Effects of Socioeconomic Status on Academic Performance Name Instructor Introduction Problem statement America today faces an issue of epic proportion that is critically essential. An issue that continues to affect her economy, challenge her highest ideals as well as reducing the competitiveness of her workforce, an issue that is deeply rooted her history, her society as well as her culture. The issue in question here is education inequality. This project explores the belief that socioeconomic status is indeed a determinant of one’s educational achievement.
A standardized assessment of American students reveals large achievement gaps brought about by socioeconomic status. In 2007, the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) found out that those fifth graders who were eligible for reduced-price and free meals scored lower points in class than their peers from more affluent socioeconomic backgrounds. These persistent disparities, which are of a sizeable magnitude, present serious challenges to education policy makers as well as the educators.
It is imperative to note that educational success is not only measured in test scores, but also in final grades, rates of dropping out, college entrance, and completion rates. Although this project mainly focuses on educational inequality in the United States, this is a problem experienced by many other developed countries. The focus on United States, however, is because when compared to other nations of its caliber, the United States invests the most, financially, on education, but achieves lower student performance levels.
No matter how the per-pupil spending is increased, the performance levels remain stagnant. Educational inequality has thus presented itself as one of the most fundamental socio-political issues in America. Although there have been many attempts at reforms, and they continue, eradicating educational inequality has proven almost impossible. Socioeconomic status of a family is determined mainly by the occupation of the breadwinners, their income, the highest level of education completed as well as their social status in the community.
Thus, students from more affluent families get to benefit from less-stressed parentage, easy and ready access to educational materials as well as other social amenities that may have an effect on their education, i. e. healthcare. On the other hand, students from a low socioeconomic background have limited access to books and other educational materials while at home. They are also likely to suffer greater incidences of family disruption such as domestic violence and/or separation from family.
These students have limited opportunities to study with their parents since they are ever busy, implying that less emphasis is put on self-directedness since there is less parental involvement in their education as compare to children from affluent backgrounds. Students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are brought up with child rearing patterns that psychologists have associated with strict and harsh discipline. They are also greatly exposed to aggressive peers and unsecure neighborhoods, they ultimately lack a sense of belonging, and this reflects on their scores.
This problem, however, does not begin in school. The harsh reality is that, those children who enter kindergarten without the basic literacy skills fail to catch up to their peers later as they rise through the educational ranks. A survey by National Adult Literacy Survey found that, those kids who have not developed some literary practices by the time they enter school, are four times more likely to drop out of school than kids from more affluent backgrounds.
Cognitive development takes place in the earliest years, from birth to age 5, making this the time whereby the child’s brain grows the most. This is a critical period in a child’s life as it sets the stage for the leaning and adult functioning of the brain. Practices such as reading to the child, a privilege deprived from those students from a low socioeconomic background, help build some key literacy skills, such as alphabetic knowledge, phonological awareness among others.
A longitudinal analysis released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reveals that socioeconomically disadvantaged children may only comprehend one or two letters of the alphabet before they are enrolled into kindergarten, while children form middle and high socioeconomic class comprehend all twenty-six letters of the alphabet. The analysis further reveals that less than half of children from low socioeconomic backgrounds can write their name when entering kindergarten, while 85% of children from middle and high socioeconomic classes can comfortably do so.
The Packard and MacArthur foundations have also released a report that shows that an average child brought up in a middle class family is likely to be exposed to an average of 1000-1700 hours of one-on-one interactive picture book reading, before they are enrolled into kindergarten. In contrast, a child from a low socioeconomic setting is only exposed to 25 hours of one-on-one reading. These kinds of inequalities lead to the discrepancies in test scores and grades in school, and in adult life.
These students start behind, and most of them stay behind. Importance and rationale of the study Over the past century, the role of a teacher has taken on many descriptors apart from the facilitation of learning, owing to the many changes that have taken place in the society, one of the changes being the increase in the number of children coming from low socioeconomic backgrounds. These children come to school less mentally prepared and they are not always ready to learn as compared to their compatriots from more affluent backgrounds.
As a fifth grade teacher, it is fundamental to get a clear understanding what benefits the students as well as what hinders them. This is important, as it will guide on how to motivate them and help them improve their grades. The hindrances range from race, gender, and retention to socioeconomic status. Thus, when a teacher learns that pupils from low socioeconomic backgrounds perform poorer than those from more affluent backgrounds, it calls for this study.
The simple comprehension that students come from low socioeconomic background is not sufficient, as there is the need to know and clearly understand what constitutes a low socioeconomic household, i. e. what are the factors that bring about a low socioeconomic background, which is the most pertinent among, income status of parents, their occupation and their levels of education? Once this is established, the possibility that there could be some students coming from low socioeconomic backgrounds who still perform well in school should be considered.
They could be used to help their compatriots from the same background learn to cope and improve on their grades. It is imperative that a teacher should know the home environment that the low socioeconomic status students come from as it helps them predict and understand the students’ performance in class better. It is also imperative to establish and determine whether parents of low socioeconomic status share the opinion that the socioeconomic status of a student (their children) affects their academic performance, and to what extent. Background of the study
School effort has been described by Bogard (2005) as the amount of time and energy expended by students in meeting the formal academic requirements as established by their academic instructors and their respective schools. Three different types of school effort exist. These are; rule oriented effort, which includes showing up and behaving appropriately in class; procedural effort, which translates to meeting all required class demands in time i. e. assignments and intellectual effort, which involves understanding and thinking about the curriculum critically.
Any student who puts forward substantial effort in all the three mentioned categories will achieve academic excellence. A student’s family socioeconomic background directly affects the amount of student effort and subsequently their academic performance. The economic hardships that are associated with low socioeconomic status lead to social complications such as; disruptions in parenting, an increased possibility of depression in parents, an increase in the incidence of family conflicts and single-parenthood, which all reflect negatively on the academic performance of a child.
Socioeconomic status can be described as the economic and sociological measure of one’s work experience, individual or family social and economic position as compared to others, mainly on the basis of income, occupation and level of education. When the socioeconomic status of a family is being analyzed, the earner’ education, the total household income and earner’s occupation are examined. Thus, the socioeconomic status of a family is mainly based on the total family income, the education levels of the parents, the parents’ occupation, as well as their social status in the community, i. . the community’s perception of the family and the calibre of contacts they have within the community. Those families with high socioeconomic status are more successful in preparing their children for school since they have a wide access to resources needed to explore, promote as well as support the children’s’ physical and mental development. These parents have more time and resources that aid them to focus on the needs essential for a child’s growth as regards their physical and mental care and development, edutainment articles like educational toys, access to children’s’ books, all f which are fundamental in the grooming of a character. Families from a higher socioeconomic background tend to do most of the family activities together, and this togetherness aids in the development of fundamental characteristics and ideals in a child. Such opportunities also aid their parents in understanding the cognitive growth and development while not overlooking their mental, physical, social, emotional and above all the psychological development.
Higher socioeconomic status in itself has been found to build confidence in an individual that helps them to face numerous challenges in life as compared to an individual from a low socioeconomic status who is ever hopelessly trying to make ends meet, and cannot face the challenges that school presents with adversity. Children from low socioeconomic households are deprived of social, financial, emotional, as well as educational support from parents, siblings and the community at large. They lack communal support at critical times in their young lives, which is needed to promote their development and readiness for school.
Children from low socioeconomic backgrounds have few chances of visiting educational resource centers like local libraries, museums, or even theatrical events than those from high socioeconomic households. Constantino (2005) reveals that children from high socioeconomic homes have more books and educational materials than children from low socioeconomic homes. Parents with a low socioeconomic status spend most of their time struggling to augment finances and hence lack time to impart virtues and good manners, and this may translate to ignorance on important matters like immunization and basic child nutrition.
The lack of appropriate resources and/or the limited access to the few available resources negatively affects the decisions by a family regarding their children’s learning and overall development. According to Bradley & Corwyn (2002), parents of a high socioeconomic status tend to talk to their children more often, engaging them in deep, meaningful conversations, and read to them while providing many more teaching experiences.
These parents get their children to talk more and engage in conversation with their peers as well as adults while using a wide array of vocabulary with the children. On the other hand, parents of a low socioeconomic status have been found to rarely purchase educational materials for their children, like workbooks or pictorials. Their ever busy schedules in trying to augment the family’s financial resources make them fail to regulate the amount of time that their children spend in front of the television as well as the quality of programs that they watch.
They engage them in a lot less conversation which is never deep, meaning that typically, children from such backgrounds are expected spend a lot of time by the themselves, and it is considered immoral for them to interrupt an adult conversation (Bradley & Corwyn,2002). It is not only the adults who are affected by the poverty, but the children are worst hit. Children are easier victims to hunger, diseases, abuse, early marriages, homelessness, and child trafficking, physical and mental disabilities among others.
All these are environmental factors, which immensely contribute to children from low socioeconomic status homes being four times more likely to have educational disabilities, or even drop out that their peers from more affluent families. It is indeed a combination of the environmental factors and family influence that determine the academic performance of a student. One would not expect a child whose clothes do not fit and has not eaten for days to excel in their academics. Lingrining (2007) suggests that all these problems start with the parents’ lack of education which makes them lack a clear understanding of the children and their needs.
The roadmap of achievement for any individual is set up by their socioeconomic background. It is experienced in one’s daily life, making it one of the biggest determining factors for academic achievement. The environment at home acts as a primary socialization agent and determines the children’s interests in school, as well as their aspirations for the future. There are also other topics that are closely akin to the academic performance of a student that still fall under the umbrella of socioeconomic conditions.
These include the aptitude of the child, their approach to academics and education in general, the environment of the school they are in, their relationship with their mentors and teachers and most importantly, peer pressure. The term used to describe how well a child fits into the role of a student in an academic setting is Student Role Performance (SRP). Parents of a low socioeconomic status are more often than not overwhelmed by a sense of powerlessness, helplessness, and inability to cope, low self-esteem and are hence almost entirely in a state of depression.
These feelings might end up being passed onto the children, albeit not directly, but in the form of negativity accompanied by insufficient nurturing which translates to the failure to comprehend and focus on the needs of the children. Douglas & Chau (2008) found that the stress associated with poverty and low socioeconomic status increases the rates of depression in mothers which translates to an increased use of physical punishment, which is detrimental to children. Poverty also makes children susceptible to depression.
Strong and secure relationships between the child and the parent aid in stabilizing the child’s behavior, while providing the core guidance that is fundamental in building lifelong social skills. The type of students who are brought up with such relationships, acquire healthy and appropriate emotional and mental responses to situations as they present themselves on a day to day basis. In contrast, children brought up in low socioeconomic households get limited, or no opportunity to acquire these responses and this proves detrimental to their academic performances.
For instance, students who are emotionally deregulated are vulnerable to frustration and may give up on tasks or projects when they are within grasping distance of success. Similarly, the ability of students who are socially dysfunctional to work well in cooperative groups, and this may result in their exclusion by their compatriots in the group should they believe that these students are not effectively pulling their share of the load and are not contributing enough to the success of the group.
This exclusion along with decreased collaboration, as well as diminished exchange of information ends up exacerbating their already poor academic performance and social behavior. Some teachers tend to interpret the emotional and social deficits of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds as a lack of respect or regard them as students with an attitude problem. However, it would be more accurate and helpful if a teacher took the time to understand that this group of students is enrolled into school having acquired a narrower range of the appropriate mental and emotional responses than the other kids.
It is true that many children from low socioeconomic households lack the repertoire of the necessary responses. If their brains were to be taken as keyboards, it would be apparent that only a few keys and chords are functional. As a teacher, the most appropriate method to deal with these kinds of deficits is to first seek a critical understanding of the students’ behavior, followed by laying out clear behavioral and academic expectations without being or sounding resentful or sarcastic.
This would include the comprehension that the children who have been raised in low socioeconomic households are more likely to display less empathy for the misfortunes of others, inappropriate or irrational behavioral responses, impulsivity, and impatience. These children are also likely to have a limited range of mental, emotional, and behavioral responses, as well as evident gaps in politeness and other social graces.
For those teachers with limited experience in handling students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, this array of behaviors is likely to puzzle, irritate, or even frustrate. It is, however, imperative that these teachers do not label, demean, or blame these students, as it is easier to condemn a student’s misconception or behavior and demand that they change it than it is to take a bold step and help the students in changing their ways. All the appropriate responses that a teacher does not see at school are responses they should take it upon themselves to teach.
Rather than scolding kids and telling them to be respectful or polite, a teacher should take it upon him/herself to demonstrate the proper emotional and behavioral responses and the situations in which they should be used, then allow students to practice their application. Teachers should reframe their ways of thinking and their expectations of the students. Teachers should expect students to blurt disrespectful and inappropriate language, to act impulsively until they teach them strong and acceptable emotional and social skills.
Teachers handling students from low socioeconomic households should embody respect. It is practically impossible for a teacher to change what is in a student’s bank account, but they can easily change what is in their emotional accounts. A teacher should be the first to give respect to these students, even when they seem to least deserve it. A teacher should share out the decision-making in a class, in order to make these students feel that they are accepted and are a fundamental part of the school community. A teacher should avoid issuing directives.
Instead, they should maintain expectations when soliciting input and should offer an array of choices; for instance, instead of ordering students to perform an exercise right away, a teacher can ask, “would you rather start your rough draft right away or will you first try to gather some ideas? ” This way, a good rapport is created between academic instructors and students and the effects of this will certainly reflect on academic performances. It is fruitless to demand respect and certain behaviors from students who lack the background, the context, or the appropriate skills to display these behaviors.
Teachers should also embed social skills to ensure that students from the low socioeconomic backgrounds feel part of the community. It would be fruitless to expect their grades to escalate while they are being segregated. Teachers should take it upon themselves to use a wide variety of classroom strategies that are aimed at strengthening social as well as emotional skills. Early in the years, when students introduce themselves to their colleagues in class, a teacher should teach them to make eye contact, shake hands and face one another, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds.
This should ensure that the class is not divided, and the affluent intermingle freely with the less fortunate. A teacher should also embed turn-taking skills in class, while reminding the students to thank and appreciate their classmates after the completion of collaborative activities. Teachers should take it upon themselves to initiate social-emotional skill-building programs that embed social and emotional skills into the management framework of a classroom. This would include programs like PATHS, conscious discipline among others. Purpose of the study
The sole purpose of this project is to establish a comprehensive literature review of previous impeccable and reliable research evidence, on the relationship between low socioeconomic status and low academic performances. The literature review will attempt to answer the following research questions: • What are the main conclusions of previous researches that have investigated the relationship between low socioeconomic status and its effects, (like poor parenting, limited parental involvement in a child’s education and parents’ educational levels) and the academic achievements of a student? On what issues are the previous research findings in agreement? On what aspects are the previous research findings inconsistent? Where, and how extensive are the gaps in the current research evidence? • Which elements of parental support, parents’ educational level, and parental involvement in a child’s education would help impact positively on the academic performances of a student? • Does the effectiveness of the above named elements change according to; the age of the pupil, gender of the pupil, whether parental involvement is voluntary or equired, socioeconomic settings, and the methods in which the parents interact with the school their children study? • Are there any interventions possible to alleviate the impacts of this situation? • Are there any cases of students from low socioeconomic households who defy the odds who defy the odds and go on to achieve academic greatness? If there are, how different are they from those who perform poorly? • Do parents feel that their low socioeconomic status negatively affects their children’s academic performances? Objectives of the study
This study aims to investigate the relationships that exist between; • The parents’ level of education and the academic performance of the child • The parents’ occupation and level of income, and the academic achievements of a child • Family learning (i. e. the parent acting as a tutor, reading to the children, providing motivation and encouragement and helping with assignments) and the academic success of a child. • Early intervention (i. e. instilling the basic literary, mental, emotional and conversational skills at the time of a child’s cognitive development) and the academic performances of the child.
Definition of terms Socioeconomic status- this is conceptualized as the social status or standing of an individual or a group, in this context a family. The socioeconomic status of a family is most commonly based on the total family income, education levels of the parents, the occupation of the parents, and the family’s social status in a community setting, i. e. the contacts within the community, the community’s perception of the family and the groups they associate with in the society.
Student role performance (SRP) - this is the definition of how properly an individual manages to fulfill the role of a student in a school setting. Student role performance involves socioeconomic factors among other factors such as; the sex of the student, the age of the student, the race or ethnicity of the student, the school effort of the student, the disabilities of the student among others. Cognitive development- cognitive development in a child is the child’s ability to learn and solve problems on its own. It is vigorous in the earliest years, from birth to the age 5, the period in which the child’s brain grows the most.
This would include a five month old baby learning to explore the environment with the eyes or even the hands, and a five year old child learning literary skills or learning how to solve simple math problems. It is one of the most critical periods in the development of a child as it sets the stage for learning and adult functioning of the brain. Promoting alternative thinking strategies (PATHS) – the PATHS curriculum is a program that has been designed for counselors as well as educators to facilitate the appropriate development of self control skills, emotional awareness skills, as well as interpersonal problem solving skills.
Scope and limitations of the study This study will mainly concentrate on the reasons as to why children from low socioeconomic backgrounds perform poorly in academics as compared to children from more affluent socioeconomic backgrounds. This study, however, will not explore the exceptional cases of students from low socioeconomic households who perform exemplarily. The limitations of this review are mainly concerned with the cross sectional nature of the data.
This is because data is only acquired at one point in time, making it difficult to establish the period of time a student has been at a particular socioeconomic status, e. g, a child may have been recently orphaned, bringing about a shift in the economic standing. This review also uses a single test composite as the only dependent variable, while a student’s full academic history might provide better and more accurate results. This review also lacks fundamental information about the neighborhood factors, which would also affect on the academic performances of pupils.
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