An investigation into gender differences in English language perfomance in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in Mombasa District
The purpose of this study was to investigate the gender difference in performance of English language at K.C.S.E level. It covered a period of the past four years (2000-2003). The research was done in Mombasa District, Coast Province. For the purpose of the study, three out of ten secondary schools were sampled through stratified random sampling from the schools within Mombasa Island. Three instruments: Student's questionnaire, teachers interview schedule and the K.C.S.E result sheets for the past four past four years (2000-2003) were used in gathering the required information from the students and teachers. The data obtained was analysed using descriptive and qualitative statistics. The researcher found out that girls perform better than boys in the English language at K.C.S.E level for the past four years which were under study. The girls' mean stood at 5.52 while the boys' at 4.57 the girls deviated from the mean by 1.53 while the boys at 2.09. The T-tailed test, which was applied at 0.05 significant level, yielded 1.171 at between -1.96 and +1.96. This level of significance was very high. It enables the researcher to accept the hypothesis, which predicted that girls performed significantly better than the boys at K.C.S.E level in English language. The same applied to the mixed school. Where the girls' mean score stood at 4.8 while the boys' at 3.56. The girls deviated from the mean by 2.01 while the boys deviation is at 3.05. The T-tailed that yield 0.6 at 0.05 level, falling between -1.96 and +1.96 again the significant level is good enough to point out disparity. The researcher found out that the student's career choice led by 88% as one reason, which contributed to gender parity in English performance. This was followed by the sex of the teacher. Students believed that girls were better performers in English language, reading habits, students attitude towards English language as a subject and finally composition writing. In the light of the findings, the researcher came up with recommendations when gender parity happened to have been found. The researcher therefore recommended that teachers needed to employ various teaching strategies, which could enable both sexes to improve on their English language performance at K.C.S.E level. Students needed to be encouraged to read more by changing their reading habits and attitude especially the boys. Teachers needed to give students composition to write more often that it was practiced then. This is because practice makes perfect. It would also boost the morale of the male students to write and not prefer maths and sceince subjects only where writing was minimally done. Role models of professional experts in this area would help remove the society's misconception that English language is the domain of girls only. The researcher concluded that, all the above facts researched and asserted pointed out to the real glaring truth that English language is indeed the girl's domain.