Gender Differences in Secondary School Students’ Achievement in Chemistry in Samburu County, Kenya

Lomonyang Ekwam, Fred N. Keraro, Joel K. Ng’eno


The purpose of this study was to investigate the gender differences in secondary school students’ achievement in chemistry. In addition, the study sought to identify the factors that contribute to gender differences in chemistry achievement to in order to enhance the provision of equal opportunities for the learning of chemistry and all other sciences in general to both boys and girls. Cross-Sectional study design under the descriptive survey research was used. The target population of the study comprised of all the secondary school chemistry students in both public and private secondary schools in Samburu county. The accessible population were all the form three chemistry students in the county. A sample of 286 students was selected from a population of 1,238 using stratified and simple random sampling techniques. Students’ Chemistry Achievement Test (SCAT) and Students’ Gender Interview Schedule (SGIS) were used to collect data. The data collected was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The statistics derived included the analysis of percentages, mean, standard deviation, students’ T-Test scores and Chi-Square Test (x2 test) used to establish the relationship between culturally accepted gender roles and achievement in chemistry. The findings show that there was a statistically significant gender difference in chemistry achievement in favour of boys. As a result, boys’ schools performed better than both girls’ and co-educational schools. Boys had a high affinity and interest towards chemistry than girls. Also the culturally accepted gender roles had an effect on chemistry achievement. It is recommended that the Ministry of Education should initiate in-service programmes for teachers in science courses emphasizing on relevant scientific skills to empower teachers to provide learning opportunities that would reduce the gender differences and the effect of cultural factors known to enhance gender differences in the learning and achievement in chemistry. Curriculum developers and policy makers need to develop curriculum materials that would help to reduce the gender gap in learning and achievement.


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