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Socio-Economic Background and Mathematics Achievement of Students in Some Selected Senior Secondary Schools in Southwestern Nigeria

Yara Philias Olatunde

Abstract: The study investigated the relationship between students socio-economic background and Mathematics achievement in some senior secondary schools in Southwestern Nigeria. The study adopted the descriptive survey design that employs simple frequencies and percentages for the analysis of the data. Four research questions were answered in the study. The subjects for the study were 1722 students senior secondary two mathematics students selected from 36 schools from each of the senatorial districts in Southwestern Nigeria. Two research instruments were used for data collection. The findings revealed that majority of the students lived with their father and mother only and they have the basic things needed in a house for good education. The findings also revealed that the parents of the students lived mainly in the urban areas and are educated with private businesses of their own; have investments ranging from stocks and shares to owing houses. Also the results showed that majority of the students were of average academic ability in mathematics. With a conducive environment like this, students academic achievement in mathematics should be better than students, who do not have such facilities.

INTRODUCTION
There have been several studies carried out regarding the effect of socio-economic status of students on their academic achievement. Some of these studies have conflicting results as to the relationship between students socio-economic status and their performance academically. Keeves and Saha (1992) opined that in most countries of the world, educational achievements are related to the social background of the students. This includes the gender of the students, the socio economic status of the family (and hence the student) and the ethnicity and language characteristics of the student. Studies carried out by Mok and Flynn (2008) to examine the achievement of students in catholic schools in New South Wales showed that parents level of education made a significant contribution to achievement. High Socio-Economic Status (SES) schools also scored better in the Higher School Certificate than medium or low SES schools (Mok and Flynn, 2008). In a meta analysis including approximately 200 studies by White (1982), a high correlation between SES and achievement was found (r = 0.875), while Keeves and Saha (1992) demonstrated that SES indirectly influences student achievement while the direct effects on student achievement are associated with other variables. Beaton et al. (1996) reported that the more educational resources in the home the higher the student achievement than those who reported little access to such resources. Strong positive relationships were found between mathematics achievement and having study aids in the home. It was reported that in most countries where the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) were carried out, the more books the student reported in the home, the higher their mathematics achievement. Backman suggested that positive parental attitude towards their children such as high interest in their children’s academic efforts; provision of household equipment like television, computers, books, educative video, radio, good school, closeness and intimacy with children can bring about good academic performance. Fraser (1994) also looked at the effects of home environment on 408 Aberdeen children’s academic achievement and found out that two variables with the highest correlation with educational attainment are parental encouragement and parental education. In a home where parents are fairly or highly educated, there is the tendency that they would aspire to see their children better than they are educationally. This inspiration will force them to motivate their children by providing for their basic needs in education...
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