Demographic and Socioeconomic Factors Associated with Academic Performance

ABSTRACT

This paper intends to study the demographic and socio-economic factors associated with the academic performance of students in Sherubtse College. Pri- mary data was collected through a structured ques- tionnaire through multi-sampling procedures and sec- ondary data obtained from exam cell for the period of 2009 to 2011. The statistics are computed by com- paring sex, place of residence, family support (moral and economic) and Students’ self profile (self-efficacy, commitment level, self-discipline, life objectives, etc).

The data was entered using the SPSS v19. The study demonstrates the significant difference in academic performance of students by sex and all other con- tributing factors in achieving academic excellence in Sherubtse College. It is found that more proportion of girls is performing better than boys in Sherubtse Col- lege. Similarly, students from poor family background residing in urban place excel compared to well eco- nomically established families residing in urban place.

Thus, this finding also entails the higher probability of achieving the goal of women empowerment in future. 1. INTRODUCTION Education is the main, single tool that humans possess through which people makes globalization and tech- nological revolution to evolve. It is the one that ev- ery human need to forward their first step to carry out every activity. In fact, it makes possible to accom- plish knowledge, and skills that helps in developing human capital and provides opportunity for better liv- ing which in return enhances the economic growth of a country.

With the World, Bhutan has also entered into the stage where every market of the economy and sectors has become more competitive. Thus, it is im- mensely important to analyze and focus on the quality of student’s academic performance with its associated factors. It is always been the desire of both government and parents that their children and students perform well in academic. So, lots of time and efforts has been made by the educational sectors/the Ministry to come with the appropriate strategies to overcome the factors that affect the academic performance of the students.

Despite the stresses that one experiences during col- lege life, it is undoubtedly one of the most important and memorable experiences in one’s life (Chickering, 1969). Numerous factors obstruct the performance of students in schools and universities. Thus, according to Me Comb et al (1990) and Bakare (1975), the aca- demic performance of the students depends on their at- titude, motivation for the success and the study habit. Therefore, in this paper more emphasis has been given to factors associated with the academic perfor- mance in University level.

Social factors such as ro- mantic relationships, clubs, sports activities, teachers (teacher’s skill, qualification and guidance), student’s self profile, parents’ occupational status and educa- tion, family support, and place of residence have been found to affect the student’s academic performance in Sherubtse College as these factors demands time and the psychological state of a student may be affected. 2. REVIEW OF LITERATURE According to Tsinidou, Gerogiannis, and Fitsilis (2010), as the education appears in the form of knowl- edge, life skills and behavior modifications of learn- ers it becomes difficult to measure.

Thus, different people/cultures/societies have different definition for education. The student’s self profile which includes self-efficacy, commitment level (Study habit), self dis- cipline, and life objectives plays an important role in their academic success. Likewise, support from fam- ily in terms of moral and economic provides help and encouragement to students for their quality of aca- demic performance. The teacher’s skills, qualifica- tion and guidance also has the crucial role in accom- plishing better performance by students in school (Fa- rooq,M. S. , Chaudhry,A. H. , Shafiq,M. ,and Berhanu,G.

, 2011). Besides the involvement of parents that in- cludes parents’ occupational status and education, in their child’s education also assists the better quality of academic performance. In many papers, the relationships between gen- der and the academic performance of students has been discussed. According to Chambers and Schreiber (2004), in some cases, girls show better performance than boys. Thus, gender, romantic relationships, sports activities, clubs and the place of residence with fam- ily background becomes significant contributors to the student achievement academically (Zajacova, A. , 2005).

Above all students self profile, parents’ occupa- tional status and education, family support and the place of residence have greater effect on the student’s performance as these factors have positive correla- tions with the student’s quality of achievement (Fa- rooq, M. S. , Chaudhry, A. H. , Shafiq, M. ,and Berhanu, G. , 2011). According to Garzon (2006), students from poor family (not in poverty line) background residing in urban performs better than the students residing in rural areas and the rural students perform better than the students residing in urban with well established economical background.

Similarly, it is found that students of well educated parents perform better than the students whose par- ents are not educated (Krashen, 2005). This is because educated parents can communicate well regarding the school work, and activities. Thus, moral and economic support from family (parents) leads to higher and bet- ter performance of students at schools and colleges. Therefore, keeping in view of all these discussions, this research paper is conducted to examine the effect of different factors on the students’ academic perfor- mance at university level in Sherubtse College.

3. OBJECTIVES Specific Objectives: specifically, there are two main objectives; To find the difference in the students’ academic achievement in relation to their gender. To assess the perception of students about the role of contributing factors in their academic achievements. 4. HYPOTHESIS There is significant effect of parental education and occupation, place of residence, family sup- port and students self profile on the student’s academic performance. There is significant difference in academic achievement in relation to their gender. 5. DATA AND METHODOLOGY

Primary data was collected through a structured ques- tionnaire through multi-sampling procedures (Strati- fied Sampling and Random Sampling) and data was supplemented by the collected academic results from exam cell (Sherubtse College) for the period of 2009 to 2011. The stratified sampling was adopted to cat- egorize the students into four groups as Outstanding Performance (80 percentage plus), Very Good Perfor- mance (70-79 percentage), Good Performance (60-69 percentage) and Satisfactory Performance (50-59 per- centage) which are recommended by Royal University of Bhutan and the College Administration.

The ran- dom sampling was applied to collect student’s percep- tion on the contributing factors. The quality of aca- demic performance was measured by their achieve- ment scores of all three years. The statistics are com- puted by comparing sex, place of residence, family support (moral and economic) and Students’ self pro- file (self-efficacy, commitment level, self-discipline, life objectives, etc). The data was entered using the SPSS v19. 6. RESULTS AND DATA ANALYSIS The data collected is presented in tabular format for the purpose of analyzing them to expose the major finding in conformity with the hypothesis earlier generated.

The demographic data were presented using frequency distribution. The table 1 shows the marks obtained by male and female students in Sherubtse College in the period of three years (2009 to 2011). Almost all the students are able to score good marks as per the records kept by the exam cell, Sherubtse College. However, the difference between male and female in performing academically differs widely. It can be observed that female students have performed better than the male over the two years (2010 and 2011). In the year 2009, 0. 3 percent of male students have secured the Out Standing Performance i.

e. above 80+ Table 1: Marks obtained by Male and Female Students in Sherubtse College (2009-2011), Source: Exam Cell, Sherubtse College, 2012 Marks obtained male% 2009 female % male% 2010 female % male% 2011 female % 80%+ 0. 3 0 0. 4 4. 9 2. 5 11. 1 70-79. 9% 18. 6 21. 6 18. 1 38. 5 22. 9 32. 6 60-69. 9% 61. 7 64. 7 51. 5 46. 3 50 44. 4 50-59. 9% 19. 3 13. 7 30. 2 10. 2 24. 6 11. 9 percent while it is found that female counter parts have 0 (Zero) percent. But in the other categories i. e. Very Good Performance (70-79. 9 percent), Good Perfor- mance (60-69.

9 percent) & Satisfactory Performance (50-59. Percent) the female students have excelled than male students. However, in the following years (2010 & 2011) 4. 9 percent and 11. 1 percent female students have procured the Out Standing Performance respectively whereas male accounts to 0. 4 percent and 2. 5 percent respectively. But the numbers of male students scor- ing above 60-69. 9 percent in these two periods have always remained constant. However, the outstand- ing academic performances of Sherubtse College have been secured by the female students as large numbers of girls stands above 70+ percent.

Figure 1: marks obtained by male (2009-2011) 1. Factors That Influence Academic Life of Col- lege Students In this section we present a variety of contributing fac- tors on student’s academic achievements. Many fac- tors have been identified to investigate its influence on academic performance. Thus, for this study, eight socio-economic factors have been considered. They include: Socio-economic factors: 1. Romantic relationships Figure 2: marks obtained by female (2009-2011) 2. Clubs (Units & Departments) 3. Sports Activities 4. Teachers (teacher’s skills, qualification and guidance) 5.

Students’ Self profile (Self efficacy, com- mitment level, self discipline and life ob- jectives) 6. Parent’s Occupational status and educa- tion 7. Family Support (Moral and economic) 8. Place of residence In general, the variables under these factors can broadly be grouped into modifiable and non modifi- able variables. The non modifiable variables consist mainly of gender while majorities of the variables like parents’ occupational status and education, family sup- port, place of residence, students self profile, clubs, ro- mantic relationships and teachers can all be grouped under modifiable variables.

The modifiable variables are those variables which when effectively manipu- lated can give the expected/desired influence on aca- demic performance. There are multiple factors on which the academic life of a student depends. We may not recognize the important of all these factors, but these are as impor- tant as water and fertilizer for a plant to grow. Children are very soft, both mentally and physically. Thus, they need special care so that they can turn out to be a com- petent and efficient human resource.

In the nurturing of a child, both parents and teachers share an equal re- sponsibility. More than 82. 3 percent of the respondents (both male and female) reported that students self profile, socio-economic status of parents, family support and place of residence have positive impact on their aca- demic performance. Table 2: Table 2: Major Socio-Economic Factors Factors frequency percentage students self profile male female %male %female 1) self efficacy 3 4 2. 7 3. 6 2) commitment level 5 7 4. 5 6. 4 3) self discipline 5 5 4. 5 4. 5 4) life objectives

6 5 5. 5 4. 5 19 21 17. 3 19. 1 socio-economic status of parents , 1) parents occupation 11 12 10 10. 9 2) parents education 10 11 9. 1 10 21 23 19. 1 20. 9 family support 1) moral 13 14 11. 8 11. 8 2) economic 11 11 10 10. 9 24 25 21. 8 22. 7 place of residence 1) urban 13 15 10 13. 6 2) rural 11 9 11. 8 8. 2 24 24 21. 8 22. 7 Total 88 93 80. 0 84. 5 From the above table, 21. 13 percent of the stu- dents reported that socio-economic status of parents and family supports have positive relationship to the academic performance of the students.

This indicates that students from better socio-economic status of par- ents and family support (in terms of financial and moral) perform better academically. Since students get influenced from their surrounding, parents and family members play a vital role in influencing student’s char- acter, personality, values and beliefs. Students from poor moral support (family support where environ- ment inside the home is unhealthy) are always found to be involved in unethical ways. Thus, this impacts their academic life and as a consequence they remain unproductive citizens.

Therefore, the economic status of the family also becomes a prime point while we con- sider the academic success of student as poverty takes a toll on students’ school performance. According to Ebuka, N. V. (2012), “Poor children are twice as likely as their more affluent counterparts to repeat a grade”. Similarly, place of residence also affect the per- formance of the students. According to 21. 8 percent of the respondents (both male & female), the place of residence have significant relationships with the stu- dent’s performance.

By taking consideration the other three factors such as family support, socio-economic status of parents and students self profile with the place of residence, can reveal that Students from poor (nor- mal) family residing in urban areas achieve better and higher academic success than the students from well economically established residing in the urban areas. Meanwhile, students self profile which include self efficacy, commitment level, self discipline and life objectives are also recognized as one of the factors that contribute in students performance. According to Ebuka, N. V.

(2012), student’s study habit has been regarded as one of the *cardinal variables. 18. 2 per- cent of the respondents reports that students self profile Table 3: Table 3: Other Socio-economic Factors Factors frequency percentage male female %male %female Romantic Relationships 4 Clubs 6 Sport activities 9 Teachers 3 Total 22 5 3. 6 4. 5 3 5. 5 2. 7 5 8. 2 4. 5 4 2. 7 3. 6 17 20 15. 5 has significant relationship with student’s academic performance in Sherubtse College. Ineffective study habits, common among college student, are one of the potential causes of inadequate student’s performance.

2. Other socio-economic factors School facilities, school size and characteristics in- cluding teacher’s skills, qualifications and guidance have significant effect on students’ achievement. How- ever, the teacher’s skills, and qualifications is found to have no significant relationship with the academic per- formance in College level. About 3. 2 percent of the respondent reported that teacher’s skills, qualifications and guidance does not affect student’s performance in college level as almost all the lecturers/teachers are highly qualified with different skills to guide students.

But studies have found that teachers make lots of dif- ference in school level. Similarly, clubs, sport activ- ities and romantic relationships prevailing in College also have effects but to some extend (4. 8 percent). Ac- cording to the respondents, college students take these factors as the method/way to overcome heavy stresses that they experience from academic pressure (assign- ments, etc). The following graphs represent perceptions of male and female students on all socio-economic fac- tors.

It is observed that family support and place of residence have direct relationships with the better aca- demic performance of students in Sherubtse College. It is followed by students self profile and parent’s oc- cupational status and education. The rest factors impli- cate little effects on the performance of students with compared to other factors. 1. CONCLUSION The main aim for this paper is find out the relation be- tween demographic and socio-economic factors with the academic performance by students at Sherubtse College.

Although every factor has its own nature to influ- ence students performance, their effects differ from one another when it is being studied under different level of education. In Sherubtse College, maximum Figure 3: Perception of female students on socio- economic factors Figure 4: Perception of male students on socio- economic factors of the students (82. 3 percent) observes that student’s self profile, economic status of parents; family support and place of residence are the major factors affecting academic performance of the students in the college. While 17.

7 percent of the respondents states that teach- ers, romantic relationships, clubs and sport activities have lesser effects on student’s academic performance. After having seen all the inter-relationships be- tween different factors with the academic performance of the students, it has become clear that pupils from poor family background residing in urban achieve higher scores than others residing in urban with inti- mate economic family background. Large number of girls performing better than boys in the Sherubtse Col- lege also implicates the higher probability of achieving the goal of women empowerment in future.

2. LIMITATION The accuracy or the reliable of the information has al- ways been one of the major limitations that attracted more attention. The perceptions of students on some contributing factors might not be so reliable. This leads to error in interpretation of the result. Lack of cooperation from the respondents was another limita- tion of this paper. The questionnaires were filled up ac- cording to their mood or interest. Thus, it might have let to inaccuracy of the information.

Under (missed) and over (double) counting of the students according to their marks obtained might have caused inaccuracy in the data interpretation. More over the time management was yet another challenge for us to carry out this research paper. As being final year students in Sherubtse College, the management of time for our academic activities and research work might have created some loopholes while writing this paper. So, this paper need further research to be carried out for comprehensive findings and analysis.