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The study is concerned with the influence of parental support on self-concept and academic achievement of secondary school students in Udi education zone of Enugu state. Four research questions and four null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The study adopted an ex-post facto design. A sample of 300 senior secondary II students were randomly selected from the 53 secondary schools that make up the zone. The sample consisted of 150 male and 150 female students. Two instruments were used for data collection. The first instrument was parental support styles questionnaire (PSSQ)/ students’ high and low self-concept questionnaire (SHLSCQ). The second instrument had to do with examination results. The instruments were validated by four experts. A pre-test/trial run to ascertain the internal consistency and reliability of the instruments was done in two secondary schools outside the area of study. Mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions whereas t-test was used to test the research hypotheses. The findings have indicated that parental support has significant influence on the self-concept and academic achievement of secondary school students. Also the results of the study have equally shown that gender exercises significant influence on both the self-concept and academic achievement of students in the study area. One outstanding recommendation is that positive parent- child interaction should be initiated and intensified from birth till maturity.
Background of the Study
One of the aims of education is to achieve positive change in the self-concept and academic achievement/performance of an individual. One could be said to be doing well if there is steady improvement in one’s learning achievement. The generally held notion is that one’s academic progress depends solely on the effectiveness and efficiency of the teachers. Regrettably, many parents nurse the conviction that teachers have extraordinary powers to achieve academic transformation on the part of the students. Those parents fail to realize that no student can attain good academic heights without the right parental encouragement, understanding and support (Templar, 2008). This partly explains why students’ academic achievement in many schools is on the decline.
Achievement may be regarded as behaviour exhibited at the end of a given period. This implies the act or process of finishing something successfully. Marsh and Martin (2011) viewed achievement as the attainment of one’s objective. The authors were of the view that careful planning, hard work and perseverance often precede achievement. In the school setting, achievement may be regarded as behaviour manifested by students at the completion of a course of study. This is often termed academic achievement.
It is instructive to note that only 529, 425 of them, representing 31.28 percent, obtained credits in five subjects and above, including English and Mathematics. This figure when compared to the 2012 and 2013 May/June WASSCE results shows a marginal decline in the performance of candidates. (Source-head of WAEC national office in Lagos). These poor academic achievements of students have been a worry to all, and have attracted a lot of studies in recent times. Many studies have sought to find out the factors that influence the academic achievement of students in secondary schools. One of the factors is believed to be individual self-concept (Elbaum and Vaughn, 2001). Self-concept is a term used to explain how people value themselves.
Hanushek, Rivkin and Kain (1998)sees self-concept as the set of perceptions or reference points that one holds to be true about oneself, which include the set of characteristics, attributes, qualities, deficiencies, capacities and limits as well as values. Manning (2011) opines that self-concept refers to a student’s perception of competence or adequacy in academic and non-academic
domains, for instance social, behavioural, and athletic and is best represented by a profile of self- perceptions across domains. As students grow and develop, they acquire the skills to understand how others view them and could better distinguish between their abilities and perceptions. In this regard, self-concept could be viewed as a product of people’s opinions and self-perception. McLeod (2008) viewed self- concept as a general term used to refer to how people think about or perceive themselves/valuate themselves; adding that to be aware of oneself is to have a concept of oneself.
Baumeister, Campbell, Krueger and Vohs (2003) were of the opinion that self-concept fundamentally relates to an individual’s belief about own self including one’s attributes, who and what the self is. The authors stated that self-concept denotes the sense of being separate and distinct from others and the awareness of the constancy of the self. The theorists added that self-concept is a factual description of how one perceives oneself, an accurate statement of what one believes about oneself. If one’s perception is distorted, then the description might not be an accurate depiction of the individual. For the present study self-concept might refer to how one views and holds oneself in relation to others in the immediate environment. In this study the self-concept of an individual may be viewed from two perspectives: high and low.
However, the influence of parental support on students’ self-concept as well as their academic achievement is not clear. One is not even certain if parents and other care givers in Udi Education Zone are aware of the unique benefit of parental support in relation to students’ self-concept and academic progress. This therefore arouses the researcher’s interest in investigating the influence of parental support on self-concept and academic achievement of secondary school students.
Statement of the Problem
Students are the future of the Nigerian tomorrow. However, one wonders what the Nigeria future would look like with a dense population of underachievers as shown by the alarming rate of poor academic achievement of the Nigerian children in secondary schools.
It is believed by many educationists that students perform poorly owing to the fact that students do not receive adequate parental support in terms of parent-child discussion and interaction, regular medical check-up, academic assistance at home, balanced diet and stimulating learning environment.
Several researchers and some reviewed literature have indicated links between parental support and self-concept ratings. Some of these studies have stressed the importance of purposeful parental support in enhancing students’ self-concept and their academic achievement. Equally, research evidences have shown that purposeful parental support promotes self-reliance, confidence and composure, cheerfulness, academic excellence, courage and boldness. The researcher hereby, somehow, claims that no investigation within the researcher’s reach has been carried out in the area of study relating to the influence of parental support on the self-concept and academic achievement of students. It is this gap that the writer intends to fill.
The problem of this study put in question form therefore is: “What is the influence of parental support on the self-concept and academic achievement of secondary school students?”
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of parental support on students’ self-concept and academic achievement.
Specifically, the study seeks to:
- Examine the influence of parental support on secondary school students’ self-concept.
- Determine the influence of parental support on secondary school students’ academic achievement.
- Find out the influence of gender on secondary school students’ self-concept
- Ascertain the influence of gender on secondary school students’ academic achievement.
Significance of the Study
The result of this study will have both theoretical and practical significance. The study is theoretically anchored on the self-concept view of Adler. This is primarily because Adler held the notion that people naturally incubate the instinct and desire to become increasingly effective and competent. This study will be of immense benefit to the following: teachers, parents, educational planners, school administrators, government educational agencies, non-governmental organizations, psychologists and researchers. A teacher cannot perform maximally if he is not conversant with the students’ individual variations, aspirations, their challenges, interests, idiosyncrasies and learning patterns. Therefore, the knowledge of self-concept of students will assist the teacher in helping the child to learn. This is informed by the fact that the teacher understands the natural instincts of the child well and how to assist the individual to acquire knowledge. The findings of this study will enable teachers
adopt better teaching techniques. This is with a view towards raising the academic achievement of the students as well as to enhance their self-concept.
The study will sensitize parents on the need to manifest stimulating supportive behaviour through parent-child discussion and assistance in tackling take-home assignments. This might exercise a substantial impact on the self-concept and academic achievement of students.
This work, when published, will enable educational planners and school administrators promulgate and implement polices that involve parents contributing towards raising the learning achievement of students. They will equally be sensitized on the rewarding impact parental support exercises on the self-concept of students
The result of this study might impel government educational agencies and non- governmental organizations to package programmes such as seminars and workshops on the invaluable roles parents would play in boosting the self-concept and academic achievement of students. The participants in such workshops might include school heads, teachers, parents and other stakeholders.
The results of this study will indicate if gender has minimal or substantial influence on self-concept. The outcome of the investigation will hopefully substantiate or vitiate the influence of gender on the academic achievement of secondary school students. It will also help teachers in guiding the students to dispel low self-concept and adopt high self-concept.
This study will equally serve as reference for future researchers, psychologists and teachers who might wish to carry out further investigation on the topic being researched upon.
Scope of the Study
This study will be carried out in public/government secondary schools in Udi Education Zone of Enugu State. The study will include all senior secondary two (SSII) students in the study area. Specifically, the study will attempt to establish the influence of parental support which will be limited to primary and secondary parental supports. On the other hand, self-concept will be limited to two levels: high and low self-concept and academic achievement. Finally, it will seek to ascertain how gender influences students’ self-concept and academic achievement.
To guide this study, the following research questions are posed:
- What is the influence of parental support on the self-concept of secondary school students?
- What is the influence of parental support on the academic achievement of secondary school students?
- What is the influence of gender on secondary school students’ self concept?
- What is the influence of gender on the academic achievement of secondary school students?
The following null hypotheses formulated to guide the study will be tested at 0.05 level of significance.
Ho1: There is no significant influence of parental support on students’ self-concept.
Ho2: Parental support has no significant influence on students’ academic achievement.
Ho3: Gender will not significantly influence students’ self-concept.
Ho4: Influence of gender on students’ academic achievement is not significant.