A STUDY OF THE CORRELATION BETWEEN TEACHERS’ GENDER AND STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN ECONOMICS IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN LAGOS STATE

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A STUDY OF THE CORRELATION BETWEEN TEACHERS’ GENDER AND STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN ECONOMICS IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN LAGOS STATE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   Background to the study

Gender gaps in educational outcomes are now a matter of growing concern to educational researchers today. Boys are increasingly less likely than girls to attend university and to receive a bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, female undergraduates continue to be under-represented in such technical fields as engineering and computer science. One popular, if controversial, response to these patterns has been a renewed push for single-sex education – an effort that has drawn support from across political divides (Dee, 2006).

Regardless of the academic subject, boys, according to Dee (2006) are two to three times more likely than girls to be seen as disruptive, inattentive, and unlikely to complete their homework. However, how boys and girls view academic subjects vary across subjects in ways that parallel the gender gaps in subject test scores. For example, girls are more likely than boys to report that they are afraid to ask questions in Mathematics, Science, and Social Sciences. They are also less likely to look forward to these classes or to see them as useful for their future. Meanwhile, boys, as compared to girls, register more negative perceptions of English class.

But while boys and girls may exhibit different behaviours and prefer different subjects, Dee (2006) noted that it is not quite the same thing as having a different experience because of the gender of the teacher. The critical question here, therefore, is: Are there any evidences that teachers relate better to students whose gender they share or vice versa? According to Dee (2006), significant patterns can be detected within the United States National Educational Longitudinal Studies (NELS) data survey. He noted that when a class is headed by a woman, boys are more likely to be seen as disruptive, while girls are less likely to be seen as either disruptive or inattentive. Besides, when taught by a man, girls are more likely to report that they did not look forward to the subject, that it is not useful for their future, or that they are afraid to ask questions. The above situation is noted by Dee to be strongest in Science, where students’ report indicates that female science teachers are far more effective in promoting girls’ engagement with those fields of study.

Boys also have fewer positive reactions to their academic subject when taught by an opposite gender teacher. In particular, when taught by a female teacher, boys are more likely to report that they do not look forward to the subject (i.e. loose interest in the subject or find it less intriguing).

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A STUDY OF THE CORRELATION BETWEEN TEACHERS’ GENDER AND STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN ECONOMICS IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN LAGOS STATE