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Open Access What explains gender gaps in maths achievement in primary schools in Kenya?

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This paper aims to improve the understanding of classroom-based gender differences that may lead to differential opportunities to learn provided to girls and boys in low and high performing primary schools in Kenya. The paper uses an opportunity to learn framework and tests the hypothesis that teaching practices and classroom interactions explain gender gaps in maths achievement in Kenya. The data used is obtained from a cross sectional study involving video recordings of 70 lessons in mathematics, students' scores in a maths test and interviews with subject teachers in Kenyan primary schools randomly selected from six districts. Results show that gender gaps in maths achievement are more evidenced in the area of measurement. The gaps are more pronounced among low achievers in favour of boys. The most revealing finding is that entry achievement level is the main source of gender gaps in maths learning outcomes, implying that girls start at lower levels than boys and this gap is not closed by school. The policy implication to education is that boys have better chances of transition to secondary school and tertiary levels than girls, and consequently, there are broader gender disparities than can be closed by pro-gender education policies.

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Keywords: GAIN SCORE; GENDER; INSTRUCTION; MATHS; OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN; TEACHER

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2012

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  • Founded in 2003 by the UCL Institute of Education, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is a wide-ranging and engaging journal that features rigorous analysis and significant research across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field. The highest quality of reporting and presentation are ensured through an independent, anonymised peer-review process. As an entirely web-based open access journal, LRE has been able to offer innovative features and formats including: epistolary conversation; colour photos and illustrations; illustrative video clips.

    LRE welcomes relevant articles and book reviews. Please email them to [email protected]

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