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How the Birth Order Affects the Education Prowess of a Middle Child

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The article, “Effects of the Birth Order on Educational Achievement of Children”, focuses on the effect that birth order has on the educational achievement on students in District DiKhan, Pakistan. The significance of the study outlined in this article was to conclude whether birth order has an effect on students’ educational achievement, and to determine if a parent’s socioeconomic status may play a role in the student’s academic achievement. The author also states that this article could be a milestone for researchers in the future who are interested in understanding the effect that birth order has on a person’s achievement in an academic setting. It is commonly believed that birth order has no significant effect on academic achievement of students who are at a secondary school level, which is the null hypothesis. The researcher’s hypothesis was that if a student at a secondary school level has a certain birth order, then that will be a factor that significantly effects a student’s academic achievement.

To determine the effect of birth order on a student’s educational achievement, a total of 200 participants were randomly selected from two urban and two rural male higher secondary schools in District DiKhan, Pakistan. 50 students from each of the four schools were randomly chosen. There were no female students in this study. All of the participants were in the 10th class. The researcher personally distributed a questionnaire to all 200 students at the four different schools involved in this study. The questions in the questionnaire were very basic and direct. The participants had to chose between two classifications of birth order given, either “First” or “Above one.” Next, the participant’s academic achievement was classified into only two categories, either “High Achievement” or “Low Achievement.” Students who were in the 1st division, which were students who were from 60% to 100%, were those who would be classified as “High Achievement.” Those who would be classified as “Low Achievement” would be the students in the 2nd division (45% to 59%) and in the 3rd division (40% to 44%).

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In order to analyze the data, the researcher used the Chi-square. The data was at approximately a 0.05 for the significance level. This type of research was correlational study. Its purpose was to determine if there was a correlation between a person’s birth order and their educational achievement. The researcher did not utilize a representative sample because their sample size didn’t accurately account for what the purpose of the study was. The purpose of their study was to see if there was a correlation between academic achievement and birth order, not if there was a correlation between academic achievement and birth order in males only. The researcher only studied male participants, which was biased. This study wasn’t balanced because both genders were not participating equally. By having only male participants, the whole population is not represented because in order to accurately determine if there is an effect between birth order and academic achievement, the researcher would have needed to include both genders. The researcher used a convenience sample because the participants were readily available to him at four different schools. The researcher lived close in proximity to the schools he was researching, and was able to visit the schools and administer the questionnaires himself. The researcher chose four male higher secondary schools that were convenient for his study.

The researcher of this study did not try to control for the placebo effect because he determined the conclusions for this experiment by using the results he received directly from the questionnaires. The male students participating in this study could have lied on the questionnaires so they would see the outcome they wanted, but the researcher didn’t control their responses. There was no experimenter bias in this research because the participants were administered the same surveys. The researcher didn’t have any personal interaction with the participants, and neither group of students were treated better than the other. One could argue that there was experimenter bias because females were not included in this research, but in Pakistan, women have different rights and many do not attend school. I believe that if many women did attend school, then the researcher would have studied both genders. I feel as though there should have been 100 participants from each of the four schools totaling 400 participants, instead of only 200. I believe 100 participants from each school would have made this study more accurate because a sample size of only 50 students from each school isn’t much. A school’s environment could affect the results too, so it would be better to have a bigger sample size for this study.

The researcher concluded from his research that birth order might have a significant effect on educational achievement in students. In both rural and urban schools, results showed that almost all students who were the first-born reported having a “High Achievement”, as opposed to those who classified themselves as “Above one”. Mostly all of the students who classified themselves as “Above one”, reported having “Low Achievement”. The results for urban and rural schools were very close. The researcher made an inference based on his conclusions saying that parents spend more money and devote more time to their first-born child’s education, as opposed to their subsequent children. I believe that the researcher drew accurate conclusions from the data that was collected. The researcher should have narrowed his hypothesis to see if the birth order of males affected their academic achievement, instead of being very broad and referencing the whole population, since he only researched males. This study would have been more accurate if females were researched, but in Pakistan it would have been much harder to gather a sample of females going to school, than it would be in America.

There are many factors that could have influenced these results such as school environment, teacher salary, student’s home life, quality of teacher, etc. I believe the questionnaire was too basic and simple to make a correlation between birth order and academic achievement. There were only two very basic questions asked in the questionnaire. In order to make accurate accusations based on the questionnaire, the researcher should have included more in-depth questions and background about the student’s lives. Future researchers replicating this research should take information from a bigger sample size, try to include both genders, if possible, and should gather much more information from their participants.

There are many differences and a few similarities between articles, “Birth Order and Educational Achievements in Adolescence and Young Adulthood” (Ferguson, Horwood, & Boden, 2006) and “EFFECTS OF THE BIRTH ORDER ON EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT IN CHILDREN” (Atta, Jamil, Baloch, & Ayaz, 2011). There are minimal similarities between the research conducted in both articles. Both articles researched the significance that birth order had on academic achievement. They also both used surveys and questionnaires to determine their results. Both articles revealed that there is a correlation between first-borns having a higher academic achievement than those who are not first-born.

There are vast differences between both studies presented in the two articles. According to Ferguson, Horwood, and Boden (2006), those who were not first-born were less likely to stay in school. According to Atta, Jamil, Baloch, and Ayaz (2011), parents spend more money and spend more time on their first-born child’s education, than subsequent children. Ferguson, Horwood, and Boden (2006) questioned the same participants from birth to 25 years old, during different times in their life. Atta, Jamil, Baloch, and Ayaz (2011) only surveyed one grade level at one time, and found that birth order may have a great impact on academic achievement. 1,265 participants were surveyed on many different factors such as marital status, choice to breast-feed and duration, socioeconomic status, IQ, birth weight, how long participants stayed in school, as well as birth order and their grades (Ferguson, Horwood, & Boden, 2006), as opposed to 200 male participants who were given questionnaires that only asked for the students’ birth order and if they had high achievement or low achievement (Atta, Jamil, Baloch, & Ayaz, 2011). Ferguson, Horwood, and Boden (2006) went more in-depth with their research, and studied many different factors, as opposed to Atta, Jamil, Baloch, and Ayaz (2011) who had a very basic study, that didn’t include any other factors that could affect academic achievement.


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