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AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CAUSES OF SINGLE PARENTHOOD AND ITS EFFECT ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The significance of intact parenting in any given culture cannot be overstated, and they are without a doubt the most important critical determinants essential for the growth and development of every kid. Hoover-Dempsey, Walker, Sandler, Whetsel, Green, Wilkens & Closson (2005), Redding, (2006), and Nyarko (2010) all stressed that a child’s immediate environment has a significant impact on his or her academic performance and overall achievement. Hoover-Dempsey, Walker, Sandler, Whetsel, Green, Wilkens & Closson (2005), Redding, (2006), and Nyarko (2010) The kid will face several problems and potential hurdles as he or she grows up in situations where parental duties or obligations have become imbalanced. In these situations, either the mother or the father alone (single parent) is engaged. Children in this circumstance may find it difficult to survive at times (Odeyemi-BSD, 2018). The engagement of youngsters in dangerous activities is reduced when they are in close proximity to their parents, according to research findings (Billings, 2012; Davis & Friel, 2001). Parents are burdened with the obligation of being a role model, regardless of whether they come from a blended family or a single family that sets a positive example for their children to follow in their lives (Odeyemi-BSD, 2018). Children often copy their parents’ every habit, whether it is a good or a harmful one. Single parenting has been a more prevalent family structure in recent years all across the world (Bondenhorn, 2006; Salami & Alawode, 2002).
There is a great deal of interest in raising the levels of mathematical performance among students in schools. There are economic benefits associated with better preparing young people for the numeric demands of modern workplaces and raising the overall skills levels of the workforce; however, there are also social benefits associated with increasing access for a greater number of young people to post-secondary education and training opportunities and laying stronger foundations so that they can learn for the rest of their lives. The desire to see children achieve higher levels of success has resulted in a greater knowledge of the elements that either restrict or promote the accomplishment of diverse groups of pupils. Since various groups of students have varied effects on one another, it is vital to consider their influence together. The effect on diverse groups of pupils is significant since socioeconomic variations in mathematics achievement continue, despite the fact that inequalities in other areas of education have diminished in recent years. Over the course of three decades, researchers looked at patterns in mathematical performance. In Australia, a study of patterns in mathematics proficiency across three decades (from 1966 to 1996) reveals that significant social class gaps continue to exist (Afrassa & Keeves, 1999). Similar findings have been reported for the United States during the same time span, with inequalities across social classes (as defined by parental education) continuing to be significant (National Center for Education Standards, 2000). While socioeconomic trends on certain broad indices of educational engagement, such as school retention rates, are waning at a time when social gaps in student progress and academic results are persisting, the findings serves as a reminder that
Historically, the research on school efficiency put a strong focus on the aptitude and socioeconomic circumstances of children as elements that affect academic success, and it concluded that schools had little direct impact on kids’ academic progress. As an example, Coleman et al. (2006), in a significant study of US schools, seemed to throw doubt on the potential of enhancing student success via school changes. ‘Schools have minimal impact on a child’s success that is independent of his upbringing and broader social milieu,’ the researchers discovered in their study of disparities in school accomplishment between student peers. After doing a second study of the same dataset, Jericks and his colleagues came to the same conclusion: “our research implies… that the nature of a school’s output is substantially determined by the qualities of the students that attend it.” The rest of it, including the school’s finances, rules, and qualities of the instructors, is either secondary or utterly irrelevant.’ (Jericks and colleagues, 2002).
Criticisms of this early study claimed that the modeling approaches used did not take into consideration the hierarchical structure of the data, and that the data could not be correctly separated into elements related to school, student, and classroom aspects, among others (e.g. Raudenbush & Willms, 1991) Recent school effectiveness research has made use of multi-modeling approaches to account for the clustering effects of various kinds of data in order to improve the accuracy of the results. Single parent households are often classified according to the gender of the parent who has primary custody (mother-only or father-only families). Mother-only households include widows, divorced and separated women, as well as moms who have never been married. In the event of divorce in the United States and other industrialized nations, women are often awarded custody of their children. In Italy, for example, in 1997, 90 percent of the children whose parents separated were placed in the care of their maternal grandparents. Due to the fact that the great majority of single parents are moms, the bulk of study has focused on families with a female head of household. Single parents, regardless of their sexual orientation, face many of the same concerns and difficulties (Grief 1985). Families consisting only of fathers are created as a consequence of widowhood, desertion by the mother, or spouses who refuse to share custody. Part of the reason for the rise in the number of father-only households may be attributed to the efforts made by dads to acquire custody of their children. Financial stability, past engagement in housekeeping and child care throughout the marriage, contentment with child-care arrangements, and a shared feeling of responsibility for the marriage’s dissolution are all factors that aid in their transition into primary parenting (Grief 1985).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
A significant portion of the argument regarding single-parent households is focused on the impact these developments have on children. There is widespread agreement among social scientists that children living in single-parent families are more likely to encounter a number of issues that are unfamiliar to children reared in two-parent homes. Social, psychological, economic, and financial issues are among the issues that need to be addressed. There has been a long history of study in this field that has shown that children raised by two parents have a distinct edge in mathematical proficiency (Mullis, 2000). When it comes to math success, early research (Fennema and Sherman, 2005) has shown that children from single parent families may do well at Junior High and High School levels provided they are supported by a supportive environment in which they can learn and develop. As a result of this context, researchers are attempting to determine the impact of single motherhood on kids’ success in the mathematics subject.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The broad objectives of the study is to investigate into the causes of single parenthood and its effect on students academic performance in mathematics . However, specific objectives include;
i. To examine factors responsible for single parenthood.
ii. To find out the effect of single parenthood on students academic performance.
iii. To investigate if parental types have an effect on students academic performance.
iv. To investigate therelationship between parental involvement and students academic performance.
1.4 Research Question
The following questions were tackled in the process of this research
i. What are the factors responsible for single parenthood?
ii. What are the effect of single parenthood on students academic performance?
iii. Does parental types have an effect on students academic performance?
iv. Is there a relationship between parental involvement and students academic performance?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This will be of greater benefit to policy makers and stakeholders as it will be exposed to the challenges students face in the event of divorce or separation of parents hence the study will help policy makers make laws that will favor these student in the face of such eventuality. Again, the study will serve as an eye opener to youths looking forward to having their own family. The society will also exposed to the fact that single parenthood is not a disease and thus they should not be looked down upon.
The study will be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study willexamine factors responsible for single parenthood. The study will also find out the effect of single parenthood on students academic performance. The study will further investigate if parental types have an effect on students academic performance. Lastly, the study will investigate the relationship between parental involvement and students academic performance. Hence this study will be delimited to Abia State.
1.7 Limitation of the study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
1.8 Definitions of terms
Single parent: A parent lives with dependent children, either alone or in a larger household, without a spouse or partner.
Academic performance: the measurement of student achievement across various academic subjects