Factors Affecting K.C.S.E Performance In Chemistry In Public Secondary Schools : A Case Of Selected Public Secondary Schools In Lugari Sub County, Kakamega County, Kenya.
Chemistry is an important science subject. It is core in determining overall mean grade of the students and entry into various tertiary colleges. Good performance in Chemistry is key in determining the career prospects of secondary school students as it is a prerequisite of courses such as medicine, pharmacology, engineering and dentistry just to mention a few. Its impact therefore cannot be ignored as a huge percentage of students opt to sit for K.C.S.E in the subject. The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors contributing to the poor performance in the subject in Lugari Sub County currently .The study was guided by the following objectives- to establish the extent to which: teaching methods as the teacher characteristics, adequacy of school facilities, teacher motivation and student’s attitude towards Chemistry influence performance in K.C.S.E Chemistry in Public Secondary schools in Lugari Sub County. The study design was a descriptive survey research design. Questionnaires were used as a means of data collection from head teachers, Chemistry teachers and students. The sampling techniques that were used were non probability quota sampling. The sample population consisted of 4 public secondary schools in the Sub County, 4 head teachers, 4 teachers of Chemistry, and 40 form four students who take Chemistry in those schools. Data, both qualitative and quantitative data was analyzed by use of Microsoft Excel. Quantitative and descriptive data was analyzed in order to come up with means, modes, and percentages. The findings of the study were as follows. On attitude of the learners towards the subject, the students have a negative attitude towards Chemistry despite the fact that they are interested in careers that need the knowledge of Chemistry; this has affected the performance in the subject. Secondly. Motivation of the teacher did not seem to affect performance in the Sub County. However a small percentage of teachers noted that xii availability of instructional resources was a motivating factor for them. The instructional resources however were not adequate. The teachers responded that factors that affected the performance of Chemistry in their schools, apart from availability of instructional materials, were learners’ academic ability and student attitude towards the subject. On instructional resources, all the schools have a library which is not well equipped, with Chemistry books. Most schools had only one type of textbook for reference while a few had only two types. The laboratories were underutilized due to the preference of teacher demonstration over practical activities during learning of the subject by Chemistry teachers. Poor performance in Chemistry in Lugari Sub County can therefore be attributed to, negative attitude of the students towards the subject especially towards the practicals, inadequate resources, and underutilization of resources. The school management should provide more instructional resources in form of a variety of Chemistry textbooks for the students in the library. Teachers of Chemistry should organize motivation talks that would help alleviate the negative attitude towards Chemistry. They should also expose their students to more individualized or group based practicals, adopt a practical approach while teaching and in conjunction with the school management, they should organize educational trips to chemistry based industries to motivate their students. A research should be done to investigate why teachers prefer demonstration over individual practicals in schools with equipped laboratories and also to investigate impact of teachers’ intrinsic motivation on performance of Chemistry.
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