INFLUENCE OF GENDER ON -SELF-CONCEPT AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN KANGEMA CONSTITUENCY, MURANG’A COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Globally, boys and girls use gender as an organising theme to classify and understand their perceptions about the world. While some male students perform relatively well as compared to females in KCSE, others in the same schools, taught by the same teachers and sharing same resources, are outperformed by females in examinations. Females are outperforming males at all levels of the school system, where girls’ enrolment in secondary schools tends to go upwards, while that of boys reduces rapidly. This study sought to examine the influence of gender (male and female) on self-concept and academic performance among secondary school students in Kangema Constituency, Murang’a County. The study employed a causal comparative expost facto targeting all the 6,168 students and 24 teacher counselors in the 24 secondary schools in Kangema Constituency. Twelve secondary schools were selected to take part in the study. From each of the sampled schools, 20 students were selected using stratified random sampling. In mixed schools, 10 boys and 10 girls were selected to ensure gender balance, giving a sample size of 240 students, (120 boys and 120 girls). 12 teacher counselors were also selected to participate. A questionnaire for students and an interview schedule for teacher counselors were used as the main tools for data collection. A pilot study was conducted in two schools to test the reliability and validity of the data collection tools. A cronbach alpha of 0.6670 was obtained using Spearman’s correlation coefficient and the instruments were considered as reliable. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics, (frequencies, means and percentages) and inferential statistics, (t-test and Pearson’s correlation), at 0.05 level of significance. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences 12.5 was used to analyse data. The study established that there were statistically significant gender differences on students’ self concept and academic performances and that female students had a more positive self concept than male students. With regard to academic performance, male students were performing well in academics compared to the female students. The study recommends that guidance and counseling services should be provided to the female students based on self-concept to improve academic performance; frequent counseling sessions, among male students based on self-concept to improve in verbal, honesty, trustworthiness and same sex relations; while administrators and teacher counselors should guide and counsel students on their self concept.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Muganda, (2002); Muthaka and Mwangi, (2002), postulate that education is fundamental to development of human resource capacities for sustainable economic growth and development. They argue that by imparting new skills and knowledge to men and women, boys and girls respectively, education tends to expand human capabilities, increases labor productivity and enhance essential participation and partnership in nation building. Education is therefore a vital tool in achieving greater autonomy, empowerment of women and men, boys and girls, and addressing gender differences in the distribution of various available opportunities and resources. Achievement of gender equity in education may require collaborative participation of learners (boys and girls), parents, communities and development partners, the civil society, private sector and the government.

Globally, boys and girls at adolescence use gender as an organizing theme to classify and understand their perceptions about the world. Gender differences are influenced by society’s beliefs about the traits of female and males, that impact greatly on processing of social information and self- concepts. Gallagher,(2001), explains that social and cultural factors such as, student’s familiarity with the subject, changes of career aspirations, gendered perceptions of specific subjects, presentational styles of boys and girls and teacher expectations are the major reasons leading to gender differences in self-concept and academic performance. However, unlike biology the social and cultural factors are changeable by modifying the context of education. Accordingly, current researchers are acknowledging that gender differences have either little or no biological basis, and are focusing on gender differences as a result of the social-cultural and environmental influences. In the classroom environment, there are a variety of influences that create and affect gender differences and stereotypes, between boys and girls; such as, social expectations and informal influences when children are young. On the other hand, parents can do a variety of things to help reduce the impact that gender stereotypes can have on their children; and they should make an effort to expose boys as well as girls to all subjects.

There at least 15 different “self” terms used by different authors, such as self-concept, self- esteem, self-worth, self-acceptance. All these terms are used interchangeably and inconsistently, when they may relate to different ideas about how people view themselves. Self-concept refers to the knowledge about the self that is clearly defined, internally consistent and temporarily stable.

Strein, (1993), argues that the global view, sometimes conceptualized as general self- concept, is the older and the more common view among counselors and therapists. Eventually, the most important distinction that differentiates various conceptualizations, is whether self-concept is viewed as an overarching global characteristic of the person or as a set of self-evaluation specific to different domains of behavior. Self- concept requires consistency, stability and it tends to resist change. If self-concept changed readily, the individual would lack a consistent and dependable personality. That is, the more central a particular belief is to one’s self-concept, the more resistant one is to changing that belief. This may allow the person/student, to reflect more on the past event, analyze present perceptions, and shape future experiences. Accordingly, females are more likely to adopt a self-evaluating perspective during the learning process than males, thus doing well in academic performance. Males on the other hand, could benefit from more general assistance in planning, organizing and structuring learning activities than their female counterparts.

It is imperative to note that individual’s belief about themselves are strongly related to successful learning, and successful learners are more confident of their abilities and believe that investment in learning can make a difference. Students with high self-concept are therefore more likely to approach school related tasks with confidence, and success on those tasks reinforces this confidence. The opposite pattern is likely to occur for students with low self-concept. Students, who lack confidence in their ability to learn what they judge to be important, are exposed to failure, not only at school but also in their adult live. According to the Programme for International Students Assessment, (2002), it is important to note that in all countries all over the world, males tend to express a higher level of self- concept in sciences/technical subjects while females express a high level of self-concept in humanities and languages. This suggests that gender differences in students academic performance need to be scrutinised, reviewed and analysed in close relationship with the habits, attitudes and self-concepts of secondary school students in various parts our country to enhance efforts in academic performance for better results. This study therefore sought to determine the influence of gender on self-concept and academic performance among secondary school students.

Statement of the Problem
While some male students perform relatively well as compared to females in KCSE, others in the same schools, learning with the same teachers and sharing same resources, are outperformed by females in examinations. This calls for research to determine the factors that account for the influence of gender on self-concept and academic performance among students. This study seeks to establish the influence of gender on self-concept and academic performance of students in Kangema Constituency, Murang’a County. The influence of gender and self-concept on students’ academic performance has not been understood among schools in Kenya and in Kangema constituency.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to establish the influence of gender on self-concept and academic performance among secondary school students in Kangema constituency, Murang’a County, Kenya.

Objectives of the Study
The following are the objectives of the study:

(i) To find out the influence of gender on academic performance among secondary school students in Kangema constituency.

(ii) To determine the influence of gender on self-concept among secondary school students in Kangema constituency.

(iii) To establish the relationship between students’ self-concept and academic performance in secondary schools in Kangema constituency.

(iv) To determine whether there are differences between boys’ schools, girls’ schools and mixed secondary school students in self-concept in Kangema constituency.

(v) To establish the extent to which guidance and counselling has influenced gender on self-concept and academic performance among secondary school students in Kangema Constituency.

Research Hypotheses
H01: There are no statistically significant gender differences in academic performance among secondary school students in Kangema constituency

H02: There are no statistically significant gender differences in self concept among secondary school students in Kangema constituency.

H03: There is no statistically significant relationship between self concept and academic performance among secondary school students in Kangema constituency

H04: There are no statistically significant differences in academic performance in boys’ schools, girls’ schools and mixed secondary schools’ students in Kangema constituency

H05: Guidance and counseling has had no statistically significant influence on self concept and academic performance among secondary school students in Kangema constituency

Significance of the Study
The study may create awareness and provide enough information to be used in developing policy recommendations for revised plans of both boys and girls education in Kenya. The study may also encourage research on factors that are adversely affecting student’s performance, participation and learning, development of capacity and training programs in the MoE, for revising education strategies, dissemination of information and best practices in education through publications, electronic media, videos and presentations, which would enhance high academic performance. Further, the study may enhance gender mainstreaming in secondary schools in Kenya and promote positive policy dialogue with the government through the MoE, professionals, counselors, teachers, parents and other education stakeholders. The study may pave way for further research and investigations in the field of guidance and counseling.

Scope of the Study
The study sought to find out the influence of gender on self-concept and academic performance among secondary school students in Kangema Constituency, Murang’a County. The study investigated on gender, academic performance, self-concept and school type only.

Limitations of the Study
The study covered public secondary schools in Kangema Constituency only. This means that the findings of the study may not be generalized to schools in the whole country.

Assumptions of the Study
The study was based on the following assumptions:

(i) That the respondents were co-operative and gave truthful and honest answers.

(ii) That other factors were likely to influence the implementation of these tasks such as performance in national examinations (KCSE), school culture, and school inspections conducted to improve the standards of education.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 75 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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