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This study investigates the influence of birth order and gender on academic achievement of secondary students in Offa Local Government of Kwara State.

The study became relevant due to the high rate of failure in our secondary schools.
The data were obtained from 150 respondents using the simple random sample technique.

In doing this the researcher selected ten (10) secondary school in Offa Local Government Area out of which fifteen (15) respondents were selected schools.

While data collected were analysed using t-test and ANOVA Statistical procedure.
The result obtained showed that mistakes of other siblings, inability of the parent to meet the child’s needs, a child’s gender, family problems, playmates and friends among other influences students academic achievement in secondary schools.
Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended that Nigerian school environment need adequate consideration by all the stakeholders in the rational education system.

Background of the Study
Without exception you are one of the followings: the oldest or the youngest or named after some relation who has passed away.
Alfred Adler (2006) said that birth order influences personality.

He argued that birth can leave an indelible impression on an individual is style of life, which is one’s habitual way of dealing with the task of friendship love and work. According Adler, Firstborns are “dethroned” when a second child comes along, and this may have a lasting influence on them.

Young and only children may be pampered and spoilt which can also affect their later personalities. Birth order can be affected by these, the spacing in years between siblings, the total number of children and the changing circumstances of the parents over time.
Women (2001) see the environment and family as one of the major influences that can affect a child’s academic achievement.

Also, through further research other writers like Dennis-Coon and Glean Myers Blairs, R. Stewart Jones and Ray H. Simpson have identified how far birth order and gender can influence students’ academic achievement.
Duntoye (2002), parents with small number of children have enough time and attention for their needs.
Bukoye (2002) emphasized that parents have great influence on their children academic achievement and career aspiration and can definitely convince them to pick after them.

The economic strength of parents determines how they can help the child in academic achievement and career in life.
Fatola (2002) emphasized that some emotional problems brought from home can affect learning thereby causing poor academic achievement of students.
First borns and only children acquire quality education (Adams 2000; Ernst and Angst 2001; Travis and Kohu 2002).
Manaster (2002) showed the role of gender and birth order on educational attainment in Japan.

Attribution of failure first born males and first born females were more likely than later born males to blame failure lack of effort and circumstances beyond control, whereas other males and females blamed failure on lack effort alone study, it was also shown that grandparents stressed to first born males while they were growing up that they must study properly to avoid bringing shame to the family.

This was not stressed to other males nor to females.

Language and cultural instruction, firstborn males received at least little training and instructions.
Michael E. Lamb and Brian Sutton Smith (2000) made point that siblings relationship often last an entire life time.

They pointed out that life span view proposes that development is continuous which individuals continually adjusting to the competing demands of socialization agent and biological tendencies.

Thus, even those concerned only with interactions among young siblings implicitly or explicitly acknowledged that all relationships change over time and that any effects of birth order may be eliminated, reinforced or altered by later experiences.
Walter Tolman (2000) believes brothers and sisters often turn to each other when parents cannot meet all their psychological needs.

Thus, a child relationship with brothers and sisters may serve as training ground for adult attitude and relationship. Since there is no one that is an inland the support of siblings is very much needed for the academic achievement of each student and this can come in the area of doing assignments projects etc.
All Part (2003) said that personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of these psychological systems that determine his unique adjustment to his environment. Mostly, the personality position of a child determines to some certain extent what he might become in life.

Birth order or ordinal position can leave a lasting imprint on adult personality.
Belmont and Marolla (2001) emphasized that birth order effects can be stated only as broad patterns.

Being first or later born child does not mean that your personality will fit the preceding descriptions. Countless factors including the number of children in a family, age difference, age of parents can modify birth order effects.

Nevertheless, when large samples of people are considered birth order and gender effects typically emerge,
Alao (2008) in explaining how the family atmosphere affects a child’s value and sex roles, he explained that family constellation and methods of upbringing or child-rearing practices affects a child’s academic achievement. He claimed that parents have a paramount role in the children is life.

According to him, the complex relationships of the child with the mother, father and other siblings in the family affect the development of character and mental health. It thus becomes very imperative to study a situation where his claim does not operate in relationship to mental health and academic achievement of such children.
Related or relevant studies have been done by Olisa (2001) Ogunlade (2002) Ogundele (1989) and Nwachukwu (1998) on the influence of family background variables on the academic achievement of students in secondary schools.
Ezewu (2004) explained that the practice of leaving children under the care of paid workers in recent in the Nigeria culture, rather these children are given to extended family members by their biological parents for upkeep or upbringing.
It is a common practice in Nigerian society to see parents giving out their children to other family members for upkeep care and nature.

Many of these children so given out face diverse problems as they grow and develop especially those who are of school going ages one of the such problems could hinder their academic achievement and thus need to provide counselling services to such children especially those in secondary schools.
The need for proper study of these students’ academic achievement and their home background is imperative so as to identify their academic problems or achievement level and counselling needs as applicable.
Ezewu (2006) stated that the various family systems, monogamy, polygamy, polygyny or polyandry have their children rearing patterns based on the influence of the social set up under which a particular system is being used.

In Nigeria, for instance, a family given out his children to extended family members in contrast to the nuclear types of the western of developed world where adoption is rampant. He (Ezewu), believed that a child can therefore be fostered in extended family homes of grand-mothers/fathers, aunts etc. for various reasons, such reasons can be social economic, cultural or other considered exigencies of life.

It is concern of this study to relate, where necessary, such fostered or non-fostered students to their academic achievement with its attendant problems and counselling needs.
Adefila (2005) in her study of child rearing practices among the Ibo and Yoruba people in Nigeria found that Nigerian parents desire to have many children.

As in any other African societies, family solidarity is a passion among Nigerians. She discovered that no matter where the family might level, where in the city or the smallest village, the extended family tradition is carried on.
Inference from this may suggest that children given to these family members for upkeeping and blood relationship intact without much concern for what happens to such children.
Ezewu (2006) asserted that a child, if he enjoys the affection of both parents, he will quite likely grow up to be a good adult members of the society, the word likely here posses a controversy.

It shows that the author realize the effect of environmental influences on the child whether reared within the biological parents home or elsewhere.

It affords, therefore am bivalence in the growth or the personality of the child.

This study tends to show such environment influences on the child whether fostered or not, in relation to its academic achievement and counselling needs.
Claire (2002) realizing the vital impotence of family contract on a child said that we are by nature gregarious animals and we suffer real deprivation, physical and intellectual as well as emotional, if we lack contact with.
Thus, providing adequate family and adequate amount of contact with other people is an essential part of good child care.

What Claire is saying is that family contact is very essential for the overall development of the child’s personality. Hence, there is the need for both parents to jointly bring up the child.

What happens to jointly bring up the child. What happens to fostered and non-fostered students/children in relationship to their academic achievement and counselling needs becomes an issue or question for this research to answer.
Alao (2008) explained how the family atmosphere can affect a child’s personality.

He argued that the life style or personality of the individual evolves from a combination of family atmosphere and value, sex role, family constellation and methods of child rearing.
He postulated that parents have a paramount role to play in children’s behaviour and usually play an important role, in the social emotional intellectual and personality development of their children.
Alao summarized his thought and said that the complex relationships of the child with the mother, father and other siblings in the family affect the development of character and mental health.

Where the situation descri1bed above is lacking suggests a problem for the child especially if he/she is fostered.
Mallum (2007) stated that whatever methods parents (especially mothers) use to bring up a child have effect on the latter development of the child.

Mallum believes that parents (especially mothers) have child-rearing patterns to bring up the child right from the moment of conception to the time when the child leaves the primary school at say age twelve years.

To him, the method and pattern whether hostile or warmth will to a large extent affect the child in later life. A child that is shown warmth and affection will grow to be more confidents; independent and achieve. On the other hand, a child that lacks all the warmth especially if on foster may likely not progress adequately well in later life endeavour especially academic.

Statement of the Problem
The influence of birth order and gender on academic achievement cannot be over-emphasised; this has been proved by various research works which were conducted by past researchers.
Alao (2008) stated that family atmosphere affects a child’s value and sex roles and explains that family constellation and method of upbringing or child rearing practices affect a child’s academic achievement.
The researcher intends to pick secondary school in Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State.

The project intends to investigate if there is any influence of a child position in the family as well as the influence of his gender on his academic achievement.
Various problems contribute to students’ academic achievement: the influence of birth order and gender are of great concern to the researcher.
Related and relevant studies have been done by Alfred Adler (2006), Women (2001) Belmont and Marolla (2001), Walter Tolman (2000), Fatola (2002) and Michael .E. Lamb and Brian Sutton Smith (2000) on the influence of birth order and gender on students academic achievement of students in some secondary schools.

The study found out that birth order and gender can influence academic achievement.


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