A good mathematics education is salient to scientific and technological development. The Kenya National Examinations Council evaluates the performance of students through the examinations it offers. Evaluation of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examinations has revealed that girls do not perform well in mathematics. Girl child education world-wide provides benefits to the family and the society at large. Thus dismal performance in mathematics by the girl child should be addressed for the sake of scientific and technological development of any country and Kenya in particular. The purpose of this study was to explore the factors contributing to dismal performance in mathematics among secondary school girls in Borabu Division, Nyamira District. The investigation employed Ex-post facto research design. The population was 714 (700 girls, 7 teachers and 7 head teachers).Out of this population, a sample of 154 respondents were selected which included 140 girls, 7 mathematics teachers and 7 head teachers. The samples were done purposively which included 1 mathematics teacher from each sampled school. The head teachers of the 7 sampled schools were involved in the study purposively. 5 girls were randomly selected from each form from forms 1-4. Data was collected from the head teachers, mathematics teachers and the secondary school girls by use of questionnaires and interview schedules. The researcher used statistical package for social sciences (S.P.S.S 11.5) in data analysis. Descriptive statistics involving frequencies and percentages were used to analyze the data. The findings of the study indicate that inadequacy of mathematics teachers, societal gender stereotypes, influence from peers, attitudes of girls towards mathematics, girl's low levels of aspiration and inadequate resources for teaching contributed to the dismal performance in mathematics by secondary school girls in Borabu division. Many respondents recommended that the attitudes held by majority of the girls in secondary schools about maths need to be changed. The same study be carried out in the same area or a similar region for the findings are of great significance to the girl child, human development and the nations' scientific and technological development.

1.1. Background Information
Mathematics is a compulsory subject in Kenya for all students in both primary and secondary schools. Ndimbirwe (1995) as quoted by Githua (2002) indicated that the subject is both academically and vocationary important for both males and females. The reason for this perceived importance of mathematics is because it is basic for modern scientific development and technology (Cockcroft, 1982). Education stakeholders continue to invest heavily in the education of young Kenyans year by year with the hope that the input will be equivalent to the output if not better. The immediate expected results from education system are good performance in examinations. However, the performance continues to be poor in general. Of great concern is the learner’s performance in mathematics, given that this subject is key to the attainment of the national goal of industrialization by the year 2020.

To compound this problem of dismal performance in mathematics, there is overwhelming evidence that the proportion of females passing mathematics in KCSE examination is lower than that of males and that the proportion of males taking mathematics related courses beyond secondary school education also outweighs that of females (Abagi, 1992 & 1994, Kyungu 1988, Makau, 1994, Masiga, 1994.)The researcher observed the results of some of the selected schools for the last four years - 2003 – 2007.
Table 1: Students with Grade D and below in Mathematics in K.C.S.E in Selected Schools in Borabu Division....

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 54 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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