Performance Differences and Gender in Kiswahili Creative Writing: A Case Study of Selected Secondary Schools in Nyamira County, Kenya

Article excerpt

Introduction

Past studies have shown that there are differences in writing as a language skill between boys and girls. Chase (2011) has observed that several studies have established a relationship between sex and writing quality. Malecki and Jewell (2002) cited in Chase have averred that girls write more than boys. Chase has also echoed the same when he states that girls write longer essays than their male counterparts and that length contributes to essay quality. However, it should be noted that studies carried out in other countries do not reveal the same. Klassen (2002) cited in Chase (2011:22) has revealed that males and females do not differ in their writing performance. A study done by Pajares and Valiante (1999) cited in Chase (2011) established that there were no significant differences between boys and girls in writing performance yet girls were rated as " better writers" than boys.

This study was guided by two biological theories based on the hemispheric organization; Brain Lateralization Theory and Prenatal Hemispheric Theory. The main objective of the study was to compare the performance of secondary school boys and girls in creative writing in Kiswahili in Nyamira County, Kenya. Other objectives of the study included: to find out whether: there is any difference between boys and girls in: the presentation of content in creative writing in Kiswahili; style in creative writing in Kiswahili; use of appropriate vocabulary in creating writing in Kiswahili; ability to correctly use grammatically elements in creative writing in Kiswahili and the mastery of spelling conventions in creative writing in Kiswahili.

Statement of the Problem

The Kenya National Examination Council, Kiswahili Composition Examiners and Secondary schools Kiswahili teachers had opined that girls outscore their male counterparts in Kiswahili creative writing. Their opinion was based on holistic rating approach. This study delved into differences in performance, if any, between boys and girls in the five elements of creative writing namely: content, vocabulary, grammar, style, spelling as well as overall performance. Further, it aimed at revealing whether or not the differences are significant. This is critical to bridging performance disparity between boys and girls in Kiswahili creative writing, Kiswahili composition and Kiswahili language. Consequently, this is expected to contribute to reaching gender parity in educational outcomes.

Research Questions

The study attempted to find answers to the following questions:

a) Are there any difference in performance between boys and girls in creative writing in Kiswahili?

b) Are there any differences between boys and girls in the presentation of content in creative writing in Kiswahili?

c) Are there any differences between boys and girls in terms of style in creative writing in Kiswahili?

d) Are there any differences between boys and girls in the use of appropriate vocabulary in creative writing in Kiswahili?

e) Are there any differences between boys and girls in terms of their ability to correctly use grammatical elements in creative writing in Kiswahili?

f) Are there any differences between boys and girls in the mastery of spelling conventions in creative writing in Kiswahili?

Research Hypotheses

There were six non-directional hypotheses for this study:

[Ho.sub.1]: There is no significant difference in performance between boys and girls in Kiswahili creative writing.

[Ho.sub.2]: There is no significant difference in the presentation of content between boys and girls in Kiswahili creative writing.

[Ho.sub.3]: There is no significant difference in writing style between boys and girls in Kiswahili creative writing.

[Ho.sub.4]: There is no significant difference in the use of appropriate vocabulary between boys and girls in Kiswahili creative writing. …