (1962) carried out a study in U.S.A to determine whether the differences in scholastic achievement were significant among children of different social status but with comparable or similar intellectual abilities. He concluded from his findings that when a child has above average intellectual ability, he will overcome the effect of a deprived home environment. He further added that if the intellectual ability decreases the effect of the deprived socio-economic effect on scholastic achievement, pupils from upper socio-economic status group achieve greater them those from the lower socio-economic group.

Gough (1946) carried out a study with a group of 6th grade public school children from which he noticed that children from better homes had higher achievement scores. He then concluded that a child’s performance is positively affected by the parent’s socio-economic status. McCandless and Evans (1973) in their study held the same view that growing up in an entrepreneurial home or in a bureaucratic home could represent a difference especially in terms of the values reflected in the family interaction.
Summary of Literature Reviewed
In this chapter, the researcher tried to review some empirical studies carried out by renowned scholars that are related to this study. The reviewed literature facilitated this study and also helped the researcher to see what others have done so that the techniques previously used can equally be adopted or possibly improved upon. Various studies carried out on the influence of parents’ level of education and their socio-economic status on the academic performance of their children in secondary schools show that the factors significantly impact on the children’s academic performance. There is need therefore for all hands to be on deck, especially the parents, head of secondary schools, teachers, education planners and policy makers towards building the educational life of these secondary school students.

This chapter presents the methods and procedures adopted in conducting this study. These methods and procedures are explained under the following sub-themes: • Research Design; • Population of the Study; • Sample and Sampling Procedure • Research Instrument; • Validity of Research Instrument; • Reliability of Research Instrument; • Procedure for Data Collection; and • Procedure for Data Analysis.
Research Design
The research design adopted for this study is the descriptive survey design. This design is chiefly concerned with finding, describing and interpreting “what is”. The design does not aim at discovering new phenomena, but is concerned with conditions or relationship that exist, practices that prevail, beliefs, points of view, or attitudes that are held; processes that are going on; effects that are being felt, or trends that are developing (Best, 1970). The design was considered appropriate for the study because the researcher does not have any intention to manipulate the study’s variables but to study them as they occur naturally.
Population of the Study
The population of this study covered the entire secondary school students (both males and females) in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Sample and Sampling Technique
The sample used for this study was a hundred and twenty students. These were selected from the population of the study identified above, using the random sampling method. Out of the secondary schools in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State ten (10) secondary schools were randomly selected for the study. From the students of these schools, a hundred and twenty (120) students were selected randomly in proportion of twelve (12) students per school.
Research Instrument
The instrument used to collect data for this study was a self-structured questionnaire titled, Parents’ Socio-economic Status and Students’ Academic Performance Questionnaire (PSSSAPQ). The questionnaire was divided into two sections, A and B. Section A contained questions on the demographic features of the respondents, while section B contained questions on parents’ educational background, religious belief, cultural background and financial status as relating to their children’s academic performance in secondary schools in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Validity of Research Instrument
The validity of the research instrument was determined by the research supervisor. A sample of the instrument was shown to the research supervisor for professional corrections and comments which were incorporated into the final draft of the instrument to ensure that it had both face and content validity.
Reliability of Research Instrument
The split-half statistic method was used to determine the reliability status of the research instrument. A pilot test was conducted using some copies of the questionnaire and some respondents that were not involved in the main study. The administered questionnaires when retrieved were parted into two groups of odd numbers and even numbers. The scores of the two groups were correlated using Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation method. The reliability coefficient obtained was used to determine whether the instrument is reliable or not.
Procedure for Data Collection
With the letter of introduction from the Head of Department, the researcher visited the sampled schools in person, negotiated with the school authorities before administering the questionnaires on the students. The students were allowed enough time to respond to the questionnaire items before instant retrieval. This method of administration was adopted to ensure high response rate.
Procedure for Data Analysis
Data collected on the demographic features of the subjects were presented in contingency percentage tables and subsequently interpreted respectively. Other data generated from the respondents’ responses to the questionnaire items were used to analyze both the research questions and hypotheses raised in the study using the Chi-square statistical tool.

This chapter presents the analysis of data collected for this study, the results of the tests of the hypotheses raised in it, and the summary of the findings made during the study.
4.1 Presentation of Respondents’ Bio-data
Table 1: Gender Distribution of Subjects
|Gender |Frequency |% |
|Male |21 |35 |
|Female |39 |65 |
|Total |60 |100 |

Table one shows that 35% of the adolescent students involved in the study were males, and 65% of them were females.

Table 2: Age Distribution of Subjects
|Age |Frequency |% |
|< 16 yrs |5 |8.3 |
|16 – 18 years |52 |86.7 |
|> 19 years |3 |5 |
|Total |60 |100 |

Table two shows that 8.3% of the adolescent students that took part in the study were less than sixteen years old; 86.7% of them were between the ages of sixteen and eighteen years; and 5% were nineteen years or above.

Table 3: Distribution of Subjects’ Mothers by Educational Level
|Educational level |Frequency |% |
|Primary Education |2 |3.3 |
|Secondary Education |16 |26.7 |
|Tertiary Education |42 |70 |
|Total |60 |100 |

Table three shows that 3.3% of the mothers of the adolescent students involved in the study had only Primary Education; 26.7% of them had up to Secondary Education; while 70% had up to Tertiary Education.

Hypothesis one states that: Maternal employment does not have significant influence on adolescent students’ academic performance

Table 5: Result of One-Way Analysis of Variance on the influence of Maternal Employment on Adolescent Students’ Academic Performance
|Sources of variation |Sum of squares |Degrees of freedom |Mean of squares |F-Cal. |Prob. |F-Critical |
|Between Groups |28799.01 |1 |28799.01 |81.54 |0.05 |6.90 |
|(Treatment) | | | | | | |
|Within Groups (Error) |41674.47 |118 |353.17 | | | |
|Total |70473.48 |119 | | | | |

Table five shows that the calculated F-value of 81.54 is greater than the critical F-value of 6.90 given 1 and 118 degrees of freedom and a 0.05 alpha level. This result approves that working mothers’ absence has significant influence on adolescent students’ academic performance.

Hypothesis two states that: There is no significant difference in the academic performance of adolescent students with working mothers and those whose mothers are not working.

Table 6: Result of T-Test Analysis on the Difference in the Academic Performance of Adolescent Students with Employed Mothers and those without Employed Mothers
|Variables |N |Mean |SD |DF= |Prob |t-cal |t-critical |
| | | | |(N-2) | | | |
| | | | | | | | |
|Adolescent | | | | | | | |
|Students with working| | | | | | | |
|mothers |60 |56.3 |7.07 | | | | |
| | | | | | | | |
|Adolescent students | | | | | | | |
|with non-working | | | |58 |0.05 |2.37 |2.000 |
|mothers | | | | | | | |
| | | | | | | | |
| | | | | | | | |
| |60 |59.2 |7.44 | | | | |

Table six shows that the calculated t-value of 2.37 is greater than the critical t-value of 2.000 given 58 degree of freedom and a 0.05 level of significance. This result approves the rejection of null hypothesis two in acceptance of its alternative, thereby confirming that a significant difference exits between the performance of adolescent students with working mothers and that of those with non-working mothers.

Hypothesis three states that: The quality of homework done by adolescent students with working mothers is not significantly affected by the absence of their employed mothers.

Table 7: Result of One-Way Analysis of Variance on the Effect of Employed Mothers’ Absence on the Quality of Homework Done by their Adolescent Children

|Sources of variation |Sum of squares |Degrees of |Mean of squares |F-Cal. |Prob. |F-Crit. |Decision |
| | |freedom | | | | | |
|Between Groups |65.04 |1 |65.04 |12.11 |0.05 |6.90 |Significant |
|(Treatment) | | | | | | | |
|Within Groups (Error) |633.4 |118 |5.37 | | | | |
|Total |698.44 |119 | | | | | |

Table seven shows that the calculated F-value of 12.11 is greater than the critical F-value of 6.90 given 1 and 118 degrees of freedom and a 0.05 level of significance. This result confirms that the quality of homework done by adolescent students is significantly affected by the absence of working mothers.
4.4 Summary of Findings
From the analysis of data and the results of the tests of hypotheses raised in the study as shown in tables 5, 6 and 7; we found that:
(i) Working mothers’ absence has significant influence on adolescent students’ academic performance.
(ii) A significant difference exits between the performance of adolescent students with working mothers and that of those with non-working mothers.
(iii) The quality of homework done by adolescent students is significantly affected by the absence of their working mothers.

This chapter presents the discussion of findings; summary of the study; the conclusion and recommendations for necessary remediation.
5.1 Discussion of Findings
Hypothesis One
In hypothesis one (table 5) it was found that working mothers’ absence has significant influence on adolescent students’ academic performance. This finding seconds that of O’Leary (1974), Thompson and Finlayson (1963), and Erinrisch (2001) who in their studies found also that low educational attainment was likely in families where mothers returned to full-time work before children were five consequent upon the fact that working mothers are usually too busy or too much in a hurry to listen and properly attend to their children’s educational needs and complaints.

However, the finding negates that of Hoffman and Hoffman (2007) who noted that working mothers have a higher level of positive morale than the full-time home-workers; as well as that of Durojaiye (1976) who indicated in his study that working mothers provide greater academic stimuli for their children than mothers who do not work.

The plausible reason for this finding is that the mode of work in Nigeria is so occupying that working mothers do not have even the slightest time to attend to their other personal duties in the home as well as those relating to the social and educational needs of their children. For example, a mother who is a banker in Nigeria leaves her house by 6 a. m. and comes back by 8 p. m. from Monday through Saturday, leaving her domestic and social duties in the house as well as the educational care of her children in the hands of her husband or the house help. In this situation, the family and the children are deprived of the mothers’ input; and this impacts the entire well being of the family negatively. But in a properly organized economy like that of the occidental states where one has right to chose the number of hours he or she wants to work, maternal employment may not have significant effect on the children’s academic performance. Thus, we submit that whether a working mother’s absence would influence her adolescent children’s academic performance or not depends on her country and the labour system operational in the country.

Hypothesis Two
In hypothesis two (table 6) it was found that a significant difference exits between the academic performance of adolescent students with working mothers and that of those with non-working mothers.

This finding is in line with that of Erinrisch (2001) who in his study found also that a significant difference exists in the academic performance of children whose mothers are full-time workers and those whose mothers are not. The finding also negates that of Wood (1972) who in his own study found that children enrolled in daycare centers at an average of 18.8 months did not demonstrate any difference in their strength of attachment to working mothers when compared with children who remained at home with their mothers.

The reason for this finding could be ascribed to the meager amount paid to some of these working mothers. For example, adolescents whose mothers are not well paid may perform below expectations academically. This is because make-up educational arrangements could not be afforded by their mothers. But adolescent students whose mothers are well paid and also seriously concerned about their children’s education make up for their absence by organizing good private lessons for their children and as such remove the gap in performance that would have existed between their children and those of the non-working mothers.

Thus it appears incontrovertible that where mothers are able to make appropriate educational arrangements to take care of their children during their absence, the children do not suffer academic setback, rather they sometimes perform better than those whose mothers are full-time homers. Hence, we submit that a child’s academic excellence depends to a large extent on the quality of educational arrangement made for the child by his or her parents.
Hypothesis Three
In hypothesis three (table 7) it was found that the quality of homework done by adolescent students is significantly affected by working mothers. This finding supports that of Thompson and Finlayson (1963) who noted also that working mothers’ absence affects performance of their children in academic activities given to them to do at home; but negates that of Harvey (1999) who noted that children whose mothers work outside the home suffer no permanent harm because of mothers’ absence.

However, the reason for this finding could be ascribed to the fact that in Nigeria working mothers are usually too busy or financially constrained to take proper cognizance of the educational needs of their children or make adequate arrangement for these educational needs of theirs. In this way these working mothers impact negatively the academic performance of their children. On the other hand, the problem attendant with maternal employment seems to be solved forthwith as the children grow older. Hence at that period the children do their home works well independently. Besides, the number of hours a parent spends away from home is not the same and as important as the quality of parenting. Thus we submit here that the quality of home work a child does depends on his or her parents’ attitude to his or her education as well as on the age and level of cognitive maturity of the child.
5.2 Summary of the Study
This study examined the influence of working mother on the educational performance of adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos State. The ex post facto research design was adopted for this study. This is because the variables studied were not manipulated but studied retrospectively the way they occur naturally. The population of the study covered the entire SS-2 students in Lagos State secondary schools. Out of this population, a sample of hundred and twenty (120) adolescent students was selected and used for the study; using the purposive and stratified random sampling procedures. The instrument used to collect data for the study was a twenty-one item self-structured questionnaire. Three hypotheses were formulated and tested during the study using both Independent Sample T-test and One-Way Analysis Of Variance (ANOVA) statistic tools. Each of the results obtained from the tests was compared with its critical value at 5% level of significance.
5.3 Conclusion
On the basis of the findings made in this study, we conclude that:
(i) Working mothers’ absence influences adolescent students’ academic performance.
(ii) The educational performance of adolescents with working mothers is different from that of those whose mothers are not working.
(iii) Working mothers’ absence affects the quality of home work done by adolescent students.

5.4 Recommendations
Based on the findings made in this study, we make the following recommendations.
i) Secondary school heads should use Parent Teacher Association forum to educate parents, especially mothers on the essence of giving their children the close attention needed by them at their age. ii) Non governmental organisations should reach out more to children from low/poor socio-economic backgrounds by providing scholarships opportunities for them as well as through offering of direct financial assistance to homes in order to empower them and sustain them economically as these homes are the immediate sustaining environment of the children.
(iii)Counseling centres should direct counseling efforts towards educating parents on the essence of having family size that they can adequately sustained by their income as well as adopt family planning measures to help them have manageable family sizes.

(iv)Non governmental organizations should carry out awareness campaign through the media in local languages to educate the uneducated parents on the importance and need of providing their children with an enabling environment to enhance their educational performance.
5.5 Suggestion for Further Studies
The entire ways working mothers’ absence could affect their children have not been exhaustively explored by this study. Consequently, we suggest that further research be conducted in areas, which include the following:
(i) Effect of working mothers’ absence on the educational attainment of their adolescent children.
(ii) Effect of working mothers’ absence on primary pupils’ academic performance.
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Dear Sir/Madam,
This questionnaire is solely for research purpose. It is on parents’ socio-economic status and students’ academic performance. Your objective response to each item in this questionnaire will be highly appreciated. Your responses will be confidentially treated, and will as well be used only for the purpose of this study.
Thank you for your co-operation.
Sex: Male ( ) Female ( )
Age: less than 15 years ( ) 15 -19 years ( ) 20 years and above ( )
Instruction: Rank the extent to which the socio-economic factors stated in the table below have affected your performance in academic work.
|No. |Educational Background of Parents |SA |A |D |SD |
|1. |My parents are not educated and this is affecting me academically. | | | | |
|2. |My parents don’t care much about my education and most times I have to do my | | | | |
| |homework myself whether I know it or not. | | | | |
|3. |My parents only ensure that they pay my school fees but don’t care to know how I am| | | | |
| |faring academically. | | | | |
|4. |My parents organized private lessons for me which have helped to improve my | | | | |
| |performance academically. | | | | |
|5. |My parents value education a lot and their encouragement has really helped me | | | | |
| |academically. | | | | |
|No. |Parents’ Religious Belief |SA |A |D |SD |
|1. |My parents are religiously fanatic. | | | | |
|2. |They always direct much of my time to attend to religious activities and this | | | | |
| |affects my studies at home. | | | | |
|3. |Though my parents are religious, they don’t allow religious issues interrupt my | | | | |
| |studies. | | | | |
|4. |My parents rejected my going to the school I had wanted to go because of their | | | | |
| |religious opinion of the school. | | | | |
|5. |Because of my parents’ religious belief, helping me to do my assignments is seen as| | | | |
| |cheating, and this is affecting my performance in assignments and other academic | | | | |
| |work. | | | | |
|No. |Parents’ Cultural Background |SA |A |D |SD |
|1. |My parents don’t attach culture to anything concerning my education. | | | | |
|2. |My parents are culture minded people; always mixing what I learn at school with | | | | |
| |cultural lessons at home and this affects my performance in school activities. | | | | |
|3. |My parents believe a lot in cultural superstitions and as such they don’t allow me | | | | |
| |interact freely with my school and classmates and this affects my learning and | | | | |
| |performance. | | | | |
|4. |I am from a Christian home, and culture has no basis in whatever my family does. | | | | |
|5. |Because of my parents’ cultural beliefs, I am not allowed to live in the school | | | | |
| |hostel like my colleagues and this affects my performance academically. | | | | |
|No. |Parents’ financial Status |SA |A |D |SD |
|1. |My school fees are always paid late and this usually affects my performance in | | | | |
| |exams each term. | | | | |
|2. |My parents are not rich and as such where we live does not have enough space for my| | | | |
| |studies. | | | | |
|3. |Most times, some of my school materials are not provided by my parents because they| | | | |
| |don’t have the money to do so. | | | | |
|4. |Sometimes I miss school because I help my parents to hulk in order to raise my | | | | |
| |school fees and this affects my performance in school greatly. | | | | |
|5. |My parents are financially okay and they adequately provide me with everything I | | | | |
| |need for my schooling. | | | | |

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