The study centered on the effect of gender and socio-economic status on academic performance. Hundred students (43 males and 52 females) from Idemili-South Local Government Area were used in the study. The ages of the participants ranged from 12 to 24 years with a mean age of 18.32 and standard deviation of 3.76. A 30 item questionnaire on academic performance and socio-economic status was used in the study. Independent T. Test and One Way Analysis of Variance were used to test the two hypotheses in the study. The findings indicated that the first hypothesis which stated that there will be no significant difference between males and females on academic performance was rejected t (98) = 2.8, P > .05. Also the second hypothesis which stated that there will be no significant difference among students of high, middle and low socio-economic status on academic performance was not confirmed at F (2, 97) = 0.84, P > .05. Based on the findings, recommendations were made.


The value of education cannot be overemphasized in the life of every individual. This is because it is a process by which the mind develops through learning. Etymologically, the term education is derived from the Latin word “educare” meaning “to lead out”; that is, leading out of darkness into light. Ukeje (1973) opined that the process of education occurs whenever any influence produces a change in the physical and mental behaviour of an individual.

These definitions emphasize the dynamic nature of education in its role to bring refinement in the totality of ones behaviour. Hence, it is vital in the developmental process of every individual in the society.

Education is the best legacy a nation can give to her citizens especially the youths. This is because the development of any nation or community depends largely on the quality of education of such a nation. The basis for any true development must commence with the development of human resources. Hence, formal education remains the vehicle for socio-economic development and social mobilization in any society.
It is generally assumed that the quality of family’s socio-economic development has an important association with children's academic motivation and achievement, and with young adults' eventual educational and occupational attainments. Kellaghan (1993) claims, for example, that the family environment is the most powerful influence in determining students' school achievement, academic motivation, and the number of years of schooling they will receive. Hence, there is no gainsaying the fact that the family’s socio-economic status is one of the main determinants of the academic performance of a student.

In Wikipedia encyclopedia, sociologists defined socio-economic status, (sometimes shortened to SES), as a sociological classification indicating the close relationship between someone’s relative wealth and that person’s social status. Wikipedia encyclopedia also defined social status as the honor or prestige attached to one's position in society (one's social position). The stratification system, which is the system of distributing rewards to the members of society, determines social status. Wikipedia encyclopedia further noted that social status, (that is, the position or rank of a person or group within the stratification system), can be determined in two ways. One can earn their social status by their own achievements (e.g. through education, occupation etc), this is known as achieved status; one can be placed in the stratification system by their inherited position, this is called ascribed status. In modern societies, occupation is usually thought of as the main determinant of status, but other memberships or affiliations (such as ethnic group, religion, gender, voluntary associations, hobby) can have an influence.

The National Center for Educational Statistics (2008) defined socio-economic status as an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person's work experience and of an individual's or family’s economic and social position relative to others, based on income, education, and occupation. When analyzing a family’s SES, the household income earners', education and occupation are examined. Demarest, Reisner, Anderson, Humphrey, Farquhar, and Stein (1993) similarly noted that a family's socio-economic status is based on family income, parental education level, parental occupation, and social status in the community (such as contacts within the community, group associations, and the community's perception of the family).

According to Wikipedia encyclopedia, socio-economic status is typically broken into three categories, namely; high socio-economic status, middle socio-economic status, and low socio-economic status to describe the three areas a family or an individual may fall into. Demarest, Reisner, Anderson, Humphrey, Farquhar, and Stein (1993) opined that families with high socio-economic status often have more success in preparing their young children for school because they typically have access to a wide range of resources to promote and support young children's development. They are able to provide their young children with high-quality child care, books, and toys to encourage children in various learning activities at home. In addition, families with high socio-economic status often seek out information to help them better prepare their young children for school. On the other hand, families with low socio-economic status often lack the financial, social, and educational supports that characterize families with high socioeconomic status. Poor families also may have inadequate or limited access to community resources that promote and support children's development and school readiness. Families with middle socio-economic status may be privileged to have some financial backing that will enable them provide better education for their children, though it may not be quite sufficient.

Wikipedia encyclopedia stated that when placing a family or individual into one of these categories, any or all of the three variables income, education, and occupation must be assessed. Income refers to wages, salaries, profits, rents, and any flow of earnings received. Income can also come in the form of workers compensation, social security, pensions, interests or dividends, royalties, trusts, or other governmental, public, or family financial assistance. Education also plays a role in income. Median earnings increase with each level of education. The highest degrees, professional and doctoral degrees for instance, make the highest weekly earnings while those without a high school diploma are financially penalized. Higher levels of education are associated with better economic and psychological outcomes (i.e. more income, more control, and greater social support and networking). Occupational prestige as one component of socio-economic status encompasses both income and educational attainment. Occupational status reflects the educational attainment required to obtain the job and income levels that vary with different jobs and within ranks of occupations.

Following the above discussion, we can conclude that families with low socio-economic status often lack the financial, social, and educational supports that characterize families with high socio-economic status. The effect this has on academic performance of secondary students is what we have to find out in this work.

Shittu, (2004) observed that where a child suffers parental and material deprivation and care due to divorce or death, or absconding of one of the parents, the child's schooling may be affected, for the remaining parent may not be financially buoyant to pay school fee, purchase books, uniforms etc, thus the child’s performances in school may be adversely affected. Similarly, good parenting supported by strong economic home background could enhance strong academic performance of the child. This further predicts academic performance of the child.

Poverty and low socio-economic status coupled with high rate of paternal and maternal deprivations, which was necessitated by poor socio-economic situation, has thrown many farmers and old rural dwellers into untold financial problems such as poverty, lack of money to purchase necessary textbooks and working materials for their children. Many rural and suburban dwellers can no longer pay the school fees of their wards. These ugly situations have necessitated young school students to dropout of school to engage in subsistence farming and become housemaids or engage in other menial jobs to support their academic pursuit. Hence, many students have since taken schooling as a secondary assignment and school attendance on rotational basis. The resultant problem posed by this, is poor academic performance in school examination like National Examination Council (NECO) and West African Examination Council (WAEC). This trend is posing huge problems to parents, stakeholders in education, governments and the nation at large. This work thus examines the effect of socio-economic status in the poor academic performance of secondary school students in Idemili-South Local government Area of Anambra State.

Answer to the following research question will be provided by the study:

i.                    Will there be any significant difference between males and females on academic performance?

ii.                  Will there be any significant difference between students of high, middle and low socio-economic status on academic performance?

The following is the objective of the research:
i.                    To determine the effect of gender on academic performance.

ii.                  To find out the effect of socio-economic status on the academic performance of students.

This study will be of great importance in finding out whether gender or socio-economic status of parents determine the educational performance or academic achievement of secondary school students. This information is necessary, for if low socio-economic status of parents affects the academic performance of students, then government funding will be called for so as to support these indigent families acquire basic education.

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