A Study of Gender Differences in the Attitude of Mathematically Gifted and Non-gifted Senior Secondary School Student in Nigeria.
The aim of the study is to investigate the differences in the attitude of boys and girls who are mathematically gifted or mathematically non-gifted in the Nigerian senior secondary schools. The population for the study was made up Senior Secondary Three students (SS3) of a school in Osun State. The study sample was made up of 150 (69 boys and 81 girls) SS3 students who were selected using stratified random sampling techniques with sex serving as the stratum. Three instruments were used in carrying out this study. The first instrument was an adopted RAVEN‟s Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM). It was a non-verbal assessment of general intelligence in people, applicable to people aged 5 years and over. The second instrument was a self constructed Mathematics Achievement Test (MAT) that covers the first two years of the Senior Secondary School Mathematics Syllabus. The third instrument was an adopted Andy (2007) Attitude Scale (AS) which was an adaptation of Fennema and Sherman (1976) AS. The collected data were analysed using t-test. The result indicated that the difference in the general attitude of male and female is significant. However, when considering the componential factors of the AS, it was discovered that there is a significant difference in the attitude of male and female students towards confidence in mathematics (t = 3.96 p <.05). It was also discovered that the male generally, the mathematically gifted male and average male students when compared with the girls showed a significantly more positive attitude towards confidence in mathematics (t = 3.8 and 2.92 respectively). While the girls generally and the underachiever girls when compared with the boys showed that they have a significantly more different negative feelings towards mathematics (t = -3.06 and -2.47 respectively). Based on these findings it is believed that boys‟ higher confidence in mathematics can encourage their pursuit of mathematics in their further studies and future career. However, the conclusions in this study are tentative. More research is needed.