Female education is recognized as a critical pathway in promoting social, political and economic development. In Kenya, in spite of the progress made in narrowing the gender gap in education, still some parts of the country record low performance in girls’ education from secondary to tertiary colleges and universities and this not only deprives them of opportunities but also sustains the gender gap in leadership and professional fields. The aim of this study, was to investigate psychosocial factors that affect the girls’ academic performance in secondary schools in Kenyenya sub-county in Kenya. Kenyenya was chosen for the study because in the KCSE result of 2009 , 2010 and 2011 no girl from the area managed to score an ‘A’ or ‘A’- . In this study the social learning theory of Albert Bandura was used. The objectives of the study were: finding out the teachers’ attitude towards girls education and finding out the girls’ academic self-concept. The study employed descriptive survey research design. The target population of the respondents was 1200 girls: 2400 boys and 24 class teachers. 12 secondary schools were randomly selected from which a sample of 120 girls, 84 boys and 12 class teachers were chosen. The study had a total population of 216 respondents. The data were collected using two sets of questionnaires; the class teachers and the students’. The instruments were piloted in two schools which were not included in the study. Cronbach coefficient alpha method was used to estimate the reliability of research instruments. Data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Descriptive statistics were used to analyze quantitative and qualitative data. The research found out that girls have a negative attitude towards school, most teachers have a positive attitude towards girls’ education though others feel that girls need more support than boys, girls’ illicit relationship with teachers negatively affect girls’ performance and (51.7%) of the girls portrayed a negative academic self – concept. The research findings of the study can assist the government, the policy makers, the ministry of education and teachers in creating programmes that can motivate girls ’to work hard. The study can also inform the teachers on the need to change their attitude towards girls’ educational needs and find ways of engaging them to do better. The secondary schools administration and the government should instigate relevant measures to help curb illicit relationships of teachers with the girls.
Key words: Academic performance, attitude, academic achievement, psychosocial factors,academic self-concept.
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