Science subjects are the backbone of the scientific and technological advancements in the world. In Kenya, science teaching in secondary schools is seen as one of the ways of enabling the country achieve her scientific and technological development and thus realise Vision 2030. Performance in science subjects in secondary schools in Kenya has been below average. The poor performance in the national examinations has been attributed partly due to poor teaching approaches employed by teachers. In an attempt to address the poor performance in Biology, the Strengthening of Mathematics and Science in Secondary Education (SMASSE) teaching approach was introduced in Bomet Sub-County in 2004. However, it is not clear how this approach is influencing students’ motivation and achievement in the subject. Therefore this study attempted to fill this gap. The objectives of the study were; to find out whether SMASSE approach has influenced achievement, motivation, whether there is gender difference in achievement and motivation in Biology. The study used Causal-Comparative research design. The target population was the 2016 Form Three students and their biology teachers. There were 3000 Form 3 students in this class in the Sub-County. The researcher used stratified and simple random sampling methods to identify the schools and the respondents to participate in the study. The researcher sampled 12 schools and 340 students participated in the study. Twenty two Biology teachers in the twelve schools filled the questionnaire. The research instruments used were; Teachers Questionnaire on Students’ Achievement in Biology (TQSAB) and Students Motivation in Biology Questionnaire (SMBQ). The instruments were validated by experts in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Educational Management. Piloting was done in 4 schools in Sotik Sub-County. Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was used to determine the reliability where TQSAB had a reliability of 0.7231 and SMBQ had a reliability of 0.8391.The threshold for acceptance was ∞ ≥ 0.70. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used in the analysis of data. Means, standard deviations, regression analysis (R2) and t-tests were used in data analysis. All statistical tests were subjected to a test of significance at coefficient alpha (α) of 0.05. Results show that SMASSE teaching approach positively influences students’ achievement in biology. The results however show that the teaching approach has no influence on students’ level of motivation to learn biology. The findings also reveal that males perform better than females when both are exposed to the approach. However, gender does not influence motivation when the approach is used. This study provides a basis for enhanced use of SMASSE approach.

Background of the Study
Science education is crucial in human lives and in the development of nations around the world, as it contributes much towards economic empowerment of nations (Aoki,2001). Science knowledge has been utilized in scientific inventions in medicine, engineering and technology towards solving most of the human problems (Das, 1985). Over the years, science has contributed to the improvement of quality of human life (Mori, 2017). Human needs have been met through scientific inventions. Science yields apart from ‘finished’ learners, new knowledge, new skills, and new desirable attitudes (Kerich, 2004). Science knowledge is useful for improving human life on earth. The subject matter of science is the material world. Teaching science would in part help students with the established body of scientific knowledge appropriate to their needs, interests and capacities (Millar, 2004).

There have been several changes in science teaching approaches and methods. For instance, the European countries were stunned when the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik in 1958 leading to examination of their Science curricula (Maundu, Sambili & Muthwii, 1998). A number of innovations came into being with far reaching effects across many parts of the world. In the United Kingdom, Nuffield Science Project (NSP) was launched in 1962. This project was sponsored by the Nuffield Foundation. In Kenya, Science subjects were included in school curriculum through the School Science Project (Kenya Institute of Education, 1969). The School Science Project (SSP) was designed especially for those schools with well equipped laboratories. The SSP required students to carry out investigations and discuss their findings and finally draw conclusions with the help of their teachers. It also involved the use of the locally available materials. Wachanga (2005) pointed out that in 1984; the 8-4-4 education system was implemented in Kenya with the aim of making education more relevant to the needs of Kenyan society. The 8-4-4 education system introduced learning of biology, physics and chemistry in all secondary schools in Kenya (Kenya Institute of Education, 1992) currently called Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD). This forms what is called science subjects in secondary schools. The science syllabi emphasized on science content and methods which could be directly applicable to the immediate environment of the students.

Biology curriculum has also undergone several changes. In 1958, Biological Science Curriculum Study (BSCS) was established in the United States with the following objectives; to examine classroom biology materials available before 1960, produce a biology curriculum which encourages creative and imaginative approach to study of Biology, the teaching and learning of Biology through philosophy inquiry and use of leaner’s environment as the starting point in biology education.

BSCS influenced the launch of Nuffield Science Project (NSP) in United Kingdom in 1962. (Maundu, Sambili & Muthwii, 1998). In Kenya, the development of biology curriculum was initiated by the Kenya Institute of Education, NSP, and UNESCO through the African Curriculum Development Centre (ACDC) in 1963.The above attempts didn’t bear much fruits, therefore other projects were undertaken. There was the Nuffield Science Project of 1969 which adopted the learning of the natural science. (Biology, Physics and chemistry) in selected secondary schools in Kenya. The introduction of the 8-4-4 secondary school biology syllabi followed a recommendation of the Presidential Working Party in 1981 that stipulated the 4-year biology course. The Importance of studying biology are; Apply the knowledge gained to improve and maintain the health of the individual, family and the community, relate and apply relevant biological knowledge and understanding to social and economic development in rural and urban settings , demonstrate resourcefulness, technical skills and scientific thinking necessary for economic development , acquire firm foundation of relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes for further education and training in related scientific fields (Majani, Kelemba & Maina, 2003).

A national assessment survey carried out in 1999 by the Ministry of Education (MOE), resulted in the revision of secondary education Biology curriculum. The revised curriculum was to address aspects necessary for industrial transformation by the year 2020 (MOE, 2002). The revised curriculum emphasized project method of teaching. The biology syllabus was later revised in 2002 with the syllabus having many practical activities unlike the previous one that had small scale practical activities (MOE, 2002). This is still the syllabus in use to date (2017).

Poor performance in Biology and other science subjects in terms of quantity and quality grades is perhaps what prompted the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Education, Science
and Technology (MOEST) in conjunction with the Government of Japan through Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) to jointly launch Strengthening of Mathematics and Science in Secondary School Education (SMASSE) project. The project then introduced the SMASSE teaching approaches. The low achievement in science is seen in poor performance in examination and it’s an indicator of poor teaching approach (Oyaya & Njuguna, 2000). SMASSE program was then launched in 1998 in nine districts of Kisii , Gucha, Kakamega, Makueni, Kajiado, Murang’a ,Maragua, Butere-Mumias and Lugari in Kenya as phase one to cover 4 cycles. The national examinations results of 2003 before the project are shown in Table...

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 67 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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