A comparative analysis of academic performance of boys and girls in mixed day secondary schools in Kenya: a case of Kihumbu-ini division of Gatanga district,Murang'a county.
This research was done in Kihumbu-ini division of Gatanga district in the mixed day public secondary schools. The objectives of the study were to establish gender gaps in prior achievement, KCPE, attitudes towards compulsory subjects, family factors, giving of prizes in schools and how these gaps influence the academic performance of boys and girls in the mixed day secondary schools in Kihumbu-ini division. The Gatanga District evaluation test GDET 2011 results were used as a measure of academic performance. KCPE 2008 results score out of possible 500 marks was used as the prior achievement score. A sample of 128 girls and 126 boys were drawn from 6 schools using simple random method out a total population of 424 students. The research utilized self administered questionnaires and document analysis schedules for collecting data about students' prior achievement and academic performance at form 3 CGDET 2011 score). Statistics program for social science (SPSS) was used for calculating means, standard deviation, cross tabulations and independent T -test required for research data analysis. Significance level was determined at p:S 0.05. The findings indicated that boys had higher score than girls in the prior achievement test [KCPE] and that the girls had greatly advanced almost closing the gap at form 3 level of secondary school cycle and girls scored higher than boys in English and Kiswahili. In mathematics the girls performed significantly poorer than boys reversing the gains in the languages when the subjects were combined. There were differences between boys and girls in attitudes, family support and academics prizes awarded, but these differences were not significant. This research suggests further investigation on how to raise performance of mathematics for both boys and girls as their means was found to be very low (12% for girls and 16% for boys). Mathematics should be optional when determining the final grade for examinations that determine placement in colleges and universities as well as further advancement in career to minimize disparity between boys and girls in advancement of education and opportunities in the job market. It is further recommended that academic performance in primary schools be improved to establish strong and competitive entry into secondary schools.