Relationship Between Parental Factors and Learning Attitude and Students’ Academic Performance in Secondary Schools

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1. Background
Academic performance is the priority to students as well as the teachers in any school system. Some of the socio-cultural factors which affect the students achievement are parents’ educational status (M. Khata,et al. 2011). Parent educational status is used as an indicator of Socio Economic Status (SES) to reflect the potential for social and economic resources such as household incomes that are available to students because it tends to remain the same over time ( Sirin 2005). Moreover, parenting practices are also essential in moulding the students into a successful person. The supports and encouragement the students received from their parents bring a huge positive impact on their behaviour. Apart from that, learning attitudes of a student in term on participation in the class also play an important role in determining their performance. This factor is also depending on the gender of the students. Many cultures generally raise female to be obedient, responsible and take schoolwork seriously whereas males are given more freedom to do as they like and portray schoolwork as a generally feminine rather than masculine pursuit (Maynard, 2002). The local study also reported that girls had the tendency to achieve better attitudes toward learning than boys (Zainah 2007). This is a general stereotype accepted by the people in Malaysia. 2. Aim

The purpose of this research was to determine the relationship between family factors such as their parents’ household income, educational status as well as parental supports and the students’ learning behaviours based on gender with their academic achievements in the secondary schools. Household income: Household income refers to total income accrued to members of a household, both in cash and/or in kinds on a regular basis in one year or more often. Educational status: Educational attainment or level of education of individuals. (Definitions.net. 2013) Academic achievement: The level of actual accomplishment or proficiency one has achieved in an academic area, as opposed to one's potential. (Dpsnc.net 2013) Secondary school: a school intermediate between elementary school and college and usually offering general, technical, vocational, or college-preparatory courses (Merriam-webster.com 2012)

3. Method

4.1 The sample
The sample size was made up of a total of 25 students from different secondary schools in Malaysia. These respondents were randomly selected from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds and gender. However their ages were limited to a range between 16 to 17 years old. The students’ distribution is as follows: 13 participants from form 4 students (16 years old), and 12 participants from form 5 students (17 years old). As for gender, 10 were girls and 15 were boys. 4.2 Measure of academic achievement

Since PMR results are represented by letter grades, it is the norm to consider only the total number of A’s obtained as a benchmark of excellent achievement. The number of subjects taken in PMR usually range from 7 to 9, thus respondents were categorized into two categories, that were high achievers and low achievers. High achievers were those who obtained 6 A’s and above while low achievers were students who obtained 5 A’s and below (Ainudin Dahlan, et. al. 2005) 4.3 Data collection

A questionnaire was used to obtain the data which consisted of three parts and comprised of 22 questions. Part A of the questionnaire contained questions soliciting background information from the students. Part B consisted of a set of questions on their families and parents attitudes towards their education and also on their time management as well as on cognitive skills. The last part, Part C was designed with questions to find out their behaviour in the classes. All the surveys then were analyzed using Microsoft Excel in which the bar and pie charts were used to represent the results of each item.

4.4 Measure of effect of family factors and...
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