The causes and effects of gender difference in academic performance in secondary schools: a case study of four secondary schools in Nairobi
Kibiku, Samuel W
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This study was carried out in Nairobi Province of Kenya. The study, which used survey data, official statistics and in-depth discussions, was an attempt to investigate the presence of differences in academic performance between the sexes, and possible factors responsible for these disparities. It was hypothesised that some of these factors play an important role in academic performance. Some of the factors considered in this investigation were the teachers sex, school environment, home based factors such as family role models, as well teachers attitudes towards their learners. The study had also hypothesized that there is a distinct disparity in general academic performance between female and male learners in secondary schools, with male learners performing better. The study mainly utilized the survey methods of inquiry. The sample was 135 respondents, randomly picked from four secondary schools in Nairobi Province . Thepupils in the sample were form three and four students. The gender composition was 70 male pupils, and 65 female pupils. The schools that produced the sample were onbasis of; one girl's school, one boys school and two mixed schools. Thestudy also analysed official KCSE mean scores for the years 2000 and 2001. For year2000 the sample was of70 pupil's 43 males and 27 females for 2001 the sample was 82 pupils; 47 males and 35.females. •v In-depth discussions with 7 teachers were also held using a teacher's in-depth discussions guide. - Correlation coefficient (r) was used to test the hypotheses on the level of significance of relationships and predictions. The salient findings of the study were; 1. Significance sex difference in overall achievement was found to be in favour of the males. 2. Teacher's attitudes towards their pupils are not influenced by pupil's sex. 3. The sexes level of academic aspirations showed no significance ejifferences. 4. Majority of the learners were not happy with their school a factor that might create a barrier to good academic performance. It is recommended that the school administration pay more attention in creating a good learning environment, which can help the pupils, concentrate in learning activities instead of worrying about their school. May be a constant dialogue with pupils can help to identifythe pupils problems inorder to find solutions.