Gender Differences in Mathematics Performance at Secondary School Level in Kandara Sub-County, Muran’ga County, Kenya
Kyavoa, Mwalya Samuel
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The purpose of this study was to investigate gender differences in mathematics performance in secondary schools. The study was carried out in Kandara Sub-county in Murang’a County. The study was guided by four objectives: - (1) determine the level of gender differences in mathematics performance in secondary schools. (2) determine students related perspectives about mathematics that contribute to gender differences in mathematics performance in secondary school. (3) determine how school environment contributes to gender difference in mathematics performance in secondary schools. (4) examine mathematics teacher’s opinion towards gender difference in mathematics performance in secondary schools. The variables for the study were mathematics content taught and student’s performance in mathematics. The target population was all the 50 secondary schools in Kandara sub-county. Ten schools which constituted (20%) in the region were sampled using stratified random sampling techniques. Schools were classified into county schools, sub-county boarding schools, and day schools. From sampled schools, simple random sampling technique was used to pick 20 Form Three students per school to make a total of 200 students. Out of the total 74 mathematics teachers in the sub-county, 20 (27%) mathematics teachers were sampled. The study used cross-sectional descriptive survey design. Data was collected using written test items for students, and open ended questionnaires for students and teachers. The study collected both quantitative and qualitative data and analyzed using statistical package for social science (SPSS – Version 21). The descriptive statistics used in this study included mean and percentages. Data was presented using frequencies, bar graphs and charts. Results revealed that there are gender differences in mathematics performance in Kandara sub-county, Murang’a county secondary schools. The student test item results revealed that male students in Kandara sub-county, Murang’a County outperform female students in mathematics. More so, county boarding boys secondary school students are the best performers in mathematics, followed by county boarding girls, Sub-County boarding boys while Sub-County day secondary schools had the poorest performance with female students scoring the lowest on the set test items. Through various statements from teachers and students, the researcher corroborated these results as the findings generally indicated that boys outperformed girls in Mathematics. Further, the study also revealed that though female students trail male students by performance in mathematics, some female students also outperform some male learners in the subject with majority of such girls coming mainly from county boarding girls’ schools. Based on the findings, we recommend that policymakers should target more on the programs that would improve performance of girls in Mathematics especially addressing variables that affect girls negatively. Further, some programs to sensitize various teacher’s opinions on gender differences and their impact on performance in Mathematics should be developed and implemented in schools.