INFLUENCE OF ADOLESCENCE DEVELOPMENTAL CHANGES ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NAKURU MUNICIPALITY, NAKURU COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Adolescence has for a long time been considered a period when the individual is exposed to heightened risk. Harlock (2006), suggests that our understanding of adolescent behavior, should move beyond isolated emotional and physical studies into a perspective that brings more understanding to the human perception. The academic performance of adolescent students in Kenya has been deteriorating. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether adolescence developmental changes (emotions, social behaviour and physical growth) influence the student’s academic performance in public secondary schools of Nakuru municipality. The study adopted the ex-post facto research design. Stratified random sampling method was used, where form three students in 4 schools formed the strata and a sample of 375 students were randomly selected. Fifty one (51) teacher counsellors were also purposively selected for this study. A 25-item survey instrument was used where the students were asked to rate each item on a strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5) Likert scale. In order to ascertain the instrument content validity, each item in the questionnaires and interview schedules was discussed with the lecturers and supervisors. The consistency of the questionnaires and interview schedules was piloted tested in Molo in Nakuru County. The data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics with the aid of the Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS). The findings of the study revealed that the academic performance of the secondary students in the Nakuru municipality averaged 7.8 (on a scale of 1 to 12). The majority of the students (77.1 %) were performing below the average score. The male students had significant (p ≤ 0.05) higher mean scores than the female students. It was further demonstrated that academic performance of adolescent students was significantly (p≤ 0.05) influenced negatively by their emotional behaviour (β= -0.776), social behaviour (β= -0.661) and physical growth (β=-0.156). The study concluded that academic performance was negatively influenced by emotional, social behaviour, and physical changes during the adolescent development stage. It is recommended that student counselling services during the adolescent stage is important to minimize the negative impact on their academic performance. It is anticipated that the study may help teacher counsellors, school administrators and policy makers in the Ministry of Education Science and Technology improve students’ academic performance develop guidance and counselling programmes through which students may be helped to go through adolescence smoothly and be able to achieve their academic goals.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background Information
Renowned psychologists including Freud, Erikson and Elkind each have a position on the nature and exploitation of adolescence. For all these psychologists an understanding of adolescent emotions, physical changes and behavior can provide an ideal foundation for an understanding of human experience (Masese, A. Nasongo, W.J. & Ngeso, L. (2012). An understanding of adolescence per se allows us to venture into the understanding of “beyond normality” (Murphey, D, Barry, M. & Vaughn, B., 2013).

According to Harlock (2006), greater social participation by the adolescents leads to greater social competence. With physical development, an adolescent may not necessarily become socially mature. Therefore his social behaviour should be matched from childhood and corrected when necessary. The adolescent goes through a gradual development process. Positive social participation can only be guided by parents. A child who does not learn proper social behaviour grows selfish during adolescence. The adolescent may indulge in day dreams and may not be aware of the realities of life (Somerset, A. 2009). Emotionally, adolescents are insecure and afraid, so they want to stay close to their parents who provide a sense of safety. On the other hand, most of them spend a lot of time with peers. This emotional deprivation could lead to negative behaviour like truancy which may have adverse effect on their academic performance.

Adolescent’s social and emotional behavior have been issues of concern to many scholars for a long time. The study focused on students from Nakuru municipality. Nakuru hosts a variety of high schools, both boarding and primary each diverse in terms of students admitted as well as performance. As a growing cosmopolitan town, Nakuru has drawn much interest from education experts as well as investors. The concern however has been with regard to decreasing performance of students in the municipality. Kasomo (2006) found that in the early 1990’s Nakuru was recognized as one of the highest performing municipalities in the final KCSE examinations.

Santrock (2010) found that a substantial portion of Kenya’s adolescents are barely succeeding academically. More than 30% drop out of school before completing school. The government has indicated increasing concern over the increasing numbers of adolescents consuming alcohol and drugs on a regular basis. Majority of these problems begin in the early stages of adolescent years. Edberg (2009) suggests that the early adolescent years mark the beginning of a downward spiral that leads to academic failure and school dropout. Barnett (2012) questions whether there is something unique about this developmental stage, which puts individuals at risk with regard to behavior and performance.

During the month of July 2008 over 300 secondary schools in Kenya went on strike burning down their schools and in some cases leading to loss of life as was the case of Upper Hill school in Nairobi (Ngare, 2008). According to Sadker and Sadker (2000) adolescents who feel pushed beyond their abilities and alienated from family and community get involved in anti-social behaviour to draw attention. They attribute this to the adolescents’ sense of uniqueness that no one cares or faces their kind of problems. Many of the students who were interviewed after the strikes cited poor communication between them and adults, examination leakages among others (Mwajefa, 2008). Secondary school students in Kenyan schools abuse drugs and alcohol (Masese, et al. 2012; Ngesu, et al., 2008). A high degree of peer orientation is sometimes associated with antisocial behaviour such as delinquency (Mwale, 2008).

In Nakuru Municipality just like in other urban areas, adolescents spend most of their time with electronic devices such as computers and televisions either at home or in the cyber cafes in town. This may have led to poor social skills since they do not adequately socialize with people. They have little or no time for their school work. Thus, there is a high probability that the social competence of modern day adolescents may be poorer than those of earlier generation (Andrews, 2000). Inability in getting along with teachers and administrators, difficulty adjusting in the school program, classroom misconduct, poor examination grades and lack of school success are associated with delinquency (Steinbery, 2008). Poor academic performance of adolescents in secondary schools in Nakuru County could be correlated with delinquency. Majority of students in public secondary schools in Nakuru County are from low social and economic backgrounds. A substantial number dwell in the slums. Hence they might be exposed to sexual behaviour early. This could influence their social and emotional behaviour negatively leading to poor academic performance.

Statement of the Problem
There has been growing concern with regard to adolescence as a time of risk. Globally, statistics show that there is an increasing rate of failure, poor performance and school dropout rate. A substantial portion of the adolescents’ performance continues to be marred by increasing rate of alcohol dependence, drug abuse and juvenile delinquency. Majority of the studies show that decline in performance begins in early adolescent years. What is unclear however, is whether there is something unique about adolescence in itself which posits the individual for potential failure, or if such failures are as a result of environmental changes. This study looked closely to this question as it specifically pertains to the academic life of students in public high schools in Nakuru municipality.

Purpose of the Study
This study sought to determine the influence of adolescence development on students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Nakuru Municipality.

Objectives of the Study
The specific objectives of the study were:

(i) To establish academic performance of adolescents in public secondary schools in Nakuru Municipality

(ii) To determine the influence of emotional behavior of adolescents on academic performance in public secondary schools in Nakuru Municipality.

(iii) To investigate the influence of social behavior of adolescents on academic performance in public secondary schools in Nakuru Municipality.

(iv) To determine the influence of physical growth of adolescents on academic performance in public secondary schools in Nakuru Municipality.

(v) To determine the role of guidance and counseling in facilitating the adolescents’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Nakuru Municipality.

Hypothesis of the Study
The study was guided by the following hypotheses:

(i) There is no statistically significant influence of emotional behavior on academic performance of adolescents in public secondary schools in Nakuru municipality.

(ii) There is no statistically significant influence of social behavior on academic performance of adolescents in public secondary schools in Nakuru municipality.

(iii) There is no statistically significant influence of physical growth of adolescents on academic performance in public secondary schools in Nakuru municipality.

(iv) There is no statistically significant role played by guidance and counselling in enhancing adolescents academic performance in public secondary schools in Nakuru municipality.

Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will benefit school administration and teacher counsellors. It is hoped that they may see the need to help those students whose academic performance has been affected by emotional behaviour, social behavior and physical growth. The teacher counselor may work on communication avenues where the students will freely share their experience in coping with physical and emotional changes in their bodies. The study may also assist teachers in helping students develop positive perception of their studies. It is anticipated that study findings may help improve on the students’ academic performance. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOEST, 2005) could use the findings of this study no modify the syllabus to equip the adolescent students with skills to help them manage social and emotional changes of adolescence. Finally, the findings of the study may help guardians and parents in guiding their children effectively as they go through adolescence.

Scope of the Study
The study focused on the influence of adolescence development on the students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Nakuru County. For the purpose of this study, the research focused on form three students in16 public secondary schools in Nakuru Municipality, most of whom are in mid adolescence period of development and are likely to give a clear picture of adolescent physiological and emotional changes. The study variables included emotional behaviour, social behaviour, physical growth of the students and role of guidance and counseling.

Limitations of the Study
i) The study focus was limited to a sampled number of form three students. Adolescence began as early as primary school all the way to high school. However, due to the large number of students in public schools, only form three students sampled for this study were included. This limits generalization to students in other forms, as their characteristics and behavior may differ from each other.

ii) Much of the information sought by the researcher could be construed as personal. Students were often unwilling to share information especially where their behavior was being analyzed. The researcher endeavored to ensure the students that all information was considered confidential and used for purposes of the study only.

Assumptions of the Study
The study assumed that;

i) The respondents would cooperate and provide honest responses to the questions raised by the researcher.

ii) Adolescence development challenges had influence on adolescents’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Nakuru Municipality.

iii) All adolescents in public secondary schools in Nakuru Municipality undertake the same educational curriculum.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 72 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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