A SURVEY OF GENDA DIFFERENCES IN PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS’ PERFORMANCE IN BASIC SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

By

Jibril Fuad Abba

Department of Biology

School of Scince Education

Federal College of Education (Technical) Bichi

P.M.B. 3473, Kano

Abstract

The research was conducted at Demonstration Staff Primary School Federal College of Education (Technical) Bichi to explore the effect of gender differences in Basic Science examination mark scores among pupils in Primary 4. The study employs an ex-post factor research design. The population of the study involved all the primary 4 pupils in Bichi Education Zone. 52 pupils (30 male and 22 female) were randomly selected and their end of term examination result in Basic Science were used for the study. The result showed that there was significant difference in the academic performance of male and female pupils in Basic Science and Technology Concepts. It is recommended that the curricula should be equipped with teaching material and training policies that avoid gender stereo-typing.

 

Introduction

The purpose of the elementary (Primary) school is to introduce children to the skills, information, and attitudes necessary for proper adjustment to the community and society. Basically, the Subjects taught are Reading, Basic Science, writing, Spelling, Mathematics, Social Studies and Physical Education. In Most countries Basic Science Education is compulsory for all. In all nations of the world (Nigeria inclusive) science and Mathematics are given first attention due to numerous benefits from them (Ekeh, 2003). Despite the importance of Basic Science Education to the development of communities, the public outcry on the under-performance of students in the subject as well as low enrolment in the science subject disciplines, (Chemistry, physics, Biology) at the senior secondary level sends some signal that there is  problem in the teaching and learning processes of Basic Science. The problem is more pronounced with the female students.

Poor performance of girl child could be as a result of gender disparity, the differences in performance can also be attributed to gender stereotyping which encourages boys more than girls to show interest in subject relevant and related to the roles expected of them in the society. Parents devote much of their time and resources on male child education than female, as women get married and stayed with their husband. It could be viewed broadly to include denial of access to education, early marriage, confinement to solitary living, subjugation by culture to accept choices forced on them, discrimination and harassment at work, political disenfranchisement from elective and political appointment and exposure to cruel mourning rites upon the death of their husband (Oniye, 2000).Despite the importance of science to human development, the preference and awareness of the pupils are predisposed by several limiting factors and conflict among which gender and science ability are the foremost aspect.

The major concern is to improve the academic performance of the pupils in science process skills that is applicable to the pupils’ immediate environment. Educational system is disseminated with serious gender tribulations that need to be overcome. The culture regards male as superior which hinders full women participation to their potentials. This study surveys the gender differences in performance among Basic Science pupils.

Research question

Does gender difference influence performance in Basic science among primary school pupils in demonstration primary school?

Research Hypothesis                                                                                

H0: There is no significant difference in the academic performance of male and female pupils in Basic Science.

Methodology

The study was an ex-post factor design. The end of term results was used without manipulation. The data presented in this research were generated during teaching practice conducted at the Demonstration Staff School, Federal College of Education (Technical) Bichi which examined the effect of gender differences in relation to third term examination mark scores in Basic Science and Technology amongst the pupils in primary four. The study sample was made up to 58 pupils in intact classes comprising 24 girls 34 boys (see appendix for raw scores).

Proportionate sample the boys and girls were determined as follows;

Girls:

Boys:

Lottery method was used to draw a simple random sample in that event a set of 52 tickets  each were assigned a  number representing the pupils mark scores  of  30 boys and 22 girls folded, thoroughly mixed up and drawn one by one. The serial number occurring on the tickets are considered as selected samples Table 1.

Instrumentation

Primary four third term Basic Science and technology examination questions; The Basic Science and Technology examination question was used to assess the pupil’s performance which comprises of section A and section B with 20 items made from the following topic parts: classes of food , Food items and their functions, Measurement and weight,  Physical and chemical change, Skeletal system.

Result

Research Question: Does gender differences influence performance in Basic science among primary school pupils?                                              

To answer this research question, the mean and standard deviation of the male and female pupils were computed in table 1.

Table 1

Gender N   SD Mean Diff
Male 30 64.37 18.47
5.68
Female 22 70.05 23.64

 

From the table, the mean and standard deviation of the male and female students were 64.37; 18.47 and 70.05; 23.64 respectively. The mean difference was 5.68 which was relatively small. To confirm if the mean deviation was significant, the data was subjected to independent sample t-test at The standard deviation was further subjected to Fisher formula for comparing sample standard deviations.

The results are presented in table 2.

Table 2: Statistics for the two independent selected samples

 Variable          t- cal.       P-value        Significant level                                                                    

Female    22   70.05  23.64                                                                                 n.s

                                                50             0.937         1.721         0.05

Male      30   64.37   18.47                                                                                   ns

n.s = Not significant at P= 0.05

 

Discussion

From the result in table 2,   reveals that there was significance difference in the academic performance of the male and female pupils in Basic Science and Technology concepts. Hence the null hypothesis was rejected.

 

Performance of pupils in Primary four categorized by gender

The findings from the research revealed that the null hypothesis, Girls and boys are equally likely to score the same marks on Basic science ability indicated that there are significant differences in the mean scores. That is gender is determines the success or failure in Basic Science and Technology examination amongst the pupils. This result agrees with the findings of Kano (2004) that; gender does have effect on student’s performance in science.

Conclusion

The results from the research shows that gender does have effect on pupil’s performance in Basic Science and technology and concluded that there is  significant difference between two values of Standard deviations. Hence the observed results are unlikely to occur just by chance. The confidence interval  results are not significant. That is chance alone would rarely produce so extreme a result. The result from t- test indicated that the null hypothesis was rejected and accepts the alternative hypothesis. The data give evidence of girl/boys difference in mean Basic Science and Technology scores (t =0.937, df=21, P  0.5) and concluded there is significant differences in the mean scores on basic science examination of the girls and boys. The confidence intervals for the difference between the two means, lies between – 6.49 and 17.85 which covers 0 value expresses that H0  cannot be rejected against the two sided alternative at the level of significant and revealed that there are no innate biological or psychological reasons why girls should not do as well as boys if given the opportunity and if provided with adequate motivation.

 

 Recommendations

Based with finding of the study the following recommendation are made

  1. Performance in Basic science does not depend on gender. For this reason both girls and boys should be uniformly be optimistic to study sciences in the future.
  2. Inspire parents and teachers to raise self-confidence and motivation among girls to pursue interests in science
  3. The curricula should be equipped with teaching material and training policies that avoid gender stereo-typing, encourage balance in the gender composition of teachers and endorsement of female role models in professions typically dominated by men and Support research to further explore which factors shape gender differences in basic science study.

 

References

 

Borg, H. and Gall, B. (2004). Research methods in social sciences. New York, Belton Brown

Ekeh, P. U. (2003). Gender Bias and Achievement in science and mathematics among school pupils: Implications for Human Resources Development. Journal of Curriculum Organization of Nigeria, 10 (1).30-33

Kano, T.N. (2004): Gender Education and Human Resource Development. Journal of curriculum Organization of Nigeria 11(1), 29-33

Okeke, E.C.(2003).Gender and Sexuality Education: Bridging the Gap in Human Resources Development. Journal of curriculum Organization of Nigeria 10(1),117-120.

Kreicie, R.V and Morgan, D W. (1970). Determining sample size for research activities. Educational and Psychological measurement 1970, 30, 607-610

Umoh (2003) Umoh, C. G. (2003) A Theoretical Analysis of the Effects of Gender and family Education on Human Resources Development. Journal of curriculum Organization of Nigeria, 10(1), 1-4

Oniye, A. O. (2000).  Cross-ethnic study of stress levels, support systems and adjustment strategies among Nigeria widows. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis.  Department of Educational Guidance and Counseling, University of Ilorin, Ilorin.

 

APPENDIX

The data for girls are as follows:

18    24    38     20    48    53    58   67    67     73     75     77    93     94    97    57    72     73    75                75       90     94  97   97

The scores of the boys are shown below

14   32    35    36    38   44    48    37   50 72    49  57  60 57  63  57 63 61  62 70  72  71 67 74 72  74 62  77 81 85  77 96 97 91

Structure of questions

Section (A):The pupils were instructed to arrange the name of 10 common food items in a tabular form according to the work they do to the human body.

Section (B): Pupils were instructed to underline the correct answer. Every item was assigned a score of 3-marks respectively; accordingly the total score of 20-items was 60 marks.

 

 

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