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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Students’ mathematics achievement in Africa: a preliminary look at gender differences in sub-saharan cultures thecase of Nigeria and Swaziland Frempong, George


This study compared gender differences in mathematics achievement in two sub-Saharan Africa cultures (Swaziland and Nigeria) using data from Second International Mathematics Study (SIMS). Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was also used to determine the appropriateness of SIMS hypothesized mathematics measurement model in assessing students of the two cultures. MANOVA with a follow up discriminant function analysis were used to investigate gender differences in means while differences in skewness and kurtosis of mathematics achievement distribution scores for males and females were compared using 95% confidence interval graphs of skewness and kurtosis. The analysis of the data indicated that gender differences in mathematics achievement in both countries were statistically significant, but substantively trivial (eta squared<0.013). Achievement distribution scores in all mathematical areas (Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Statistics and Measurement) were similar for males and females in the two countries except Geometry and Algebra in Swaziland. Gender differences in skewness and kurtosis were statistically significant (p = 0.05). For Algebra, there were gender differences in kurtosis only (p = 0.05). The CFA showed that the SIMS mathematics model did not fit well to the Swaziland and Nigeria data (GFI<0.803). The study concluded that there was little justification in assessing students in the two countries based on the SIMS model. However, based on the model it appeared that culture seemed to have little influence on gender differences in mathematics achievement in both countries. The two countries could therefore share educational policies without creating a gender gap in mathematics achievement. Further research using locally developed test items and involving more than two factors such as IQ and SES has been suggested.

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