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ROLES OF SEX AND PARENT’S LEVEL OF EDUCATION ON SELF-ESTEEM
1.1. Background of the Study
The history of self-esteem as a concept began with known theorists in psychology. William James and Mead (1890) were among the first ones. They postulated that self- esteem was equivalent to success of a person divided by his or her pretensions. One’s self-esteem would be academic success divided by how well one thinks he/she ought to be doing. To increase the sum total of one’s self-esteem, one needs to boost successes or diminish expectations for achievements. This continues to influence the understanding of self-esteem (Wickline, 2003)
The self psychologist, Rogers (1954) was concerned with the general nature of subjective experience of the individual’s acceptance of his/her experience. Bednar and Peterson (1999), believed that each person constructs his/her unique view of reality through the creative self.
Gordon Allport (1961) proposed that the growth of the awareness of self proceeds along development learning lines. He identified 7 different aspects of self- hood. Self- esteem is the third development stage of the proprium. It is the feeling of pride that results when the child accomplishes things on the child’s success in mastering tasks
In 1979, Rosenberg conducted a study of the adolescent self-esteem and came up with three classifications of the self- esteem: the extant self, the desired self, and presenting self. Rosenberg cautions that no one knows the real self, but each individual creates and interprets images of the self. He differentiated between the self confidence and self-esteem. To him self-esteem is more of affective sense of efficacy. As such, self confidence may contribute to self- esteem but the two are synonymous.
Coopersmith (1967) cited evidence supporting the importance of self-esteem. He concluded that people with feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness see themselves as inferior and unable to generate inner resources to improve their situation. Feeling of inferiority may result if it does not meet personal aspirations. In his antecedents of self, he suggested four factors that contribute to the development of self- esteem. These are: the values that the child perceives to have towards the self, the child’s experience with success and his individual definitions of success or failure as well as the child’s style of dealing with negative feedback or criticism.
The humanistic movement of 1950 and the self movement postulated by Carl Rogers and others in 1960’s and 1970’s brought in the self enhancement view of academics, seeing students’ self-esteem as the primary cause of academic achievement. Wickline, (2003) Bednar and Peterson (1999) postulated that each person constructs his/her unique view of reality. They further linked low self esteem with drug abuse, anti-social behavior, teenage pregnancies and poor grades.
Research, mostly in western and European cultures, has established that self-esteem concept, has a significant influence on students academic performance (Spinath et al…, 2006; Skaalvik and Valas; 1999). Students perceptions of the fit between their self concept and academic demands are important for learning outcomes .However, there was yet to be a significant amount of empirical investigation of whether these findings could be generalized to other cultures beside, Western, European and Asian cultures .Of particular importance to note was the limited research linking self-esteem concept and
academic performance on the continent of Africa (Mboya, 1986, Marsh and Ham, 2004). If a person’s perceptions of self are formed through experience with and interpretations of one’s environment, as posited by Marsh and Shavelson, then research from a cross other cultures was warranted to reach hard and conclusive finding.
A research conducted in Kenya to investigate the relationship between self-esteem and academic performance in Maths and English among High School students in Kenya revealed that students in advanced grades had higher self-esteem (Herbert W. Marsh; 2006). This, the research indicated, could be due to the fact that students improve in verbal and problem solving skills as they take more academic subjects in school (Nelson et al, 2006).Participants included 1990 students from two boarding high schools in Kenya. The participants ages ranged from 14-18 years old (mean grade =16.5). School 1 (all boys) had 983 participants and school 2 (all girls) had 1007 participants. The average class size for both schools was 45. The size of the schools ranged from 1000-1120 students. Both schools were national schools and admitted only high ranking students (those who scored 450+ out of 600 points on the 8th grade national examination). Teachers in both schools were all graduates from the two main teacher training national universities in the country (KIE 2001). Participation in the study was voluntary; both parental consent and students assent were obtained prior to the data collection. The data were collected from multiple sources using self-report and report cards for academic performance measures during the second term (May – July) of the school year. The students completed a 135 – item survey (Self – Description questionnaire – SDQ III). The survey was administered in English.
Teachers in these two schools appointed students in upper grades to be supervisors (referred to as prefects /monitors) in various contexts such as classrooms, dormitories, cafeteria and games in the teachers’ absence, especially in the dorms and during preparation time, early in the morning and at night. Therefore students in the lower grades looked up to the students in the upper grades for guidance and support. The upper grades had also been at the school longer and knew how to play the ‘rules’. The head student (i.e. one who is in charge of the entire school in the teachers absence), one in charge of the dining hall, games, dorm and any club was always a 12th grader. All these responsibilities, privileges and opportunities in and by themselves would promote the 12th grades’ general self-esteem. In other words, as Marsh et al. (2002) theory concerning reciprocal and mutually reinforcing situations illustrates, in this instance, social acceptance and promotion to high office (head students, prefects, monitors) are reason for an elevated self-concept and subsequent self-esteem. The changing standards by the teachers, especially for students in higher grades (11th and 12th grades) who are preparing for national examination which are usually vigorous and graded by external examiners (KIE, 2001, Mwiria, 1990; Richard 2009) could attribute to better performance.
There were some limitations in the researcher’s statistical analyses that dictate caution in the interpretation of the results. The researchers used teachers’ assigned grades to measure students’ actual academic achievement. It is problematic to compare grades assigned by different teachers, and the test scores in different years are not based on a common metric. However, these teachers assigned scores served the purpose of the study. In addition, previous studies using teachers’ assigned scores had found similar results (Ahmavaara and Houston, 2007, Frank 2009. An ideal situation however, would have been to moderate school grades based on a common test, such as the entry test for the 8th grade. In this case, there was no common test, and the entry test for year 8 was only available for the 9th graders in one school.Since the above research was only based on perceptions of self-concept and actual academic performance in Mathematics and English only, there was need to further investigate how self esteem relates to overall academic performance among high school students in Kenya.
The researcher also intended to investigate whether factors such as feeling of competence, confidence, goal directedness and self efficacy lead to high self-esteem or low self-esteem and their effect on academic performance. The researcher also hoped to find out how social problems such as drug abuse, poor performance and anti-social behavior relate to self-esteem. Finally, the researcher sought to find out how feelings of unworthiness, depression, doubt personality maladjustment and deviant behavior relate to self-esteem and academic performance in secondary schools.
Statement of the problem
In Nigeria, academic performance of students varies greatly at the end of their four year program. This study aimed at finding out how school factors such as school environment, teachers, peers and home factors such as parents and parenting style, parent- adolescent relationships and demographic factors such as age, peer influence, gender and peer statuses affect the students’ self-esteem in relation to their academic performance.
Purpose of the study
The main purpose of the study was to examine how self esteem interacts with factors parent’s level of education as well as demographic factors such as age and gender, among others influence students’ performance. On the basis of this aim, five specific objectives were formulated
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