Closing the gender gap : examining the reasons for performance differences in mathematics between Std 7 girls and boys in the Qacha's Nek District - Lesotho.
Molise-Sehlabi, 'Make Aloyisa 'Maselloane.
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There is a concern in Lesotho about inequalities in different sectors including inequalities that exist between females and males in schools. Closing the gender gap between males and females, girls and boys is the government's priority, hence the recent Gender and Development Policy, 2002. The project was conducted with the purpose of exploring the reasons that contribute to pupils' gendered performance in mathematics. In this regard, the focus was put on reasons behind girls' poor performance in mathematics. This report presents and discusses the results of a research which was conducted in Qacha's Nek - Lesotho. The project made some observations based on the questionnaire data gathered from four primary schools. The data provided some useful insights into girls' attitudes, behavior and perceptions towards mathematics, and it also provided insights into teachers' attitudes, expectations and perceptions about girls and their learning of mathematics. The research also provided evidence that there are different social factors that contribute to girls' poor performance in mathematics. Some of those factors concern parents, teachers, classroom process, peers and girls themselves. The analysis of the results and subsequent discussion suggests reasons that may be useful in terms of helping to explain pupils' gendered performance in mathematics and in the continued search for strategies that could improve girls' poor performance in this subject. Schools could be creative in the strategies that they can adopt to tackle gender differences. With this in mind, teachers and pupils were asked to suggest possible solutions that could be employed in trying to combat the problem of the gendered performance in mathematics hence noticeable improvement in girls' performance in this subject.