Teenage pregnancy is simply defined as a teenaged or underage girl becoming pregnant. The term connotes that the girl has not yet reached legal adulthood before conceiving. A teenage girl may become pregnant because of various reasons or situations but all teenage pregnancies are a result of sexual activities either voluntary or not. One of the most traumatic and devastating effects of teenage pregnancy is making it difficult for the girl to continue with her education. Drop-out rates, repeaters, poor scoring and unable to graduate are the academic consequences of teenage pregnancy (Hofferth et al, 2001).
This paper proposes to explore how teenage pregnancy affects academic progression. As a student, pregnant teenagers are also expected to meet a minimum rate of academic progress. When we say academic progress, it means passing 50% of the credit points for the subjects that they are enrolled over the duration of the course. Progression status is based on course status, multiple fails and assessment guide.
The key question that will be answered in this study is - how does teenage pregnancy affects the academic development? Other research questions are:
1) How teenagers perceive the effects of their pregnancy and their education?
2) Does being pregnant contribute/support or limit the desire to finish schooling?
3) How teenage pregnancy changes the studying patterns of the teenager?
4) In what specific ways does teenage pregnancy affect the academic performance of the teenager?
5) To what extent does teenage pregnancy affect the academic achievement of the teenager?
Research Aim and Objectives
The main aim of this study is to evaluate how teenage pregnancy affects the academic progression of the teenagers. In lieu with this, the following research questions will be addressed:
· Determine the changes in academic performance, achievement and progressions of the teenagers when becoming pregnant
· Determine the perceptions, attitudes and beliefs of the pregnant teenagers about their education
The theoretical framework I have chosen to utilize in conjunction with this research is an interpretivist one. Interpretivism is the necessary research philosophy for this study because it allows searching the 'details of the situation to understand the reality or perhaps a reality working behind them'. Limitations inherent with this type of framework would include a susceptibility to projecting my subjectivities about teenager pregnancy in the context of the research study. I would tend to think that pregnant teenagers lose their appetite to continue and finish their education but this may not be the case.
Concurrent with this theoretical framework are some pertinent research methodologies. The research strategy to be used is exploratory research because it aims to know more about the phenomenon teenage pregnancy. Exploratory research will enable the study to look at the problem in both descriptive and exploratory manner. This approach is a preferred mean of finding out "what is happening to seek new insights" or "to ask questions or to assess phenomena in a new light." This study will use the principal ways of conducting exploratory research, which include: literature search; consulting the experts about the subject and conducting survey.
My research will operate within the cross-sectional design, as I will be collecting data on more than one case, using structured questionnaires and document analysis. The benefit of this would be that Ì would be able to focus on the breadth and depth of the research. Moreover, by exploring the breath of the topic, I am increasing my validity and the truthfulness of my research, and thereby minimize the confounding variables.
The primary sampling technique to be used is the purposive sampling. This non-probability sampling refers to sampling with specific criteria in mind. As such, the researcher will survey pregnant teenagers aged 14-19 and they must be attending schools at present.
Data gathered using these instruments will be collated for analysis. Data analysis will primarily be characterized by statistical approach. The following statistical formula will be used in the quantitative analysis.
1. Percentage - to determine the magnitude of the responses to the questionnaire.
% = -------- x 100 ; n - number of responses
N N - total number of respondents
2. Weighted Mean
f1x1 + f2x2 + f3x3 + f4x4 + f5x5
x = --------------------------------------------- ;
where: f - weight given to each response
x - number of responses
xt - total number of responses
Hofferth, S. L., Reid, L., Mott, & Frank L. (2001). The Effects of Early Childbearing on Schooling over Time. Family Planning Perspectives, 33(6).