School based factors contributing to learners academic achievement in public primary schools in Karuri Zone, Kiambu county Kenya
Nyambura, Redempta Elizabeth
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Poor academic performance in Karuri Zone, Kiambu County is a perennial problem as evidenced by low KCPE scores. Factors contributing to the dismal performance were assessed by looking at school level, classroom level, student based and contextual factors. The integrated model of school effectiveness which is a synthesis between production functions, instructional effectiveness and school effectiveness was reviewed. The study adopted a descriptive survey design with a target population of 12 public primary schools, a student enrolment of 7535, teacher population of 195 and 12 headteachers. Stratified and simple random sampling was used to select 11 teachers from every school to get a total of 132 teachers. Purposive sampling was used to select 30 students in ever school to get a total of 367 students. 12 headteachers were sampled. Questionnaires for teachers and students, an interview schedule for headteachers, an observation schedule and a focus group discussion guide were used to collect data. Descriptive statistics technique was used to analyse quantitative data. Qualitative data was organized in to themes, patterns and categories pertinent to the study. Using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, (SPSS), a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the independent samples t- test was conducted as well as the two sample z-test statistics for testing the hypotheses. Several factors at the school level, classroom level and student level were found to influence learner academic achievement. Size and average social economic composition of schools were found to be insignificant. The location of a school in terms of accessibility was found to be significant. The study recommended the student book ratio to be improved to 1:1 for all subjects. Every school to put up a library well equipped with both text and story books. Adequate desks to be provided. A special class to be set up in every school with a special teacher to help those with reading difficulties. Achievement pressure and accountability for performance to be increased on both the headteachers and teachers. Academic clinics to be conducted in every school, every term so that parents can be more involved in their children‘s education. Ranking of schools at the county and zonal levels to be introduced to increase competition and good performance to be rewarded. Training of teachers on better teaching and discipline methods and also on how to improve their attitudes in class especially towards the poor performers. Lower primary schools to be taught by younger teachers specially trained to handle young learners. The culture of absenteeism to be curbed starting from the headteachers, teachers and students. Effective use of official learning time to be implemented to avoid need for tuition. School feeding targeted for extreme cases of poverty to be introduced in all schools. Speaking the language of instruction in schools to be enhanced starting at an early age. Prompt promotion of P1 teachers to be done as well as prompt upgrading to ensure teachers are well motivated. Health checks and deworming to reduce the rates of absenteeism due to sickness to be carried out.