When it came to choosing the topic for my thesis I was thinking of looking into the issue that could be related to the students I work with. Having examined the portfolios of the students I found that there is a number of students coming from single-parent families. I have read some articles on the negative influence of single parenthood on students’ performance at school in Western countries. However, there is no research on this topic in Central Asia and Kazakhstan in particular. Therefore, I decided to study the relationship between family structure and student academic performance at secondary schools in one of the regions of Kazakhstan. The research will focus on identifying the difference in academic achievement of students from single-parent families and traditional two-parent households. Furthermore, I tend to examine whether such factors as family income and the level of parent-child interaction affect educational success of students in the two types of families.
It is generally acknowledged that family has an important role in a child’s life. More specifically, family can affect social development and academic experiences of a child (Schneider, B., Atteberry, A., & Owens, A., 2005). Family composition is the fundamental characteristic that has significant effect on children. Moreover, family structure can support or limit parents’ involvement into the process of positive influence on their child’s future achievements (Amato & Keith, 1991).
According to Barajas (2011) “almost 50 % of children born today will spend significant time living with only one parent” (p. 19). The increasing divorce rate in today’s society brings changes to the number of children raised in single-parent families (Abudu & Fuseini, 2013; Center for Marriage and Families, 2005; Kiernan, 1992). Currently Kazakhstan is also facing the issue of high divorce rate. The Agency of the Statistics of the Republic of Kazakhstan indicates that the marriage-to-divorce ratio in Kazakhstan was 3:1 in 2013. The number of divorces has increased almost by 30 % over the period of 13 years from 2000 to 2013 (Ministry of National Economy, 2013). The statistics also show that in the period of four years between 2006 and 2010 every fifth child was born to a single-parent household (International Labour Organization, n.d.). It is obvious that with the growing amount of divorces in the country the number of children living in single-parent households tends to go up as well. Therefore, more research is needed to identify what effect a family structure, single parenthood in particular, can have on a child’s social and academic development.
I believe, the results of the study will have implications at various levels. First, they will be useful for school administration and teachers in terms of determining factors related to high or low academic achievement of students. Also, parents may find this study helpful as they will see what impact such factors as family income and the level of parent-child interaction can have on the academic success of their children. Finally, the conclusions of the research will contribute to the body of knowledge in this area.
Abudu, A.M., & Fuseini, M.N. (2013). Influence of single parenting on pupils’ academic performance in basic schools in the WA Municipality. International Journal of Education Learning and Development, 1(2), 85-94. Retrieved from http://www.eajournals.org/wp-content/uploads/Influence-of-Single-Parenting-on-Pupils%E2%80%99-Academic-Performance-in-Basic-Schools-in-the-Wa-Municipality.pdf
Amato, P.R., & Keith, B. (1991). Separation from a parent during childhood and adult socioeconomic attainment. Social Forces, 70(1), 187-206. doi: 10.2307/2580068
Barajas, M. (2011). Academic achievement of children in single parent homes: a critical review. The Hilltop Review, 5(1), 13-21. Retrieved from http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1044&context=hilltopreview
Center for Marriage and Families. (2005). Family structure and children’s educational outcomes. (Research Brief No. 1). New York, NY: Institute for American Values. Retrieved from http://americanvalues.org/catalog/pdfs/researchbrief1.pdf
International Labour Organization. (n.d.). Work and family responsibilities: the Republic of Kazakhstan. Retrieved from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/eurpro/moscow/info/publ/waf_resp_kaz_en.pdf
Kiernan, K.E. (1992). The impact of family disruption in childhood on transitions made in young adult life. Population Studies, 46(2), 213-234. doi: 10.1080/0032472031000146206
Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan Committee on Statistics. (2013). The number of registered divorces. Retrieved from http://taldau.stat.kz/ru/NewIndex/GetIndex/703864
Schneider, B., Atteberry, A., & Owens, A. (2005). Family matters: family structure and child outcomes. Birmingham, AL: Alabama Policy Institute. Retrieved from http://www.alabamapolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/API-Research-Current-Family-Structure.pdf