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  • Background to the Study

Both parents and educators are concerned about the need of quality education in a rapidly changing Nigerian culture and global environment. In education, only the worst subjects or fields of study are exempted. Literature is a basic subject in secondary school and is regarded a pillar of the arts (National Policy on Education, 2013). Unfortunately, the education policy that makes literature a fundamental subject has yet to be properly implemented, including the condition that all students should study literature. Instead, all students wishing to pursue jobs in law, mass communication, or similar fields must pass literature with a credit. Even though it is well established that teaching and learning literature increases language competence. Thus the benefits of teaching and learning literature are far-reaching. The majority of secondary school literature coursework is separated into two categories: literary appreciation techniques and study of representative texts. The literary appreciation element of the curriculum aims to give students a basic understanding of literature and literary criticism. They learn to appreciate reading and literary works. Figures of speech, literary terminologies, style and its elements and types are examples. The text, on the other hand, is a mix of poetry, prose, and drama. This is to provide students with a full understanding of what literature is. The texts are further divided into two categories: African and non-African.

          However, the teaching and learning of this important subject, like the others in the country, is today being faced with a lot of problems and challenges ranging from the quality of teachers to the availability of texts and other teaching materials. There is also the issue of interest from among the students as a greater majority of them would rather not offer literature. This is not unconnected to the abominable culture of great disinterest, if not phobia, for reading in the country (Smith, 2015). In plain terms, the reading culture among Nigerian students is almost dying as a result of time-consuming activities, such as social media and other frivolous activities. Students would rather avoid letters in print than indulge in the reading exercise and from there get the encoded information. And since offering literature is seen as a boring if not senseless venture that involves a lot of reading, only a minute, if not negligible number of students offer to study literature. Moreover, the little interest that a few of the students have in the subject is not spread evenly across the different genres, with prose almost always the favourite of students.

Gender comparison in the context of this study refers to the differences in the performance of boys and girls in prose. In the light of this Umolu (2016) observes that males and females show great differences in their interest and career choice. These differences may be attributed to the psychological differences and cultural influences. Females’ enrollment in vocations is quite different from those of males. Even parents generally encourage their daughters to opt for professions not masculine in nature. Umolu and Oyetunde (2017) have it that local customs, values have been developing in girls, and they are so deeply ingrained that some of them find it difficult to cope in areas that are believed to be male dominated professions. Lie and Syoberg (2004) observed that, invisible rules within the society have provided what is feminine and what is masculine. This could also be found in prose classroom interaction as female students dominate the male folk in all sorts of prose forms.

The question of whether males and females differ in cognitive abilities has been the focus of considerable research in recent decades. While there is a general consensus that males and females do not differ in general intelligence (Etim, 2017), gender differences are commonly observed for more specific cognitive abilities such as visual–spatial ability. However, Droop and Verhoeven (2013) had proposed the gender similarities hypothesis (GSH), which claims that males and females are similar on most, but not all, psychological variables. That is, men and women, as well as boys and girls, are more alike than they are different. It holds that most gender differences are small or trivial (close to zero) in magnitude, (Dogo, 2011) for nontrivial gender difference affect sizes. There is a growing body of evidence that males and females also differ in examination ability. Feagans (2013) noted that the issue of gender differences in examination has been overlooked because it is less frequently measured in educational assessments. In cases where examination ability is assessed, researchers should examine gender differences to determine if any meaningful differences occur.

Achievement test results conducted by Colundra (2012) has shown that boys and girls in the early ages perform equally in all subjects including literature, and as they grow to higher classes, the girls begin to get more interested in language Arts, while the boys take more to sciences and Social Sciences. This has resulted to a situation where there are more boys than girls failing prose. However, the issue of gender and students’ prose achievement has remained a controversial one. While some propose that, males perform better than females, others argue that the reverse is the case.

It is in the light of the above discussion that this study sees to make an examination of the performance of boys and girls on elements of prose in Junior Secondary Schools in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State.

  • Statement of the Problem

Over the years, there has been series of arguments and research on the effect of gender on performance of students in educational pursuit generally. However, based on the knowledge of the researcher, no study has been carried out on gender comparison of students’ achievement in prose in Pankshin Area of Plateau State. Furthermore, Chukwuma and Otagburuagu (2012) Citing the WAEC Chief Examiners’ report) asserts that the massive failure of students in prose termly examination and external examinations have given rise to the quest for many researchers to find out the reasons behind these failures. It is in the light of this that the researcher is also interested in findings out whether gender is a factor which influence students’ academic performance.

  • Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine the performance of boys and girls in elements of prose in Junior Secondary schools in Pankshin Local Government Area. other specific objectives of the study are to:

  1. To examine the difference in the performance of boys and girls in analyzing prose text.
  2. To discover other factors that increase the performance of either boys or girls.
  3. To determine gender-associated factors that inhibit the performance of either boys or girls.
    • Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. What are the differences in the performance of boys and girls in analyzing prose text?
  2. What are the factors that increase the performance of either boys or girls?
  • What are the gender-associated factors that inhibit the performance of either boys or girls?
    • Significance of the Study

It is hoped that, when this research is concluded, suggestions would be offered towards improvement of the art of teaching prose with a view of solving the problems encountered by teaching of prose and also, students will demonstrate a better appreciation and understanding of prose. The teacher will also understand the learners better so as to capture their attention and change their perceptions and attitudes towards the subject. Motivation, reinforcement and relevant instructional strategies by the teachers might help the learners get directions on what is expected.

To the genders (boys and girls), they will get to understand factors that increase their performances in prose, as well as factors that inhibit their performance in prose. It will therefore, guide them in taking measures which will enhance their performances in prose.

Parents would have a lot to gain from this seemingly important survey through their wards as the knowledge students may acquire from this survey would go a long way to shape their attitudes and to positively influence the manner they relate with others, and their parents at home. The value of prose will therefore, change the perception of parents and their non-challant attitude towards prose and Literature as a whole.

In addition to its intrinsic educational value, this research can reinforce the rest of the school curriculum. The school administrators, curriculum planners as well as the Ministry of Education would understand the challenges confronting the subject and when setting policies, they will take note of these challenges and remedy them accordingly.

            As the body which has pulls the purse strings, the government will benefit from this study because with the knowledge of the effect of gender on the learning prose of students, they will organize workshops for teacher and orientate them on these differences and as well provide instructional materials which will be used in the teaching process.

Finally, the research would also be useful to other researchers in supplementing the existing Literature on the same study area and would also, provide a rich ground for further research based on the gaps left out by this study. In this way, prose can accomplish several goals at once, enriching students’ school experience through Art as well as reinforcing traditional academics.

  • Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The study covers examination of the performance of boys and girls in elements of prose in Junior Secondary schools. The study is limited to Junior secondary schools in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State. However, it is of pertinence to note that despite the fact that the study is restricted to the selected local government area, the findings from this research can be generalized to other parts of the state and country at large.



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