Factors influencing the performance of students in KCSE mathematics in public secondary schools: a case of Sabatia District, Western Province-Kenya
Mulupi, Alice K
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There has been a public outcry and concern about the poor performance in Mathematics. Despite the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Japanese Government who initiated the SMASSE programme to improve on the performance of Mathematics, the students continue to perform poorly in the subject in secondary schools. This study focused on factors that influence the performance of students in Mathematics in public secondary schools. The aim of the study was to establish whether consultation time, Teaching and Learning Resources and Teacherstudent ratio influence the performance of students in Mathematics. The research was carried out in Sabatia District. This study adopted a descriptive survey design. Two types of questionnaires were administered; one to students and the other to mathematics teachers. The researcher consulted the supervisor and lecturers in the department, whose suggestions and advice was used to ensure validity of the questionnaire items. To ensure reliability of the questionnaires, the researcher conducted a pilot study in two secondary schools in Sabatia district before the actual study. Ten secondary schools, one hundred and fifty students and twenty teachers from the ten schools were sampled. The instrument was administered to twenty teachers and one hundred and fifty students. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to analyze data with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Frequency distribution tables were used to present data which was followed by interpretation then discussion of the findings. The main findings of this showed that consultation time influences the performance of students, while teaching and learning resources availability and teacher-student ratio does not influence the performance of students. The performance of students in schools which had the facilities was not so different from those which did not have the facilities; both groups scored averagely low grades. Similarly, schools with hi&h teacher-student ratio and low teacher-student ratio registered poor performance. Teachers cited student's attitude and school programmes as the main challenges facing mathematics while, students suggested exposure to more mathematics symposia, students to be given extra work and weekly tests could help improve the mean score of mathematics in schools. The study concluded that, schools need to plan their programmes to allow more time for academic consultation, teachers to give students extra work from the text books to encourage students to make maximum utilization of textbooks, teachers to plan and prepare the use of resources to fit students' needs and lastly, expose students to more symposia plus administration of weekly tests to improve the performance of students in mathematics.