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GENDER DIFFERENCE AND ADULT LEARNERS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE

GENDER DIFFERENCE AND ADULT LEARNERS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE

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Abstract

This research work examined gender difference and adult learners’ academic performance in English Language in Essien Udim Local Government Area. The population of the study consisted of one hundred and fifteen (115) adult learners. Simple random sampling technique was used to select one hundred (100) adult learners from the population of the study.

Plain sheets were used in collecting the English Language Achievement Test (ELAT) scores. The data collected were subjected to statistical analysis using t-test. The results of the analysis revealed a significant difference as female adult learners performed significantly better than their male counterparts in English language. Equally, adult learners in centres with well-equipped library performed significantly better than their counterparts in centres without in Essien Udim Local Government Area.

Based on the outcome of the statistical analysis, the null hypotheses were all rejected. It was then recommended among others that facilitators (teachers) should at all times endeavour to give personal attention to each adult leaner in the class irrespective of gender in order to encourage them to learn. It was then concluded that female adult learners performed significantly better than their male counterparts in English language. Accordingly, adult learners in centres with well-equipped library performed better than their counterparts in centres without in Essien Udim Local Government Area.

CHAPTER ONE

 INTRODUCTION

 1.1 Background to the Study

The quality of the performance of students during examination in Nigeria has studies on gender related issues. Moreover, in most institutions of learning, the learners constitute male and female students. The concept of gender is invaluable in this study owing to expatiation of the effects of gender on learners’ academic performance in school. It is important to realize that formal education as provided in schools is one of the permanent forces which influences boys and girls to acquire educational upliftment expected of them. Education changes the behaviour of individuals to be useful and acceptable members of the society.

Some years ago, girls were assigned to work and follow their mothers to the farm. But nowadays, women study to become professional teachers, medical doctors, nurses, accountants, lawyers, engineers among other just like their male counterparts (Hassan, 2001).

However, gender refers to the sum of characteristics, structures and function either psychological, sociological or behavioural by which living thing can be classified into groups of male, female or mixed. Horner (2000) sees gender as a state of being male or female. Consequently, the concept of gender have been viewed in different dimensions, justifying different notions  same views were based on the society and pragmatic view.

On the societal view, Hirve (2004) opined that cultural or societal norms have a consequential effect on female learners and therefore reducing their academic performance. Teyer (2000) supported that females education are hindered by some factors. Conversely, Peter (2000) reported that all factors which could affect people’s development specifically females are termed gender biased.

However, gender difference in Adult and Non-Formal Education have continued to be an issue in the Nigerian educational system. In a study conducted by Wikipedia (2010) adult learners who believe in their abilities are more likely to succeed in their academic than those who do not because both males and females have a greater ability to assess how well they perform in school.

Consequently, for parents and teachers perception of the performance of the two genders, they are more likely to attribute girls’ failure to lack of ability. On the other hand, when boys fail parents and teachers are more likely to blame their failures on lack of effort (Barrs, 2000).

In this regard therefore, there tend to be differences in the performance of male and female adult learners in English language in Adult and Non-formal Education Essien Udim Local Government Area. However, this presents an area for investigation.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Over the years the performance of adult learners in English language in Adult and Non-formal Education has attracted serious criticisms by society. Accordingly, researchers and scholars have investigated which factors are responsible for the poor performance (Ukpong, 2003).

Among the factors identified were teacher’s quality, poor study habits of the learners, unconducive learning and teaching environment and inadequte facilitators (teachers) at the Adult and Non-formal Education centres. There is no doubt therefore that apart from the aforementioned factors, gender difference could also exert influence on Adult learners’ academic performance in English language thereby resulting in poor performance in the subject.

It is as a result of the above reasons that the researcher is motivated to undertake a study on gender differences and adult learners’ academic performance in English language in Essien Udim Local Government  Area.

1.3   Significance of the Study

The study will be of immense benefits in the following ways:

  • The study will reveal if female or male adult learners performed better than their counterparts in English language in Adult and Non-formal Education.
  • It will help teachers (facilitators) to note the category of adult learners or gender to be given special attention in English language for better academic performance.
  • It will expose the effect of gender on adult learners’ academic performance in examination as well as career of studies and occupation.
  • The study will also help educational administrators and teachers to know educational placement of learners in Adult and Non-formal education.
  • Finally, the study will serve as a reference manual for prospective researchers on similar or related fields.

1.4       Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to examine gender difference and adult learner’s academic performance in English language in Essien Udim Local Government Area. Specifically, the study sought to:

  • Compare the academic performance of female and male adult learners in English language in Adult and Non-formal Education in Essien Udim Local Government Area.
  • Examine if there is a difference in the academic performance of adult learners in centres with facilities like well-equipped library and those without in Essien Udim Local Government Area.

1.5   Research Questions

 The following research questions were raised to guide the study:

  • What difference exists in the academic performance of female and male adult learners in English language in Adult and Non-formal Education in Essien Udim Local Government Area?
  • What difference exists in the academic performance of adult learners in centres with facilities like well-equipped library and those without in Essien Udim Local Government Area?

1.6   Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:

  • There is no significant difference in the academic performance of female and male adult learners in English language in Adult and non-formal Education in Essien Udim Local Government Area.
  • There is no significant difference in the academic performance of adult learners in centres with facilities like well-equipped library and those without in Essien Udim Local Government Area.

1.7   Limitations of the Study

The researcher encountered some challenges in the course of carrying out the research. These were in the areas of insufficient funds, time frame allocated for the completion of the research work and inadequate materials for the review of empirical literature.

1.8   Definition of Terms

The following terms used in the study were defined by the researcher as discussed below:

Gender difference: This is a state of being female or male.

Adult learners: These are adult citizens who did not have opportunity to attend formal system of education when they were young.

Academic performance: This refers to the performance of learners on taught lessons as determined by their test scores and examination scores.

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