Gender Differences in Performance of Chemistry Practical Skills among Senior Six Students in Kampala District
|Dr. Joseph Oonyu
|M.S. in Education
The aim of this study was to determine if there were gender differences in the performance of Chemistry practical skills among senior six girls and boys in selected mixed secondary schools in Kampala District from February to March 2004. The study participants were drawn from five mixed secondary schools in the district. A total of fifty students participated, half of them girls and the other half boys.
A cross sectional descriptive research design was used involving both quantitative and qualitative research strategies. The instruments of data collection were a Chemistry practical test (Quantitative analysis), student questionnaires and in-depth interviews. Questionnaires were filled out by all students and forty randomly selected students were interviewed by the researcher.
The following were the findings:
1. There were no statistical significant differences between girls and boys in their ability to manipulate the apparatus/equipment, take observation, report/record results correctly, and compute/interpret/analyze results during the Chemistry practical.
2. Both female and male students perceived interpreting/analyzing results to be the most difficult skill to perform, whereas manipulation of apparatus/equipment was perceived to be the easy skill to perform during Chemistry practical by both gender.
3. Girls had a poor self-confidence in their ability to perform Chemistry practical, as most of them (90%) believed that boys are better than them.
Although girls performed slightly better than boys overall, the skills in which boys performed slightly better than girls in recording/reporting results correctly, and computing/interpreting/analyzing results, contributed a higher percentage in the assessment of Chemistry practical examinations by the UNEB examiners. Hence, it may be the reason why boys perform better than girls in UNEB Chemistry practical examinations, and in 'A' Level Chemistry examinations generally.
The recommendations were that Chemistry teachers in 'O' Level should make sure that students are taught mole concept, volumetric analysis and Ionic Chemistry, and balancing equations early enough so that both girls and boys are able to compute/interpret/analyze results. Also, further research should be done on gender and Chemistry practical skill performance, considering qualitative analysis practical for both 'O' and 'A' Level, so that more knowledge is gained about the effect of gender on performance of Chemistry practical skills.