Abstract: The study investigated Gender Variables and Academic Achievement in Social Studies among Junior Secondary School Students. Three research questions and three research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The population of the study consisted of all junior secondary two students in secondary schools in the study area. Two hundred social studies students were randomly selected from four selected public secondary schools. The survey research design was adopted in carrying out the study. The instruments used in this study were a questionnaire entitled “Gender Variables Questionnaire (GVQ)’’ and Actual Scores of Students in Social Studies of First Terminal Examination in the 2018/2019 academic session.
Findings revealed that there is a significant difference in academic achievement in Social Studies among male and female junior secondary school students; that there is a significant difference in academic achievement in Social Studies among male and female junior secondary school students in urban areas; similarly, that there is a significant difference in academic achievement in Social Studies among male and female junior secondary school students in rural areas in junior secondary schools. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended that students should recognize the need for effective participation during lesson presentation in social studies irrespective of their gender differences.
Gender Variables and Academic Achievement in Social Studies among Junior Secondary School Students
1.1 Background to the study
The teaching learning process involves a vast array of interventional processes at the centre of which is the teacher (the facilitator of learning) on one hand and the students (the learners) on the other hand. According to Eyo (2014), learning is a purposeful, conscious and complex process which must involves the effort of the learners before there is effective learning. An important feature of learning according to Eyo is that it involves a complex interaction between the students and the learning concepts.
However, according to Ekwe (2015) the students occupy the central role for learning to occur as learning cannot be forceful and as such the learners must be ready to learn before they can learn. However, due to the important position occupy by students in the teaching/learning process, their variables become necessary to be investigated upon. Clark and Rumble (2014) in addition to personal and mental developments, students’ variables analysis is critical for ensuring ones access to social, economic and civic life. In the contemporary Nigerian society, greater emphasis is being placed on industrial and technological development. As a result, students are being encouraged to take up education as the source of livelihood. Social studies is a subjects that cut across all the areas of education. For effective technological and scientific advancement in Nigeria, the students must be encouraged academically irrespective of the gender of the students (Inyang, 2015).
Contemporarily, individual variables such as gender, age, intelligence, and personality play an important role in learning. The conclusion by Udofia (2012) in his findings on self concept and students’ academic achievement in social studies in secondary schools in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area was that gender variables influence motivational orientation, self-esteem and learning approaches and are important factors influencing academic achievement in social sciences. In effort to improve students’ cognitive and effective out comes in school learning, educational psychologist have continued to search for variables that could be manipulated in favour of academic gains of all the personal and psychological variables that have attracted researchers in this area of educational achievement, motivational orientation seems to be giving more popularity and leading other variables.
Similarly, Workman (2009) reported that the variable of the students which involves the gender determines the level of learning of the students especially in the secondary level of education. The author found that male students’ response differently to learning in vocational education compare to their female counterpart due to their physical body structure. Correspondingly, female children lack motivation to study vocational courses since they consider themselves as weak and need language related courses.
In a related study, Achetachi (2013) investigated students’ related factors and their academic achievement in vocational education in Abia State College of Education and found out that the age of the student as well as the maturity level of the student make some of the students to fail in learning the materials presented to them. This implies that when children fail to grasp what is taught, the response may often be anger, rebellion, and even depression. A positive learning characteristic requires motivation and satisfaction in the learners before there could be effective learning of any concept. The judgment of this variable depends on the age of the students.
Correspondingly, the policy of school organization for grouping students in the same academic year is based on date of admission to school as well as result from other schools and not based on age difference. In general, students who are born within the same calendar year should be grouped in the same course. This generates differences of up to one year of age in children with the same chronological age in addition to differences in biological age due to different maturation rhythms of students. The differences in the experiences and maturation of older students involve a relatively better achievement in academic settings, which is known as the relative age effect (Jabor, Kungu, Buntat and Nordin, 2011).
However, Jabor, Kungu, Buntat and Nordin, (2011) and Achetachi (2013) have found out that regardless of the differences between these studies, such as age of the participants, different backgrounds, students with special educational needs, and different sample sizes, the trend is that younger students within the school will face more difficulties than relatively older students. This effect is more important the younger the student is, but it reverses when reaching higher education (Jabor, Jabor, Kungu, Buntat and Nordin, 2011).Therefore, the present study investigated gender variables and academic achievement in Social Studies among junior secondary school students in Ukanafun Local Government Area.
Gender Variables and Academic Achievement in Social Studies among Junior Secondary School Students
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is observed that over the years, majority of students that sat for the Junior Secondary School Certificate (JSSC) examination have been recording mass failure not only in the area of overall achievement, but also in the key subject like Mathematics, English and Social Studies. The percentage of students who passed their Junior Secondary School Certificate (JSSC) with credit in Social Studies, Mathematics and English Language was below 50% (Eguridu, 2017).
The same poor achievements were equally recorded by students in the subsequent year 2017. These ugly trends may have indicated the current worries among stakeholders on factors responsible for poor achievement of students. All the blames tends to be attributed to teachers and school environment. The stakeholders failed to consider students’ gender as a contributory factor.
Hence, the researcher is worried whether student’s gender could influence academic achievement of students in Social Studies owing to the important position students occupy in the teaching and learning processes of any school subject? This ugly situation triggers the researcher to investigate gender variables influence on the academic achievement in Social Studies among secondary school students in Ukanafun Local Government Area.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study was to examine gender variables and academic achievement in Social Studies among junior secondary school students in Ukanafun Local Government Area. Specifically, the study intended to find out:
(i) the difference in academic achievement in Social Studies among male and female junior secondary school students in Ukanafun Local Government Area;
(ii) the difference in academic achievement in Social Studies among male and female junior secondary school students in rural areas in Ukanafun Local Government Area;
(iii) the difference in academic achievement in Social Studies among male and female junior secondary school students in urban areas in Ukanafun Local Government Area.
1.4 Significance of the study
The findings of this study would help in the following ways:
- It would be useful to the curriculum planners and developers in the areas of secondary education syllabus as it would enable them to develop Social Studies curricular that is student-centered bearing in mind the differences between the students’ gender.
- The findings of this study would help the school counselors to frequently organize orientation study on Social Studies for the students.
- The findings from this study would help parents to get more involved in the education of their children by giving them the necessary educational materials that would motivate them.
- This study would help the teachers to make both the school and classroom environment conducive, also to improve on their method of teaching and strategies which in turn motivate the students during the teaching-learning process.
- This study would help the school counselors to identify students whose personal traits affect the learning/study habits negatively, thus helping them to re-adjust themselves to ascertain effective participation to promote academic excellence.
- The findings of this study would help the students to be aware that their personal gender orientation are key determinants of their learning outcome and these should be strictly observed for better learning result.
- This research finding would stimulate further relevant researchers in the area or related area.