THE ROLE OF GENDER ON TOPIC PREFERENCE OF SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN MATHEMATICS


Content

ABSTRACT

This study examined the role of gender on students in mathematics in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State. Also, some relevant and related literatures were reviewed in this study under sub-headings, in order to address the important issues under investigation.

The research survey design was employed in this study for the assessment of respondents’ opinions with the use of the questionnaire and the sampling technique.

A total of 160 (one hundred and sixty) respondents were selected and used in this study to represent the bulk of the population. The sample comprised (80 males and 80 females).

Also, two null hypotheses were formulated and tested using the independent t-test statistical tool at 0.05 level of significance. At the end of the analysis, the following results emerged:

1.       There is no significant difference in the pattern of students’ preference for topics in the senior secondary school mathematics.

2.       Finally, it was found at the end of testing hypothesis two that there is a significant difference on the impact of gender and students’ preference for mathematics topics in school.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Title page                                                                                            i

Certification                                                                                         ii

Dedication                                                                                           iii

Acknowledgement                                                                                iv

Abstract                                                                                              v

Table of contents                                                                                 vi

 

CHAPTER ONE:    INTRODUCTION                                                   1

1.1         Background to the Study                                                             1

1.2         Statement of the Problem                                                           4

1.3         Purpose of Study                                                                        5

1.4         Research Questions                                                                     5

1.5         Research Hypothesis                                                                   5

1.6         Significance of the Study                                                             6

 

CHAPTER TWO:    LITERATURE REVIEW                                          7

2.1         The Concept and Nature of Mathematics in Schools                        8

2.2         Factors Affecting Women’s Participation in the Study of Mathematics     12

2.3         Gender and Learning Mathematics in School                                  16

2.4         Gender and Students’ Preferences for Science Subjects                   23

2.5         Rationale for Choice of Science among Boys and Girls                    27

2.6         Gender Difference in Students’ Preference for Mathematics              28

2.7         Gender Differences in Children’s Achievement-Related Beliefs

and Emotional Responses to Success and Failure in Mathematics      31

2.8         Conceptions and Teaching Problems of Mathematics                      38

2.9         Gender Inequality in Choice of Science Subjects                             41

2.10      Factors Affecting Choice of Subject and Problem-Solving Among

Boys and Girls in Mathematics                                                      45

2.11   Summary of Review                                                                    50               

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY           52

3.0     Introduction                                                                              52

3.1     Design of the Study                                                                    52

3.2     Population of the Study                                                               52

3.3     Sampling Technique                                                                    53

3.4     Sample Size                                                                               53

3.5     Research Instrument                                                                   53

3.6     Validity and Reliability of Instrument                                            54

3.7     Administration of the Instrument                                                 54

3.8     Technique for Data Analysis                                                         56

 

CHAPTER FOUR:  Data Analyses and Interpretation of Results     57

4.1     Introduction                                                                              57

4.2     Descriptive Analyses of Respondents’ Bio-data according to

Sex, Age, Class and Religious Background                                     57

4.3     Descriptive Analyses of Data Collected from Respondents with

Research Questions                                                                     59

4.4     Testing of Hypotheses                                                                63

4.5     Summary of Findings                                                                  65

 

CHAPTER FIVE:    Discussion, Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations                                           66

5.1         Introduction                                                                              66

5.2         Discussion of Findings                                                                 66

5.3         Summary of the Study                                                                 69

5.4         Conclusions                                                                               70

5.5         Recommendations                                                                      71

References                                                                                 74

Appendix                                                                                   81

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

The importance of mathematics to everyday life justifies the inclusion in the curricula at all the levels of education. There is hardly any human being whether literate or non-literate who does not apply mathematical concepts in everyday life, even though he may not be aware of it.

Mathematics can simply be defined as those aspects of human experience and knowledge that involve the concept of number, quantity and space. Over the years mathematicians in formal educational setting have been able to construct abstract concepts into logical, systematic and symbolic terms that involve pattern and precision. Physical observations are often better expressed in mathematical expressions thereby enhancing understanding. There is no doubt that mathematics has come to stay in the educational plan of nations in the world.

Nigeria aspires to be a modern industrial society and a developing society desiring this attribute should according to Animalu (2000), possess the ability to acquire knowledge, in service-oriented and innovative. It is obvious that this can only be achieved with a proper and solid foundation in mathematical knowledge. Many of the scientist like Archimedes and Galileo who came up with striking innovations in science were exposed to the best mathematics education in their days. Investment in the training of scientific and technological manpower will enhance the economic and political development of the nation and proper mathematical education at all levels will go a long way in realizing the objective of promotion of science and technology.

It is greatly disturbing, especially to the implementers of mathematics education that despite the prominence and importance of mathematics in all areas of human endeavours, students’ cognitive, affective and psychomotor outcomes in mathematics at all levels of the educational system fall below expectation. The poor performances of students in mathematics at external examinations like Cambridge, senior school certificate (organized by WAEC and NECO), Universities Matriculation Examination (UME), and Polytechnic and Colleges of Education Examination has been on the increase. Many factors have been identified by mathematics educators for the poor students’ achievement in mathematics.

Research on students’ learning has revealed that orientations to learning affect learning outcomes (Vermunt, 1992). The perceptions of the learning environments especially that of assessment has also been shown to have a strong influence on the orientations to learning (Entwistle and Entwistle 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995). Examinations and tests sometimes hamper students’ attempt to achieve personal understanding because they only show the final outcome but fail to reveal the individual change that has taken place (Tynjaka, 1997).

All over the world, science has been accepted as a vehicle of technology, social and economic development (Ogunbanjo, 1988). Mathematics is not any basic to these but is the language of science. Mathematics is a subject that students in secondary schools have to be taught at least four times a week. This is to ensure that students have adequate mastery of the subject. Despite the importance attached to mathematics, students tend to perform poorly. Therefore, there is need to find out which topics in mathematics that student like and those they dislike.

The West African Examination Council Chief Examiners’ Reports (1997, 1999 and 2000) revealed candidates’ areas of weaknesses and strengths in mathematics. According to these reports, candidates showed likeness for numerical statistics, algebra and algebraic processes, the four arithmetic rules, logarithms and its applications candidates’ likeness for these topics could be attributed to their understanding of the topics among other factors. Hence, candidates performed better in these topics than Geometry, Trigonometry and Probability. Areas of candidates’ weaknesses and strengths are not unconnected with the preference students have for some topics in mathematics at the expense of other ones. If truly, students prefer some topics in mathematics to other ones, are these preferences gender biased?

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Over the past decades, the topics of gender equity and gender differences have been raising issues in education (Sprinthall and Oja 1994). Boys and girls are known to learn differently though they sit in the same classroom, read the same textbooks and listen to the same teacher (Sadker and Sadker, 1994). This indicates that gender affects the educational experiences of many students in today’s educational world. Honey, Moeller, Brunner, Bennelt, Clements and Hawkins (1991) found that females and males perceive mathematics related topics in distinct manners. They concluded that girls view mathematics oriented field as embedded in human interaction whereas boys view them as an extension of their power.

These views seem to be related to the preference students have for some topics in mathematics while in the secondary school. Therefore, based on this the study sought to posses the role of gender on students’ preference for senior mathematics topics.

1.3       Purpose of Study

The purpose of this study is to:

(i)          Investigate the like or dislike topics in mathematics among senior secondary school students.

(ii)         Find out empirically how significant the impact of gender is on students preference for mathematics topics.

1.4       Research Questions

This study shall attempt to answer the following questions:

(i)          What is the pattern of students’ preferences for topics in the senior secondary school mathematics?

(ii)         Does gender have significant impact on student’s preference for mathematics topics?

1.5       Research Hypothesis

(i)          There will be no significant difference in the pattern of students’ preferences for topics in the senior secondary school mathematics.

(ii)         There will be no significant difference on the impact of gender on students’ preference for mathematics topics.

1.6       Significance of the Study

This study will be of benefit students, teachers, parents and the society at large.

1)           It will assist school counsellors in exposing their students to the relevance of these so called “difficult subjects” to their future careers and the need to master them by organizing career talks for them.

2)           It will also be found useful to authors of mathematics in using pictures that are ‘gender friendly’ and using objects found in the home and school everyday.

3)           It will also bring to the notice of the government in assisting or supporting mathematics experts by providing necessary instructional materials for teaching those identified “difficult topics”.

4)           It will also bring to the awareness of parents or enlighten parents and the community not to look down their female children but she them as able as their male children.


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