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PSYCHOSOCIAL CORRELATES OF ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AMONG PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS
The study basically examined the psychosocial correlates of academic performance among primary school pupils in Lagos State. Four research objectives leading to four research questions and hypotheses were stated to guide the study. A total number of 120 pupils were carefully selected from the entire population through the method of stratified and simple random strategy. The descriptive survey research design in nature and a questionnaire was developed to gather the data used for the study. Data gathered from the demographic background characteristics of respondents were presented in frequency counts and percentages while Correlation statistics using 0.05level was used to test the hypotheses. Findings of the study showed that there is no significant relationship between parental influence and academic performance; there is a significant relationship between teacher influence and academic performance; there is a significant relationship between self-esteem and academic performance; there is a significant relationship between peer group influence and academic performance. Recommendations were made following the outcomes of the research findings that there is need to start early at boosting children’s self-esteem by encouraging them where necessary in respect to their possibilities of attaining an academic height; parents and teachers should be educated on the need to allow self-discovery among young ones. To ensure no major direct influence from both on their academic performance of the pupils, maladjusted students should be given psycho- socio therapy especially in self-esteem and peer group influence. Parents should ensure that they monitor their children at home and correct them properly in terms of where they lack in esteem and relating with peer group.
1.1 Background to the Study
In the Nigeria society today, education of children in at least basic education is in the top burner. It is also necessary that these children be rightly nurtured by all stakeholders involved in the process and period of their basic education to ensure that they perform well and optimally academically and otherwise.
Primary education according to the National Policy on Education 2013 is the basic education given in institutions to children between ages 6-12yers. The duration shall be six years. Formal education begins with primary education. Primary education is compulsory and free under the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme introduced by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on September 30th 1999.The two basic functions of primary schools are to prepare the child for life and to give those with the necessary background the opportunity to proceed to secondary school level. (NERC, 1969).
The National Policy on Education (2014) also listed 7 objectives of primary education one of which is to instill permanent literacy and numeracy and ability to communicate effectively. It is also to provide the child with the basic tools for further educational advancement.
According to Amadi (2014), effective teaching requires a professional teacher. The National Policy on Education (2014) stipulates that the minimum requirement to teach at primary school level is a National Certificate in Education (NCE). This effort is to ensure quality of teaching and ultimately good academic performance by primary school children.
The importance of the primary school upon which the educational system is rested cannot be overemphasized. This level of education therefore deserves the special attention of all stakeholders. It provides the base and foundation for every other training which the child receives. The level of education attainment of any person is strongly influenced by the quality and standard of knowledge acquired at the formative stage of life.( Adeogun,1999).
Most knowledge, skills, values and attitudes relevant for living must be introduced in some ways to the pupils at this stage. Since the rest of the educational system is built on it , the primary level is key to the success or failure of the whole system. In fact primary education is the substructure upon which other education levels are created. (Amadi,2014). This underscores the importance of good academic performance for every child that undergoes primary school education in Nigeria.
Academic Performance is how well an individual has done in cognitive and non-.cognitive tasks. Academic achievement of students especially at the elementary school level is not only a pointer to the effectiveness or otherwise of schools but a major determinant of the future of youths in particular and the nation in general. Learning outcomes have become a phenomenon of interest to all and this account for the reason why scholars have been working hard to untangle factors that militate against good academic performance (Aremu & Sokan, 2002). This phenomenon has been variedly referred in literature as academic achievement, or scholastic functioning. Academic achievement of learners has attracted attention of scholars, parents, policy- makers and planners.
Adeyemo (2001) opined that the major goal of the school is to work towards attainment of academic excellence by students. According to him, the school may have other peripheral objectives but emphasis is always placed on the achievement of sound scholarship. Besides, virtually everybody concerned with education places premium on academic achievement; excellent academic achievement of children is often the expectation of parents (Osiki, 2001).
Academic achievement represents one of the key aspects of school adjustment (Caprara, Barbaranelli, Patorelli, Bandura & Zimbado, 2000). It remains one of the important targets for elementary school teachers, parents and students alike. High school academic achievement is linked to positive attitudes to school. Well achieving children experience less stress, have better mental health and are less likely to skip classes or drop out of school in later years. (Caprara et al, 2000)
Several methods are used to measure child academic performance, including standardized and teacher- made achievement test scores, assessments, teacher ratings of academic performance, and report card grades. Standardized achievement tests are objective instruments that assess skills and abilities children learn through direct instruction in a variety of subject areas including reading, mathematics, and writing (Sattler, 2001). Teacher rating scales allow teachers to rate the accuracy of the child’s academic work compared to other children in the class, and allow for ratings on a wider range of academic tasks than examined on standardized achievement tests (DuPaul & Rapport, 1991
Though Academic Achievement is closely linked to intellectual ability as well as family characteristics, (Jacob & Harvey, 2015), a child’s ability to operate effectively in social environment is vital for making good use of intellectual potential. Intelligence is only one of the elements belonging to the internal factors of academic performance. However, this is not the most important factor in all cases, because besides intelligence, academic performance depends on other internal conditions, too (motivation, attitudes, personality traits, etc.) and external ones (method, exigencies, nature of the academic tasks, school textbooks, etc.(Kulcsar, 1978) The intellectual factor accounts only partially for academic results, which indicates that, for a large number of pupils, the poor academic achievement is mainly determined by non-intellectual factors, such as high emotional insecurity, poor motivation, negative attitude, weak self-regulation or other psycho-social unfavourable circumstances
Psycho-social factors are influences that affect a person psychologically or socially. There are multidimensional constructs encompassing several domains such as mood status (anxiety, depression, distress and positive affect), Cognitive behaviour responses (satisfaction, self-efficacy, self-esteem, and locus of control) and social factors (sociometric status, education, employment, religion, ethnicity, family, physical attributes, locality, relationships with others, change in personal roles and status. (Shin-chi, Suzuki and Yuko Taker, 2013)
The influence of home environment on students’ academic achievement at the individual level is still prevalent, but less strong in much of the literature. There is an awareness of the importance of the home environment or family structure on student’s academic achievement. The home has a great influence on the students’ psychological, emotional, social and economic state. In the view of Ajila and Olutola (2000), the state of the home affects the individual since the parents are the first socializing agents in an individual’s life. This is because the family background and context of a child affect his reaction to life situations and his level of performance. Although, the school is responsible for the experiences that make up the individual’s life during school periods, yet parents and the individual’s experiences at home play tremendous roles in building the personality of the child and making the child what he is. Thus, Ichado (1998) concluded that the environment in which the student comes from can greatly influence his performance in school. The state of the home may affect individual since the parents are the first socializing agents in an individual’s life. This is because the family background and context of a child affect his reaction to life situations and his level of academic achievement.
Parent involvement in a child’s early education is consistently found to be positively associated with a child’s academic performance (Hara & Burke, 1998; Hill and Craft, 2003; Marcon, 1999; Stevenson and Baker, 1987). Specifically, children whose parents are more involved in their education have higher levels of academic performance than children whose parents are involved to a lesser degree. The influence of parent involvement on academic success has not only been noted among researchers, but also among policy makers who have integrated efforts aimed at increasing parent involvement into broader educational policy initiatives. Coupled with these findings of the importance of early academic success, a child’s academic success has been found to be relatively stable after early elementary school (Entwisle & Hayduk, 1988;Pedersen, Faucher, & Eaton, 1978). Therefore, it is important to examine factors that contribute to early academic success and that are amenable to change.
Researchers have reported that parent-child interactions, specifically stimulating and responsive parenting practices, are important influences on a child’s academic development (Christian, Morrison, & Bryant, 1998; Committee on Early Childhood Pedagogy, 2000). By examining specific parenting practices that are amenable to change, such as parent involvement, and the mechanisms by which these practices influence academic performance, programs may be developed to increase a child’s academic performance. While parent involvement has been found to be related to increased academic performance, the specific mechanisms through which parent involvement exerts its influence on a child’s academic performance are not yet fully understood (Hill & Craft, 2003). Understanding these mechanisms would inform further research and policy initiatives and may lead to the development of more effective intervention programs designed to increase children’s academic performance.
A positive student-teacher relationship has been defined as the teacher’s perception that his or her relationship with the child is characterized by closeness and a lack of dependency and conflict (Birch & Ladd, 1997). Closeness is the degree of warmth and open communication between the student and teacher, dependency is the over-reliance on the teacher as a source of support, and conflict is the degree of friction in student-teacher interactions (Birch & Ladd, 1997). Previous research found that close, positive student-teacher relationships are positively related to a wide range of child social and academic outcomes in school (Hughes, Gleason, & Zhang, 2005). Specifically, a close student-teacher relationship is an important predictor of a child’s academic performance (Birch & Ladd, 1997; Hamre & Pianta, 2001). Previous research has also found that parent involvement in a child’s education positively influences the nature of the student-teacher relationship (Hill & Craft, 2003; Stevenson & Baker, 1987). Therefore, the student-teacher relationship was examined for its ability to explain the relation between parent involvement and a child’s academic performance.
Today self-esteem as one of the influential factor which affect student’s academic achievement has received increasing attention. In psychology, the term self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value. Self-esteem is often seen as a personality trait, which means that it tends to be stable and enduring.
Self-esteem can involve a variety of beliefs about the self, such as the appraisal of one’s own appearance, beliefs, emotions, and behaviours. According to (Branden, 1969), Self-esteem is an essential human need that is vital for survival normal and healthy development
It has been declared that high self-esteem can lead to high academic achievement. Self-esteem can be referred to as person’s global judgments of competency regarding one’s self-worth (Harter, 1988). This construct emerges when children compare their self-evaluation with actual performance on a variety of tasks.
In general, high self-esteem help individuals to view themselves as active and capable persons to promote changes through effort and set higher goals which cause learning new things. Interestingly, numerous researchers have demonstrated that the best way to improve student achievement is to increase their self-esteem (Rubieet al., 2004). Research has also documented that high self- esteem plays an important role in academic achievement, social and personal responsibility (Redenbach, 1991). Those who have higher academic achievement tend to feel more confident in contrast those who lack confidence in themselves achieve less.
Goethe found out that weak students do better when grouped with other weak students. (As implied by Zajonc’s analysis of older siblings (1976) it shows that students’ performance improves if they are with the students of their own kind. There are often different results by gender, as in Hoxby’s K-12 results (2000); Sacerdote (2001) finds that grades are higher when students have unusually academically strong roommates. The results of Zimmerman (1999, 2001) were somewhat contradictory to Goethe results but again it proved that students performance depends on number of different factors, it says that weak peers might reduce the grades of middling or strong students. (Alexander, Gur et al. 1974; Fraser, Beamn et al. 1977) explained that some of the practices adopted by college administration in higher education like residential colleges or organized study groups also help to increases performance.
Keeping in view all of the variables discussed by different researchers we have chosen only those variables that are recognizable and relates to primary school settings.The majority of the studies to date seem to indicate that further investigation is required to unravel the complex determinants of academic performance.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Amongst the seven primary education objectives stipulated in the National Policy on Education is the need to instill permanent literacy and Numeracy and ability to communicate effectively in the children. Another objective for primary education according to the National Policy on Education is to provide the child with the basic tools for further educational advancement. These objectives are far from being achieved as a result of the poor performance of some pupils in primary schools in Nigeria (Kosofe Local Government Area in Lagos state in particular) especially in their inability to read, write and express themselves correctly in English language (Permanent Literacy Skill) . Their low performance in English has led to low enrolment of some of these children into Secondary Schools .This is also contrary to the objectives of the National Policy on Education for primary education. This in turn has delayed the progress of these children. Some of them have given up and decided to discontinue their educational pursuit as they have lost confidence in their ability to succeed academically if they eventually manage to get enrolled after further attempt.
Some studies have attributed the poor performance of children to some psycho-social factors like the (family) parental influence, (school) the teacher, peer group and (Personality Traits) and self-esteem.
1.3 Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study is to find out the extent at which some psycho-social factors such as parental influence, teacher influence, peer group influence and self-esteem influence the academic performance of primary school children in Lagos State. Specifically, this study seeks to:
1.4 Research Questions
The study will address the following research questions:
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were tested in the study:
1.6Significance of Study
This research has implication for addressing the problems that result in poor academic performance of primary school children, especially in Lagos State. This study is therefore relevant to teachers and school administrators who may wish to ensure that pupils under their care are well nurtured in the right way in other to bring out the best in them to ensure excellent academic performance. The study is also important to Parents who expect excellent performance from their children. This will help them to understand the manner in which to interact and influence their children in order to ensure good academic performance.
Schools will also benefit from this study as it will help them to ensure that they provide adequate human resources and the right environment to give children balanced education to ensure good academic performance.
This study is also relevant to Learners as it will help primary school children to make their basic education worth the while in order to have a solid foundation for higher education in the future. The Government will also be able carry out proper supervision of schools to ensure that government policy on education is being followed to ensure good academic performance by children.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study is limited to one hundred and twenty pupils from two public primary schools and two private primary schools in Kosofe Local Government Areas of Lagos State.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
For the purpose of this study, the following terms will be defined thus;
Primary School Pupils
Primary Schools pupils are children between ages 6- 11years who are given education in formal institutions of learning known as primary school.
Primary /Elementary Education
The words primary education and elementary education shall be used interchangeably in this study.
Fafunwa (1974) defined primary education as a system of education that helps the child to master the 3Rs that is reading, writing and arithmetic, develop sound standard of individual conduct, acquire some skills and appearance the value of manual work.
Primary education is the first stage of compulsory education coming between early childhood education and secondary education.
This is the behaviour of a student that can be directly observed by evaluating what he/she has learnt during a course of study. This behaviour can be measured through class work, homework, class participation and tests. It is the extent to which a student has reached the educational goals set for him.
Psycho-social Correlates are the psychological and social factors which are related and connected in some way to influence the academic performance of a child. In this study, we shall focus on variables which are concerned with five of these factors which include Family /parental influence/ involvement, teacher influence, peer group influence and self esteem.
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