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The Contender
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Family background is the main influence on academic achievement

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/10/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,763 times Debate No: 31132
Debate Rounds (3)
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Hello:) This question is important because every person has to face the time, when he will be able to have the family and children, and he should know about the influence of family background on family members. We are real or future parents and we have to be interested in this question.

"A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones."
"Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
You know that everything and everybody that surround a person reflects on him. Also, it is fairly observed that exactly FAMILY, as the union of the closest people, has the biggest impact on personality and life goals. Now I am sure that exactly family background, as a primary factor, plays significant role in achieving or not academic success.
The first argument, which proves the big influence of family background, is that exactly the relationship between parents and child is the strongest factor in providing a basis and further development of the child"s personality. According to researches, families in general and parents in particular are the most important moral and physical support available to the child. Moreover family background affects child"s vision of the world and also, psychological and emotional states. (
Next argument is family factors such as socio-economic status, family size and parents" education which are responsible for poor or successful academic performance. (Journal of Sociological Research)

And what do you think?


Hi! Let's begin.

Firstly, the burden structure here is for my opponent to show that Family Influence is as a matter of fact the biggest influence. If my opponent has no offense, you default Con because the burden doesn't require I propose a counter-resolution.

Onto the substance! I establish that there's no way to quantify culpability in decision making. For example, it's impossible to say that me getting into Harvard was 25% family influence, 25% natural talent, 15% time management skill, 30% luck, 5% hard work. Unless my opponent provides a way to quantify it, we're going to have to presume Con here because a 'main' influence implies that it's the biggest. Unfortunately, these things aren't quantifiable. Right of the bat, you ought to vote Con here.

Onto the substance - this is going to be mainly a nature vs. nurture debate. I'm advocating that nature is more important. Family influence is all nurture, how the child is raised, so if I show nature is more important than nurture, I win. And "Nature prevails enormously over nurture when the differences of nurture do not exceed what is commonly to be found among persons " " said geneticist Francis Galton.
So much information is encoded within our genes, it's hard to say that family background and how we are raised are a bigger impact than genes.
And to address the second argument, about socioeconomic status, I contend that the causation is the other way around. Intelligence determines socioeconomic status, not the opposite, what my opponent proposes.

Intelligence & socioeconomic status

Herrstein and Murray (1994) argue that low intelligence causes low socioeconomic status, rather than the other way around. So, according to these authors, while SES is correlated with IQ, it should be considered a consequence rather than a cause.

However, adoption studies seem to indicate that SES has a strong, causal effect on intelligence, e.g.:
"Well-controlled adoption studies done in France have found that transferring an infant from a family having low socioeconomic status (SES) to a home where parents have high SES improves childhood IQ scores by 12 to 16 points or about one standard deviation, which is considered a large effect size in psychological research." Wahlsten (1997, p. 76).
Several recent US studies have demonstrated improvements in children's IQ's by improving the lives of infants in disadvantaged circumstances.
These studies employed random assignment of children and families to treatment and control conditions.

These studies selected families with:
� low parental IQ
� low parental education
� minimal financial resources

Experimental group received:
enriched, educational day care outside the home every weekday from 3 months to start of schooling
Control group received:
nutritional supplements and pediatric medical care or crisis intervention but no educational day care
Even though the children returned to their home environment every day and spent holidays and weekends with their families (mostly unemployed, single mothers) in poverty-stricken neighbourhoods, there were large gains in IQ; almost as much as in the French studies previously mentioned.
Furthermore, the mean IQ of the enriched groups appeared to be quite typical of healthy American children. These children continued to show higher IQ scores than controls at age 12 (Wahlsten, 1997). Of course, in these American studies, SES and education were being manipulated. There is of course a strong correlation between SES and education in both directions.

So, there's two layers to the debate:
1) presume con because we can't quantify the influences in decision
2) There's no offense on the Pro side
3) Genes are more important than family

Thus, I urge a Con vote here.
Debate Round No. 1


corleone forfeited this round.


My opponent has basically conceded, unfortunately. The lack of a speech should be enough for a vote my way, and look to my first speech for specific rebuttals and points.
Debate Round No. 2


I am here :) Thank you for the answer!
Yes, I will agree with you that we can"t "quantify culpability in decision making", it is impossible and it depends on each person. But only one thing, which everybody has from the very beginning of the life, is a family. Family is our genes, and also IQ. Your arguments only prove that family has a big influence: "So much information is encoded within our genes" " but we get it from our parents, family. And I see, you agree that SES influence on academics, because of "There is of course a strong correlation between SES and education in both directions." I like your example with infants " "transferring an infant from a family having low SES to a home where parents have high SES improves childhood IQ scores" " it only demonstrates the influence of SES on child"s mental development. Thanks!

Some new evidences:
Ajila and Olutola (2007) agree that home affects the person since it is a first socializing agent in his life. Parents and child"s experience at home play huge roles in molding the personality of the child. Qaiser Suleman et al. (2012) write that "Family is regarded as a social institution because it is an area of human social life that is organized in discernible pattern and because it helps in achieving important societal goals" Also, environment inside home is the main socializing agent, which affects ambitions and interests. It is important that the student"s academic performance is associated with family background. According to Vashist (1993) "a problematic child generally comes from a problematic home". Families with a big amount of domestic issues badly effect on academic performance of the student. Qaiser Suleman et al. (2012) give the information that sometimes family members can be "illiterate and contentious", and they can create the problem from the ordinary issue, which leads to child"s depression and poor academic performance. Ichado (1998) also claims that parent"s constant disagreement can lead to bad academic performance. So, research made by Qaiser Suleman et al. (2012) proves:

Table 08: Performance Yes No TOTAL X2
High Academic Performance
011 069 080 133.79*
Normal Academic Performance
026 104 130
Low Academic Performance
118 032 150
TOTAL 155 205 360

Table 08 illustrates that the calculated value of X2 was found to be 135.76 which is statistically significant because it is greater than the table value of X2 at 0.05 level. Hence the hypothesis that "there is significant effect of domestic issues and tension among the family members on the academic performance of the students" is not rejected. It shows that domestic issues and tension among the family members badly affects the student‟s academic performance.

In turn, good academic performance is a result of a home tuition and a peaceful environment. Students from socialized and favorable families show excellent academic performance. Also, according to research by Qaiser Suleman et al. (2012) :

Table 05: Performance Yes No TOTAL X2
High Academic Performance
073 007 080 163.74*
Normal Academic Performance
094 036 130
Low Academic Performance 019 131 150
TOTAL 186 174 360

Table 05 illustrates that the calculated value of X2 was found to be 163.74 which is statistically significant because it is greater than the table value of X2 at 0.05 level. Hence the hypothesis that "there is significant effect of home tuition on the academic performance of the students" is not rejected. It shows that students whose parent‟s have arranged tuition at home show excellent academic performance.

So, these statements and researches clearly demonstrate the close relationship between family, members of family, home environment and academic performance.

2. a. Again about SES: as we came into consensus in this case I only want to add that according to research by White (1982), there is a definite relation between SES and academic achievement, which means that if one factor is increased the other also increases.

b. Family size also has a significant effect on academic achievement. Smaller family size is one of the reasons of high academic performance. In this case child gets more parents" attention and participation comparing with another child who has to share parents" attention with brothers and sisters. It is fact that parents of many children cannot afford to share quality time with them. So, parents with one, two or maximum three children will be able to increase their children"s academic potentials.

c. Haveman & Wolfe (1995) reveal that parent"s education plays important role in academic achievement, too. Students, whose father or mother has high level of education, show good performance. Also is known that mother"s level of education has a 20 % higher affect on academic performance than father"s education level. If mother is well-educated and has high self-esteem, her child will show successful academic performance.

This interrelation between socio-economic status, family size, parents" education and academic performance shows different but huge influence, either positive or negative, on academic achievement.

After examining all the evidences, it will be rightly said that "like begets like". Lovely family environment, educated parents, high social status will positively affect on student"s academic performance. And vice versa, unfavorable home environment, domestic issues, lack of parents" attention because of large family will negatively influence the student. Clearly noticeable the huge influence of family background on person"s social place and his possibilities to achieve success, particularly, in academic performance.
I still think that exactly family is the biggest influence and stimulus for getting or not different achievements, including academic achievement.



valasca146 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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