Birth order and School Achievement Essay

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Birth order and School Achievement
There has always been an attempt to figure out why some people do better in school than others. Is it due to financial stability? Is it attributed to parents’ own success as students? Very importantly, one’s birth order plays a role in one’s school achievement.
I. Theory
Growing up with siblings or the absence of siblings can be a major factor in determining academic success. Being the oldest, middle or youngest child does not necessarily determine academic success concretely without exception, but serves as a predictor of future academic success. School achievement is gauged by how far one goes in his or her education, starting from grade school, all the way up to graduate school. Before getting into the developmental stages across the life span and in the interest of time, I will only be discussing birth order in terms of the oldest child, middle child, youngest child and only child because configurations of five or more children occur only in 10% of the families with children. The average family in the U.S. has three (Toman, 1976). Also, I will be dividing the developmental stages into 3 stages: childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
Childhood (Ages 1-12)
     The firstborn child is likely to have intensified feelings of power and superiority, high anxiety, and overprotective tendencies (Feist & Feist, 2002). The firstborn children usually have a close relationship with the parents than laterborn children. The child has the experience of having his or her parents to him or herself and tends to feel like a rather important individual (Forer, 1969). For a while, these children are only children until a
younger brother or sister is born. They experience a traumatic dethronement, which may development resentment towards the new baby. During this time in their life, firstborns may be jealous and want to seek mother and father’s affection. When it comes to school, in grade school, these children will try to seek attention by being a class clown or a rebellious child. Education itself may not be of interest to them. Report cards may show poor grades and unsatisfactory behavior. This makes sense because before the younger siblings were born, the firstborn child was anxiously awaited. Parents are so proud of the firstborn as their “pride and joy.”
     The middle child or s...

... middle of paper ...

...his or her final grade in the class. The students would then be grouped into categories of first born, second born, third born, fourth born, and so on. The students would then be ranked by grades along with their birth orders. I would try to determine the effect of birth order on school achievement. The professor would determine the students’ final grade.
     Whether or not this questionnaire would find significant results for birth order and grades (school achievement), it would be a good way just to see whether there was a correlation. Ultimately, I’m not sure if this group of students would be representative of the population. The group I picked is in California, so it would not be representative of the entire United States. School achievement can be attributed to many things besides birth order such as social influences.

Feist, G.J., & Feist, J. (2002). Theories of Personality (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Forer, L.K. (1969). Birth Order and Life Roles. Springfield, Illinois, U.S.A.: Charles C.
Thomas Publisher.
Toman, W. (1976). Family Constellation (3rd ed.). New York: Springer Publishing
Company, Inc.

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