Impacts Of Gender On The Academic Achievement Of Social Studies JSS II Students In Public Secondary Schools

Social Studies Project Topic

Impacts Of Gender On The Academic Achievement Of Social Studies JSS II Students In Public Secondary Schools


This study investigates the impacts of gender on the academic achievement of Social Studies JSS II students in public secondary schools in Jos North Local Government of Plateau State. The study was carried out on junior secondary school students. The study adopted a survey design. The students were randomly selected from a total population of three thousand six hundred and twenty nine (3629) and two hundred and forty (240) were selected for the study. The instrument for data collection wasGender and Students Academic Achievement Questionnaire (GSAAQ). The instrument was validated by experts in measurement and evaluation and research supervisor. Five research questions and two hypotheses were formulated for the study.

The findings revealed that parental attitude towards the Girl child contributes to gender discrimination among public secondary school students in Jos North and proper orientation of couples on the effect of their discrimination on their children and proper orientation of couples on the impacts of their discrimination on their children are some of the ways this menace can be reduced. The study made the following recommendations among others, the girls are to be allowed to get educated so that they can have the confidence to face the world. The parents should have flexible attitude towards their children as it affects the life and personality of the children.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Education is a life-long process. And for the purpose of this study, education can be broadly classified into informal and formal education. Therefore, the informal education is the kind of education that goes on in the society everywhere, every time, with every member of the society as a student and learner. There is no specifically defined curriculum, no syllabus, no subject teachers, no classrooms, no examinations, no certification or graduation. Still, society achieved their aims, this was what Fafunwa (2001) called “functionalism”.

The formal system of education came with the coming of the white men to Nigeria and other parts of Africa. Formal education is based on a particular curriculum and clearly defined content or subject syllabuses, a teaching-learning process with a classroom or school as a base. An education that is based on the principle of examinations and-certification lasted till the late 60s. It is generally recognized that one of the major if not the most important functions of the school system is to produce the pool of skilled manpower which a nation needs to grow. To this effect countries all over the world depend on their educational systems for the development of their future workforce (Ekeh, 2003). Thus education is an important instrument through which human resources development is achieved.

Social Studies is one of the compulsory subjects studied in junior secondary schools in Nigeria. Udoh (2003) and Mansaray (2006) point out that “the subject is a discipline that can be used in solving problems of relationship and interaction in man’s dynamic environment”. For Bergesom (2003), Social Studies must be centred on innovative methods that aim at seeking the truth which include problem detecting, problem solving, and learning by experimenting and discovery.

The importance of Social Studies in the Nigerian Educational System cannot be overemphasized. The objectives of Social Studies education which are in line with the philosophy and aims of Nigerian Education are hinged on the development of high competencies required for solving man’s diverse environmental problems for better and effective social living. Specifically, the focus of Social Studies is to extricate the Nigerian child from the apron strings of colonial education which merely propagated foreign values and therefore acquaint him with his own cultural values and traditions. The teaching of Social Studies is directed towards building a virile Nigeria Nation, irrespective of ethnic diversity. It is also directed towards promoting citizenship and values education in addition to skills development (Adeyemi & Ajibade, 2011). As noted by Akpochafo, (2001), in spite of the immense benefits to be derived from the introduction of Social Studies in our school curriculum there seems to be a poor handling of the subject in the secondary schools.

Of great concernis that most Social Studies teachers still rely mostly on the lecture method for imparting information. While the manner of presentation is supposed to be activity-based, most Nigerian secondary school teachers rely on the lecture method. Studies like those of Umeoduagu (1994), Okobia (2000), Akpochafo (2001) and Arisi (2002) have pointed out that despite the more than thirty year existence of learning style theories (detailing how people learn), most teachers still dispense information using conventional lecture method without regard to students’ learning abilities. This teaching method is theoretical and teacher-directed, instead of being constructive or activity-based. In the lecture method, the teacher, according to Akinlaye, Mansaray and Ajiboye (1996), Akinlaye, Bolarin, Olaniyonuand Ayodele (1997), Ogundare (2000) and Oganwu, (2004) simply becomes the expositor and drill master while the learner remains the listener and a storehouse of facts that can be retrieved when a student hears his name called by the teacher.

The attitude of the males towards female education varies from class to class. Majority of the people send their daughters to the school.The attitude of the middle class males is slightly reluctant towards female education. They allow their daughters, subject to potential, to go up to the higher secondary level. The attitude of the males in the high class towards the female education is most positive. Majority of the girls from this class are educated up to metric level. The males allow them and even arrange for their higher studies. The response of the women towards female education is slightly different from the males. The trends are similar, but the percentage in the favour of education is slightly lacking behind.

In view of the fact that gender of participants may have impact on the students academic achievement, this study will use gender as moderator variable. Gender differences in achievement have been examined for some time resulting in a substantial body of literature (Jack & Johannes, 2001). The importance of examining instructional strategy in relation to gender is based primarily on the socio-cultural differences between girls and boys (Abra, 2001). Traditionally, girls in our society have been encouraged to conform, whereas boys are expected to be active and dominant risk-takers. Corroborating this view, Hassan and Ogunyemi, (2008) acknowledge that most boys are provided with toys that enhance their visual- spatial ability such as trucks, Legos (toys consisting of plastic building blocks and other components) and model.

Spencer (2004) also affirms that that the games of girls are often highly structured requiring turn taking and rules. Thus, social expectations and conformity pressures may create cultural blocks to girls. Fabunmi (2004) in a study discovered that gender composition has a significant relationship with students’ academic achievement and that gender composition has a significant influence on secondary school students’ academic performance. Beside this, inconsistent findings have been discovered on gender differences and academic achievement (Bello, 1990; Boling & Boling 1993; Lau & Li 1996; Gimba, 2006; Nsofor, 2006; Yaki, 2006 & Olowe, 2010). There is therefore the need to find out if gender has effect on students academic achievements in Social Studies.

Academic achievement is commonly measured by examination or continues assessment but there is no general agreement on how it is best tested or which aspects are more important. Students are not only instrumental to the growth of educational institutions but also of the nations as a whole. Educators, trainers, and researchers have long been interested in exploring variables contributing effectively for quality of achievement of students. Students’ academic achievement will require us to look at the concept of poor performance. According to Aremu (2000), poor achievement is a performance that is adjudged by the examinees/testees and some significant as falling below an expected standard. The interpretation of this expected or desired standard is better appreciated from the perpetual cognitive ability of the evaluator of the performance. This study is therefore, interested in exploring how students gender influence their achievement in social studies.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

The problem of students’ under-achievement in Social Studies has been a much discussed educational issue since the early 80’s when it became a compulsory subject in Nigeria. Such discussions have consistently centred round instructional strategies used in teaching the subject. When similar situations of under-achievement were experienced in social studies in Nigeria, new instructional methods were employed such as mastery learning, peer tutoring, computer-assisted instruction, simulation games and brainstorming.

It is obvious that the Nigerian culture regards male as superior to their female counter parts, thus gender-role differentiation is very much pronounced in our society. This places a very serious constraint on the academic achievement of male and female students in chemistry because role differentiation or distinction limitsthe full participation, development and utilization of individual potentials either directly or indirectly.

In Jos North, the parents’ attitude towards their sons and daughters differ. They prefer to have a son rather than a daughter. The parents wish for a son because the daughters have to leave the parents place and stay with their husbands, whereas sons remain with them. The other reason of wishing for a son is that of economic interest. The boy when he grows up has to take the role of going out and earning money. Thus, the parents prefer the boys to the girls. The boys are given education as it is considered a sign of pride and prestige to educate the boys.

In spite of the fact that women constitute almost half of the Nigerian population and contribute immensely to economic development, they are still been discriminated against by the society especially in the African countries. It has also been observed that the stereotype against ladies is affecting their academic achievement adversely. This study therefore aims at investigating the effects of gender on the academic achievement of Social Studies JSS II students public Schools in Jos North Local Government of Plateau State.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of gender difference on the academic achievement of Social Studies students in Jos North Local Government of Plateau State.

The specific objectives of this study are;

  1. To find out the causes of gender differences among public school students
  2. To find out the impact of gender on the academic achievement of Social Studies JSS II students
  3. To find out whether there exist any difference between the achievement mean scores of male and female students
  4. To find out how parental attitude contributes to the differences in students academic performance
  5. To suggest possible solutions to the problem

1.4 Research Questions

In addressing these problems, the following research questions were raised;

  1. What are the causes of gender difference among public secondary school students?
  2. What are the effects of gender on the academic achievement of JSS II social studies students of public schools in Jos North?
  3. How does teachers factors contribute to gender academic achievement in public schools in Jos North?
  4. To what extent do parent attitude contributes to gender disparity in children education?
  5. What can be done to correct the problem of gender differences on students academic achievement?

1.5. Research Hypotheses

The following hypothesis will be tested in the study.

  1. There is no significant difference between the achievement mean scores of male and female students in public secondary schools in Jos North.
  2. There is no significant difference between gender and students’ academic achievement in public secondary schools in Jos North.

1.6 Significance of the Study

Findings from this study will be of great importance to the counselors, psychologists, social workers, parents, teachers, youth and the society at large. Since gender stereotypes or discrimination has negative effects on the academic achievement of secondary students, their talents, abilities and interest may not be fully developed to allow them to achieve self-actualization in life.

Research of gender and socio-economic status differences in academic achievement will offer educators of young adolescents thought-provoking information on implications and guidance specific directions to take; need for parents to be exposed to parenting skills and their duties towards their children academics; parents will be able to encourage and support their children learning through purchase of learning materials and that learning is real for both sexes.

The result of this work, hopefully if implemented will help psychologists in the application of the appropriate learning theories to meet the individual differences that already existed in the classroom and also proffer solutions to teachers on how to reduce the amount of house work assigned to the students so that they can face their studies better.

Social workers will also benefit from the findings of this study as it will tell them how to meet the social needs of students who are suffering emotional deprivation and how to fill in the gap for the psychological, and emotional welfare of the child created by the stereotype of the society.

The findings of this study will also be of importance to the teachers who act as surrogates and bear the burden. This study will help the teacher on how to check, supervise the academic records of the students by going through their class and lesson roles or books and also nurture and assists mentally to enhance the student’s academic achievement.

This study will also be useful to parents because they are immediate up-bringers of the children. The study will make them to be aware of the poor perception and attitudes towards female education and thus leading to change in attitudes of parents towards educating their female children.

The findings will hopefully be of great benefit to other researchers as it will served as working document or reference document for further studies on the effects of single parenting on children educational aspiration, and achievement.

1.7 Theoretical Framework

Feminism Theory

Feminism Theory was propounded in 1987 by Acker and has three basic approach to female suppression. Radical feminism is concerned with male monopolization of culture and knowledge and the sexual politics of everyday life in school. Its focus on education is in concern with curricula, women teachers’ and girls’ access to power and policy formulation in schools (Acker 1987:429, in Yokozeki, 1998). Radical feminism accepts that education is a tool to release women from subordination, but argues that existing formal schooling cannot be trusted to serve the purpose. Rather, radical feminism supports an alternative non-formal type of education, and single sex schools (Yokozeki 1998).

According to radical feminism, as in socialist feminism, the State acts as “a key agent in the perpetuation of women’s subordination via its strong defense of the family as the core unit of society” (Stromquist 199a:145). Such a view stems from the theory of liberation developed in Latin America. In liberation theory, where the aim is transformation of the society, formal education/schooling is not considered to be the key agent, although the transformation itself is an educational process (Short and Freire 1987, in Yokozeki 1998). The existing school system is criticized for maintaining a “banking concept of education” where students deposit knowledge given by teachers (Freire 1987:46, in Yokozeki 1998:34).

Radical feminism focuses on patriarchy and power, which facilitates an explanation of the oppression of women both within the school and within the wider context of the society. At the micro level, it addresses the issue of sexuality and sexual harassment in schools, which commonly is not discussed in other feminist perspectives (Weiner 1986; Acker 1987, in Yokozeki 1998). In this regard, girls not only receive less teaching time, but their classroom contributions are often met with systematic ridicule and girls are exposed to verbal and non-verbal abuse (Mahoney 1985; Acker 1987, in Yokozeki 1998). At the macro level, it argues that the higher non-literacy rates of women result from the State’s reliance on women for biological reproductive tasks which require only a minimum of skills and knowledge and do not generate demands for schooling (Stromquist 1990a:145).

Among the three feminist perspectives, radical feminism is criticized for being the least articulate. Its research methods are also questioned, as a number of studies adopt research methods, which are considered ‘unconventional’. It is also criticized for its generalizations, which give little consideration to issues such as racism (Middleton 1985; Connell 1985, in Yokozeki 1998).

Comparatively speaking, liberal feminism aims at improving the existing system of education, whereas both, the socialist and radical feminists, aim at much more fundamental transformations. The latter do not trust the existing formal educational system to serve the needs of women because it is monopolized by the State (Yokozeki 1998). Furthermore, we have seen that feminist perspectives differ in terms of their theoretical orientations. More specifically, liberal feminism has an economic orientation, radical feminism an ideological orientation, and socialist feminism combines both ideological and economic forces.

In this connection, Stromquist states that:“There has been a recent convergence in feminist thought toward the meshing of ideological and material elements in the explanation of women’s subordination, bringing closer than ever the radical and socialist feminist perspectives. These perspectives detect severe limits in the state’s ability to improve women’s conditions while groups outside the state, particularly women-run organizations, are identified as the most likely sources of significant educational change and thus social change, in the interests of women” (Stromquist 1990a:137, in Yokozeki 1998). This theory is therefore, a foundational approach to the study of female suppression in the society. Is considered appropriate for this study as it laid the foundation and exposition of factors affecting female education.

1.8 Delimitation of the Study

This study is limited to the impact of gender difference on the academic achievement of Social Studies JSS II students public Schools in Jos North Local Government of Plateau State. The researcher was moved to carry out finding on this study because of the increasing rates of gender stereotype and discrimination in public schools. This study is also limited to Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State due to the time and financial constraints involved in conducting a study like this.

1.9 Definition of Terms

The following terms are operationally defined as used in the study;


Is a term that expresses the characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between male and female students.

Academic Achievement:

Students scores obtained from both internal and external examination after classroom interactive teaching and learning.

Jos North:

Local government area of investigation.


Participant and benefactors of the study


Both the positive and negative consequences of gender stereotype on the students.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion, and Recommendations

5.1 Summary of Major Findings.

The findings for the study revealed that discrimination among sex is caused by societal preference for male child, cultural factor is responsible for gender differences and traditional beliefs are the cause of gender differences among public secondary school students.

The study also revealed that drop out of girl-child from school is a result of lack of interest for higher education, increase failure among students and gender difference create discrepancies among students are some of the effect of gender on the academic achievement of social studies JSS II students in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State.

It was also found that parental attitude towards the Girl child contributes to gender discrimination among public secondary school students in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State. While Proper orientation of couples on the effect of their discrimination on their children and proper orientation of couples on the effect of their discrimination on their children are some of the ways this menace can be reduced in Jos North.

The two hypotheses formulated and tested revealed that there is no significant difference between the achievement mean scores of male and female students in public secondary schools in Jos North and there is a significant difference between gender and students’ academic achievement in public secondary schools in Jos North.

5.2 Conclusion

When babies come into the world, they are innocent, soft and totally at the mercy of their parents. Parents in Jos North have their own ways and visions regarding their children’s education. These ways have different sets of rules and regulations for the new comer. Male child is met with cheers and festivities moreover; he finds life an era of freedom to develop and grow in any direction of his desires and capabilities but arrival of girl child is met with a chilled hush. A life studded with suppressed sentiments and subdued existence awaits her. The stamp of second-class citizen is embossed on her soul in the name of love, concern and security.

In the family, parents differentiate among their children. Mother plays the major role in this differentiation. When a woman is expecting she says that a son should be born. If a son is born she thinks of herself as a great woman who has given birth to a man. This man will continue the lineage of his father. The females even managing the whole of household work are supposed as doing their routine work. The data shows that the males and females in the patriarchal Jos North society are not rewarded for what they do. Females are the ones who suffer most. They do contribute in the family income in one way or the other but still their contribution is not considered as an extra work.

Then literacy level of the population shows that the women are the one who are less educated. Therefore, they are not given their due rights in the society as they cannot protest in getting their rights. The males do not accept this that the females are equivalent to them.

5.3 Recommendations

This study also highlights the fact that a conscious and persistent effort is to be made to educate the society about the equal status of males and females.

The girls are to be allowed to get educated so that they can have the confidence to face the world. The parents should have flexible attitude towards their children as it affects the life and personality of the children.

Parents should always try to encourage their children/wards in all that they do and try to give moral support so that the children would be emotionally stable and have confidence in all that they do, whether at school or at home.
Curriculum planners should ensure that curriculum implementation put into practice the use of co-operative teaching method to enhance teachers-students relationship. The heads of educational institutions should supervise the implementation of the co-operative teaching method in their institutions.

5.4 Limitations of the Study

As a result of the geographical location of the area, the researcher encountered some difficulties – these problems include: difficulty in transporting to distant schools, poor road network and time factors. The combination of academic work, coupled with the writing of this research work. Also the closed ended type of questionnaire which did not permit the respondents to make free will contribution is another factor. However, it was hoped that the data collected served the purpose of the study.

5.5 Suggestion for Further Study

To mend all the necessary loopholes that may arise from the findings of this study, the researcher decided to engage other researcher;

  1. Study should be conducted on the same topic with an increase sample size in a different geographical area to confirm the findings of this study for further generalization.
  2. Research should be carried out on the effects parental attitude towards girl child education on their academic performance.
  3. The factors influencing parental attitude towards girl child education: implication for counseling.

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