DETERMINANTS OF LOW PERFORMANCE OF FEMALE STUDENTS IN SCIENCE SUBJECT: A SURVEY OF JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS IN THE AOWIN DISTRICT

ABSTRACT
The study set out to investigate the determinants responsible for the low performance of female students in science in the Aowin district. To achieve the purpose, the study was guided by five (5) objectives. Methodologically, descriptive research design was adopted for the study. The study employed quantitative approaches through the use of self – developed questionnaires. The female students in the five (5) educational circuits in the Aowin District participated in the study via responding to the developed questionnaires. In all, 375 female students were selected for the study using stratified and purposive sampling techniques. The obtained quantitative data analysis was analyzed using descriptive (means and standard deviations). The study revealed that factors responsible for low performance of female students in general are identified as: poor psychological state of the female students in the Aowin district, the teachers in the Aowin district attitude towards the learning of science and finally, the socio – economic background of the parents in the Aowin District. It was therefore recommended that Ghana Education Service in the Aowin District should be encouraged to source for sufficient science teaching – learning resource materials so that each student has a science subject taught. The idea would lead to better performance in science subjects at Junior High Schools in the Aowin District.


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
The significance of formal education in the life of every individual cannot be overemphasized. Education can be viewed as the process which equips an individual with information that is vital for his/her total development and well-being. The total development spans across mental, social, emotional, political and economic. These developments help the individual to be a better person and fit well into the society. Besides, educated individual gets knowledge and skills for innovation to start own business and also for employment in the world of work. This is a key ingredient for alleviating poverty and stimulating economic growth (Livingstone, 2018).

Blakemore and Cooksey (2017), in agreement wrote that formal education offers the individual with many varied opportunities. The individual also gets the necessary trainings to make better- informed decisions and choices in life which go a long way to improve his/her standard of living. The issue of access to education has not been equitable among the genders. The global disparity has now become very topical issue. The growing disparities that existed between males and females have seen a significant reduction since the 1970s (United Nations). In an educational setting, success is measured by academic achievement, or how well a student meets standards set out by the local government or the institution itself.

In Ghana, academic achievement is always measured by students’ examination result Bonney, Amoah, Micah, Ahiamenyo and Lemaire (2015). Academic achievement is an important factor in national education because it can be seen as an indicator of whether the education in a country is successful or not. In short, academic achievement is important because it promotes success later in life and in current life (Bonney et al., 2015; Harlen, 2018; Lucas & Mbiti, 2014). Parents care about their children’s academic achievement because they believe that good academic results will provide more career choices and job security. Often educators complain that students are unmotivated to learn; parents echo this cry and each blames the other for the students' apathetic response to learning (Shankar, 2015).

Education systems throughout the world place importance on the teaching and learning of science and a lot of resources are allocated to maintain and improve efficiency in these activities. According to (Eisner, 2017), science is important because the study of the subject is associated with more academic and or career opportunities. Thus science study relates the importance of science to the scientific, industrial, technology and social progress of a society. For somewhat similar reasons, the study of science is important in the Ghanaian context too. For instance, a good background or proficient in science will present opportunities in the selection of fields of study at universities and other tertiary institutions. High school graduates who cannot continue with their education in college but would like to have a job with some short-term training are, in most cases, required to present evidence that they have got at least a grade D7 (50-54%) in science in the West African Senior Secondary certificate examination (Adetula, 2015). This trend is not limited to only high school graduates but synonymous with the basic education level. Before one gets admission into the high school from the basic education level, credit valuation on subjects such as Mathematics, Science, and English are constant. However, it is noticeable that some students, especially female students are always at the disadvantage when it comes to performance in science at the expense of their male counterparts.

According to the United Nations Division of Advancement of Women (UNDAW, 2010) education statistics in Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries show that women continue to lag behind men in education in general and specifically in science, mathematics, and technology (SMT education. Also, education stereotyping continues, with women and girls tending to study programmes related to so-called “women’s” occupations such as nursing, secretarial jobs, and social work. Programmes in engineering, physics and the so-called “hard sciences” continue to be dominated by men and boys. The educational system of any nation is considered as a mirror through which the image of the nation can be seen and shaped (Schön, 2017). It is common knowledge that the development of every nation or society largely depends on effective and quality education available to her citizens. Education, as a social institution, is an instrument that facilitates the reproduction of social structures within a nation (M. W. Apple, 2017). It is generally believed that the basis for any true development must commence with the development of human resources.

Hence, formal education remains the vehicle for socio-economic development and social mobilization in any society (Cars & West, 2015). Narrowing it to Integrated Science education, the enviable position it occupies is perhaps justifiable (Ifeoma, Ifunanya, & Ngozi, 2014). The reason is that Integrated Science can exert a dominant, if not decisive, influence on the life of individuals as well as on the developmental effort of a nation (Ifeoma et al., 2014).

Statement of the Problem
The inadequate attention given to science and technology education has brought about the low state of science and technology education in Ghana (Avgerou & Walsham, 2017; James Smoot Coleman, 2015). This has had a negative impact on the country’s economic and social development. The National Development Planning Commission lamented on the low state of science education in Ghana especially among females about 14 years ago (Langer et al., 2015). The youth who are students in junior high, senior high and tertiary institutions have a great role to play in reversing this scary situation as they form a majority percentage of the population. The 2000 population and housing census estimated about 65% of the population of Ghana to be youth (A. Thompson, 2014). Most of the youth in this category are students in the basic, senior high or tertiary institutions. If conscious effort is made to equip them with innovative ideas and skilled human capital through science and technology, it will reduce some social problems such as unemployment and poor sanitation.

Unfortunately, this is not the case in Ghana as there is low attention to science and technology education in Ghana. This is evidenced by the poor performance of students in science related subjects at all levels of education especially in the basic schools. The 2012 Basic Education Certificate Examination showed only 25% of the students had above average in science whiles 23% had above average in mathematics (Snyder, de Brey, & Dillow, 2016). The situation was not too different in 2014 as 24% and 25% of students who sat for the Basic Education Certificate Examination had above average in science and mathematics respectively (Snyder et al., 2016). This situation is more worrying because a greater percentage of students who perform poorly in science related subjects are females. Basic Education Certificate Examination results by gender statistics in 2012 revealed that, 61% of males passed science subject but only 39% of the females passed. Again, in 2014, out of the 422946 students who sat for the BECE, 23.75 of males had above average in science but 21.1% of the females had above average in science (Snyder et al., 2016).

This situation is worse in the deprived districts of Ghana of which Aowin district is no exception. In 2010, 53% of females failed in science whiles 47% of males failed. In 2011, 51% of females failed in science as against 49% of males (Mills & Mereku, 2016). In 2012, the situation improved a bit where 45% of females failed in science whilst 55% of males failed. The 2013 BECE results showed 54% failure of females in science as against 46% failure of males. 2014 BECE statistics showed that 58% of females failed in science while 42% of males failed. In 2015, 57% of female students failed in science as against 43% for males. In 2016, 60.90% of female students failed in science whilst 39.10% of males failed in the same subject (Snyder et al., 2016). Interviewing students and teachers has revealed that the low motivation, poor teaching techniques and poor teaching environment all contribute to this menace. This serious phenomenon called for immediate attention. Despite the many efforts by successive governments to reverse the massive failures and numerous research into this area (Kena et al., 2016; Kena et al., 2015; Snyder et al., 2016), the problem has not been completely eradicated. Most of the previous studies concentrated mainly on senior high schools and tertiary institutions in the country with little attention on the junior high schools (Akyeampong, 2017; Ansong, Okumu, Hamilton, Chowa, & Eisensmith, 2018; Atinga, Abiiro, & Kuganab‐Lem, 2015; Bruce, 2016; James Smoot Coleman, 2015), the problem has not been completely eradicated. Again, many of the earlier studies were mainly in the urban setting neglecting the dynamics of the rural setting which is very critical. Therefore, this study bridges the gap by looking at the determinants of poor performance of females in science in rural junior high schools in the Aowin district of Ghana.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 121 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: GH110 ($20)  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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