DETERMINANTS OF QUALITY ASSESSMENT OF KENYA CERTIFICATE OF SECONDARY EDUCATION AGRICULTURE PROJECTS IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS OF KAKAMEGA COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
The assessment of the K.C.S.E agriculture project work has been plagued by disparities between the school and the external based assessments; with the inception of the 8-4-4 education system in Kenya the problem has become worse. The purpose of this study was to investigate the Determinants of Quality Assessment of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Agriculture Projects in selected secondary schools of Kakamega County from 1999 to 2003. The study endeavored to achieve the following objectives: determine the effect of teacher factors, student factors, school administration and management and KNEC marking guidelines and reports on quality assessment of K.C.S.E agriculture projects. The target population of the study consisted of 310 teachers of agriculture from 292 public and 14 private secondary schools. Simple random sampling was used to select 109 teachers of agriculture. Structured questionnaires were used to collect data. Conceptual framework and Achievement-Based Motivational Theory guided the study. Reliability coefficient value of 0.75 was obtained. The data was analyzed using descriptive, regression and inferential statistics using a Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. Results revealed that teacher factors, student factors, the level of administration and management commitment and KNEC guidelines positively and significantly affected the quality assessment of agriculture projects in secondary schools in Kakamega County. Therefore, the following were the conclusions of the study: increase in the teacher qualification by in service and further education, years of experience in teaching and integrity can have a positive and significant effect on the quality assessment of agriculture projects. When the student’s interest, commitment, creativity, attendance and involvement in preparation of the project increases, then quality assessment of agriculture projects will be enhanced. For quality assessment of agriculture projects to be improved in secondary schools, the school administration and management ought to provide adequate land, equipment, security, support and understand the agriculture project curriculum, and project requirements. The following can improve quality assessment of K.C.S.E agriculture projects: KNEC project guidelines should be sent on time, should be easy to understand, students should be treated fairly and there is need to have adequate feedback. The study recommends that quality assessment of agriculture projects can be enhanced through the following: use of qualified and experienced teachers with high integrity, vetting of students, timely provision of project input and resources and timely provision of projects guidelines by KNEC. The finding of the study are significant in that agriculture is an important income earner in Kenya and therefore training and quality assessment of K.C.S.E agriculture subject is important in preparing the future managers of the economy.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Global studies show that Educational Assessment in form of tests and examinations has existed since time immemorial and, in the course of human events; no society has been able to do without some form of test or examination. Examinations are part of human culture and the advancement of this culture requires the exploitation of examinations to assess the effect of teaching and learning, and to distinguish and select talented people (Zhang, 1996). Worldwide, educational assessment in form of tests and examinations remain the main factor of access into the institutions of higher learning.

The government of Kenya (GOK) has set up several Commissions and Committees dealing with education since independence to look into ways and means of enhancing the quality of education (Eshiwani, 1993). The Kenya Educational Committee (GOK, 1964) suggested the introduction of practical assessment in order to promote the affective and psychomotor domain of the student’s behaviour in learning. According to the report the National Committee on Educational Objectives and Policies, (GOK, 1976), assessment of the students practical work should be geared to improving the quality and standard of education in Kenya.

The Presidential Working Party on Education and Manpower Training for the Next Decade and Beyond (GOK, 1988), postulates that quality education go hand in hand with quality assessment especially in practical projects in secondary school. The Ministry of Education (MOE, 2008), contends that agricultural projects call for quality assessment in order to boost the morale of the student and thus raise the quality and standard of education.

In 1985, the 8-4-4 structural and curriculum reforms articulated major reforms in the exam assessment policy based on the reports made by these committees and commissions. The reforms introduced school-based assessments in the final exams at the secondary school level, these assessments included: course-work, practical- tests, project-work, fieldwork, oral and aural tests. The Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) currently uses school- based assessment for subjects which have a project or end of course practical component supervised and marked by the subject teacher. Practical lessons and tests were also introduced in agriculture as a subject in the secondary school curriculum. A practical and a section involving actual production of an agricultural product usually referred to, as the agriculture project work has been included. At the end of the four-year agriculture education course, students are expected to have attained knowledge and skills in actual production of an agricultural product and are assessed by the Kenya National Examinations Council (K.N.E.C) to ascertain if the learning process has actually taken place. The requirement of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (K.C.S.E) Agriculture assessment syllabus is that students should be assessed by the teacher on some practical (project work) in at least one enterprise continuously. Enterprises to be chosen from are piggery, field crops, vegetable production, broiler production and layer production (Mucheru and Wasanga, 2000).

The selection of the enterprises to be undertaken by the students is open to the school administration to select those that conform to the availability of resources and are compatible with the local environment. This also enables a wide range of educational objectives to be assessed. The students taking agriculture are required to practically carry out a project and compile a report based on their findings. During project assessment, marks are awarded to the students for tasks such as seed-bed preparation, transplanting of seedlings, care of crops (such as weeding, pruning, and disease control), harvesting, storage and report writing (KNEC, 2000-2001). Project work scores constitute 20% of the student’s final grade in agriculture subject. The subject teacher is required to mark the work of the candidate as he/she progresses using a marking guide supplied by Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC). The Kenya National Examination Council also appoints, trains and commissions external assessors, who together with teachers of Agriculture share the duties of project assessment and moderation of schools. This includes the National coordinators, District coordinators and council assessors.

The inclusion of project work scores in awarding grades to students has created the need to critically examine the factors that enhance and ensure quality and uniformity in the assessment of agriculture projects. The challenge arises from the increased number of schools, learners, and limited resources. Project assessment is meant to cater for inadequacies of assessing affective and psychomotor domains, which are very subjective in measurement. In subjects where such school-based assessment does not exist, an examination culture pervades the entire syllabus. Consequently, teachers may not realize the value of such a school based assessment particularly if it is not seen as linked to improved performance in public examinations. There is therefore, need for research on the factors determining quality of project work assessment and carefully monitor the gains made so as to ensure it is an authentic assessment (Ingolo and Wasanga, 2001).

Statement of the Problem
Due to the importance of KCSE Agriculture project mark to students’ final grade in KCSE examination, quality and credible assessment of student Agriculture project work in secondary school is essential. There have been discrepancies in the assessment of KCSE Agriculture projects over years (1999-2003), as it has been cited by Prof. B.M Dlamin, Dr.

B.E. Putsao and Dr. E.Z. Masumbuko, (2007). Some of the scores awarded, by teachers of Agriculture in the school assessment do not correlate well with the scores awarded by external assessors, leading to a significant influence to the performance of students KCSE Agriculture. Unfortunately, it is not clearly understood what determinants are the cause of the discrepancies or difference in the scores awarded. In order to empirically validate the school based KCSE Agriculture project assessment in Kakamega County, it is important to understand the factors that determine quality assessment of KCSE Agriculture projects in secondary schools. This study therefore sought to find out/investigate the determinants quality assessment of KCSE Agriculture projects in Kakamega County.

General Objective of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate determinants of quality assessment of Kenya certificate of secondary education agriculture projects in selected secondary schools of Kakamega County, Kenya.

Specific Objectives of the Study
The specific objectives of the study were to:
(i) Determine the influence of the teacher factors on the quality of assessment in K.C.S.E agriculture project work based on the qualification of teachers, teaching experience and integrity of the teachers in Kakamega county

(ii) Determine the influence of student factors on the quality assessments of K.C.S.E agriculture project based on the interests of students and preparedness in Kakamega county

(iii) Determine the influence of school administration and management on the quality assessment of the K.C.S.E agricultures project based on; provision of material and equipment, provision of security for projects and provision of learning resource in Kakamega county

(iv) Determine the influence of K.N.E.C guidelines and reports on the quality assessment of K.C.S.E agriculture project work based on KNEC marking scheme in Kakamega county

Hypotheses of the Study
The following hypotheses were tested at 0.05 alpha levels:

Ho1 There is no statistically significant influence of teacher factors based on qualification of teachers, experience of teachers and integrity on quality assessment K.C.S.E agriculture project work.

Ho2 There is no statistically significant influence of student factors based on students’ interest and preparedness on quality assessment of K.C.S.E Agriculture project work.

Ho3 There is no statistically significant influence of school administration and managements based on provision of material, provision of security for projects and provision of learning resources on quality assessment of K.C.S.E agriculture project work.

Ho4 There is no statistically significant influence of KNEC guidelines based on the KNEC marking scheme on quality Assessment of K.C.S.E agriculture project work.

Significance of the Study
The study identified pertinent factors, which determine the quality assessment of K.C.S.E Agriculture project work, which could be useful to the policy makers in the Ministry of Education to implement in order to attain the desired standards in the Agriculture subject at the K.C.S.E level. The finding of this study could be useful in providing the policy implementers, which include KNEC examiners, head teachers, teachers and any other stakeholders with information that could enable them to seal loopholes and weakness in the assessment of K.C.S.E Agriculture projects. The recommendations of this study could provide corrective measures in examinations. The results might assist the K.N.E.C to have uniform, quality and fair assessment of K.C.S.E Agriculture project as well as to produce quality graduates. Scholars interested in carrying out further research in this area will also benefit from this study.

Scope of the Study
The study focused on the factors that determine the quality assessment of K.C.S.E Agriculture project of selected secondary schools in Kakamega County from 1999 to 2003. The study was based on the understanding that teacher’s views were the most convenient option to tackle the issue of quality assessment in the agriculture project work. The findings of the study can be generalized to all the secondary schools in Kakamega County.

Assumptions of the Study
This study was conducted under the following assumptions:

(i) All teachers of agriculture with different qualifications and levels of experience were aware of their teaching roles, use of schemes of work, lesson plans, lesson notes in teaching and assessment of agriculture project work.

(ii) The interviewed Teachers had positive attitudes towards the teaching of agriculture and the assessment of Agriculture project work

(iii) There were enough instructional materials that were utilized fully in the teaching of Agriculture by teachers of different qualifications and levels of experience.

(iv) Respondents gave positive and honest responses.

Limitations of the Study
The following were the limitations of the study:

(i) Some of the secondary schools were not easily accessible due to poor road networks, especially when it rained. The problem was overcome by use of the motorcycles as a means of transport in the area.

(ii) Financial constraints; the researcher used a small sample due limited finances to produce many research materials.

(iii) Time constraints also forced the researcher to use a small sample, which could be managed within a short time.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 58 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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