GENDER AND RELIGION AS PREDICTORS OF STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE …

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ABSTRACT

The purpose of this research study was to investigate gender and religion as predictors of students’ academic performance in social studies. A case study of some selected junior secondary schools in Odeda Local Government Area, Ogun State. A student population of 100 students drawn from five selected junior secondary schools in Odeda Local Government Area. A well-structured questionnaire was administered to gather data from the respondents. The data collected were analyzed using simple percentage method. In conclusion, the findings revealed that there is significance difference in gender and religion students’ academic performance and some recommendation were given at the end of the study.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

Gender in its narrowest sense means socially constructed sex, be it female or male. Gender is not about being a man or woman rather the experience of being masculine or feminine. The word gender are important are often used interchangeably but there are important distinctions between the two concept. (Kirk, A. 2000).

Sex is based on that anatomical physiological characteristics of males and females while gender is a social construct that is a society’s assumptions about the way a man or woman should look or behave. (Jacob J.A. 1996).

Gender depicts the social differences between men and a woman that are learned changeable a certain and have wide variations within and between culture. (Wood 1987). It was in the 1970’s that American and English feminists started using the terms “gender ad “gender relation”. Hence the transition was made from study of the differences between the sexes to relations between the sexes both in the sense of social relations ad conceptual relations. (Wigfield, 2002).

The study of gender is a field of interdisciplinary study devoted to gender identity and gendered representation as central categories of analysis. Sometimes gender studies is offered together with study of sexuality; regarding gender, (Simon de Beauvor) said “one is not born a woman one becomes one” This view proposes that the tern gender should be used to refer to the social and cultural constructions of masculinities and femininities, not to the state of being male or female.

Gender can also be broken into three categories, gender identity, gender expression and biological sex, as (Sam Kullermann) explains in his Ted talk at the University of Chicago (1990). These three categories are another way of breaking down gender into the different social, biological and cultural constructions. These constructions focus on how femininity and masculinity are fluid entitles and how their meaning is able to fluctuate depending the various constituents surrounding them (Hedges, 1998).

Religion is a hot button topic in Nigeria education, as it is in many areas of the provision of public goods. Scholars and administrators are noticing that our students are more religious than previous generation of secondary school students, though they don’t have a clear sense of why. Some studies claim that religious students are better students and there are some merits to this argument (Darnell &Sherkat, 1997). Religion does provide students with healthy alternatives to other social engagements yet, studies of elite and residential school populations fails to take into account the larger picture, since religion, and especially fundamentalist Christianity, can have a negative effect on going to school. While some religions factors have a positive impact on school success, other religious commitments undermine educational attainment (Darnell &Sherkat 1997; Glass and Jacobs 2005, Leher 2004, 1999; Sherkat and Darnell 1999). Once in school religious factors can also play a role in the trajectory of study, impacting the choice of major, subject taken, and successful completion. Importantly, religious factors also influence the context of contemporary Nigeria education. Increasing rates of school attendance in the general population has also meant that more members of predominantly fundamentalist Christian sects, who almost uniformly eschewed Nigeria education in previous generations are now living in the same dormitories with liberal protestants, Catholics, Jews, and an increasingly diverse array of non-Christians.

Several studies have shown that religious students do better on critical indicators of academic success (Mooney). Typically, studies finding a positive impact of religious factors on school success measure “religiousity” with an indicator of religious participation and personal religiousity can help lower rate of substance abuse and limit activities that undermine college careers (Regnerus, 2000). Why we should applaud organizations which provide on positive influence on students, it is notable hat other types of extra-curricular activities can have similar positive effects (Pascarella et al, 2004).

Significant research has indicated that gender ad religion plays a part in the student academic performance. For example, research have found significant differences between male and female students in science achievement. In a meta analysis of 77 studies conducted between (1980) and (1991) among middle and high school (Jacob 2005).

Most studies show that, onaretage, girls do better in school than boys. Girls get higher grades and complete high school at a higher rate compared to boys (Jacob 2002) standardized achievement tests also show that females are better at spelling and perform better on tests of literacy. Writing and general knowledge (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003). An international aptitude test administered to fourth graders in 35 countries, for example, showed that female outscored males on reading literacy in every country.

During the past decade, there has been concerted effort to find out why there is shortage of women in science, Math, Engineering and technical fields (AAUW, 1997). In 1995, 22% of America’s scientists and engineers were women compared to half of the social scientists, women who do pursue career in science, engineering and mathematics most often chose fields in the biological science, where they represent 40% of the workforce with smaller percentage found in mathematics or computer science (33%) the physical science (22%) and engineering (90%) (National Science Board, 1998) part of the explanatory can be traced to gender differences in the cognitive abilities of middle school students. In late elementary school, female outperform males on several verbal skill tasks verbal reasoning verbal fluency, comprehension and understanding logical relations (hedges and Nowell, 1995). Males, on the other hand outperform female on spatial skills tasks such as mental rotation spatial perception and spatial visualization. (Voyer and Bryden 1995). Males can perform better on mathematical achievement tests.

However, gender differences do not apply all aspect of mathematical skill. Males and females do equally well in basic math knowledge and girls actually have better computational skills. The poorer mathematical reasoning skills exhibited by many female adolescents have several educational implications. Beginning at age 12, girls begin to like math and science less and language art and social studies more than boys (Kahle and lakes, 2003; Sadker 1997) They also do not expect to do as well in these subjects and attribute their failures to lack of ability (Eccles, Barber, Jozefowicz, Malenchuk and Vida, 1999). By high school, girls self select out of higher level. “Academic-track math and science courses such as calculus and chemistry. One of the long term consequences of these choices is that girls lack the prerequisite high school math and science courses necessary to pursue contain major in college (e.g. engineering, computer science).

There is evidence, however, that socio cultural factors may influence girl’s attitude towards math and science for example, parent tend to view math as more important for sons and languages arts and social sciences as more important for daughters (Andre, Whigham, Hendrich and Chambers, 1999). Parents are more likely to encourage their son to take advanced high school courses in chemistry, mathematics and physics and have higher expectations for their success (Wigfield, Battle killer and Eccles 2002).

1.2       Statement of the Problem

There is a crisis in boys and girls education because we have disregarded the differences in gender and religion. The study is designed to:

1.      Discuss gender differences which will help children learn effectively because boys and girls have their different learning styles and skills.

2.      Also predict the influence of religion on students’ academic performances.

1.3       Research Questions

The questions were formulated by the researcher to study gender and religion a predictors of students’ academic performance in social studies by giving answers to the following questions:

1.      What are the gender and religion differences that brings about effective learning?

2.      What are the characters male and female possess that improve academic performance?

3.      What are the religion differences brings about effective teaching and learning of social studies?

4.      How can gender and religion differences bring about effective learning in students?

1.4       Significance of the Study

            The study is very vital to all teachers educationalists, who may want to understand gender and religion as predictors of student academic performance in social studies. More so, the significance of the study enables ;parents teacher and school administrators to know the significance of gender and religion as predictors of students’ academic performance.

Besides these, students in the field of education will find it educative, interesting to understand the methods to employ to teach them conclusively, this project work will be of immense benefit to prospective researchers willing to carry out a similar study

.

1.5       Scope of the Study

The scope of this study does not cover all the junior secondary school in Ogun State but five junior secondary schools in Odeda Local Government, Ogun State, the school are as follows:

1.      SalawuAbiola Comprehensive (Junior) High School, Osiele

2.      Nawair-ru-deen (Junior) Grammar School, Obantoko

3.      EgbaOdeda (Junior) High School, Odeda

4.      F.C.E Model (Junior) Secondary School, Osiele

5.      Muslim High (Junior) School, Isolu.

1.6       Definitions of Terms

1.      Gender: This depicts the social differences between man and woman that are learned, changeable over time and have wide variations within and between cultures.

1.      Religion: this is one of the systems of faith that are based on the belief in the existence of a particular god r gods. The Jewish religion, Christianity, Islam and other world religion.

2.      Predictor: this is something that cans how what will happen in the future.

3.      Student: a person who is bonafide registered in a student

4.      Academic: relating to education and scholarship

5.      Performance: the act of process of performing a task, an action.

6.      SocialStudies: this is the study of man and his physical and social environment.


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