The world has become a vastly complicated place. Scientific discovery, business development, technological advancement, the struggle to earn a living, increasing global independence, the rapid advancement of information age, and the increasing size of government are just some of the changes which have had significant impact on man’s environment.
To this end, man’s attitude towards his environment shapes his decisions and affects his social relationship and behaviour. It is with this background in mind that the researcher decided to investigate the influence of gender on attitude of senior secondary school students toward accounting and the effect on performance.
1.1 Background of the Study
The researcher has in mind to make this research work to be of immense value to our senior secondary schools systems, especially as regards teachers, government and schools’ approaches to teaching of accounting and business subjects in general. The influence of gender as a determinant factor for students’ attitude and performance in accounting has been subjected to endless arguments. This can be seen in the work of Carlson (1968) which stated that “The learning of accounting provides for individual capacity to progress at his or her own pace”. The relationship of gender to various means has been observed in different cultures as well as choices of studies throughout the world.
It has been observed by many researchers that some of the measures which have come under investigation include cognitive style-Lynn (1972); Okeke and Wood-Robenson (1980), achievement-Siam and Ugwuogbu (1980), and ability to perform tasks, Hanson (1986). The general views of the scholars in this direction were that males showed superiority over females in their studies. Although Ogunyemi (1992) indicated in his study that the performance of females and not males improved from teachers supplied information about science related task situation.
In Nigeria, not much ground has been covered in the business subject areas, and accounting in particular. But this is absolutely necessary especially where manpower requirement is much needed in view of the business and technological development in the country. This study will remind Nigerian educators of their national obligation at this transitional period of our country into modern scientific and technological society. This requires a system of mass education of effective males and females accountants, starting at the junior and senior secondary school levels which form the preparatory stages. Encouragement and positive attitude should be properly established in both male and female students in order to develop their interests and capabilities in the area of accounting.
It would be unfortunate situation and a drawback to our country, Nigeria if one hand the government is stressing “Education for industrialization, development and service”, while on the other hand, it is experiencing moral decay, students’ negative attitudes and low performance in school subjects.
If there exists a difference in the performance of male and female students in accounting then practical approaches to level the imbalance in our educational system should be adopted. Education is the heart of any nation and the citizens expect to benefit from it. Without a sound education, man’s intellect and moral sense are stunted and he is a menace to himself and the society. Nigeria senior secondary school students should be made to realize the importance of accounting to the country’s immediate needs.
Nigeria should move away from emphasizing certificate proficiency because this emphasis gives rise to the scramble to score high grades in examination without much labour or interest in the subject matter. Stressing on acquisition of certificate dampens students’ attitudes toward school subjects. Performance and scores in examination become ends in themselves and real life goal (the development of innate capabilities and often ambition) are jeopardized. This distance between students’ interests and performance continually widens and the meaning of true education may be observed.
However, the casual comparative study will aim to discover the influence of gender on students’ attitude and performance in accounting and their relationship between attitude and performance. If a significant influence does not emerge, then the notion that males show a more positive attitude to accounting or vice versa will be dispelled.
Moreover, if a positive correlation does not exist between attitude and performance, these will de-emphasis the need to develop positive attitude towards all subjects. Performance of students may then be related to other factors like teachers, equipment, environmental influence and motivation.
Finally, the researcher hopes that this study will contribute to the improvement of both male and female education in the area of accounting.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The tendency of many senior secondary school students to offer accounting and neglect other business subjects like shorthand, typewriting, and business methods in the SSSCE/GCE (Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination and General Certificate of Examination) is a situation that causes much concern to educators. In order to understand this tendency, there is a great need to study it scientifically.
Moreover, accounting is the only business course that is offered by most students in secondary commercial schools and some secondary schools, where business courses are offered. A number of boys tend to choose accounting while majority of girls tilted toward typewriting and shorthand. Our educational system should take steps to encourage women to enter into accounting profession in order to boost manpower requirement in this direction.
Now that the country is much concerned with the commercialization and privatization policy, there is need for more accounting personnel to provide effective and prudent services in both public and private enterprises to ensure accountability, propriety and fair dealings. Meanwhile the nation’s students continue to have interest toward business courses. What hope is there, then for the country’s social, economic, scientific and technological improvement?
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to determine empirically from the achievement and attitude scores of students in three types of secondary commercial schools.
i) The difference in attitude between males and females toward accounting.
ii) The difference in academic performance of male and female students in accounting.
iii) Whether there is any significant relationship between male and female student’s attitude and performance in accounting.
iv) Ways of improving accounting curriculum and meeting the man-power of the state in particular and Nigeria in general.
v) The place of accounting among other secondary/commercial schools subjects in terms of interest and performance.
vi) Ways of improving curriculum and meeting the man-power of the state in particular and Nigeria in general.
1.4 Significance of the Study
For the nation to boost of the sufficient man-power in accounting oriented field, a thorough foundation must be laid in secondary and commercial schools where the choice and interest in accounting are generated.
i. It is to be hoped that the study will prompt the government to improve the conditions of teaching and promote effective teaching, especially in accounting. Teachers are the best stimuli for improving students’ interest and performance be accounting and other subjects in general.
ii. The findings may encourage competition among students and arouse interest among boys and girls in the study and appreciation of accounting and other business subjects.
iii. The study may encourage both citizens and the government to emphasis the study of accounting in particular and business subjects in general in order to stimulate initiatives in the establishment and management of small scale ventures in order to increase productivity and efficiency.
iv. Though the government spends large sums of money annually on Bursary and scholarships for the study of accounting and its allied courses, she can hardly extricate herself from the responsibility of equipping our secondary and commercial schools business studies for effective business teaching and learning.
v. The study will enable the government to realize the importance of guidance and counseling in our secondary and commercially schools so as to enable boys and girls choose business subjects on the basis of their own ability, and with the aim of contributing toward the development of the nation’s business field.
vi. Finally, the study may stimulate further interest and research on the topic at hand.
1.5 Research Questions
1. Does the attitude of male students differ significantly from the attitude of female students toward accounting?
2. Does the performance of male students in accounting in co-educational schools differ significantly from male students in boys’ schools?
3. Does the performance of male students differ significantly from that of female students in accounting?
4. Does the attitude of male students in accounting in co-educational schools differ significantly from male students in boys’ schools?
5. Does any significant relationship occur between students’ attitude and performance in accounting?
6. How do senior secondary school students rank accounting in relation to other commercial subjects?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
1. There is no significant difference in attitude of male and female students toward accounting at the senior secondary school level.
2. There is no significant in difference in performance of male and female students in accounting at the secondary commercial school Ibekwe Ikot Abasi Local Government Area.
3. There is no significant difference in performance in accounting between male students in boys’ schools and male students in co-educational school level.
4. There is no significant difference in attitude toward accounting between male students in co-educational schools.
5. There is no significant relationship between male and female students’ attitude and performance in accounting at the senior secondary school level.
6. Accounting is not ranked higher than other commercial subjects by senior secondary school students.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
The study has the following limitations:
i. The research is confined to only two Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Ikot Abasi and Abak because of time and resources (finance and personnel).
ii. This study was limited to senior secondary school level, (SS1 and SS2) who are preparing for accounting in SSCE/GCE in the sampled schools selected.
iii. The lack of standard achievement test for all the schools led to the use of promotion examination results of the individual schools to determine students’ accounting scores. As a result, possible disparities between the achievement scores of the different institutions were uncontrolled.
iv. The reluctant of some contacted principals and students to complete the questionnaire.
v. The period within which the study is carried out is another limiting factor; perhaps a longer time would have permitted the collection of more data hence more generalized result.
1.8 Scope/Delimitation of the Study
The study is limited to some selected schools in Ikot Abasi and Abak Local Government Areas which includes Queen of Apostle Seminary, Afaha Obong, Abak, Mid-Town Secondary School, Ukan, Edem Aya, Secondary Commercial School, Ibekwe, and upon the study topic which centered on gender influence on the academic performance of students’ in accounting at the senior secondary school level.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Since different words may connote various meanings, it is absolutely necessary to define the important concepts used in this research.
1. Accounting: This is concerned with the collection of financial records, analyzing, interpreting and communicating the results and resources that have been used or consumed in the production of goods and in the rendering of services, Donald and Jerry (1985, p.5).
2. Attitude: The students’ feelings and beliefs about accounting and how they tend to read in relationship to the subject.
3. Choice: Accepting a cause and following it strictly.
4. Co- educational: This is a school where boys and girls are taught accounting together.
5. Equipment: Hardware for the teaching and learning of accounting, e.g. computer.
6. Female Student: Girl students of the school under study
7. Influence: This may be defined as the power, drive, or control of behaviour towards accounting.
8. Male Students: Boy students if the school under study.
9. Performance: This may be defined in terms of academic performance. It is the knowledge attained or skill developed in accounting, usually designed or designated by test scores or marks assigned by teacher. For this research, it is sessional examination scores of students.
10. Questionnaire: A list of questions circulated for the purpose of collecting useful information for a research project.
11. Sex: This may be regarded as the mechanism of genders that characterize male and female behaviour or attitude towards achievement in accounting.
12. Vocation: This refers to the kind of job an individual may decide to take or have interest on.