ASSESSMENT OF THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF BIOLOGY STUDENTS SENIOR SECONDARY CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION DUE TO GENDER

 ASSESSMENT OF THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF BIOLOGY STUDENTS SENIOR SECONDARY CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION DUE TO GENDER

Abstract

The study focused on  Assessment of the academic achievement of biology students senior secondary certificate examination due to gender. Two research questions    and null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. The population of this study comprised of all the students and teachers  senior  Secondary School II (SS II) students selected from all the secondary schools in  Gumel local government area of Jigawa State  The instrument used for data collection was Biology Achievement Test (BAT), data were analyzed using mean and standard deviation for all research questions, and analysis of co-variance (ANCOVA) was used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The findings of the study revealed that the mean achievement score of female secondary school students was higher than the mean achievement scores of male students. The findings of the study also revealed that: male and female secondary school students taught Biology by male teachers obtained higher mean scores than male and female students taught  Biology by female teachers and female students taught  Biology   by male teacher performed better than masculine students taught Biology by male teacher and vice versa. The study also reviewed that there are significant different in the mean achievement of secondary school students in  biology based on gender. Based on these findings, the researcher recommended that   Female students should be admonished to approach every subject without inferiority complex to the male students.  Parents are encouraged to provide the right education they can afford for their children irrespective of gender. There should be a deliberate Federal Government policy to encourage absorbance of female students into further study in  Biology

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the study

The problem of students’ under-performance in secondary schools in Nigeria has been a much discussed educational issue. In solving any problem however, it is pertinent to understand the  causes of such problems. Many causes or agents have been studied as the etiological starting point for investigating the phenomena of

school failure or success. These causes are looked into from several perspectives including the role of the students, teachers, parents or family, school environment, society, government etc. 

            Gender is one of such factors also mentioned in literature to have considerable effects on students’ academic performances especially in science subjects. Gender is the range of physical, biological, mental and behavioural characteristics pertaining to and differentiating between the feminine and masculine (female and male) population. The importance of examining performance in relation to gender is based primarily on the socio-cultural differences between girls and boys. Some vocations and professions have been regarded as men’s (engineering, arts and crafts, agriculture etc.) while others as women’s (catering, typing, nursing etc.). In fact, parents assign task like car washing, grass cutting, bulbs fixing, climbing ladders to fix or remove things etc. to

the boys. On the other hand, chores like dishes washing, cooking, cleaning and so on are assigned to the girls. In a nutshell, what are regarded as complex and difficult tasks are allocated to boys whereas girls are expected to handle the relatively easy and less demanding tasks. As a result of this way of thinking the larger society has tended to see girls as a weaker sex”. Consequently, an average Nigerian girl goes to school with these fixed stereotypes.

In view of the belief that students’ gender may have impact on the students’ academic performance, this study will study the relationship between them if any. Gender differences in achievement have been examined for some time resulting in a substantial body of literature Jack & Johannes (2001); Talabi, Emiola & Ogunsakin (2003); Mustafa, Khan & Fabunmi (2004); Rusillo & Arias, (2004); Adeyemi & Ajibade (2011); Akinsola (2007), Nenty (2010  Atovigba et al, (2012) etc.). Some of these researchers pointed out that there is no significant gender difference in students’ academic achievement and retention in various subjects while others found significant difference with either the boys or the girls performing better.

Gender is a specially constructed phenomenon that is brought about as society ascribes different roles, duties, behaviours, and mannerisms to the two sexes, (Mangvwat, 2016 ). It is a social connotation that has sound psychological background, and it is used to refer to specific cultural patterns of behaviour that are attributed to human sexes. Gender relates to cultural attributes of both males and females (Akpochafo, 2019). Gender according to Lahey (2003) is a psychological experience of being a male or female. It has to do with personality and central components of self-concept. Unlike sex, which is concerned with, only the distinction between male and female based on biological characteristics, gender encompasses other personality attributes as roles, orientation and identity based on individual’s conceptualization of self. For instance, Singh (2010) opines that gender refers to a socio-cultural construct that connotes the differentiated roles and responsibilities of men and women in a particular society. This definition implies that gender determines the role, which one plays in relation to general political, cultural, social and economic system of the society. According to Betiku (2002), gender refers to all the characteristics of male and female, which a particular society has determined and assigned each sex. Also, Onyeukwu (2000) sees gender as the dichotomy of roles culturally imposed on the sexes.

Avulata and Oniyama (1999) once described gender stereotype in school as “hidden curriculum” which send out messages to girls to conform to role expectation. In most societies, gender has roles based on the women folk, preventing their participating in, and benefiting from development efforts (UNESCO, 2000). This has created a big psychological alienation or depression in the minds of the female students (Joel and Aride, 2016 ). As a result, boys dominate Biology , Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Environmental studies classes while the girls go into reading languages and Arts.

United Nations (UN) adopted various resolutions to ensure equal opportunities for all gender in education and empowerment. In 1982, UNESCO conference in Harare called for setting up of structures in Africa at the National level to develop, absorbs and uses Science and Technology to distribute developmental tools among the various genders. Okeke (2017) affirmed that the proportion of girls in science classes in secondary and tertiary institutions or in employment as scientist, engineers, and technologists in Nigeria is quiet low. In line with the above claim, Akpochafo (2019) reported that in Nigeria as in many African societies, there is gender bias, a situation in which cultural beliefs and structural arrangement favour men over women. This can be witness in most of elective positions contestable by man and woman. People always see women as not fit to govern or rule since men are involved. The idea that female should be under and submissive to men have created negative influence in the life women folk. Explaining further, Anele (2008) is of the view that the socio-cultural practices of the African societies have placed men on the position, which give them domineering influence on women folk. In an argument for, and attempt to debunk a belief that seems to general in Africa to create a kind of relief for gender equality, Okoye (1987) argued that because of various biological differences in human make-up such as those between male and female, people assume that one sex may have a learning edge over the other sex. Intrinsically, there is practically no significant difference in the intelligence between male and female that can be traceable to gender difference. He argued that, the fact that men are regarded as the dominant and even superior sex does not mean that they are artistically better than women are, (Okoye, 1987).

Okeke (2007) equally observed that, the Nigerian school curriculum is not gender fair since its contents reflect mainly the concerns of males; science careers portray masculine images in the curriculum; and more still, female suffer discrimination from teachers overtly & covertly, knowingly and unknowingly. These actions automatically put the girls in a disadvantaged position for achievement in classroom interaction especially in Biology  and science related subjects.

Since post-independence era in many developing countries like ours (Nigeria), education has been emphasized both as a basic right and as a major enabling factor for the development process. The launching of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) and the world declaration of Education for All (EFA), to which Nigeria is a signatory, underscores the importance of education for all. There is a continual reminder that Nigeria is a signatory to various declarations of human rights 1948, 1959, 1966, 1989 and 1999, all of which agree that, the child irrespective of sex, has the right to good education, freedom from all forms of discriminations and freedom to participate freely in any National development programme (Allele, 2000). In many Nigerian societies, people and even some educated ones still believe that women education end in her kitchen. They still have this hunches that by nature women are created to continue the work of creation by God through child-bearing not to participate in any intelligent social action.

 

Okoro (2008) thus observed that males and females show great differences in their interest and career choice. These differences may be attributed to the psychological differences and cultural influences. Females’ enrollment in vocations is quite different from those of males. Even parents generally encourage their daughters to opt for professions not masculine in nature. UNESCO (2000) has it that local customs, values have been developing in girls, and they are so deeply ingrained that some of them find it difficult to cope in areas that are believed to be male dominated professions. Lie and Syoberg (2004) observed that, invisible rules within the society have provided what is feminine and what is masculine. This could also be found in Biology  classroom interaction as male students dominate the female folk in all sorts of curricula activities.

Achievement test results conducted by Onekutu (2002) has shown that boys and girls in the early ages perform equally in all subjects including English language, and as they grow to higher classes, the girls begin to get more interested in language Arts, while the boys take more to sciences and Social Sciences. This has resulted to a situation where there are more boys than girls offering Social Sciences. However, the issue of gender and students’ academic achievement has remained a controversial one. While some propose that, males perform better than females in academics, others argue that, the reverse is the case. Veinon (2002) reported that, many comparisons show average scores of boys and girls to be the same on general intelligence test. He said that, girls do a little better on most verbal tests and on tests involving rote memory than boys. On tests of inductive reasoning and arithmetical ability, though with a great deal of overlapping, the average differences, he said, seldom exceeds about four points of intelligence quotient. He added that, the most marked difference occurs on spatial and mechanical tests, and wonders if such ability might be attributed to the cultural influences on our civilization, which encourages boys to develop physical, constructional and mechanical interests. He concluded that, many surveys demonstrate that the range or spread of ability is slightly more restricted in girls.

 Academically their performance depend on their effort and potentiality of the girl. Biology is the science which study living things, but living things have certain characteristics which distinguish them from non-living things. They grow, respire, excrete, respond, reproduce and eventually die.

The experts who are handling biology are called Biologist. The wide range of knowledge which variable today and discovery of physics and chemistry have helped biologist to understand more about living organisms. Biology is one of three core subjects which is taught in secondary schools as science, it explains their structure, functions, evolutionary development and surrounding. It is divided into two branches Zoology and Botany. Those two sections break into such area as: Anatomy, Physiology and embryology which deal respectively with the structure, the function and the development of organisms.

Beside, a number of students perceives Biology as relatively an easy subject compared with other science subject. Since biology is usually considered as the easiest of the science subject which the students is expected to offer. It belongs to a large number of students who form themselves into groups; called peer group; students interest towards learning and teaching in selected secondary schools could be attributed to a number factors from the perceptions of biology by differences students group which can lead to either positive or negative attitude to the study of biology.

This can be so because the group constituting an influential socialization factors among the pre-adolescent and adult stage of human development and this in turn influences their behavioural pattern and communication skills not strongly on the sex differences. The way learners perceives the status of the condition around their environment constitute a major determination of how they learn and appreciate concepts in a given subject like biology. It is widely observed that learning of a particular course is best handled by effective teaching of the subject by the teacher improvement of the course is done by students’ interest and their positive attitude towards biology.

This can be so because the group constitute an influential socialization factors among the pre-adolescent and adult stage of human development and this slow the learning attitude of students.

Okpala (2004) opines that effective learning is governed by the ability to understand what is being taught. It is exaggeration that children without knowledge of biology are likely to be under develop despite sex as Biology open the learners mind to the world around them to see and appreciate nature. Biology instruction require systematic approach, which must as a matter of seriousness be backend up with achievement of good academic result. The teaching of Biology require dedicated teachers who should not see teaching as a last resort.

 Statement of the problem

Every segment of the educational industry operates on a curriculum. It is expected that when learners are exposed to the curriculum of the segment of education they undertake, they should have achieved the objectives of the planned curriculum. This takes no cognizance of gender, or, it could be seen as a matter of no relevance seeing all human beings are thought to have similar characteristics.

However, it has been noted over time that the female folk have lagged behind their male counterparts in many ways that warranted world leaders to sign the millennium development goals in the year 2010. This included gender equality. Is this equality qualitative or quantitative? Is the female inferior to the male inferior in times of learning?

 

OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The major objective is to determine the    the academic achievement of biology students senior secondary certificate examination due to gender Gumel Jigawa state  

The specific objective is to;

1.      To determine the academic performance of secondary school male and female students in  Biology

2.      To determine the academic performance of secondary school male and female students in private and public schools in  Biology.

3.      To find out if teacher gender have effect on students academic performance

Research Questions

The following research questions were raised to guide the study

1)     Does   gender  have effect on students’ academic achievement in 

2)     Does teachers gender have effect on students academic performance in Biology

Research Hypotheses

The following null hypothesis were generated to guide the study

1.      Gender does not have significant difference on students academic performance in  Biology .

2.       There is no significant difference between   teachers gender and students academic performance in Biology

Significant of the study

The findings will be beneficial to both students and teachers because it will help the teacher to improve his methodology of teaching  biology  so that both male and female students will acquire sound knowledge of the subject. It will also serve as a reference material to future researchers on gender  study and add to the existing literature on the challenges of  Biology  in Nigeria.

The findings of the study will be of immense benefit to the government, education planners and administrators, school guidance counselors, educators and teachers, parents and students. The findings could be useful to the government at both State and Federal levels in making special provision to bridge the gap if any in the academic achievement that may be resulting from differences in gender.

Scope of the Study

This study was carried out on senior secondary two (SS2) students and their teachers in some selected Government owned secondary schools in Gumel Jigawa State. The study covers  five selected secondary schools in the study area

 

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