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This study was carried out to investigate the relative effect of gender on the proficiency level of Arabic students in selected Illmiyyah schools. A qualitative and quantitative research design was adopted to compare  the  phenomenon  under investigation  as  it  occurs  in  real  learning  life  situations. Simple random sampling technique was used to select two (2) Illmiyyah schools (Modrasah), the Illmiyyah schools (Modrasah) were; Ibadullah Islamic Schools and At-tedrees Arabic and Islamic Center. Forty (40) Arabic students were randomly selected from each Illmiyyah school which makes it a total number of one hundred (80) for the study. The Arabic achievement test research instrument and interview guide were used for collection of data. Three (3) research questions were answered using frequency count and simple percentage. Result from the research questions showed that There is a difference in the academic performance of students based on gender, age and occupation of the parents. Male Arabic students are more proficient and fluent in Arabic speaking than the females. As such, it was recommended that there is need for serious training and re-training of teachers in form of in-service, seminars, workshops on how to select and employ different teaching methods. Females Arabic students need to be motivated to learn Arabic language as it looks bored to them.



Title page                                                                                                                        i

Certification                                                                                                                          ii

Dedication                                                                                                                             iii

Acknowledgement                                                                                                               iv

Abstract                                                                                                                                 v

Table of Contents                                                                                                                 vi



  • Background of the study 1
  • Statement of the problem 6
  • Research Objective                         7
  • Research questions 7
  • Research Hypotheses 8
  • Significance of the study 8
  • Scope of the study             9
  • Definition of terms             9



2.0       Introduction                                                                                                                11

2.1       Conceptual framework                                                                                               12

2.1.1    Concept of Gender and Academic Achievement in the Process of Language Acquisition                                                                                                               12

2.1.2    Concept of Motivation in relation to language Learning                                    14

2.1.3    Age in Relation to Second Language Acquisition                                              17

2.1.4    Arabic Language in Illmiyah Schools                                                                   19

2.1.5    Gender Differences in the Construction and Construal of Selves                     21

2.1.6    Concept of Parental Socio-Economic Status as a Determinant for Academic Performance                                                                                                             24

2.1.7    Concept of Academic Performance                                                                       25 of Academic Performance                                                              25

2.2       Theoretical Review                                                                                                     29

2.2.1    Markus and Nurius’ (1986) Theory                                                                        29

2.2.2    Higgins’ (1987) Theory of Future Selves                                                                30

2.2.3    Functionalist Theory of the Family                                                                            26

2.2.4    Social and Learning Theories                                                                                     27

2.2.5    The Family Systems Theory                                                                                       28

2.3       Empirical Studies                                                                                                       29       

2.3.1    Gender Differences and Language learning proficiency and Strategies           31

2.3.2    Gender Differences and Academic Achievement                                                33

2.3.3    Socio-Economic Variables and Students’ Language Learning Performance  34

2.3.4    Motivation and Students’ Academic Performance in Arabic                             36

2.3.5    Summary                                                                                                                   38                                                                                                                               



3.0       Introduction                                                                                                                39

3.1       Research design                                                                                                          39

3.2       Population                                                                                                                   39

3.3       Sample and sampling Technique                                                                             40

3.4       Instrument for Data Collection                                                                                40

3.5       Validity of the Instrument                                                                                         41

3.6       Reliability of the Instrument                                                                                     41

3.7       Data Collection Method                                                                                               41

3.8       Method of Data Analysis                                                                                              42



4.0   Introduction                                                                                                                   43

4.1   Data presentation                                                                                                          43

4.2   Answering the Research Questions                                                                                 45



5.1    Summary of Findings                                                                                                   51

5.2    Discussion of Findings                                                                                                 51

5.3    Conclusion                                                                                                                     53

5.4    Recommendations                                                                                                         54

5.5    Suggestions for Further Reading/Research                                                               54


Appendix I                                                                                                                              58




1.1.           Background of the Study

The development of Islam and Arabic language has been seen successful through numerous factors in Nigeria. Learning how to write and understand Arabic language as a second language is one of the most challenging efforts among prospective learners in Nigeria. Perhaps the most obvious factor that distinguishes the second language learner with native speaker is just the ability of expression which is seen as added advantage to Nigerian student who put effort to learn Arabic language today (UmarFarouq, 2017).

Arabic language education has generated considerable interest in recent years, particularly for students of non-native speakers. There are numerous tests and research performed to improve the standard of Arabic language learning and teaching based on students’ experience as well as on improving the learning situation (Daud , Wong, Ghani and Ramli, 2021)

Learning a foreign language is very complex and depends upon many factors, namely cross-linguistic influences, gender, motivation, the linguistic environment learners find themselves in, aptitude, other individual differences etc. (Ortega, 2013).Gender roles in society are culturally conditioned, yet the way in which culture shapes gender roles may be difficult to anticipate.

According to Kanno (2008), gender is an analytic concept that describes sociological roles, cultural responsibilities and expectations of men and women in a given society or cultural setting. Ezeh (2013) explains that ‘gender describes the personality traits, attitudes, behaviours, values, relative power, influence, roles and expectation (femininity and masculinity) that society ascribes to the two sexes on a differential basis’. Therefore, gender is a psychological term and a cultural construct developed by society to differentiate between the roles, behaviour, mental and emotional attributes of males and females. The influence of gender on learning and achievement has remained a controversial and topical issue amongst educationists and psychologists.

This concept of gender is an identifiable variable or a participant variable that describes the general characteristics of the study respondents who cannot be changed. The common feature of these respondents is often used as an independent variable in the study to see the difference between male and female respondents over the dependent variables studied. Some of the dependent variables that are often studied include achievement, motivation and acceptance levels (Daud , Wong, Ghani and Ramli, 2021).

Andreou, Vlachos and Andreou, (2005) confirmed that gender is one of the most commonly researched factors impacting foreign language learning and it is one of the topics commonly discussed in educational, linguistic and psychological research (Rizvić and Bećirović, 2017; Catalan, 2003; Woolfolk, 2014). Every in-depth research into foreign language learning commonly takes into account gender differences. Thus, achievement on the tests measuring specific abilities has been shown to depend upon gender differences (Woolfolk, 2014)

Olaniyan-Shobowale & Mogaji (2017) asserted that the south-western part of Nigeria and specifically in Lagos State, Arabic education has a significant portion in public and private learning. Thus, Arabic teaching and learning unfolds at three different levels, namely, formal and government owned schools, formal and privately owned Muslim schools, and traditional and privately owned Arabic schools.

Islamiyyah schools which are the privately owned schools are established primarily to preserve and spread Islam within Muslim communities, globally. The two levels of Islamiyyah schools that can be found are katâtîb (Basic Qur’anicschool) and madrasah(Arabic and Islamic Studies School). The former is operated mainly in the mosque and any other convenient place, while the latter at times is operated in a special building, but sometimes operated also inside mosque(Bashir, 2020). The madrasahwhich is operated like conventional schools is the major focus here, because it is equivalent to secondary school, and their successful products do further their education at tertiary levels.

The 21st century has brought a lot of innovations to educational system with positive impact on physical structure, curriculum, students, teachers, and administration of schools. Unfortunately, majority of madâris (plural of madrasah) are still operated the way they have been operated in the past. Practically, they fail to keep abreast of the changes brought by the twenty-first century. Considering the objectives that the madrasahstrives to achieve, it will be retrogressive to remain indifferent to the 21st century imperatives (Bashir, 2020).

Generally, one of the things most critical to the success or failure of students studying a foreign language learning is their own motivation to succeed because in learning their second or foreign language students require a lot of time and must put in much effort. This is in accordance with the assertion of Chalak and Kassaian (2010) who stated that motivation is the most important reason to explain the failure or success of a learner in studying a foreign language.

In support of the above submission, Dornyei (1998) has explained that motivation is a very important key to learning so that one becomes a success. Thus, if students have no motivation they will not have any eagerness, emotion and reason to focus on their learning. Moreover, Christiana (2009) has stated that motivation is an important factor that plays a major role in achieving many fundamental goals in a student’s academic life.

There are two main categories of motivation, namely instrumental motivation and integrative motivation. According to Chalak and Kassaian (2010), instrumental motivation refers to the motivation to acquire a language as a means of achieving goals such as promoting a career or job or reading technical texts while integrative motivation relates to integrating oneself within a culture and being accepted by another community because he is interested in communicating with people and learning about their culture and language.

In addition, there are also other types of motivation. Two types introduced by Rotter (1966) are Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation remains an important construct, reflecting the natural human propensity to learn and assimilate (Ryan &Deci, 2000). In brief, it is the motivation to learn that comes from within of a person.

However, extrinsic motivation is argued to vary considerably in its relative autonomy and thus can either reflect external control or true self-regulation (Ryan &Deci, 2000). Hence students are motivated to learn a language because someone else (externally) is either going to reward them for doing it or penalize them for not doing it. With regard to the explanation above, it may be concluded that either instrumental motivation or integrative motivation can give a student either male or female a significant contribution.

In terms of academic achievement, it is generally discovered that female learners have astounding achievement levels compared to male learners and have better results than male students for almost all subjects in the public examination locally and internationally especially in Arabic language teaching and learning. (Saida & Mustapha, 2018; Akmaliyah, Ratnasih and Diterbitkan, 2017; Norizan, Abdullatif, Rizan and Maasum 2017). The female students in the study of Poh and Ng (2008) found that they achieved better achievement in general studies than male students. However, male students are found to be as proficient in Science (Zalizan, Amla, Norzaini, Rohana, Ramlah, Izwan, Zaleha, abdulhamid and Hanizah, 2005) as in Chemistry (Mullis, Martin, Fierros, Goldberg and Stemler 2000). They are also better at describing phenomena scientifically than female students.

Voyer and Voyer (2014) conducted large-scale research where they followed a continuation of educational processes in more than 30 countries. The research showed that the grades obtained by female students were consistently higher than the grades obtained by male students and the grade differences between girls and boys were largest for language courses and slightest for math and science (Voyer and Voyer, 2014). Despite greater achievement of female students, in particular in the process of foreign language learning, gender differences in that respect did not seem to be significant (Bećirović, 2017).

Gender seems to impact students’ motivation as female students seem to be more motivated than male students in the process of foreign language learning and thus achieve better results (Aslan, 2009; Bećirović, 2017; Balenović, 2011). Likewise, female students seem to use learning strategies more than male students (Bećirović et al., 2017; Green and Oxford, 1995; Oxford and Nyikos, 1989; Razi, 2008; Sheorey, 2006; Poole, 2009), which might also contribute to their greater achievement in the process of foreign language learning. However, some studies pointed to the greater usage of learning strategies by male students (Baily, 1996), while the others showed that some strategy types are used more by females, and the other by males (Cogmen and Saracaloglu, 2009; Goh and Foong, 1997; Lee, 2012; Xu, 2004), which points to the fact that gender ought not to be observed solely and independently of other factors and that more factors ought to be taken into consideration in any research of foreign language learning.

Grade level is also considered to be an important factor in the process of language learning, as the learning process hugely depends on the age of individual learners. Older learners are believed to use learning strategies more frequently than younger learners, and these two learner groups are shown to differ in the types of strategies they use (Oxford, 1990). Thus, mature older learners use more metacognitive strategies, which are used to coordinate the learning process, whereas younger learners use social strategies, which help them to achieve better results by learning through establishing social contacts in the process of language learning (Lawrence, 2007).

In the present study, the researcher intends to investigate the relative effect of gender on the proficiency level of Arabic students in selected Illmiyyah schools.

1.2. Statement of the problem

Learning Arabic among non-native speakers is very challenging because students have to work hard to acquire the language skills they need. Students with effective and well-organized learning will be able to learn this language well and effectively. There are numerous tests and researches carried out to improve the standard of Arabic language both in learning and teaching based on students’ experience as well as adopting appropriate methods to improve the learning situation to facilitate proficiency. Although, it is discovered that female learners have astounding achievement levels compared to male learners and have better results than male students for almost all subjects in the public examination locally and internationally especially in Arabic language teaching and learning. (Saida & Mustapha, 2018; Akmaliyah, Ratnasih and Diterbitkan, 2017; Norizan, Abdullatif, Rizan and Maasum 2017).  However, without motivation, perhaps learning could be retarded. Meanwhile, for highly motivated students, they evaluated their learning to determine the next step of self-regulated learning. Arabic language may requires motivational belief to produce students who excel academically and achieve their goals. It was against this background that this study investigates the relative effect of gender on the proficiency level of Arabic students in selected Illmiyyah schools.

1.3. Purpose of the study

This study intends to achieve the following objectives:

  • To compare the academic achievement of male and female students in Illmiyyah schools in Lagos State.
  • To investigate the effect of motivation on the academic achievement of male and female students in Illmiyyah schools in Lagos State.
  • To find out the relationship between age and parental socio-economic status students academic achievement in Arabic studies.

1.4. Research questions

The following research question guided the study:

  • Will the female Arabic students be better proficient in Arabic than male students?
  • Are female students more fluent in Arabic language than their male colleagues?
  • Will there be a difference in the academic achievement of Arabic students based on gender, motivation, age and parental socio-economic factors?

1.5. Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses have been formulated to guide the study:

H01: There will be no significant difference in the academic achievement of male and female students in Illmiyyah schools in Lagos State.

H02: There will be no significant difference in the academic achievement of students based on motivation in Illmiyyah schools in Lagos State.

H03:  There will be no significant relationship between the age of students and parental socio-economic status and Arabic proficiency of students in Illmiyyah schools in Lagos State.


1.6. Significance of the study

This research is being carried out to investigate and bring positive improvement in the practice of Arabic education, through discovering new knowledge or information. Therefore, this research is important in many areas to the stakeholders in Arabic education for obtaining good output in Illmiyyah schools.

The study is also essential to the Arabic education teachers in many areas; the research will make the teachers to be conscious of current status of students’ academic achievement in Illmiyyah schools within the study area. The study will also expose them to see the differences in academic achievement of the male and female students in Arabic studies.

The research would be helpful to ignite the need have sophisticated curriculum planners who will design standard Arabic education curriculum for teaching and learning of Arabic studies. Thus the curriculum planners through this study will be able to know where to lay more emphasis in the planning and developing of the curriculum.

This study is significantly beneficial to the students in the learning process, by increasing their knowledge in relation to their gender.

The study is also useful and beneficial to the school owners, school management and religious bodies and foreign language organization. The study will help them to have adequate and effective planning with regards to Arabic education students and graduates.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The study investigates the relative effect of gender on the proficiency level of Arabic students in selected Illmiyyah schools in Lagos state, Nigeria. This study compares the academic achievement of male and female Arabic students in Illmiyyah schools in Lagos State, also the effect of motivation on academic achievement of males and females in Illmiyyah schools.

1.8 Operational definition of Terms

Academic achievement

The outcome of academic performance of Arabic students in Illmiyyah schools .


Gender is used in this work to represent students either male or female.


Motivation is refers to as the inner or outer factor which push someone to press further when things seems to be undoable.

Arabic students

They are students who enrolled in Illmiyyah schools either male or female.

Arabic Education Curriculum

The well structured design planned to guide the instructions and other academic activities in Illmiyyah schools.






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