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Socioeconomic status affects student’s academic performance

Published on 23rd Feb, Edition 8, 2015


Education is a basic right for every human being and the social progress is now measured with the help of educational standards of any nation. It is surely a key to the political, social and economic development.

Education is most essential element of life. Now education is considered as a first step for every human activity. It plays an important role in the development of human capital and is directly linked with an individual’s well-being and opportunities for better life style (Battle & Lewis, 2002).
Acquisition of knowledge and skills are being ensured with the help of education and it also helps to 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 country and eventually it leads to development of nation (Saxton, 2000).

Students are most important asset for any educational institute. School, colleges and universities have no worth without student. Students’ academic performance is directly linked with the social and economic development of the country. Generally the factors that are responsible for academic performance of students include age, gender, geographical belongingness, ethnicity, marital status, socioeconomic status (SES), parents’ education level, parental profession, language, income and religious affiliations.

According to B. I. Chohan, S. A. Qadir (2013) reasons of academic failure were investigated in different research studies both in developing and developed countries. Most of studies have suggested that the academic success or failure of a student is related to cultural and socioeconomic characteristics, and interactive relationships among children, parents, teachers, and peer groups (Schneider & Lee, 1990; Gomes-Neto & Hanushek, 1994; El-Hassan, 1998).


Besides other factors, one of the most researched and debated factor is socioeconomic status among educational professionals that contribute towards the academic performance of students. The most highlighting argument is that the socioeconomic status of students affects the quality of their academic performance. Most of the experts argue that the low socioeconomic status has negative effect on the academic performance of students because the basic needs of students remain unfulfilled and hence they do not perform better academically (Adams, 1996). The low socioeconomic status causes environmental deficiencies which results in low self-esteem of students (US Department of Education, 2003).
Socioeconomic status (SES) is probably the most widely used variable in education research. Increasingly, it is being observed that academic achievement is linked with socioeconomic status (Bornstein & Bradley, 2003; Brooks-Gunn & Duncan, 1997; Coleman, 1988; McLoyd, 1998). Extensive research in the sociology of education reveals positive relationship between family socio-economic status (SES) and the academic achievement of students (Sirin, 2005; White, 1982).

Researchers examine the influence of family background on academic performance of a student mainly in school settings (Sirin, 2005; White, 1982). These studies show that students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds tend to be worse than that of their peers from more affluent families. Gaps between and across students from varying socioeconomic backgrounds tend to widen as students get older (Caro, McDonald, & Williams, 2009; Condron, 2007; Kerckhoff, 1993; Oakes, 1985) and have lasting consequences on the educational attainment and labor force outcomes of students as adults (Alexander, Entwisle, & Olson, 2007; Kerckhoff, Raudenbush, & Glennie, 2001; Raudenbush&Kasim, 1998; Rumberger, 2010).

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