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

By Moochi, Charles N.; Barasa, Margaret et al. | The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online), September 2013 | Go to article overview

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


Moochi, Charles N., Barasa, Margaret, Ipara, Isaac P. O., Rose, Ogata B., Shitandi, Anakalo, The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)


Abstract

This study investigated comparative differences in performance among boys and girls in Kiswahili creative writing in selected secondary schools in Kenya. The study was carried out in Nyamira County in Kenya located at a GPS of 0.5210° S, 34.9140° E. Simple random sampling, cluster and systematic sampling techniques were used to select the students. Ten secondary schools were used in the study and the sample comprised 180 students (on an equal distribution of boys and girls,). The research instrument was a Kiswahili creative writing task. The form 4 students were required to perform a task which involved writing an essay in Kiswahili. To reveal the sex differences in Kiswahili creative writing, the two-tailed t-test was used. The sex differences were considered significant if they were more than the critical value (t-critical: 2.576) at p<.01 based on 178 degrees of freedom. The study revealed that girls outperform boys in overall performance in Kiswahili creative writing, style and spelling conventions whereas the two sexes remained at par in content presentation, vocabulary use and use of grammatical elements in Kiswahili creative writing. In light of the above findings, the researcher generally recommends that students should be provided with remedial teaching to improve their performance in Kiswahili creative writing and a sex unit be established in the department of languages to monitor the progress of boys and girls among other many recommendations.

Key Words: Kiswahili, boys, girls, writing, language

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. …

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