1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Academic differences in participation and academic performance between male and female students were found in several different subjects examined at the secondary school level (Wamdeo, 2013). Gender has been found to influence the academic performance of male and female students, and has in turn called the attention of institutions of higher learning, governments and individuals in recent times, to investigate the extent to which gender influences academic performance.
Studies (Gracia & Jenkins, 2013; Black & Duhon, 2013; Bagamery, Lasik & Nixon, 2015) have identified gender as one of the factors that explain academic performance of students, but research results regarding which gender group performs better than the other have not yielded conclusive results. Traditionally, male students' academic achievement was considered superior to that of female students, especially in Mathematics and Science, because of their higher levels of innate spatial abilities (Benbow & Stanley, 2010). At the same time, female students' performance was placed above their male counterparts in language because of their greater verbal and reasoning abilities (Wilberg & Lynn, 2019). Estronaut (2019), however, highlighted that, studies that have found a gap between men and women's cognitive abilities have also found much overlap in their results. They observed that a man can grasp the skills of language just as well as a female. Similarly, many women excel in spatial skills just as well as their male counterparts. In the early stages of investigations into gender academic achievement gap, biological differences between male and female students, and childhood socialization were identified as the major contributing factors.
There are contemporary issues in major areas of Home economics education but for this research, the gender aspects of it will be deal with as it affects Home economics. Home economics should be equally accessible to male and female students. But is amazing that as these males and female enter post and tertiary education, large number of them tend lose interest in Home economics. Males are narrowing the gender gap in Home economics Education. In attempting to close the gender gap, (Gender gaps fact sheet 2017) emphasized that the over enrolment of students into other science courses like medicine, computer etc, has risen in these areas with the exception of Home economics in attempting to address this issue, the cause of the discrepancies between males and females in Home economics Education needs to be established.
Meanwhile, before addressing to the above questions it is very paramount to know the meaning and definitions of Home economics. Home economics is a skill oriented field of study that is capable of equipping learners with skills that create room for self reliance or paid employment which aims at reducing unemployment and improving manpower development. Leinch (2011) stressed that Home Economics is built upon many discipline from which an individual who engaged on it gains that opportunity, experience and skills required for effective output, (llinden 2019) pointed out that Home economics is a dynamic and evolving profession. This is because it focuses on the welfare of individuals, families and the society. The various Home economics related occupation makes provision of knowledge and skill to be diversified in the field of the study. Ekpenyong (2018) asserted that among the areas of education employs to enhance development, Home Economics has persistently indentified itself as the right step in the right direction. It has passed the period when it was regarded as only the acquisition of skill in household arts or just cooking which prevents male's enrolment in the course related areas of the study in higher institutions of learning. Today, Home Economics has given the bounding of focusing attention on the home/family to the large society it has broaden its cope in the line with the dynamics of the present to forestall credibility in career establishment as well as skills concrete enough to sustain individuals, family and the nation at large. It encompasses all areas of food and nutrition, Home management, clothing and textiles, child and family living, consumer education etc, hence integrating them into all aspects of life. Gender in the other hand means masculine, feminine or neuter. It is the condition of being construct which distinguishes the role behaviour, mental and emotional characteristics between male and female (Keller 2011). It is expressed in many spares of human endeavour its level of demonstration varies with time, place and culture. It relates to the circumstances of discrimination against a person, politics, religion, economics and social services and determines the level of political and economic empowerment that keep certain group of people at advantage position. In relation to offering Home economics in Tertiary institutions male gender has been a problem and the females mostly undertake the course.
Gender studies tend to have implications to support research, curriculum enrichment and redesign, future teaching methods, and the academic study of gender across all disciplines. In the educational setting, results of researches conducted to compare male and female students' performance inform much about which gender group is failing or succeeding in the discipline under study. The results from gender studies influence teaching methods as subject instructors also play major roles in students' performances. Williams (2011, p.12) asserts that “Researching gender performance is like building a wall. No single study provides the whole wall – just one of the bricks”. This study is, therefore, intended to add to the building blocks of understanding male and female students performance in Home Economics and it will focus on analysing the performance of male and female Home Economics students in selected tertiary institutions in Lagos State.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Gender has long been considered as a factor contributing to differences in performances of male and female students in all cycles of learning (De Laine, 2010). Educators and researchers have expressed a lot of interest concerning gender difference in academic performance in various disciplines of which Home Economics is not left out (Haynes, 2018). Whilst some studies (Halpern, 2010; Battal, 2012) reveal that female students outperform their male counterparts, others reveal the opposite (Astur, Ortiz & Sutherland, 1988; Willingham & Cole, 2017) and others still show no significant differences (Bitrus, Dominya & Hannatu, 2012).
Adu and Oshati (2014) have noted that there is the need to continuously evaluate the trends of the performance of students. This assertion by Adu and Oshati means that, even though the academic performance of male and female students might be determined, a trend of the academic performance must be established to indicate whether an increase or a decrease has resulted in the academic performance of the male and female students. Though studies have been conducted to examine the differences in academic performance of male and female students and the factors which affect their performance (Kimura & Hampson, 2014; Sam, 2016), the trend of academic performance of Home Economics over the years, has somehow not been delved much into. It is against this that this study was conducted to determine gender differences in academic performance of students in Home Economics in selected tertiary institutions in Lagos state, with particular reference to performance by male and female students in Home Economics.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of the study was to compare the academic performance of male and female students in Home Economics in tertiary institutions in Lagos state. Specifically, the study sought to;
1. Identify the academic performance of male and female students in Home Economics in tertiary institutions in Lagos state.
2. Establish the trend that exists in male and female students' academic performance in Home Economics in selected tertiary institutions in Lagos state.
3. Determine whether significant differences exist in the academic performance of male and female students in Home Economics in selected tertiary institutions in Lagos state.
4. The factors/reasons that hinder students from studying Home Economics programme in selected tertiary institutions in Lagos state
5. The relationship between gender and home economics students' performance in tertiary institutions in Lagos state
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the academic performances of male and female students in Home Economics in tertiary institutions in Lagos State?
2. What trend exists in male and female students' academic performance in Home Economics in selected tertiary institutions in Lagos State?
3. What is the significant difference in the academic performance of male and female students in Home Economics in selected tertiary institutions in Lagos State?
4. What are the factors/reasons that hinder students from studying Home Economics programme in selected tertiary institutions in Lagos State?
5. What is the relationship between gender and home economics students' performance in tertiary institutions in Lagos state?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant difference in the academic performance of male and female students in Home Economics in selected tertiary institutions in Lagos state.
H1: There is a significant difference in the academic performance of male and female students in Home Economics in selected tertiary institutions in Lagos state.
H0: There is no significant relationship between gender and home economics students' performance in tertiary institutions in Lagos state.
H1: There is a significant relationship between gender and home economics students' performance in tertiary institutions in Lagos state.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study is will be important to students in their learning process. The research will make them know the level of their academic performance especially in geography subjects. Thus, the students through this research will be able to grasp certain areas of their considerable effort and excellent academic performance in the subject they study, and also be aware of their deficiencies in certain areas of their geography subject. The study is also paramount importance to students because the acquisition of the suitable levels of literacy manipulative, communicative and good life skills, values and norms will serve as bed-rock, for laying a sound foundation for their future learning, improvement and development.
The study is very crucial to the curriculum planners. The curriculum planners are professional individuals who are well trained in curriculum management, they are active participants in the field of curriculum and they are responsible for curriculum planning as regards to contents and implementation procedures. Therefore, curriculum planning has been seen as a collection of readings that presents the knowledge, skills and alternative strategies needed by curriculum planners and teachers at all levels of education.
The research is also useful and beneficial to the federal, state and local government education policy makers. The policy makers in education include: the minister of education, commissioners of education, local government education secretaries and so on. Therefore, the outcome of this research will give them a clear picture of the level of academic performance of Home Economics students in tertiary institutions. Having known the academic performance of Home Economics students in tertiary institutions, the policy makers can create or formulate new educational policy that will ensure the same curriculum system so as to achieve similar objectives in all the tertiary institutions. The study will make it clear to them the major factors responsible for affecting the students' academic performance in Home Economics, so that appropriate actions would be taken to resolve the condition.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to comparative analysis in the performance of male and female students in Home Economics in tertiary institutions in Lagos State.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Academic Performance: Academic performance is the educational achievement attained over a specific time in school, college and university. Academic performance mean the level of achievement the female and male student displays in relation to her achievement in tertiary institution, or the level of achievement she gets after an official or formal education.
Attitudes: An attitude is a predisposition or a tendency to respond positively or negatively towards an object, person, or situation and the ability to favour or disfavour something. The term attitude is used to refer to showing favour or disfavour, for example, a teacher who favours women, gives them preference.
Gender: Gender refers to the concept of maleness or femaleness which is socially constructed and basic in all social interactions. Gender is constructed during the process of socialisation. Gender refers to attributes and behaviours appropriate to women or men and about the relations between women and men. It also entails the manhood and womanhood attributes which are based on a specific culture and also have positive and negative sanctions attached to them.
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