INFLUENCE OF SELECTED FACTORS ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN KURESOI SUB-COUNTY, NAKURU COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Education stakeholders invest a lot of resources in order to improve the academic performance of the students. These resources are both human and materials which are usually scarce. Education investment must therefore maximize their use in order to get maximum returns. Although education is not merely passing examinations, performance grades are the most widely used indicator of quality education attainment. In Kenya, national examinations are considered to be appropriate measure for assessing the output of an education system on knowledge and skills acquired by students. However, despite the many efforts by the stakeholders and the government to improve the academic performance of students, Kuresoi sub-county continues to post poor results in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). This study therefore examined the influence of quality of teachers, home environment and school facilities on the performance of students in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in Kuresoi sub-county. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. A population of 1600 students and 320 teachers were targeted by the researcher. Stratified random sampling was used to sample 310 students and 175 teachers. Two instruments were used to collect data: Teachers’ Questionnaire (TQ) and Students’ Questionnaire (SQ). The instruments were checked for construct and content validity by a team of experts from the Department of Curriculum experts, Instruction and Educational Management of Egerton University. The data collection tools were pilot tested for reliability in three schools in the sub-county, with similar characteristics as the target schools. Internal consistency was calculated using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient and was found to be 0.79. The data was analyzed using a Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS version 17.0) for Windows. The analyzed data was summarized and described using frequencies, percentages and means. Hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level using the Pearson correlation. The findings of the study showed a statistically significant relationship between school facilities, home environment and the students’ academic performance. There was no statistically significant influence between quality of teachers and students’ academic performance. The findings of the study could facilitate school administrators, teachers, parents and the government of Kenya to formulate policies that may improve the education standards in Kenya and in Kuresoi sub-county in particular.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 identified education as a fundamental human right. Kenya is signatory to various international protocols such as Education For All (EFA) passed in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990 and the World Education Forum in Dakar Senegal in 2000. This is why the Government of Kenya (GOK) has been providing Free Primary Education (FPE) and Free Secondary Education (FSE) since 2003 and 2008 respectively. Despite the efforts made in the education sector over the last ten years, students’ performance in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in Kuresoi Sub County has not improved. Chapman and Carrier (1990) posited that lack of education perpetuates poverty in developing countries. They further observed that development assistance programmes are discouraged where mass of population is without basic skills of literacy and numeracy (Munda & Tanui, 2010). They also noted that the capacity of education to lower fertility has a multiplier effect on the quality of nation’s human resource for many generations to come. When fertility drops, the number of children drops hence fewer dependants. They added that changes in the world are resulting to mismatch between education output and needs of the society. Students who performed poorly in the past ended up doing semi-skilled jobs. However, nowadays these jobs are scare due to modernization and technology. Although education is not merely passing examinations, grades attained in them are the most widely used indicators of education attainment and national examinations are considered to be appropriate measure for assessing the output of an education system on skills acquired (Republic of Kenya, 2002).

Lockheed and Verspoor (1991), while supporting the value of education, stated that in the developing nations, adults who have higher levels of education have better paying jobs, higher earnings and greater agricultural productivity (Lockheed & Verspoor, 1991). Scholars have identified and documented the benefits of education as: improving the productive capacity of society, reducing poverty by mitigating its effects on population, health and nutrition, increasing the value and efficiency of labour offered by the poor, enhancing democracy and good governance among others (Schultz, 1961; Psacharapoulos & Woodhall, 1985). Since independence in 1963, Kenya has endeavored to provide quality education to help her people. The report of Kenya education commission (Republic of Kenya, 1964) and the report of the National Committee on Educational Objectives and Policies (Republic of Kenya, 1976) recommended free education for social economic growth of the country. Education is viewed as an important tool for self-enhancement. It is commonly believed that educated people are better of socially and economically in terms of productivity (Asuga, 2002)

The World Bank (2002) conducted a regional study of Africa and asserted that secondary education is crucial for economic growth. Globalization, communication and technology in the 21st century, rapid technological change have made knowledge essential for competing in the world economy. According to this study, secondary education can provide countries with skills and knowledge needed for economic growth, increasing further learning and training of professional such as technicians, scientists and entrepreneurs. Secondly, secondary education helps to socialize young people targeting the youth. This age group has the greatest potential for changing its behaviour; secondary education can be decisive in fostering positive social and civic values. The World Bank further assert that secondary education yields considerable returns, offering young people the chance to acquire attitudes and skills that are unlikely to be developed in the primary grades. This in turn enables the youth to develop job-oriented skills, participate fully in society, take control of their own lives, and continue learning (World Bank, 2002).

The secondary cycle is an important level of education because it is the transitional stage during which the youth of ages 14 and 18 years are prepared to join tertiary education and training thereafter, the world of work. The value attached to this level of education is reflected by the attention it receives from the Kenyan government, parents and the public in general. For instance, the Government’s expenditure on education rose from Kenya Shillings (KShs) 73.48 million in 1963 to Ksh. 149.4 billion in 2011/12 financial year (Republic of Kenya, 2011). In the same financial year, KShs 18.5 billion (12.38%) of the Ministry of Education’s (MoE’s) total expenditure was allocated to Government funded tuition secondary education.

The main method of assessing whether secondary school education has achieved its objectives is through assessment. Students are evaluated throughout the secondary school cycle using class assignment, continuous assessment and end-term tests to determine the progress of each student (UNESCO, 2005). Academic achievement is also assessed through national examinations results. Good performance in national examinations determines the destiny of the high school students. Failure means that future opportunities for proceeding with educational and finally landing in good jobs are shattered, while passing opens avenues for future advancement in education, career and job opportunities.

In Kenya, secondary school students sit for a national examination administered by the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) that leads to the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) at the end of the fourth year. The results of this examination are graded using a one to twelve points scale where the lowest grade E is 1 point and the highest grade A is 12 points (Kenya National Examinations Council., 2011). The examination is used for certification purposes and selection of students for universities courses and training in post- secondary institutions (Republic of Kenya, 2005). The examination thus ushers students to higher education training and direct entry into the world of work.

Students’ performance in the KCSE at the national level has been poor over the years. For example, in 2008 a total of 262669 candidates sat for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations, out of this number, only a small percent (29%) got grade C+ and above and thus met the minimum requirement for admission to public universities (Ministry of Education., 2010). Most of the candidates (71%) performed poorly as they got grade C and below and hence did not meet the minimum university entry requirement (MOE, 2010). There was a slight improvement in 2010 because, out of the 307,171 candidates who sat for the KCSE, 97,134 (32%) obtained C+ and above, and 201,037 (68%) got grade C and below (Siringi, 2011).

Students’ achievement in KCSE in Kuresoi Sub County has also been poor since 2010 as most of them attained grades that are lower than C+. Data obtained from the Sub-County Education Office (DEO) in Kuresoi indicate that the mean grade of most of the students is below C+ as shown in Table 1.....

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 56 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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