The Effect of Parent Socio Economic Status on the Academic Performance of Primary School Pupils

Last Updated: 04 Jul 2021
Pages: 29 Views: 856
Table of contents


Order custom essay The Effect of Parent Socio Economic Status on the Academic Performance of Primary School Pupils with free plagiarism report

feat icon 450+ experts on 30 subjects feat icon Starting from 3 hours delivery
Get Essay Help
This report attempted to describe and explain the relationship between parents’ socioeconomic status and pupils’ educational attainment using a case study approach. The objectives of the study were: to estimate the relationship between parents’ educational level, income level and occupations; with pupils’ educational performance in their mock examinations leading to PLE in St Jude Malaba primary school in the year 2010. Data for the study was collected through the use of questionnaires for pupils, interview with teachers and head teachers, documentary analysis of the school records and observation. Both qualitative and quantitative methods of study were used. The researcher used Tables, charts, and Pearson’s correlation to describe and analyze quantitative data while qualitative data was analyzed on the basis of themes.

The results showed that there was a positive correlation between the parents’ level of education, income, and occupation with pupil’s educational performance. Fathers’ education was significant at 0.804 while mothers’ educational level was significant at 0.641. Parent’s level of income was significant at 0.875 and the Parents’ occupation was significant at 0.757. These findings are consistent with the concept of social reproduction by Pierre Bourdieu (1986), Annet Lareau (2003) and Randall Collins. The researcher concluded that parent’ low socioeconomic status impacted negatively on pupils’ performance, through denying the children access to resources which are readily available to children from higher socio-economic status. He recommended that parents should continue to improve on their education levels through adult education programs. Secondly, children from low socioeconomic backgrounds should try to persevere through financial hardships and remain in school because schooling eventually has a redeeming effect on their poor plight. Lastly, children who obtain low grades should be helped to develop academic curiosity in fields that are more relevant to them.



1.1.0 Conceptual background

Primary education is the most basic formal education and is valued very highly for preparing learners for secondary education, world of work, Scientific and technical application of knowledge and Life skills. However attaining primary education is not natural. It is influenced by many imbalances including parents’ social and economic experiences (socio-economic status) and disparities in education standards throughout Uganda. Socioeconomic status depends on a combination of variables, including occupation, education, income, wealth, and place of residence. Sociologists often use socioeconomic status as a means of predicting behavior. (

The educational attainment of the pupils in St Jude Malaba primary school is similar to many up country schools in Uganda with a high enrolment that out number available resources and more pupils passing in lower Grades of III and IV. In Uganda there were 121,390 (71.8%) pupils in Grade III and more other 67,301 (85.6%) in Grade IV in 2009 ( A candidate is deemed to have completed primary school if one obtains a divisional grade of I to IV pass in primary leaving examinations. Such pupils are eligible to register for any post primary education. Attaining Low grades (grade III and IV) should be the educational equivalent of illiteracy and a mark of different prospect to growing up where, parents have low occupations and low income, and whose own experience of school may have been a negative one. That is a bad start in life. Disagreements followed release of PLE results in 2008. Due to public outcry and repeated requests for a correction from the parents, the ministry and district education officers in Uganda were still confused over reasons for the poor performance of the majority often from the most disadvantaged communities.

1.1.1 Theoretical background.

The research was informed by three related theories. These are: The theory of cultural capital by Pierre Boudieu, (1986) who stated that education leads to social reproduction and a stratified society by honoring the cultural capital of the elite classes.

The theory of concerted cultivation by Annet Lareuae, (2003) which stated that lower income families have children who do not succeed to the level of
the middle income children.

The theory of credentialism by Collins Randall 1979, which stated that public schools are socializing institutions that teach and reward middle class values of competition and achievement.

These theories were used by the researcher as a set of tools to construct explanations of what is happening in St. Jude primary schools in Malaba town council.

1.1.2 Contextual background

St Jude Malaba Primary School is located about 1000M on the right side of the road from Malaba to Mella (see map attached). It is one of the largest primary Schools in the area. The pupils obtained poor grades in 2008 and 2009 PLE examinations. Neighboring schools like Mama Junior, super standard and Victory border point primary which were recently established have fewer pupils and better infrastructure such as electricity and boarding facilities and they performed relatively better in primary leaving examinations. Uganda Government is however committed to education for all her citizen as manifested in a range of publications: The 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, the 1996 Universal Primary Education (UPE) policy, and the education act 2008. The introduction of UPE in Uganda resulted in the creation of three parallel categories of schools (Kabahenda N. 2009), namely “Unlimited Opportunity” schools, UPE schools in urban centers and ‘no-chance’ schools. Unlimited opportunity schools are private primary schools that charge an exorbitant amount of fees and which cater for the children of the country’s top political, bureaucratic, and entrepreneurial elite.

Pupils from these schools tend to frequent secondary schools in Kenya and South Africa in preparation for universities in Europe and North America. A select few find jobs in Western countries like Canada which offers them work permits, while some return to swell the ranks of an exclusive group of executives both in the government and the private sector. The second category is UPE schools located in urban centers. The majority of pupils in these schools tend to be children of upper and middle-level government civil servants and employees of the private sector. Their parents are well-educated and ensure that their children get extra help at home or during holidays in order to compensate for the poor quality of education at school. The students from these schools normally pass fairly well and tend to populate government aided-secondary schools in urban areas. Their chance of accessing universities is relatively high. These constitute the cadre of future civil servants. The third category is what should be called “No Chance” schools.

The majority of these are located in rural areas. However, every child is entitled to an education of an acceptable standard but, until we iron out inequalities in society more generally, that is unlikely to happen. Therefore where parents have chosen to place their children has important implications on the pupils’ educational attainment. This report is organized in five chapters. The first chapter is the background of the study. This is followed by the literature review section that explores research findings of similar studies. Chapter three encompasses the methodology adopted while the presentation and analysis of data is found in chapter four. The researcher finally drew some discussion, conclusions and recommendations in chapter five. 1.2 Statement of the problem the introduction of UPE has helped to get many children to school since 1997 but there are still concerns about the outcomes of the children in these schools. A look at the performance of primary schools in Malaba town council from 2005 to 2009 indicates that just one to three pupils pass in first grade out of hundreds of PLE candidates every year. And for a long time, Tororo district where Malaba town council is found has never reached 3% pass in Div one. (Kirewa Youth Development Initiative, 2004). Not all children in Ugandan schools manage to complete the primary school cycle and mostly those who complete it attain poor primary leaving examination (PLE) grades. The worry is that pupils obtain poor results, dropout before becoming literate in English or can not join world-class schools that set high fees and high cut off points, yet education is the key element for any one wanting to improve on their poor plight, move towards a better future and get a better job. Poor performance and illiteracy is generally associated with unemployment, low earning, poor health and persistent poverty.

More so, poor performance and illiteracy is a formidable obstacle to development. Providing education for all through attempts such as free schooling, paying salaries of teachers, and expansion of classrooms has not ended poor performance and school drop outs. Many children are excluded from an education because of poverty, conflict, their special needs, their gender etc ( challenges to making sure all children receive a quality education are: high numbers of pupils in the classroom and insufficient furniture, which makes it very difficult for the teacher to cater to all students’ abilities. Costs associated with education, e.g. school fees and school uniforms, personal textbooks; costs for teaching materials etc. inadequate water and sanitation supply at the school, need to work or help out at home, e.g. looking after ill family members, and helping out on market days. Considering the analysis of UPE in Uganda by Kabagambe 2009, it could be that the low socio-economic status of parents of children in this school is a factor contributing to such poor achievement levels. But there are no studies to indicate how socio economic status has influenced educational attainment of pupils in this area.

The particular challenges are how to raise performance standards, and avoid drop out of pupils before completing primary school to an acceptable standard.

This phenomenon is disturbing in the context of the current education policy as it partly reflects its ineffectiveness. As such this researcher felt the need to undertake research to improve educational quality and consequently educational attainment.

1.3 Purpose of the study

To estimate the extent to which parents socioeconomic status is related to pupils’ educational attainment.

1.4 Objectives of the research

1. To determine the relationship between parents’ educational level and pupils’ educational attainment in St.Jude Malaba primary school in the year 2010. 2. To establish the relationship between parents income and pupils’ educational attainment in St.Jude Malaba primary school in the year 2010. 3. To establish the relationship between parents’ occupation and pupils’ educational attainment in St Jude Malaba Primary Schools in the year 2010 1.5 Research questions

1. What is the relationship between parent’s educational level and pupils’ performance in St Jude Malaba Primary Schools in the year 2010 2.

The study was carried out in St. Jude primary school in Malaba town council. it focused on the differences in Parental education, Income, and occupations of the primary leaving examination candidates that affect enrolment numbers and performance grades in examinations. 1.7 Significance of the study.

The information in this research can avail various stakeholders e.g. Head teachers, school management committee, parents and teachers associations and foundation bodies with a basis for efficient school management and administration: The head teachers are usually involved in the following school activities: They see that pupils keep the regulations of the school such as arriving at school on time, and attending all activities of the school until the school closes in the evening; encouraging the pupils to behave in an acceptable manner and looking after the welfare of the pupils. They keep the existing money making projects running and starting new ones in the school and ensure that money and other resources in the school are correctly used. Many of the above activities require money.

Therefore, a head teacher needs to plan as to how to get money from: The District Education Committee, the District Education office, the Management Committee, Various money generating activities and school projects and Well wishers. As such the study will help the head teachers to understand parents’ socioeconomic status and plan better. Each primary school has a Management Committee. Among the responsibilities of this committee are: Approving school estimates, Drawing up development plans, Attending to teachers’ problems and cases; and Ensuring proper management of the school. Through better insight of socioeconomic issues affecting pupils’ educational attainment the management committee will lobby better as the legal body responsible for managing a primary school.

All parents and teachers of a school are members of the PTA of the school. The purposes of the PTA are two-fold. Firstly, the PTA is intended to make parents aware of the cost of running their school. With this awareness, the parents are expected to assist in meeting these costs by paying a certain amount of money, besides paying the normal school fees. Another purpose of the PTA is to set up projects to raise money for developing the school. For example, they may set up a canteen, which is run on a cooperative basis for themselves, for the students and for the teachers. They can also set up brick-making project, or run a poultry or piggery unit. The money raised by such activities is intended to build classrooms, buy new desks, build teachers’ houses and do a number of other things for the good of the school. These two purposes of the PTA exist because the grant from the government and the school fees are not enough to run and develop the school. Parents, together with the teachers as well as the pupils, should initiate and run money-generating projects. This highlights the important role parents play in the running of primary schools.

This research also supports nationally-significant reforms which aim to lift the standard of education received by pupil. For example at the closure of the third inter generational learners conference at Agobia church of Uganda, in Arua district, Uganda’s state minister for gender and social development, Rukia Nakadama equated poor performance to illiteracy. She noted that illiteracy is one of the most formidable obstacles to development at both personal and national level and urged Makerere University as a leading institution of education to undertake research to improve academic performance and literacy across the country (Mugabi F, 2009).



2.0 Introduction

This chapter is composed of the theoretical review, conceptual framework and reviews some of the works of different authors. In conducting this review, the following study variables were of utmost importance: parent’s education, income and occupation; and the education activities such Enrolment, attendance, drop out, repetition and pupil’s performance 2.1.0 Educational
attainment in social theory.

Social theory seeks to explain change in society: how it develops, what factors facilitate and inhibit it, and what results from it. Looking at foundational texts within the discipline, the researcher will consider the principal ideas offered by some leading theorists and how those ideas relate to the social and intellectual contexts in which they were produced. More important, he will consider their relevance for ongoing issues people face today. Below is a careful consideration of what each theorist has written with a critical analysis to our interpretation. 2.1.1 Pierre Bourdieu and Cultural capital

Bourdieu stated that education leads to social reproduction and creation of a stratified society through honoring the cultural capital of the elite class. The term cultural capital refers to non-financial social assets, for example educational or intellectual, which might promote social mobility beyond economic means. It is a sociological concept that was first articulated by Pierre Bourdieu when he attempted to explain differences in educational outcomes in France during the 1960s. According to the Educated girl (http//, Bourdieu's concern in relation to cultural capital was with its continual transmission and accumulation in ways that perpetuate social inequalities. Bourdieu sees the concept of cultural capital as breaking with the received wisdom that attributes academic success or failure to natural aptitudes, such as intelligence and giftedness. Bourdieu explains school success by the amount and type of cultural capital inherited from the family milieu rather than by measures of individual talent or achievement. For him, ability is socially constructed and is the result of individuals having access to large amounts of cultural capital. Ability is itself the product of an investment of time and cultural capital. Generally Parents provide their children with cultural capital by transmitting the attitudes and knowledge needed to succeed in the current educational system. As such children from higher socio economic status have an advantage over other children that give them better educational success and consequently higher status in society. 2.1.2 Annette Lareau and Concerted Cultivation

Annette Lareau 2003 stated that lower income families have children who do not succeed to the level of the middle income children, who feel entitled, are argumentative, and better prepared for life. According to Jeremy Suizo(2010) analysis of Lareau’s book, ‘Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life’, there is a clear distinction between the parenting styles of the working class families and the middle class families. The middle class, practices a method she dubs "concerted cultivation" while the working class use a style called the accomplishment of natural growth. Lareau observed that, middle class parents had a greater presence in the lives of their children; primarily through organizing the child's daily life. For middle class families, there was a heavy emphasis on scheduling and participating in various extracurricular activities and sports. Middle class parents also encouraged their children to ask questions and to be self-reliant. Children under the concerted cultivation method tended to participate in sibling rivalry and because of the heavy scheduling, middle class children rarely visited extended family and had little free time. The mantra of concerted cultivation is to prepare the children for the future, a sort of 'work hard, play later' mentality where the children can have their fun once they have grown up, gotten a job, and have the money to indulge. The mantra of the natural growth style of parenting is to let the children play and have fun in youth because adulthood will be hard. Working class parents favored letting their children play freely compared to the middle class children who had lives scheduled around extracurricular activities. As a result of the financial and material issues surrounding working class families, parents were most concerned with providing basic survival needs like food and shelter. Extended family was more present in working class families so as to help raise the children together. At home, children are spoken to with directives rather than discussions or requests and sometimes, the youngsters are forced to learn to fend for themselves. This finding is similar to the concept of cultural capital as presented by French sociologist, Pierre Bourdieu, which is concerned with the social skills and knowledge passed onto children and give them advantages over others into navigating through society successfully. 2.1.3 Randal Collins and Credentialism

Randall Collins contributed the idea of credentials to the study of class based differences in educational attainment. Collins maintains that public schools are socializing institutions that teach and reward middle class values of competition and achievement. He explained that Anglo-protestant elites are selectively separated from other students and placed in prestigious schools and colleges, where they are trained to hold positions of power. By teaching middle-class culture through the public education system, the elite class ensures a monopoly over positions of power, while others acquire the credentials to compete in a subordinate job market and economy. In this way, schools of medicine, law and elite institutions have remained closed to members of lower classes. Likewise in Uganda we have unlimited opportunity schools like Budo primary school where the children there are destined to hold positions of power in future by learning middle class values while children in other schools acquire the credentials to compete in subordinate job markets. 2.2.0 Conception of the study

In 2008, there was a general poor performance in PLE in Uganda. This provoked reactions from the education Ministry and District education officers in Uganda, who could not agree on reasons for poor performance in the primary leaving examinations (PLE) results released in February 2009. The Ministry officials argued that the poor performance was due to absenteeism and lack of teachers in some districts. The district education officers, however, believed that under funding caused the poor performance (Ahimbisibwe P. & Businge, 2009). The need for better attainment of education was realized far back in 1990, at the World Conference on Education for All in Jomtien, Thailand when some 150 organizations agreed to "universalize primary education and massively reduce illiteracy by the end of the decade"(UNESCO 2009). In 2000, ten years later, the international community met again in Dakar, Senegal, and took stock of many countries being far from having reached this goal. They affirmed their commitment to achieving Education for All by the year 2015, and identified six key measurable education goals. The six goals are: to expand early childhood care and education; provide free and compulsory primary education for all; Promote learning and life skills for young people and adults; Increase adult literacy by 50 per cent; achieve gender parity by 2005, gender equality by 2015; and improve the quality of
education. According to Jean-Claude Guillemard 2010, the principal actors in EFA are governments and civil society (i.e. NGOs) at the national level. The International strategy for EFA education includes: Planning for EFA at national/regional level (National educational plans) Communication and advocacy through provision of messages on social justice and equitable opportunity combined with stories of the impact of education on the lives of individuals and communities. Financing education where by the Dakar forum proclaimed “no National EFA plan should be delayed for lack of financial resources”. The International and regional mechanisms include:

The EFA High level Group and the EFA Working Group informed by the annual EFA Monitoring Report produced by an independent group of experts on a thematic basis. The Collective consultation of NGOs on EFA; this mechanism aims to facilitate civil society participation in the Dakar Follow up. The CCNGO/EFA organizes regional civil society forums. The Global Campaign for education (GCE) initiated by 3 important NGOs: Oxfam, education International and Action Aid. GCE lobbies for the right to education and participates in the international co-ordination mechanisms of the High Level Group and EFA Working Group. The NGO Liaison Committee is the communication and liaison channel on EFA matters to the NGOs in official relationship with UNESCO. The flagship programmes under the leadership of an international Agency (i.e. UNESCO; UNICEF, UNHCR…) assist countries to achieve their EFA goals and they provide special focus for one aspect of EFA such as persons with disability in terms of advocacy, advice and monitoring of progress. Education is one of Government’s key sectors and has continued to receive priority in resource allocation. Over the last five years the budget allocation to the education sector has been increasing steadily from Shs633.43b in 1005/2006 to 1.1 trillion. Part of this money is meant for construction of class rooms because other schools do not have enough class rooms and pupils are taught under trees (Wamakuyu F. & Baguma A. 2010) Education policy in Uganda also resulted in several documents, one of which is the White Paper of 1992 on Education Policy. The document covers all levels of education from pre-primary to higher education, and all types of formal education such as general, technical, vocational, teacher training as well as non-formal education. Current national priorities, as stipulated in
policy documents issued by the Ministry of Education and Sports, include provision of Universal Primary Education (UPE); sensitization of the population about UPE in order that communities fully participate in its implementation, and implementation of strategies that will redress the existing imbalances i.e. gender, geographical, social, or otherwise as well as the disparities in education standards and performance throughout the education system in general and primary and secondary education in particular. The policy objectives of providing UPE were to:

Establish, provide and maintain quality education to promote national human resource development; and to make basic education equitable, accessible and relevant to the nation; and ensuring that education is affordable to the majority of Ugandans. Universal Primary Education (UPE) was formally launched in Uganda in 1997. Under the UPE program initially the government’s responsibilities were to pay statutory fees for four children per family and all orphans; provide instructional materials and teachers’ salaries in government grant-aided schools. District authorities are expected to provide furniture, safe water, land or premises where teaching and learning can take place; assistance in the construction of school buildings; and supervision and inspection of schools. Parents are responsible for the provision of exercise books, pencils, meals; clothing for their children; and assistance in the construction of the school buildings (for instance through provision of labor). The program enjoys significant support from the donors and also from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, under which Government is channeling proceeds from debt relief to the program. There is also need to understand socioeconomic factors inherent in our societies. According to the Commission on Social Determinants of Health in Australia (2007), one major variable used to understand socioeconomic position in studies of social inequities is social stratification. The term stratification is used in sociology to refer to social hierarchies in which individuals or groups can be arranged along a ranked order of some attribute. Income or years of education provide familiar examples. Krieger, Williams and Moss as quoted in the draft report of the Australian commission on health (2007); refer to socioeconomic position as an aggregate concept that includes both resource-based and
prestige-based measures, as linked to both childhood and adult social class position. Resource-based measures refer to material and social resources and assets, including income, wealth, and educational credentials. Terms they used to describe inadequate resources include “poverty” and “deprivation”. Prestige-based measures refer to individuals’ rank or status in a social hierarchy, typically evaluated with reference to people’s access to and consumption of goods, services, and knowledge. Prestige-based measure is linked to occupational prestige, income, and educational level. Educational level creates differences between people in terms of access to information and the level of proficiency in benefiting from new knowledge, whereas income creates differences in access to scarce material goods. In conducting this study, parents’ education level, income and occupation were taken as the independent variables.

Max Weber developed a similar view of status. He considered Status to be prestige or honor in the community. Weber also considers status to imply “access to life chances” based on social and cultural factors such as family background, lifestyle and social networks. In this study, the term “socioeconomic status” is used to acknowledge the separate but linked dimensions of social class reflected in the Weberian conceptualization.

Kunst and Mackenbach as quoted in the draft report of the Australian commission on health (2007) have argued that there are several indicators for socioeconomic position, and that the most important are occupational status, level of education and income level. Each indicator covers a different aspect of social stratification, and it is therefore preferable to use all three instead of only one. They add that the measurement of these three indicators is far from straightforward, and due attention should be paid to the application of appropriate classifications, for example, children, women and economically inactive people, for whom one or more of these indicators may not be directly available. Information on education, occupation and income may be unavailable, and it may then be necessary to use proxy measures of socioeconomic status such as indicators of living standards (for example, car ownership or housing tenure).

The researcher also drew from the model by Silicon Valley Blogger (2007) which showed that if you’re a college graduate in the field of science or mathematics, you’ll likely earn a decent income. In contrast, the statistics for the legal profession support the fairly common assumptions that judges and lawyers make a good living and that relative to other professions; they’re a highly educated bunch.

In this section, the researcher sought to know what other researchers have found out about parents level of education, their income level and occupational prestige in relation to children’s educational attainment. 2.3.1 Parents’ level of education and pupil’s educational attainment Pupils with families where parents have less education tend to systematically perform worse than pupils whose parents have more education. According to Nannyonjo H. 2007 pupils with parents who did not finish primary or just finished primary, pupils with parents who finished senior four or senior 6 or university performed considerably better. The highest increase in test scores was for pupils whose fathers had a university degree. Compared to earlier research, for example by Hanushek, found mother’s education has a significant effect on pupils test scores. Fathers’ education had a stronger influence than mothers. Those results possibly reflect the ability of parents to support the pupils’ school work, and likely interactions of literate parents with their children in school related or literacy nurturing activities as well as their ability to support their children with home work or help with difficult home work questions. Similarly Okumu et al (2008) in a study of Socioeconomic Determinants of Primary School Dropout found that High academic attainment of a mother and father significantly reduces chances of primary school drop out for both boys and girls in rural and urban areas. For a mother, this phenomenon could be attributed to the fact that educated mothers reduce the time spend doing household chores while
increasing the time spend with their children than their uneducated counterparts. Also educated mothers are more effective in helping their children in academic work. In doing so, they are also able to monitor and supervise their children’s academic progress. While for fathers it’s attributed to the fact that educated fathers are also interested in their children thus they would be willing to spend more time in helping their children in academic problems. Educated fathers are as well aware of the possible returns to their children and they are more likely to have access to information and social networks necessary for their children to engage into relatively human capital intensive activities yielding high returns to education 2.3.2 Parent’ income and pupil’s educational attainment

One of the most dramatic changes in education over the last decade has been the “massification” of primary education. However there is still poor performance among the poor. According to Kakuru 2001, Kasente D, 2003, UPE decisions still get taken that deny some boys and girls of school going age from getting access to primary school education. At higher levels most girls that access secondary education tend to come from middle and above wealth quintile families. The children themselves hardly make these decisions but rather it is their parents, guardians and relatives. For the children who are not enrolled in school, there are explanations for what drives the decision taken by their parents and guardians. For example some studies found investment in children to be related to household income. Bjorkman M (2005 Pg 18), depicted the correlation between district income and girls and boys enrolment as follows: For low levels of income very few girls attended education and there is a large gap between boys and girls enrolment. The differential treatment of children’s education was explained by the returns to education, and the share of the children’s income transferred to his or her parents. On the other hand, the differential treatment of girls’ verses boys is related to the fact that parents’ values of child labor where girls bear the bulk of the additional work required at home. Income shocks do not only affect investment in children’s education but also children’s performance. When families are constrained by fewer resources and there are differences in boys and girls access to resources, children’s learning is consequently affected. According to Bjorkman M (2005), a negative income shock has two effects on the female student’s performance: marginal girls will be withdrawn from school than boys and the resources (food) provided will fall more for girls than for boys. As such only brighter girls reach grade seven. On the other hand as girls are provided with less resources within the household, or alternatively, have to spend more time on domestic work as compared to boys and this effect causes girls to perform worse on the test as compared to boys. According to Alissa 2010, Children’s test scores are lowest when poverty persist across the generations, and highest when material advantage is long-lasting On the other hand, while good social skills also appeared to be linked across generations, these do not make a significant direct contribution to the current gap in cognitive test scores between rich and poor children. Alisa found that the gap in attainment between children from the poorest and richest backgrounds grew particularly fast during the primary school years. By age eleven, only around three-quarters of children from the poorest fifth of families reached the expected level at Key Stage 2, compared with 97 per cent of children from the richest fifth. according to Alisa, Poorer children who performed well in Key Stage tests at age seven were more likely than better-off children to fall behind by age eleven, and poorer children who performed badly at seven were less likely to improve their ranking compared with children from better-off backgrounds – an important factor behind the widening gap. Akanle, 2007) identified Parental income in this work to be a cogent factor upon which the academic/vocational successes of secondary school students lie. He found Parental income not to be sufficient to sustain the academic and personal social life of the student in sub rural school areas. This to a large extent affects the psychological balance or homeostatic balance in the class room, which causes low concentration, low perception, frustration, sickness and emotional disability in academic performance of the students. Therefore when a child is deprived of the essential needs he may be found to perform poorly in his school work. This is consistent with Bugembe et al 2005 finding that child welfare at school is a determinant of child retention and also incorporates the rights of children to adequate living standards (shelter, nutrition and healthcare, water, and sanitation services) that are vital for child growth and development. Bugembe explained that In urban areas, most poor families can hardly afford the cost of water, resulting in children from poor families being sent on long treks in search of water, often having to stand in long queues and consequently being late or absent from school. 2.3.3 Parents’ occupation and educational attainment.

Checchi D. & salvi A. (2010 pg 16) found that in Ghana some negative correlation emerged with the probability of enrolment and low income jobs. In Mauritania they found that, there is also positive association with household head working as public employee, which is typically associated with less volatile higher earnings. for Uganda, the coefficients of both father and mother education exhibited a nicely increasing trend, suggesting an increasing pressure on educating the offspring, especially when the main source of income comes from ‘transfer’, which helps to raise school attendance. However one third of Ugandans classified as unemployed were actually taking up unpaid family jobs, thus agreeing with Okumu et all 2008, finding that a large percentage of the economically active persons are economically unproductive; thereby vindicating the household’s dependence burden implying that educated workers accept only high quality jobs and possibly experience long spells of unemployment and or migration. This squeezes out the household’s resources, resulting into pupils in the family dropping out of school. Another problem is that Dr Dunne and her colleagues, who presented their findings to the British Educational Research Association's annual conference, examined pupil-placement decisions in English and Math in 44 secondary schools and 124 primaries. Their analysis included information on pupils' prior attainment, gender, ethnicity and home neighborhood and found that working-class pupils are more likely to be placed in lower sets than middle-class pupils who have the same test results, and that, pupils from middle-class backgrounds more likely to be assigned to higher sets, irrespective of their prior attainment. The schools said that prior attainment and perceived ability were the main criteria on which setting decisions were based. However, over half the pupils with low prior attainment in English ended up in middle or high sets. Setting decisions were therefore clearly not made on this basis alone. Teacher judgments and pupil behavior influenced setting decisions but social class was more important. This phenomenon is present in Uganda where pupils who wish to transfer from a rural school to urban schools are often placed in
lower classes due to perceived low attainment in their previous schools. To conclude this review, there is a huge complexity of reasons why students from low socio economic status are less likely to excel in education. These range from family and community expectations due to possible returns of education for the family, financial hardship, parents ambivalent attitudes to education, poor attendance patterns due to need for child labor. Like wise there are also many reasons why pupils from high socioeconomic status excel in education. These include ability of literate parents to support pupils with home and school work, monitoring and supervision of children’s school work and access to information and social networks necessary for their children’s success in life.



3.0 Introduction

This chapter presents the major methodological aspects of the study on which interpretations, conclusions and recommendations are based. 3.1 Research design
Using both qualitative and quantitative paradigm the researcher used a descriptive research design in order to obtain information concerning the current status of socio economic status of parents and pupils educational attainment. the distinctive nature of St. Jude being the only UPE School in Malaba town council, prompted the researcher to employ a case study type of descriptive research involving correlation studies concerned with determining the extend to which variations in parents level of education, income and occupation were associated with variations in pupils educational attainment. 3.2 Research population.

The target population included 1314 pupils, and 13 teachers making a total of 1327. Pupils were targeted because socioeconomic status is an aggregate concept linked to both childhood and parents’ social positions and the primary years for children are essential for their development and transition to secondary education. Primary school teachers were targeted because teachers are change agents for quality teaching and learning. They are the custodians of knowledge for pupils on behalf of parents. 3.3 Sample

The pupil’s questionnaire was prepared for all the 92 candidates. The head teacher and one class teachers were interviewed. The researcher used purposive sampling to select the class because the primary seven levels is the final stage of primary education examined nationally. This sample suited the purpose of the study.

Table 1: Sampling frame work.

Sample size

3.4 Research instruments.

Data was collected using questionnaires, interview schedule, observation and examination of records the researcher designed Questionnaires and delivered them personally to the head teachers who assigned a teacher to administer them to the pupils present.

3.4.1 Questionnaires.

The questionnaire was administered to pupils by a teacher. A semi-structured questionnaire was constructed by the researcher showing categories in terms of education level of parents, their occupation, and income. The questionnaire also sought information about drop out of pupils, performance, and attendance patterns. (See Appendix B) 3.4.2 Interview schedule

Unstructured interviews were conducted with a view to investigating whether
there were any consistent differences in background and behavior between high and low scorers (attainment). The researcher personally talked to head teachers and teachers and discussed with them while recording their responses. While re-organizing the report later, clarification was sought on phone. According to Borg and Gall (1979), as quoted in J.C.S Musaazi, (2006), in the unstructured interviews: “… the interviewer does not employ a detailed interview guide but has a general plan and usually asks questions or makes comments indented to lead the respondent toward giving data to meet the interviewer’s objectives. The items for head teachers included questions about parents’ ability to meet costs associated school and sources of financial assistance. Other items were language of instruction in the school, drop out numbers, and general information about the school. 3.4.3 Documentary analysis.

Another instrument used was use of records. The schools kept a variety of records, for example, student records. The students’ score in mock examinations were especially sought. The records also provided information about pupil’s enrolment, absenteeism and dropout. The major consideration when gathering these information was knowing what one is looking for and that it is available, and being careful not to breach invasion of privacy. 3.4.4 Observation schedule.

The researcher chose this tool because it gave him first hand information that he used to complement other methods. This technique was used to collect information on whether pupils and teachers were in possession of necessary school requirement, for example does the school have enough teaching materials for all teachers? If no, which important teaching materials does the school lack? Chalk, rulers, computers, Do all pupils put on school uniform? What teaching methods is he/she used, Are pupils attentive to the teacher, Do teachers cane or scold at pupils in the class? 3.5 Validity and reliability of the instruments.

To establish the validity of the questionnaire, the researcher pre-tested the instruments with a small group of respondents during school holidays. Later using SPSS, the reliability of the questionnaire was determined by
Cronbach’s alpha ( to be 0.907. 3.6 Data analysis.

After coding and cleaning data, both qualitative and quantitative techniques were used for data management and analysis. Qualitatively data was analyzed on the basis of themes so as to obtain emerging patterns and trends from observations, questionnaires and interview data together with data from documentary analysis. Clustered Column, bar, pie and scatter charts were used to describe data. Clustered column charts compare values across categories. A clustered column chart displays values in 2-D vertical rectangles. One can use a clustered column chart type when one has categories that represent: Ranges of values (for example, item counts) and Names that are not in any specific order (for example, item names, geographic names, or the names of people). The Pearson’s correlation coefficient was applied an expert in SPSS to analyze frequencies measured in the study. The equation for the correlation coefficient is:

Where x and y are the sample means AVERAGE (array1) and AVERAGE (array2). 3.7 Ethical consideration.
Before data collection, the research proposal was submitted to the head of research, institute of distance learning and continuing students of Kampala International University, for an approval and independent evaluation of issues researchers consider to be rights and safety of the participants. The researcher then approached the head teachers within Malaba town council in Tororo district, introduced himself as a student of Kampala International University using the University Identity card that works within Malaba town and requested for information from the school. To make the goal and objectives of the research clear to those who chose to participate, the researcher openly assured the head teachers that the research is purely academic. The pupils were also assured of confidentiality of the information they would provide. This was intended to optimize the quality of responses and to ensure as much as possible that the participants are treated respectfully. 3.8 Limitations of the study.

Due to distance problems between the supervisor and researcher, the researcher had difficulties in meeting the costs of transport to see his
supervisor more often for expert guidance. As such the study process was very slow and the time schedule was always adjusted to match the progress of the research as evaluated by the supervisor at any opportunity. Parents were not interviewed but information about their education and sources of family income were provided by pupils. Fortunately, none of these limitations seriously diminishes the utility or validity of this study. The sample includes enough individuals. In addition, appropriate measures were taken to accommodate study limitations through the observation techniques. CHAPTER FOUR.


4.0 Introduction.

This chapter deals with the presentation and analysis of the major findings from the research instruments that were used for collecting the data with specific emphasis on the pupils’ socio economic status and their educational attainment in St Jude Malaba primary school. In order to conceptualize the situation, first the characteristics of the respondents are presented below. Table 2: Characteristics of respondents.

Issued questionnaire
Answered questionnaire
Unanswered questionnaire
teachers interviewed
Head teacher interviewed
Source: field data
The questions issued to pupils were 92 and those unanswered were 35. The research questions were as follows:
1. What is the relationship between parent’s educational level and pupils’ performance in st. Jude primary school in the year 2010? 2. What is the relationship between parents’ income and pupils’ performance in St. Jude
primary school in the year 2010? 3. What is the relationship between parents’ occupation and pupils’ performance in st. Jude primary school in the year 2010?

4.1 Education level of Parent.
This was mainly assessed through a questionnaire for pupils. To determine parent’s level of education, a number of items were subjected to the respondents and later analyzed using SPSS. The items which were presented to the participants in an attempt to evaluate parent’s socio economic status basing on their education included questions about father’s level of education, and mother’s level of education. 4.1.1 Parent’s educational level and pupils’ enrolment. The findings are as shown below.

Table 3: Frequency of parents’ education level and pupils’ enrolment Level of education

Post graduate degree
Bachelors degree
Not gone to school

The majority of parents of pupils in St Jude primary school had primary education level (31for mother and 20 fathers). There were no parents with the levels of education beyond first degree where frequency of 6 for father and 3 for mother. 13 of fathers and 14 of mothers in this school had secondary education, 3 Mothers and 2 Fathers had not gone to school. The frequency for those with certificate was 2 for Mother and 8 for Father as shown by the graph below.

Figure 2: column graph showing parents education level

Overall majority of parent’s had low level of education. So UPE has helped parents from low socio economic backgrounds to enroll their children in school. More so greater numbers of mothers with lowest levels of education allowed their children to be enrolled in school. 4.1.2 Parent’s educational level and pupils’ performance. Education of parents is crucial to the attainment of pupils because parents provide head start for the pupils learning. Figure 3: column graph showing parents education level and pupils performance

The graph suggests that the higher the education level of pupils parents, the better the performance of pupils because parents with high qualifications had more children in grade I and II. It can also be observed parents who have not been to school had children who performed better (division ii and iii) than some children whose parents had higher educational qualification that obtained division U in the mock examinations.

Cite this Page

The Effect of Parent Socio Economic Status on the Academic Performance of Primary School Pupils. (2018, Sep 28). Retrieved from

Don't let plagiarism ruin your grade

Run a free check or have your essay done for you

plagiarism ruin image

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire writer