Survey on gender and academic performance in secondary schools in Kenya
Kashu, Jane Nabiki
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The research sort to determine gender disparities looking at academic performance. This arose from the predominant view held that boys have always performed better than girls more so in Sciences and Mathematics. The study contrasted performance within a five year period, and across the top twenty best performing schools. The study was based on the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results obtained as secondary data from the Kenya National examinations Council. The results show that boys are still scoring higher than girls in overall performance and across subjects. Students at this level naturally comprise both boys and girls and all are expected to undertake the standard KCSE examination. This introduces the aspect of gender in education. Gender refers to the economic, social, political and cultural attributes and opportunities, associated with being either male or female. Both sexes undertake the same examination and are thus judged on the different outcomes. The debate on gender in education has most of the times had to do with access rather than issues of performance differences. Studies done elsewhere in the world show that there is a marked difference inperformance between boys and girls. This study is a quantitative comparative study (comparing the performance of boys and girls) in the overall mean scores and in individual subjects in a period of five years (2007-2011). Further comparison is done between different school categories to ascertain whether the gender disparity does exist at such levels. The data came from the Kenya National Examinations Council KCSE examination results data base. The target population (sampling frame) for the study was all candidates in the secondary schools in Kenya who have sat for the KCSE examination in the years 2007-2011. This study was carried to compare the academic performance between boys and girls in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KC SE) across a period of five years (2007-2011). The study was driven by trends that arise when gender trends are raised in education. In most, if not all cases, the boys performs higher than girls, more so in Mathematics and Sciences. The case was the same in the given study. The survey involved a total of 1,643,458 students. This allowed concrete conclusions. Further performance also varied across top performing schools, where boys still did better than girls'. The only exception was between boys and girls in private schools where there was no significant difference in their overall performance. The study raises a challenge in that, advantages created for girls in education seems not to give advantage to girls. Further as the world moves to new dispensations of the 21st Century and Climate Change crisis, the education fraternity is still struggling with issues of the past for example (performance, access, retention, lack of resources) while a new paradigm shift is required. This should put education fraternity on alert. The situation is worse for girls. This is indeed a looming crisis for educators in the society. There is need to urgently address issues that will take education to another level and adapt measures that will ensure equity in performance for all, an education that will ensure change that reviews the past, adapts the present and pre-empts the future. The focus of this change should be gender and academic performance.
CitationMasters degree in Education (Measurements and Evaluation)
University of Nairobi