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Journal of  Quality  and  Technology  Management  
Volume  VII,  Issue  II,  December,  2011,  Page  01  ? 14 

FACTORS AFFECTING STUDENTS’ QUALITY OF
ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE: A CASE OF SECONDARY
SCHOOL LEVEL

M.S. Farooq 1, A.H. Chaudhry 1, M. Shafiq 1, G. Berhanu 2
1University of the Punjab, Pakistan
2University of Gothenburg, Sweden

ABSTRACT

This study was conducted to examine different factors influencing the academic
performance of secondary school students in a metropolitan city of Pakistan. The
respondents for this study were 10
th grade students (300 male ; 300 female). A
survey was conducted by using a questionnaire for information gathering about
different factors relating to academic performance of students. The academic
performance was gauged by the result of their 9th grade annual examination.
Standard t-test and ANOVA were applied to investigate the effect of different
factors on students’ achievement. The results of the study revealed that socio-
economic status (SES) and parents’ education have a significant effect on
students’ overall academic achievement as well as achievement in the subjects of
Mathematics and English. The high and average socio-economic level affects the
performance more than the lower level. It is very interesting that parents’
education means more than their occupation in relation to their children’s
academic performance at school. It was found that girls perform better than the
male students.

Keywords: Quality performance, achievement, socioeconomic status,
demographic factors, gender and academic achievement.

INTRODUCTION

In this era of globalization and te chnological revolution, education is
considered as a first step for every human activity. It plays a vital role in
the development of human capital and is linked with an individual’s
well-being and opportunities for better living (Battle ; Lewis, 2002). It
ensures the acquisition of knowledge and skills that enable individuals to
increase their productivity and improve their quality of life. This increase
in productivity also leads towards new sources of earning which
enhances the economic growth of a co untry (Saxton, 2000). The quality of

Factors Affecting  Students’  Quality  of  Academic  Performance:  A  Case  of Secondary  School  Level  
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students’ performance remains at top pr iority for educators. It is meant
for making a difference locally, regi onally, nationally and globally.
Educators, trainers, and researchers have long been interested in
exploring variables contributing effectively for quality of performance of
learners. These variables are inside and outside school that affect
students’ quality of academic achievement. These factors may be termed
as student factors, family factors, school factors and peer factors (Crosnoe,
Johnson & Elder, 2004). The formal investigation about the role of these
demographic factors rooted back in 17
th century (Mann, 1985). Generally
these factors include age, gender, geographical belongingness, ethnicity,
marital status, socioeconomic status (SES), parents’ education level,
parental profession, language, income and religious affiliations. These are
usually discussed under the umbrella of demography (Ballatine, 1993). In
a broader context demography is re ferred to as a way to explore the
nature and effects of demographic variables in the biological and social
context. Unfortunately, defining and measuring the quality of education
is not a simple issue and the complexity of this process increases due to
the changing values of quality attributes associated with the different
stakeholders’ view point (Blevins, 2009; Parri, 2006).

Besides other factors, socioeconomic st atus is one of the most researched
and debated factor among educationa l professionals that contribute
towards the academic performance of students. The most prevalent
argument is that the socioeconomic stat us of learners affects the quality of
their academic performance. Most of the experts argue that the low
socioeconomic status has negative effe ct on the academic performance of
students because the basic needs of st udents remain unfulfilled and hence
they do not perform better acad emically (Adams, 1996). The low
socioeconomic status causes environm ental deficiencies which results in
low self esteem of students (US Department of Education, 2003). More
specifically, this study aims to identify and analyze factors that affect the
quality of students’ academic performance.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Educational services are often not tangible and are difficult to measure
because they result in the form of transformation of knowledge, life skills
and behaviour modifications of learners (Tsinidou, Gerogiannis, ;
Fitsilis, 2010). So there is no commonly agreed upon definition of quality
that is applied to education field. Th e definition of quality of education

Journal of  Quality  and  Technology  Management  
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varies from culture to culture (Michael, 1998). The environment and the
personal characteristics of learners play an important role in their
academic success. The school personnel, members of the families and
communities provide help and support to students for the quality of their
academic performance. This social a ssistance has a crucial role for the
accomplishment of performance goals of students at school (Goddard,
2003). Besides the social structure, pa rents’ involvement in their child’s
education increases the rate of academic success of their child
(Furstenberg ; Hughes, 1995).

The relationship between gender and the academic achievement of
students has been discussed for decades (Eitle, 2005). A gap between the
achievement of boys and girls has been found, with girls showing better
performance than boys in certain instances (Chambers ; Schreiber, 2004).
Gender, ethnicity, and father’s occupa tion are significant contributors to
student achievement (McCoy, 2005; Peng & Hall, 1995).

Above and beyond the other demographi c factors, the effects of SES are
still prevalent at the individual level (Capraro, M., Capraro, R., &
Wiggins, 2000). The SES can be delibera ted in a number of different ways;
it is most often calculated by looking at parental education, occupation,
income, and facilities used by individuals separately or collectively.
Parental education and family SES level have positive correlations with
the student’s quality of achievemen t (Caldas ; Bankston, 1997; Jeynes,
2002; Parelius, D., ; Parelius, A., 1987; Mitchell ; Collom, 2001; Ma ;
Klinger, 2000). The students with high level of SES perform better than
the middle class students and the middle class students perform better
than the students with low level of SES (Garzon, 2006; Kahlenberg, 2006;
Kirkup, 2008).

The achievement of students is negatively correlated with the low SES
level of parents because it hinders the individual in gaining access to
sources and resources of learning (Duke, 2000; Eamon, 2005; Lopez, 1995).
Low SES level strongly affects the achievement of students, dragging
them down to a lower level (Sander, 2001). This effect is most visible at
the post-secondary level (Trusty, 2000) . It is also observed that the
economically disadvantaged parents are less able to afford the cost of
education of their children at higher levels and consequently they do not
work at their fullest potential (Rouse ; Barrow, 2006).

Factors Affecting  Students’  Quality  of  Academic  Performance:  A  Case  of Secondary  School  Level  
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Krashen (2005) concluded that students whose parents are educated score
higher on standardized tests than those whose parents were not educated.
Educated parents can better communicate with their children regarding
the school work, activities and the information being taught at school.
They can better assist their children in their work and participate at
school (Fantuzzo & Tighe, 2000; Trusty, 1999).

Theory of Educational Productivity by Walberg (1981) determined three
groups of nine factors based on affe ctive, cognitive and behavioral skills
for optimization of learning that affect the quality of academic
performance: Aptitude (ability, deve lopment and motivation); instruction
(amount and quality); environment (home, classroom, peers and
television) (Roberts, 2007).

The home environment also affects the academic performance of students.
Educated parents can provide such an environment that suits best for
academic success of their children. The school authorities can provide
counseling and guidance to pare nts for creating positive home
environment for improvement in stud ents’ quality of work (Marzano,
2003). The academic performance of students heavily depends upon the
parental involvement in their academic activities to attain the higher level
of quality in academic success (Barnard, 2004; Henderson, 1988; Shumox
; Lomax, 2001).

There is a range of factors that affect on the quality of performance of
students (Waters ; Marzano, 2006). A series of variables are to be
considered when to identify the a ffecting factors towards quality of
academic success. Identifying the most contributing variables in quality of
academic performance is a very complex and challenging job. The
students in public schools belong to a variety of backgrounds depending
upon their demography. This diversity is much vast and complex as ever
before in Pakistani culture. Keeping in view all these discussions,
researchers conducted this study to examine the effect of different factors
on the students’ quality of academic achievement at the secondary school
level in a metropolitan city of Pakistan.

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OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objectives of the study were to:
a) analyze the effect of socio-econom ic status, parental education and
occupation on quality of stud ents’ academic performance.
b) explore the effect of socio-ec onomic status on student’s
achievements in the subjects of Mathematics and English.
c) find the difference in quality of students’ achievement in relation
to their gender.

Null Hypotheses:

a) There is no significant effect of socio-economic status, parental
education and occupation on qu ality of students’ academic
performance.
b) There is no significant effect of socio-economic status on student’s
achievements in the subjects of Mathematics and English.
c) There is no significant difference in quality of students’
achievement in relation to their gender.

METHOD AND PROCEDURE

This descriptive study was conducte d by using a survey method. The
population was the secondary school male and female students from a
metropolitan city of Pakistan. At the first stage twelve male and female
public sector secondary schools (six each) were selected conveniently.
Secondly, only fifty volunteer students (25 male and 25 female) out of all
volunteers from one section of the 10
th grade were selected randomly
from each of the 12 schools. Thus the sample size for the study was 600
students (300 male and 300 female). The study was delimited to only
demographic factors such as students’ gender, parents’ education,
parents’ occupation and socio econom ic status. The quality of academic
performance was measured by their achievement scores of the 9
th grade
annual examination verified from the Board of Intermediate and
Secondary Education, Lahore and school records. Data regarding the
variables such as parents’ education, parents’ occupation, SES, urban/
rural belongingness, and students’ gender were collected by using a
questionnaire.

Factors Affecting  Students’  Quality  of  Academic  Performance:  A  Case  of Secondary  School  Level  
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DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATIONS

The collected data were analyzed by applying descriptive and inferential
statistical measure. A t-test was used to compare the achievements of
male and female students. The significant effect of different factors on
students’ achievement was explored through multiple comparisons by
applying ANOVA using SPSS 16.

Table 1: Effect of SES, Fathers’ and Mo thers’ education & occupation on students’
achievement

Source of Variation Sum of
Squares df Mean
Square F Sig.
SES ; Marks in 9 th Grade 110977.403 2 55488.701 15.270 .000*
SES ; Marks in Math 7254.485 2 3627.243 9.086 .000*
SES ; Marks in English 9154.629 2 4577.314 14.896 .000*
Father education ; Marks in
9th Grade 191918.849 7 27416.978 7.576 .000*
Mother education ; Marks in
9th Grade 191049.052 7 27292.722 7.831 .000*
Father occupation ; Marks in
9th Grade 23541.570 3 7847.190 2.072 .103
Mother occupation ; Marks
in 9 th Grade 9088.016 3 3029.339 .795 .497
*Significant at the .05 level.

Table1 shows that socio-economic stat us (SES), fathers’ education, and
mothers’ education, had a significant effect on students’ overall academic
achievement as well as on Mathem atics and English scores in 9
th grade at
the .05 level of significance. Further it is obvious that parental occupation
had no significant effect on academic achievement. Hence the hypotheses
that there are no significant effects of SES level and parental education
level on students’ academic achievement have been rejected. Also the
hypothesis that there is no significant effect in achievement on the basis of
parental occupation was accepted. It is therefore concluded that SES level
and parental education affect the ac hievement of their children, but the
parents’ occupation had no effect.

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Table 2: Multiple comparison of effect of SES on Mathematics, English, and
cumulative achievements

Independent Variable Dependent
Variable
(I) (J)
Mean
Difference (I-J) Std.
Error Sig.
Low SES Average SES -20.666(*) 6.869 .008*
High SES -47.615(*) 8.679 .000*
Marks
obtained in
9
th Grade Average SES High SES -26.949(*) 6.783 .000*
Low SES Average SES -4.589 2.277 .133
High SES -12.009(*) 2.877 .000* Marks in
Mathematics
Average SES High SES -7.420(*) 2.248 .003*
Low SES Average SES -5.277(*) 1.997 .025*
High SES -13.524(*) 2.524 .000* Marks in
English
Average SES High SES -8.248(*) 1.972 .000*
*Significant at the .05 level.

As shown in Table 2, comparison of effect of SES levels (Low, Average &
High) on students’ achievement scores in the subjects of Mathematics,
English ; Cumulative achievement indicated that students belonging to
high SES level overall perform better in the subjects of Mathematics and
English as well as show better performance in cumulative achievement
scores. Average and high SES levels have more effect than low SES level
in all types of achievement quality. Th e null hypothesis that there is no
significant difference in academic performance of students due to their
socio-economic status is therefore re jected. The students with high and
average SES exhibit better quality of performance than the students with
low level of SES.

Factors Affecting  Students’  Quality  of  Academic  Performance:  A  Case  of Secondary  School  Level  
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Table 3: Analysis of Fathers’ education and cumulative achievement

Dependent
Variable (I) Father’s
Education. (J) Father’s
Education Mean
Difference (I-J) Std.
Error Sig.
Illiterate Primary -1.311 13.558 1.000
Elementary -.993 13.161 1.000
Secondary -12.399 10.049 1.000
Intermediary -37.222(*) 10.905 .019*
Bachelor -48.311(*) 11.494 .001*
Master -37.897(*) 1.068 .019*
Primary Elementary .318 14.006 1.000
Secondary -11.087 11.133 1.000
Intermediary -35.911 11.912 .075
Bachelor -47.000(*) 12.453 .005*
Master -36.586 12.061 .07
Elementary Secondary -11.405 10.646 1.000
Intermediary -36.229(*) 11.458 .046*
Bachelor -47.318(*) 12.020 .003*
Master -36.904(*) 11.613 .044*
Secondary Intermediary -24.823(*) 7.685 .037*
Bachelor -35.913(*) 8.500 .001*
Master -25.499(*) 7.914 .038*
Intermediary Bachelor -11.089 9.497 1.000
Master -.675 8.976 1.000
Marks
obtained in
9
th Grade
Bachelor Master 10.414 9.684 1.000
*Significant at the .05 level. (Bachelor= Bachelor degree/Graduation, Master= Master degree/
Post graduation)

The multiple comparisons in Table 3 show that fathers with Bachelor
degree and Master degree education have more affects on students’
achievement than any other level of education (e.g., illiterate, secondary,
intermediary).

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Table 4: Analysis of Mothers’ education and quality of academic performance
(overall marks obtained)

Dependent Variable (I) Mothers’ Education (J) Mothers’ Education Mean
Difference (I-J) Std.
Error Sig.
Illiterate Primary -16.271 9.394 13.22
Elementary 9.542 9.221 38.48
Secondary -24.558(*) 7.807 -.05*
Intermediary -30.025(*) 8.583 -3.08*
Bachelor -57.799(*) 10.880 -23.65*
Master -44.375 15.258 3.52
Primary Elementary 25.813 9.744 56.40
Secondary -8.287 8.419 18.14
Intermediary -13.753 9.143 14.95
Bachelor -41.528(*) 11.327 -5.97*
Master -28.103 15.580 20.80
Elementary Secondary -34.100(*) 8.225 -8.28*
Intermediary -39.567(*) 8.965 -1.43*
Bachelor -67.341(*) 11.184 -2.24*
Master -53.917(*) 15.476 -5.34*
Secondary Intermediary -5.467 7.503 18.08
Bachelor -33.241(*) 10.050 -1.70*
Master -19.817 14.677 26.25
Intermediary Bachelor -27.774 10.664 5.70
Master -14.350 15.104 33.06
Marks
obtained in
9th Grade
Bachelor Master 13.424 16.518 65.27
*Significant at the .05 level. (Bachelor= Bach elor degree/Graduation, Master= Master degree/
Post graduation)

It is evident from Table 4 that moth ers with Secondary, Intermediary, and
Bachelor degree-education levels have significant effects on the
achievement of their children as comp ared to other education levels.

Table 5: Comparison of achievement for Male and Female students

Variable Gender N Mean Std.
Deviation t-value
Male 300 268.42 66.252 Marks obtained in 9 th
Grade
Female 300 295.03 53.686 -5.405*
Male 300 34.20 19.009 Marks in Mathematics
Female 300 38.71 21.209 -2.745*
Male 300 35.50 17.045 Marks in English
Female 300 38.47 18.687 -2.034*
*P

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