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The influence of socio-economic background on pupils’ performance in Physical Education and


1.1 Introduction
At any educational institution the students are the most important character, without them, the
school, the teachers and the facilities would be worthless. The main priority of educators is the
quality of students’ performance in their academic standards. Students’ performance and
motivation to participate physical activity regularly has become an important concern to the
physical educator. Educators, trainers and researchers have become interested in exploring the
factors that influence the quality of performance of pupils.

Besides other factors, socio-economic status is one of the most debated factors that contribute
towards the academic performance. Most of the experts argue that low socio-economic status has
a negative effect on the academic performance of students because the basic needs of the student
remains unfulfilled and hence do not perform better academically (Adams, 1996). This study
examined the influence of socio-economic status on pupils’ performance in physical education and
sport, with a view of recommending on how to improve student performance. This chapter outlines
the background to the study, problem statement, research objectives and questions, significance of
the study and delimitation of the study.

1.2 Background to the study

Students’ academic achievement and educational attainment have been studied in different
frameworks. Kundu and Tutoo (2000), believed that home backgrounds is the most important
factor which influences and shapes children’s attitudes, personality and behaviour patterns that
lead to good performance at school. The researcher noted that in a class constituted by pupils of
different backgrounds, there was a wide variance in their performance. Studies by other researchers
indicated that intelligence is largely an acquired characteristic in addition to the generic
endowment (Stone, 1996).

In most communities, physical education and sport is viewed as a practical subject and before the
advent of the new curriculum in Zimbabwe, the subject lacked social and economic support, hence
poor perfomance by pupils. Social aspects like religion also restricts participation of pupils in
sporting activities, for example, by prohibiting them from wearing appropriate attires for
respective disciplines. Farrant (1980), argued that a family’s support and expectations have an
influence on the learner’s performance in school. However, other factors were identified and were
particularly important as the influence of the social and economic environment which was
susceptible to modification and influence the perfomance of the child.

It is against this background that this research was undertaken to investigate the influence of the
socio-economic background on pupils’ performance in physical education and sport.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

The purpose of education is to develop the quality of life of the learners and to enable them to
serve the society according to their roles and responsibilities. To achieve this aim, the teachers
colleges and training centres are to prepare high quality and sufficient teachers to provide quality
education (Ballon and Podgursky, 1997). To achieve a better performance by pupils, the learning
process must be guided and controlled and the learning environment must be conducive and
supportive (Skinner, 1945). This implies that learners must be motivated by their parents and their
backgrounds in whatever they do. The government has also made efforts to improve on
infrastructure and other educational inputs. Despite all the efforts, perfomance of pupils in physical
education and sport has been low over the years. This study therefore looked at the influence of
socio-economic background of pupils on their perfomance in physical education and sport at a
government school in Chiredzi.

1.4 Research Objectives

The objectives of this research are to;

i. Investigate the influence of level of education of parents on academic performance of

ii. Establish the influence of child welfare (diet, family size and attendance to nursery school)
on their academic performance.

iii. Investigate the effect of controlling children’s spare time and parents’ involvement in their
children’ school work on performance.
iv. Investigate the influence of level of income of family and parents’ marital status on
performance of pupils.
v. Recommend on how to improve the perfomance of pupils in physical education and sport

1.5 Research Question

How does the socio-economic background of pupils affect their perfomance in physical education
and sport?

1.5.1 Sub research questions

(a) To what extent does the level of education of parents influences performance of children in

(b) To what extent does child welfare affects their performance in physical education and sport?

(c) To what extent does parents’ involvement in their children’s school work of pupils affect their

(d) To what extent does level of family income and parents’ marital status influence the academic
performance of pupils?

(e) What can be done by parents and teachers to improve the academic performance of their pupils?

1.6 Purpose of the study

The main purpose of the study was to explore how pupils’ socio-economic background influence
their academic performance.

1.7 Significance of the study

The research findings help parents to realise how socio-economic background affects perfomance
in class, thereby enabling them to assist in improving their children’s perfomance.

It helps teachers and educators to understand pupils’ socio-economic backgrounds enabling them
to deal with pupils fairly, especially on their perfomance, taking into consideration their varied

The study also provides other researchers with a platform for further research on the impact of
socio-economic background on the perfomance of pupils.

1.8 Delimitations of the study

The researcher studied the pupils at a government high school in Chiredzi. The study was carried
out with pupils between the age range of 12 to 16 years, thus from Form 1 to form 3 students and
had access to parents in the nearby community for information on socio-economic backgrounds of
pupils. The results from this study are not universal since it was only confined at Chiredzi
Government High School and the immediate community around the school, hence they might not
be applicable to other schools around the country.

1.9 Definition of Terms

Socio-economic background
Refers to the social and economic position of family in a given society determined by such factors
as level of education, occupation and income.

Academic performance
How pupils excel in subjects taught in classrooms

Low socio-economic background of pupils

These are pupils whose parents are not professionals, workers or commercial farmers who might
have attended school up to O level or higher.

1.10 Summary

This chapter presented the background to the study, statement of the problem, research questions,
sub research questions, research objectives, purpose of the study, significance of the study,
delimitation of the study and definition of terms. In the next chapter, the researcher focuses on the
literature review.



2.1 Introduction

Different authors have carried various researches on the impact of socio-economic background on
academic perfomance. There is a vast theory consulted by the researcher from different authors on
the effect of home background on academic perfomance by pupils. The information is hereby
presented in the literature review.

2.2 What is Socio-economic background?

According to Procter (1978), socio-economic background is the condition that determines one’s
formal position in the society in relation to others, as far as possessions are concerned. Brembereck
(1966), defined a social class as a group exhibiting similarities in their choice of food, housing,
language, occupation, values and social beliefs. Even though they have social differences that are
belonging to different ethics or religious beliefs when they meet, the have common matters to
discuss. The above definitions shows that there are social classes in a society.

Marx (1849), identified three main classes in any given society. The first class was the bourgeoisie,
which he defined as a capitalist class who owns means of production. The second class was the
working class who owns little or no property and work for wages. The last class was the peasant
class, whom he defined as those who are not employed but their property would be pieces of land
that yield food for their survival. Brembereck (1966), also identified three social classes and he
classified them according to their characterised and way of life. The first group which he named
upper class, comprises of a few wealthy people who have a preference for private schools for their
children. The second class was named the middle class of which members of the group lives in
well-established suburbs and occupies executive managerial and professional positions. The last
class was named the lower class and it includes those who do manual labour and perform unskilled
jobs. Some members have not gone as far high school education and secondary school.

Socio-economic status of pupils is based on family income, parental involvement in school work,
parental education level, occupation and marital status of parents, child welfare and social status
in the community, which is contacts within a community and the community’s perception of the

family. Despite all the research and policy making done, the relativity between those of high and
low socio-economic status in relation to pupils’ perfomance in education is widening rather than
narrowing across educational achievement because it hinders on access to vital resources and
creates additional stress at home (Eamen 2005, Majoribanks 1996, Jeynes 2002)

2.3 Ways in which the welfare of the child (diet, family size and attendance to nursery school)
affects pupils’ perfomance

Stone (1996) argues that poor health, recurrent illness, inadequate diet and unsatisfactory home
conditions contribute to rendering the child insufficient alert in the class resulting in irregular
attendance such that the child lose more ground than the rest of the class. Haralambos (1995) say
that the motivation to succeed is unequally distributed throughout such that social status can act as
an obstacle to the talent. Bank (1991) adds onto Haralambos view by stating that the tendency of
children from unfavourable social backgrounds to obtain low intelligence quotation (IQ) scores
show low levels of achievement, repeat classes frequently and to be identified as having
behavioural problems are all seen as problems of inequality due to social background.

Caviot (1969), explains that academic progress of a child is stunted if the socio-economic provides
a general environment of malnutrition, poor housing and high infection rate. Donnel (1994) argues
that a culture of poverty that often that often exists among the poor leads to a passive acceptance
of their position allied towards authority. Children growing up in a neighbourhood where bad
attitudes are the norms are likely to perform badly and leave school early. Skin(1988) provide a
further enlightenment when he says that pupils come to school from different social and economic
backgrounds, some come from very wealthy families while others come from very humble
backgrounds which make them feel as outcast at school and hence perform dismally in class
because they lack food, time to study and a place to study effectively. Krieger, Williams and Moss
(2007) refer to socio-economic position as an aggregate concept that includes both resource based
and prestige based measures as linked to both childhood and adult social class position from among
the children.

Takawira and Gwarinda (2000), define the environment as the conditions, forces and external
stimuli that affect an individual. Dormmel (1994), adds to the definition by stating that heredity
determines the capacity of an individual learning but the environment enables him to attain these
limits or fall short of them. The environment should facilitate learning as well. Macdellard (1965)

says mankind must first of all drink, have shelter, food and clothing before they can pursue
education. This shows that material circumstances affect academic perfomance of the pupil.

2.4 How does controlling of children’s spare time and parent involvement in school work
affect pupils’ perfomance?

Parents’ encouragement appears to be a factor affecting motivation in the child as supported by

Koplan (1986) who argued that parents generally determine the books, newspapers or
entertainment the child encounters, the sporting and cultural activities to pursue and the friendship
to develop. Furthermore, the majority of the parents have a genuine deep concern for the welfare
of their children and have emotional bands with them. Children see their parents as reference
models which they should imitate and which consequently influence their attitude to education.
Koplan (1986), added that parents should support the authority and discipline of the school because
this helps the children to achieve maturity, self-discipline and self-control.

Munn (1993) says that parents are seen to be responsible for assuming that their children go to
school regularly and on time. He added that there is a link between a child’s background and school
attainment, a process in which parental encouragement and home teaching play an important role.
In support of this view, Clemend (1996) suggested that educational deprivation is not mainly the
effect of poverty but parental attitudes and material case are vital than the level of material needs.

According to Boston (1997), a successful student is one who comes from a house where the parents
provide structure, support and guidance. He also views that students who have parents who really
care about their education are usually more successful than students who do not.

2.5 Ways in which level of education of parents affect pupils’ perfomance

Odact and Buye (1997) defined education as a process whereby some human being directs and
guide the growth and development of some human being towards some end or goal in life. Level
of education of parents is the degree to which parents have acquired some knowledge or skills,
attitudes and values of formal or informal education.

According to Ersado (2005), education level of household members in influential, particularly on

children and it determined their access to schooling. Ezewu (1988), asserts that educated parents
provide adequate learning materials for their children which stimulates them to learn and perform

better. These parents are more concerned over their children’s educational perfomance, which
sometimes makes them coach their children themselves or appoint part- time teachers for them.

Sentamu (2003), says that the educational attainment of parents determines the kind of schools to
which their children attend, such schools are near in kind to the ones their parents attended. This
tend to lay a foundation for better perfomance of children at school. Considine and Zapala (2002),
in their study in Australia, found that families where parents are educated foster a higher level of
achievement in their children. Combs (1985) found that generally in all nations, children of parents
with higher education levels have far better chances of getting into better secondary schools and
universities than equally bright children of parents with lower education.

Maan (1990) and Mugisha (1991), in their studies in analysing the relationship between children’s
perfomance at school and the level of their parents’ education established that the more educated
the parents are, the better the children’s perfomance at school. According to Nabumba (1988),
parents’ level of education influences pupils’ perfomance in the sense that more educated parents’
value educated and they tend to encourage their own children to value and actively engage in
receiving education. In a study carried in Kenya by Obanya and Ezewu (1988), it was established
that the higher the levels of education of parents, the more likely it motivates children to perform
better. Kundo and Tuto (2000), found that home background has a significance influence on the
achievement of children at school because educated parents tend to offer more psychological,
social and financial support to their children, thus giving them the opportunity to excel in their

2.6 Does parental Involvement in school work affect pupils’ perfomance?

If children do not have the support of parents who value their education and help them learn, do
their homework and pay attention in class, they will not adopt the necessary drive to become well
educated (Yusuf, 2008). Yusuf (2008) states that parents cannot relegate the education of their
children to the school systems whether private or public. They need to be actively involved in the
process of their children’s education and maintain a high value for academic excellence. There
need to be a healthy support, not a lack of support or an over exertion of parental authority pushing
children to their exhaustion. It is also important for parents to know the type of friends of their
kids and help their children navigate through any problems.

Munsinger (1975), attributes academic failure to background of a pupil. This implies that where
parents assist their children with the school work, there is likely to be improved academic
perfomance in the child. Berman (1991), also adds that pupils from low socio- economic
backgrounds lack parental support in education and parents in the middle class value education
and vist schools more often showing interest in the child’ progress. Treadwell (1988), concludes
that parents’ attitudes help to condition their children’s educational attitude.

Ezewu (1983) and Douglas (1999) concur on the view that parents need to comprehend on how
children are taught so as to give help at home, to improve children’s education, parents, parents
ought to be involved so as to encourage positive results. Ezewu, further added that parents with
full time jobs may have little time or energy left after work to satisfy their children’s needs.

According to Bradley (1995), there are areas in which parents can have enormous control over a
child’s success in school that is minimising students’ absenteeism, keeping a wide material for
reading available at home and controlling children’s spare time. Additionally, Desmore (1996)
poses that parental involvement has been linked with student outcomes including increased
achievement, test results, a decrease in dropout rate, improved attendance, greater commitment to
school work and improved attitude towards school. This shows that parental involvement provide
influence and sometimes determines the effectiveness of the teacher in the school. Munn (1993),
adds that parents are generally expected to uphold values either in ensuring that children do
homework, behave in acceptable ways and dress properly.

2.7 How the level of income of family affects pupils’ perfomance

Income means money received over a certain period of time which can be through payment for
work or returns on investments while family income can be refered to the state at which a family
received money over time (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, 1994). In this study, level of
family income includes money received money received by father, mother and a guardian.
According to Farrant (1980), children from poor home backgrounds usually suffer from various
diseases that lead to their poor perfomance at school. In such homes, parents are tempted to
encourage their children to enter into early marriages, affecting academic perfomance and
achievement. Heyman (1980), emphasized the importance of family income on pupils’ perfomance
that children born and reared from wealthier homes do better in many aspects of life and have high

moral reasoning and better perfomance compared to children who come from poor home
backgrounds who face a lot of problems in their education.

Akanle (2007) also mentioned parental income to be strong factor upon which the academic
successes of students lie. According to his investigation, parental income cannot be sufficient to
sustain the academic and personal social life of the student in sub rural school areas, thereby,
seriously affecting the psychological balance in the classroom, which causes low concentration,
low perception, frustration, sickness and emotional disability in academic perfomance of the
students and can also lead to dropping out or withdrawing from school. A child may therefore be
found to perform poorly in school work and even drop out of school, when deprived of essential
assets. This is consistent with Bugembe et al (2005) finding which suggested that child welfare at
school is a determinant of child retention and also incorporates the rights of children to adequate
living standards that are vital for child growth and development. He further explained that in urban
areas, poor families that hardly afford basic utilities such as water and electricity talk less of
education of their children and this lead to low academic perfomance and high dropout rate.
Prewitt, as cited by Ezewu (1983), reveals that wealthiest and better educated parents who utilised
nursery school give their children an advantage over a child from poor a family.

A study by Sentamu (2003), found out that family income was the determinant of the kind of a
school a child attends. This was supported by Combs (1985) when he stated that children from
high parents’ occupation have far better opportunities of getting into better secondary schools and
universities. The researcher agrees with the assertion because in Zimbabwe, it is generally the
children of the rich who flock t6o academically better performing and schools. Family income,
according to Esconce (2003), has a positive influence on the education opportunities and
subsequently educational success of pupils. This is because richer parents are able to take their
children to high cost schools that generally tend to perform better academically.

2.8 Parents’ marital status and students’ performance

Marital status refers to the state of being together as a husband and wife. Kasinye (1995), observed
that polygamous and extended families where income is low, entails that a big number of children
overburden the parents, therefore, they fail to support their children’s education adequately. He
further observed that in homes where parents are quarrelsome, children are neglected, hence
affecting their perfomance both in school and at home.

Bomon (1991), pointed out that marriage is a bond that unites two families, two clans or more, a
bond that introduce families into another. Once the contract of marriage is broken, it creates a great
scar in the community and it is likely to be traumatic for the couple’s children. Medrich et al
(1982), as cited by Laura (1989) states that divorced parents exercise less control over their
children. Laura (1989), further said that children from single parents’ families receive less adult
attention, affection, love, sympathy, guidance and security and are emotionally disturbed. Bhati
(1998), stressed that there is a link between parents’ marital status and pupils’ perfomance. For
instance, lack of cordial understanding in a family causes instability and lack of control in
children’s behaviour also influences perfomance.

According to Markowitz (1974), separation of parents is a destructive event in a family which

affects perfomance in all aspects of life. Michael (1989), found that parents’ marital status actually
influences pupils’ perfomance at school. Penny (2001) emphasized that children living with step
parents are targets of misdirected emotions and ill treatments which may affect concentration and
perfomance while children from stable families tend to perform better in schools.

2.9 Conclusion

Socio-economic status is related to school performance, it does not mean that the rich are born
smart, this only mean that, in richer families, children are more likely to have more experiences
and more access to materials that may stimulate their intellectual development( Sandro (1987).
This chapter presented the literature of various scholars consulted by the researcher in the study.
The next chapter outlines the research methods used in the collection of data for the study.



3.1 Introduction

This chapter presents the study design, study population, sample and sampling techniques, data
collection methods and instruments, validity and data analysis methods. Merits and demerits of
the methods and techniques used in the collection and analysis of data are also highlighted in this

3.2 Research Approach

Data collected using interviews and non-participatory observations was the used to obtain results
which were analysed. A qualitative research design was used for the research. Interviews and
observations were used to collect data for the research. The qualitative research design enabled the
researcher to explore the influence of socio-economic backgrounds of pupils on their academic

3.3 Research Design

The researcher used a cross sectional survey design because the study was conducted using only
some representative sample elements of the population. The study was cross sectional because it
was conducted across participants over a short period of time. The survey was preferred because
it enabled the researcher to get a detailed inspection of the influence of socio-economic factors on
pupils’ perfomance. The cross sectional survey, design methods used by the researcher entailed
her, selecting samples of respondents and conducting interviews to collect information on
predetermined variables of interest and carrying out non-participatory observations.

3.4 Population

The study was conducted with a population of the entire pupils studying Physical education at a
school in Chiredzi, and parents with children studying Physical education, in the surrounding
residential area of the school.

3.5 Sample and Sampling Techniques

Purpose of sampling technique was to select the individuals from which the data was collected.
Teachers in the Physical education department were included because they were the experts in the
physical education and could provide information on the perfomance of pupils. The total number
of teachers was three. Parents and pupils were purposively selected to provide background
information and information on perfomance in physical education and sport. From the target
population, 68 respondents, 3 teachers, 25 parents and 40 pupils were selected to reduce cost, time
and effort. The sampling was done in such a way that different categories of respondents were
represented in the sample.

3.6 Data Collection Methods

Interviews and non-participatory observations were the instruments used to collect data from the

3.6.1 Interviews

All respondents were interviewed to provide data for analysis. Interviews were preferred because
they allowed pursuance of in depth information around the topic, allowed the researcher to follow
up ideas, probe questions and investigate motives, thoughts and feelings which may not be
accomplished using questionnaires.

The advantages of interviews are that they allow exchange of information and ideas since both the
interviewee and the interviewer would be present. The researcher would be physically present to
remove any suspicion and doubt regarding to the nature of the enquiry. It also ensures that the data
obtained is fairly reliable and create a right type friendly atmosphere which is conducive for
obtaining data.

The disadvantages of interviews includes that interviews do not work well with busy people who
may not have enough time for the interview. They also create interview bias because they tend to
obtain data that agree with their own personal convictions.

3.6.2 Non participation observation

The researcher carried out observation of lessons in all classes of pupils doing physical education
at the school and assessed pupils’ performance in daily class work. Relevant school records like

end of week, term and year students’ results were also consulted and observed to obtain
information on pupils’ performance.

Observations avoids bias as there is eye witness of behaviour and feelings, and are particularly
good for observing specific subjects. They also provides ecological valid recording of natural

The shortcomings of observations are that lack of competence by the observer may affect the
validity and reliability of results obtained. Characteristics and feelings of pupils cannot be
portrayed in the few observed incidents. Furthermore, people being observed may become
conscious and begin to behave in an unnatural manner.

3.7 Credibility and Trustworthy

Accuracy of information was ensured by the use of relevant instruments by the use of relevant
instruments. The interview guide was subjected to the scrutiny of other teachers at the school and
their recommendations were used to finally formulate instruments that had the ability to obtain the
expected relevant data.

Teachers, pupils and parents were interviewed to obtain data on how socio-economic background
of pupils affects their performance in physical education and sport. A pilot study was conducted
using the three teachers so as to determine the reliability of the interview guides. This helped to
ensure consistency and dependability of the research instruments and their ability to tap data that
answered to the objectives of the study.

3.8 Data Analysis

Data collected from the research participants was analysed using both statistical and narrative
methods. Statistical analysis of responses was used as a way of assessing the influence of socio-
economic background of pupils on their performance. Narrative analysis was used to explain the
qualitative results of the survey.

3.9 Conclusion

This chapter summed up the research design and methods used by the researcher to obtain
empirical data. The next chapter focuses on presentation of findings gathered from the research.

4.1 Introduction

This chapter presents the analysis of the data obtained from the research. These were drawn from
the data obtained using interviews and the observations made. Data was analyzed and
interpretations were made in a bid to find out if there is any relationship between pupil’s socio-
economic background and their academic performance. The presentations are in form of tables and

4.2 Main Research Question

How does the socio-economic background of pupils affect their performance in physical education
and sport?

4.2.1 Sub Research Questions

(a) To what extent does the level of education of parents influences performance of children in
(b) To what extent does child welfare affects their performance in physical education and sport?
(c) To what extent does parents’ involvement in their children’s school work of pupils affect their
(d) To what extent does level of family income and parents’ marital status influence the academic
performance of pupils?
(e) What can be done by parents and teachers to improve the academic performance of their pupils?

4.3 Research Objectives

(i) Investigate the influence of level of education of parents on academic performance of
(ii) Establish the influence of child welfare (diet, family size and attendance to nursery school)
on their academic performance.
(iii) Investigate the effect of controlling children’s spare time and parents’ involvement in their
children’ school work on performance.

(iv) Investigate the influence of level of income of family and parents’ marital status on
performance of pupils.
(v) Recommend on how to improve the performance of pupils in physical education and sport

4.4 Respondents’ Demographic variables

The background information of respondents was deemed necessary because the ability of the
respondents to give satisfactory information on the study variables greatly depends on their
background. The background information of respondents comprised data on the gender and age of
the respondents.

Table 4.1. Demographic Characteristics of Respondents

Demographic Characteristics Number of Respondents
Gender Male 39
Female 29
Sub Total 68
Age range: 13-19 40
31-45 28
Sub total 68
Source: Primary Data
4.4.1 Gender of the respondents
The study examined and described the gender details of respondents in this study and the details
were recorded. Table 4.2a above reveals that 39 respondents were males while 29 were female
respondents. The higher component of male representation in the study by the researcher was due
to that they were more cooperative and the males were the main shaper of most families’
backgrounds, as family heads.

4.4.2 Age of the respondents

The study obtained details about the age of the respondents and the details are shown in table 4.2a
above. The table illustrates that 40 respondents were aged between 13 and 19 since they were the
pupils and the total of parents and teachers was 68. More students than parents and teachers were
included since the pupils were the main ingredient of the study and could also give information
about their backgrounds.

4.5 Themes

From the sample of forty pupils, 20 were purposively selected to be from a higher socio-economic
background and the remaining 20 were from a lower socio-economic background. Information
about socio-economic background of pupils was obtained using interviews and the results obtained
are presented against the respective children’s performance in a daily work, class exercise and
homework given to students.

4.5.1 Level of education of parents

Information obtained on the level of education of parents and its influence on pupils’ academic
performance indicated that, the majority (19) of pupils have parents that have attained education
up to O level, followed by 13 pupils who had parents that have attained college and university
education and fewer students have parents who have being shown on the table, pupils who had
parents who went as far as ZJC and below are 5. From the results obtained the majority of pupils
do have parents that have attained ordinary level and college and university education and this
mean that they can get assistance at home be it in homework and even they have the support of
their parents.

4.5.2 Welfare of children

The effect of the welfare of a child on their academic performance was studied and the results
obtained indicated that attendance to nursery school does not influence performance at secondary
level as some pupils that did not attend nursery school performed better in tests and exercises than
some pupils who did attended. Therefore, the results shows that there is little or no link between
attendance to nursery school and performance at secondary level in the physical education subject.
Furthermore, the results also indicated that family size and diet do influence performance in school
as pupils who had better diets at homes tend to perform better in school work. Family size is linked
to the kind of diet that pupils would have at home as those from smaller family sizes were able to
obtain better diet, thereby performing better in school.

4.5.3 Parents’ involvement in school work and controlling of children’s spare time

The researcher also observed the effect that parental control of children’s spare time has on the
academic performance of pupils. The results obtained indicated that pupils, either from a low or
high socio-economic backgrounds, whose spare time was controlled showed higher levels
performance compared to those whose time was not controlled. Most of the respondents asserted

that failure by parents to allocate special and extra time for their children to concentrate on their
school work and their lack of attention and interest to be involved in children’s school work
negatively affected their children’s academic performance.

4.5.4 Level of income of family

The findings on the level of income in a family show pupils that come from families with higher
income levels perform better that students who come from low income families. This may be due
to that pupils who have resources perform better than their counter parts and those who come from
poor background are usually materially disadvantaged and this tends to affect their performance.
Another factor outlined by the respondents, linked to family’s level of income was the fact that
pupils from lower income families have their school fees paid late into the terms and maybe
sometimes sent from school for outstanding fees which negatively affected their performance in
school. It was also found out that parents who are not formally employed have other priorities than
their children’s education hence they allocated their incomes to maintenance of their families
rather than education.

4.5.5 Parents’ marital status

Results obtained from the research show that the marital status of parents influences the
performance of pupils at school. The majority of the respondents supported the idea and further
indicated that pupils with single parents had higher chances of dropping out of school and are
prone to abuse. The results also indicated that single parents may fail to adequately provide for the
children, leading to late payment of fees and failure to provide basic material needs of the children
thereby hindering their performance in physical education and sport.

4.6 Chapter Summary

This chapter presented and analyzed data obtained interviews and observations made during the
study. The next chapter summarizes the research findings from the research and draw conclusions
and makes recommendations so at to improve the performance of pupils in school.



5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the research findings of the study, presents the conclusions drawn and
suggest recommendations in order to improve the academic performance of pupils.

5.2 Summary of the study

The first chapter presented the background to the study, statement of the problem, research
questions, sub research questions, research objectives, purpose of the study, significance of the
study, delimitation of the study and some terms were defined in that chapter.

Chapter two focused on the reviewing the literature related to the study. In the chapter, various
works of scholars were consulted in order to explore the influence of socio-economic backgrounds
of pupils on their academic performance. The relationships between aspects of socio-economic
background such as level of family income, parents’ marital status and level of education, control
of children’s spare time and parents’ involvement in their children’s school work, and their
influence on pupils’ educational performance, was looked into by reference to what other
researchers said on these factors.

Chapter three presented the study design, study population, sample and sampling techniques, data
collection methods and instruments. The chapter detailed the methods and techniques used by the
researcher to gather and analyze the data for the study. Purposive sampling was used to select the
respondents, and data was collected using interviews and non-participatory observations. The
merits and demerits of the data collection methods used were also highlighted in the chapter.

The data from the study was presented and analyzed in chapter four of the research. The chapter
presented the data collected and the data was analyzed and interpreted to draw conclusions as to
whether the socio-economic status of pupils influence their performance in physical education and

This chapter summarizes the research findings and presents the conclusions drawn.
Recommendations to improve the performance of pupils are also highlighted in this chapter.

5.3 Conclusion

Based on the major findings, the researcher made the following conclusions;

The level of education of parents has an effect on the academic performance of pupils since more
educated parents would encourage and influence their children to perform better school, and also
assist them in their school work.

Level of family income was also found to impact on the performance of pupils in that children
from low income families are materially disadvantaged and have their school fees paid late
resulting in them performing poorly as compared to those from high income families.

It was also concluded that parents’ involvement in children’s school work enhances their
performance. The findings revealed that pupils whose time was controlled by their parents
obtained higher grades in tests, homework and exercises.

Furthermore, marital status of parents influence performance as indicated by the results that pupils
who had both parents and staying with them performed better that children who had single parents.
This is because single parents may not have enough resources and time to encourage their children
to do their school work thereby improving their performance.

Attendance to nursery school was found not to have influence on the performance of pupils in
secondary school. There is no relationship between attendance to nursery school and academic
performance. According to the results, students who attended nursery school did not exhibit better
academic performance than those who did not. Some pupils who did not attended nursery school
performed better than those who did attend.

Diet and family size have an effect on pupils’perfomance. The study results reveal that pupils who
had a better diet and came from a family with fewer children performed better in physical education
and sport. This is because they are well fed and healthy, hence will be able to pay attention to the
teacher and concentrate more as the lesson progresses.

5.4 Recommendations

Based on the findings from the study, the researcher recommends

Parents should work together with schools by monitoring their children’s performance and
controlling their children’s spare time. They should give support to their children by providing
necessary learning resources, paying school fees in time, give children time to do their homework
and assisting, monitoring and supervising their studies.

Pupils should develop and maintain a positive attitude towards school and should make extensive
use of the resources available, both at home and school to their most effective advantage.

Teachers should devise ways to assist the pupils from low socio-economic backgrounds and treat
all pupil the same, regardless of the backgrounds of the pupils. They should also stimulate and
generate interest in pupils’ education and learning. School libraries should be well equipped with
appropriate books, so that pupils whose parents cannot afford learning materials have access to
those at schools.


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