Factors affecting girls' performance in mathematics in kcse in public secondary schools in Migori District, Nyanza Province, Kenya
Olango, Otieno T
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This study sought to investigate factors affecting performance of girls in Mathematics in KCSE in public secondary schools in Migori District; Nyanza Province. The study sought to establish the relationship between instructional techniques used by mathematics teachers and performance of girls in KCSE mathematics in public secondary schools in Migori District. It also sought to establish if a relationship exists between performance of girls in KCSE mathematics and other variables namely; their attitudes towards mathematics, facilities, previous achievement in KCPE mathematics, type of the school attended and their career aspirations. In addition, the study tried to identify the main problems affecting the teaching and learning of mathematics in schools. Several factors were identified from the literature reviewed as having considerable influence on performance of girls in mathematics. For this study, the following factors were selected for investigation: the extent to which schools were equipped with mathematics facilities, the type of the school that is whether mixed or girls' only, career aspirations, previous achievement in KCPE mathematics, instructional techniques used by the teachers and girls' attitudes towards mathematics. The study therefore investigated performance in relation to the selected variables. A sample of 610 students and 54 teachers were utilised in the study. This sample was selected through stratified sampling followed by random sampling methods. The research instruments used were: students' and teachers' questionnaires, an attitude scale and an observation schedule for the facilities in the schools. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used for analysis of the data obtained. In particular, the chi-square and the t-test were used to test the various hypotheses, at the 0.05 level of significance. The first major finding was that there was a weak relationship between girls' KCSE performance in mathematics and adequacy of facilities in schools. Secondly, a significant difference was found to exist between the performance of girls in mixed secondary schools and girls' only public secondary schools. The study also found a weak relationship between performance and the other selected variables namely career aspirations, previous KCPE achievement in mathematics, instructional techniques and girls' attitudes towards mathematics. The implication was then that all these variables interplay to determine girls' performance in KCSE mathematics. On the whole, girls' attitudes towards mathematics were found to be negative. The main problems identified that affected the teaching and learning of mathematics were lack of facilities, lack of proper career advice, poor teaching methodology and negative attitudes by students towards mathematics. The following recommendations among others were made based on the findings of the study. 1. Good performance in mathematics depends on effective teaching methodology. Teaching methodologies can be improved through seminars, workshops and conferences. These workshops and seminars should therefore be encouraged through the local head teachers' association. 2. Girls' secondary schools need to strengthen their guidance and counselling department and put more emphasis on career advice. This will help to demystify mathematics and enable girls recognise subjects that are recipes for their dream careers. 3. Teachers and parents should make deliberate attempts to change girls' attitudes towards mathematics. As it stands now, their attitudes towards mathematics are negative and this impedes their achievement in the subject. 4. Teachers should attempt to vary their instructional techniques as much as is possible. This is necessary to make learning mathematics interesting to the girls. 5. Head teachers should step up provision of mathematics facilities in their schools. Adequate facilities would enable teachers to use desirable teaching techniques which impacts on girls' performance in the subject.