MUSCAT: A latest study conducted by a member of the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) faculty shows that father’s educational background has a significant and positive impact on academic performance of a student.

Social factors such as parents’ educational achievements have been found to be more significant than economic factors in explaining students’ educational performance in Omani society, says the study by Dr M Mazharul Islam from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, College of Science, SQU.

It was supported by an internal research grant. The study’s finding supports the thesis that family income is not the only factor influencing academic success among children. Dr Islam’s study has identified pre-admission qualification, time spent on study, class attendance, probation status, father’s education, parental support and involvement, interest in major subjects of study, and gender of students as significant determinants of academic performance.

The data for the study came from a cross-sectional retrospective survey among SQU students of the 2008-2010 batch. The sample size was chosen from six colleges – Agricultural & Marine Sciences, Arts & Social Sciences, Economics & Political Science, Education, Engineering, and Science. Ultimately, 585 filled-in questionnaires were collected from the respondents.

The academic performance of students was measured by cumulative grade point average (CGPA) on a four-point scale. Of the total 585 students, 54.5 per cent were female. About half (49 per cent) of the students reported that their usual place of residence was in the city or in urban areas. Most of the students (about 80 per cent) were from outside Muscat governorate.

Female students were found to be economically better off than male students. The average CGPA of the graduating students was 2.8. Female students showed higher CGPA than male students (2.9 against 2.7 respectively).

Female students entered SQU with a better high school grade than male students (91 per cent vs 87 per cent). More than half (53 per cent) of the students spent less than ten hours per week in studying their course or on home work, while 47 per cent spent ten hours or more studying. On an average students spent nine hours per week for study.

Female students spent more hours on study than male students (ten hours against eight respectively). “The relative under-performance of boys in recent time has raised a serious policy concern. Researchers have argued that girls receive higher grades than boys because they work harder, and are more study-oriented than boys,” Dr Islam said.

SOURCE: Muscat Daily