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The impact of gender and English language on the academic performance of students: An experience from new Saudi medical school

Najwa Al-Mously, Raneem Salem, Nasser Al-Hamdan.

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Gender-based differences and English language were found to be factors that may affect students’ academic achievements. In Saudi Arabia, the number of female students is rapidly increasing in universities. In addition, medical students suffer learning difficulties due to the adoption of English language as a medium of education in all school, although schooling is mostly in Arabic. Aim to investigate whether gender and English language proficiency has an impact on the academic performance of medical students in pre-clinical phase. A cross-sectional, comparative study included final grades in English (premedical) and Basic Medical Sciences courses of two students’ cohorts in the second and third year medical school. We analysed data using Student’s t-test, Pearson correlation, and regression analyses considering gender and English as effect variables. Female students significantly outscored their male counterpart in most of the Basic Medical Sciences as well as in English courses for all students in the two cohorts (p< 0.05). English has a significant correlation with grades in all courses for the students in two cohorts, and contributed significantly to the regression on these courses (p< 0.05). Gender has a significant regression main effect only on two courses for 2nd year cohort, however, it contributed significantly to the regression on English grades for both cohorts (p< 0.05). Saudi female students demonstrated superior academic performance to male students in pre-clinical courses at medical school. However, English language proficiency was the significant predictor of academic performance rather than gender. Therefore, we suggest that there is a need to introduce an English proficiency test such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), in addition to the implementation of a radical revision and improvement of the English language curriculum associated with the inclusion of modern methods of teaching foreign language learning strategies.

Key words: Gender, English language, academic performance, medical students

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Journal of Molecular Pathophysiology


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