1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The study of the theory, experimentation, and engineering that underlie the creation and usage of computers is known as computer science (Obasoro, 2012). This requires knowledge of the computer itself, how it is run, what it can do, how it can do it, and why it is doing it; these are the foundations of high school computer studies curriculum (Adigun, 2015). Computer studies, a topic that was recently added to Nigeria's senior secondary school curriculum that exposes pupils to Information and Communications Technology (ICT), must be embraced due to its equivalent relevance in this modern era. This barrier to students' low success in secondary schools in Nigeria has sparked a heated discussion on educational concerns (Ayodele, 2012). It is critical to understand the source of the obstruction in order to overcome it. Many reasons for under-seeking the occurrence of failure or success in school have been investigated (Orum, 2011). These issues are examined from a variety of perspectives, including the role of students, instructors, parents, and families, as well as the school environment, society, and government. Effects of student's study habits are among the useful works (Adebiyi, 2013). Though most writers must work together to develop failure from a multiple causes perspective, where the occurrence is addressed at various levels and multiple factors are involved (Ala, 2014). Gender is one of the characteristics that has been shown in the research to have a significant impact on a student's academic performance, particularly in scientific courses (Ala, 2014). Gender refers to a set of physical, biological, mental, and behavioral qualities that distinguishes the male and female populations (Kolawole, 2014). The socio-cultural differences between boys and girls underline the relevance of analyzing performance in regard to gender. Some trades and professions, such as engineering, arts and crafts, agriculture, and others, have been designated as men's only, while others, such as catering, typing, and nursing, have been designated as women's only. In reality, parents offer tasks to their sons such as vehicle washing, lawn mowing, bulb replacement, and scaling ladders to repair or remove items (Ola, 2013). Chores such as dish washing, cooking, and cleaning, on the other hand, are allocated to the females. In conclusion, guys are assigned to duties that are considered complicated and tough, whilst girls are expected to manage things that are comparatively easy and less demanding (Tosin, 2014). As a result of this mindset, the general public considers girls to be the weaker sex. As a result, a typical Nigerian girl goes to school with these established inflated ideas in mind (Acker, 2013). The poor participation of girls in science has been attributed to a variety of factors. According to several research, women are underrepresented in science because they lack the analytical and visual-spatial skills required for abstract reasoning (Oatley, 2013). This notion, however, has been debunked, since new research demonstrates that talent is not a deciding factor in whether or not a woman would pursue a career in science. When the educational environment is fair and favorable, both girls and boys do equally well (Perlman, 2012). In certain studies, girls outperformed boys, while in others, guys outperformed girls. Gender influences performance by 13.39 percent of the overall effect factor, according to Otunba (2007). Boys dominate girls in mathematics and other science courses, according to Aremu (2009). According to Toh (2013), girls outperformed boys in various other school topics, whereas other studies found no difference between boys and girls in other cognitive tasks. Furthermore, Collis (2011) asserted that secondary school regulations demanding mathematical pre-requisites or co-requisites for computer work always favor male involvement. If there is only one computing laboratory, it may be considered a male domain. Many females will not have access to computers if computer resources are concentrated on the mathematics, science, and technology parts of the curriculum (Okwo, 2008). Boys topped girls in a physics essay test, according to Otunba (2007). The combined effect of cognitive style and gender on students' performance on the physics essay test was considerable. No or little gender disparities in general mathematics success, numerical aptitude, mathematics computation, ideas, and problem-solving, according to Nowell (2015). Females used to fall behind their male counterparts in a variety of math and scientific courses. The role of computers and information and communication technology (ICT) in nation-building cannot be emphasized. Because of the importance of computers and ICT in nation development, Nigeria's federal government has made it a compulsory subject for all students from basic to secondary school (FRN, 2008). Despite the prominence of computer studies among Nigerian students, there have been differences in male and female performance, with males performing marginally better than females (WAEC Chief Examiner's Report, 2012). Because it is thought that a student's gender has an affect on their academic performance in science, this study will look into the link between the two in Computer Studies.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
One of the issues that is causing public concern and outrage in Nigeria today is the gender difference in academic performance of kids in schools (Okwu, 2010). This apparent difference has been attributed to a variety of variables, including social, economic, and cultural stereotypes. The pattern of schooling differs between males and females, according to observations (Okwu, 2010). In Nigerian secondary schools, these discrepancies are producing disparities in gender engagement and academic achievement (Shelly, 2009). According to the researcher, there appears to be little study on gender differences in academic achievement in SSCE Computer Studies, particularly in the Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Furthermore, none of the researchers who conducted the few studies on gender difference in secondary school academic performance in Ebonyi State came up with a conclusive answer as to whether there are differences in the school performance of secondary school male and female students in science subjects.Several research have been conducted on the subject of gender-related disparities in science student academic success (Otumba, 2007). It has been observed that males outperform girls in computer science. Males do better on computer science tests and examinations than females (Okwo, 2007). In certain circumstances, girls outperform males in terms of achievement (Toh, 2013). As a result, this study was carried out to compare the performance of senior secondary male and female students in Computer Studies in Ebonyi State's Onicha Local Government Area.