Gender differences in students’ attitudes, self-efficacy and achievement in Mathematics in secondary schools in Liberia.
Sirleaf, Ambulai. V.
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This study examined gender differences in students’ attitudes, self-efficacy and achievement in mathematics in secondary schools in Liberia. The study used descriptive survey design and it was quantitative in approach. The sample of the study consisted of 400 secondary school students; two hundred females and two hundred males from both urban and rural schools. Fifty percent of the sampled schools were government institutions while 50.0% were private institutions. Margibi county and Lofa County were randomly selected from the fifteen counties in Liberia because of the teacher training institutions situated in these counties and their populations as compared to the third teacher training institution county (River Gee) in the country. Data sources were the self-administered questionnaires and an achievement test. The quantitative data measuring students’ attitudes and self-efficacy was analyzed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). The hypothesis were tested using the sample t-test, Data was presented using percentages, means and standard deviation. The findings showed that there was a significant difference between students’ gender and attitude in secondary schools in Liberia in favor of males. It further revealed a significant difference between students’ gender and achievement as well as students’ gender and self-efficacy in favor of males in secondary schools in Liberia. The conclusion is that more male students of the secondary schools in Liberia have positive attitude towards mathematics than their female counterparts and that in general, male students’ achievement rate was higher than females’ students in secondary schools in Liberia. It was further concluded that the difference shown between male and female students’ self-efficacy in the Liberian secondary schools in favor of males can be attributed to girls harboring doubts in their ability. It is highly recommended that teachers use teaching strategies to encourage girls and to increase their participation and excitement in mathematics which will improve their attitudes and narrow the negative perception and stereotype. Additionally, to boost female students’ achievement in mathematics, it is recommended that they should be encouraged by teachers, parents, and educational stakeholders to do adequate practice in the subject and mathematics teachers should treat students equally and fairly in mathematics classroom without any gender bias and mind set. And finally, it is also recommended that female Students’ self-efficacy in mathematics be increased by teachers, parents and communities by eliminating the negative beliefs held that mathematics is for boys and mathematics competitions should be organized across schools to enable students develop high esteem in the subject.