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1.1 Background Of The Study

Physics knowledge has been discovered to be very important in understanding modern technology and the variety of scientific breakthroughs valuable to mankind. However, research findings on understanding of Physics concepts and achievement in Physics derived from students’ performances (whether interview or written) in solutions to problems in Physics concepts generally show that students do not appear to have a set of logically coherent ideas about Physics concepts. Students not only have a weak understanding of physics topics, but they are also unable to apply what they have studied in practical circumstances. However, there are two key components to the difficulty that children have with learning Physics things to learn (Physics curriculum) and the learners (the group of children to whom the materials is to be taught). Educational psychology emphasizes the anchoring notions that are already formed in the cognitive structure of students and gives suggestions for arranging learning materials to be presented. The renowned idea of Atadoga (1997) to begin with what the learner already knows is concerned with the processing abilities the learner has available to deal with new materials.

However, evidence suggests that many students approach Physics with concerns about its difficulties, doubts about their own ability, and uncertainty about its value and significance in their lives (Orji 2000). There is a widespread misconception, he claims, that physics entails a plethora of symbols and calculations. These emotions are a significant impediment to their understanding of physics principles. Orji (2000), for example, identified learner characteristics that influence physics comprehension. Gender is one of these issues, and it may be the most important factor contributing to the poor state of physics education, as evidenced by low enrollment and poor performance by physics students.

Enrollment and achievement in gender and physics are primarily motivated by two concerns. The need to avoid sexual discrimination in education is emphasized by gender equality. In addition, to address the lack of female representation in some scientific and professional fields, there should be a greater interest in and understanding of physics. Increased female participation may also have an impact on science and technology. As a result, females appear to avoid physics as a subject choice in Nigerian secondary schools, implying that female representation in scientific and technical fields will be low in the long run. Unless and until something is done in the form of research and application of study findings, Nigeria will remain Rivo’s least developed group, with a female scientist and engineer proportion ranging from 2.5 percent (as in Madagascar) to 9.3 percent (as in Togo).

Gender disparities in science education enrollment must be addressed by curriculum planners and implementers (Johnson & Murphy, 1984). As a result, considering gender as a factor in a study of this nature is critical.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

A thorough review of the literature on gender differences in academic performance revealed that there has yet to be a clear picture on this issue (Atadoga, M.M. 1997, Johnson and Murphy 1984, Nkpa 1997); that gender has a significant contribution to students’ understanding of physics concepts and achievement.

However, many faults have afflicted the Nigerian educational system throughout the years, including students’ poor performance in physics in senior secondary schools. There appears to be a trend in the performance of girls and boys in co-educational and single-sexed schools, with girls not performing as well as boys. Most of the time, girls just avoid science-related subjects, and as a result, many girls prefer English, biology, and other non-calculus-based disciplines. Some argue that students who attend single-gender schools outperform those who attend co-educational schools. As a result, the goal of this study is to investigate the effect of gender on students’ academic progress in Physics.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The primary aim of this study is to examine the influence of gender on students’ achievement in senior secondary school physics. However, the specific goals are as follows:

1. Examine the effect of gender on students’ achievement in secondary school Physics.

2. Examine the differences in the performance of male and female students in physics.

3. Investigate the differences in physics performance between co-educational and single-sex students.

1.4 Research Hypothesis

An hypothesis refers to an experimental statement, tentative in nature, showing the relationship between two or more variables. It is open to testing and can be accepted or rejected depending on whether it agrees or disagrees with the statistical test.

The study will test the validity of the following hypothesis:

H01: There is no difference between the performance of male and female students in physics.

H02: There is no difference between the performance of students in co-educational and single sex students in physics.

1.5 Significance Of The Study

The study sought to determine the impact of gender disparities as well as school type on students’ physics performance. The findings of this study will reveal how gender influences secondary school student performance in physics. It is also planned to investigate the factors that contribute to differences in students’ physics achievements in order to improve them. Similarly, the research will assist those involved in curriculum development and administration in carrying both sexes (male and female) students along, as well as serve as a reference material for counseling of various sexes, among other things. Academics, teachers, and students will all benefit from this research.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

This study emphasizes the effect of gender on students’ achievement in secondary school physics, the differences in the performance of male and female students in physics and the differences between the performance of students among co-educational and single sex students in physics. Hence this will be delimited to secondary schools in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State comprising of mixed schools, and single-sex schools.

1.7 Limitation Of The Study

The main limitation of this study was time constraints, as the researchers had a limited time frame to complete this study.More so financial constrains and language barriers were major key challenge encountered during this study.

1.8 Definition Of Terms

School Type: This refers to as the composition of the schools as either as, boys only, girls only or (mixed girls and boys).

Performance: It refers to output or product in Physics that can be measured. Or how well or bad a student does in Physics.

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