BIRTH ORDER AND FAMILY SIZE MATTERS
Birth order is looked as the science of understanding a person’s place in his family. The order in which a person lands in their family can affect their family (Leman, 2009). Birth order is the location in which a child is born in a family system. It refers to four basic positions of a child – oldest, middle, youngest and only. Birth order begins with the order in which a person enters their family. It is further shaped by the way a child’s parents and siblings have effect on them. (Leman2001).
Birth order refers to an individual’s ordinal position within his or her family system.Each individual perceives their birth order within their family in a different way using various characteristics to describe themselves. “It is not, of course, the child number in the order of successive births which influences his character but the situation into which he is born and the way in which he interprets it” (Adler, 1956).
We usually argue that Academic performance/Educational attainment is the result of socio-economic stability/status, schooling, environment etc.But Birth Order has a great influence on one’s educational attainment in the long term and in addition Family Size also plays a great role in it. Children of a same family are raised by same parents, same environment, more or less shares in the family’s educational resources but each child’s educational achievement is different from siblings because of their birth order and family size.
Based on my research work titled as “A study of Academic Achievement among higher education students in relation to Birth Order and Family Size” which comprised120 full time undergraduate students from B.A, B.SC and B.COM programmes between the ages of 17 – 20 having both Male and Female, Rural and Urban subjects of five colleges of Srinagar, Ganderbal and Baramulla districts of Kashmir valley. Out of total 120 higher education students:
- 6th born were 1.66%, 5th born were 4.16%, 4th bornwere 7.5%, 3rd born were 21.6%, 2nd born were 29.16%, 1st born were 32.5% and the only child were 3.33%.
- In relation to Nuclear Family Size – there were 111 students who belongedto nuclear families i.e., 92.5% among which 55 were Male (28 urban & 27 rural male) and 56 were Female (27 urban & 29 rural female).
- In relation to Joint Family Size – there were 09 students who belonged to joint families i.e., 7.5%among which 5 were Male (2 urban & 3 rural male) and 4 were Female (3 urban & 1 rural female).
The findings of the study are:
- 4th birth order Urban Male students were found highest Academic Achievers.
- 5thbirth order Rural Male students were found highest Academic Achievers.
- 2nd birth order Urban Female students were found highest Academic Achievers.
- 6th birth order Rural Female students were found highest Academic Achievers.
- Urban Male students with the family strength of 3 members in a Nuclear Family were the highest Academic Achievers.
- Rural Male students with the family strength of 6 members in a Nuclear Family were the highest Academic Achievers.
- Urban Female students with the family strength of 6 members in a Nuclear Family were the highest Academic Achievers.
- Rural Female students with the family strength of 5 members in a Nuclear Family were the highest Academic Achievers.
- Rural Male students with the family strength of 8 members in a Joint Family were the highest Academic Achievers.
- Urban Female students with the family strength of 8 members in a Joint Family were the highest Academic Achievers.
The main aim of this study was to identify any differences that exist among eldest, middle, youngest and only children in relation to Academic Achievement. The analysis of data revealed that there is significant relationship of Birth Order with Academic Achievement of the Higher Education Students. The results furthermore showed that with respect to the residential area (urban & rural), Higher Education Students differ significantly in the dimension of Academic Achievement. The research further indicated that tertiary students differ significantly in the dimension of Academic Achievement with respect to the gender. This piece of work can provide insight for parents and stake holders in education to realize that even if their children are all raised in the same environment by the same people, each child will be distinct from their siblings because of their Birth Order and Family Size. I believe that, this piece of research will go a long way in developing the objective understanding about the nature of relationship between Birth Order, Family Size and Academic Achievement of tertiary students.
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(The author has done her P.G. in Education from Central University of Kashmir and qualified SET exam recently.