Teachers are central to pupils‟ success in primary schools and teacher quality forms a significant factor in predicting learning in schools. Over the past seven years (2008-2014), pupils‟ performance in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) has been average. The study was informed by the fact that inadequate studies have been conducted to investigate the influence of selected teacher factors on academic performance of pupils in public primary schools in Keiyo South Sub County. The purpose of this study was to establish teachers‟ perceptions on the influence of selected teacher factors on pupils‟ academic performance in public primary schools in Keiyo South Sub County. The study utilised descriptive survey research design. The study targeted 114 public primary schools in Keiyo South Sub County. The target population for the study comprised of 114 headteachers and 1046 teachers. The sample size for the study was determined using Morgan & Krejcie table for sample size determination. The sample size for the study involved 86 head teachers and 278 teachers from the three divisions. The instruments for data collection involved questionnaires and interview schedules. The study used supervisors and experts to determine the validity of research instruments. A pilot study was done in two schools within the Sub County that did not take part in the study. The reliability of the research instruments was determined using Cronbach alpha and a reliability index of 0.733 was obtained. Data collected was analysed using quantitative and qualitative approaches. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics; frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviation with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences. In qualitative analysis, thematic method was used where responses from interview schedules were discussed in themes that related to the objectives of the study. The study findings showed that 76.8% of teachers perceived that; teacher qualification influences learners academic performance, 85% of teachers agreed that teacher experience is critical to pupils‟ academic performance, 83% of teachers agreed that teacher personality had significant influence on pupils‟ academic performance and 88.4 % of teachers perceived that teacher level of commitment influences academic performance of pupils. The study concluded that teachers perceived that selected teacher factors had an influence on academic performance of pupils‟ in public primary schools in Keiyo South Sub County. The study recommended that; teachers should further their education in disciplines that are related to their area of teaching; teachers should be provided with in-service training to keep them abreast with emerging trends in education, teachers to change their personality by creating learner friendly environments and teachers need to be self dedicated towards their work. The study findings are expected to be used by the government in policy formulation and implementation on strategies aimed at raising academic performance in public primary schools. It is expected that primary schools may benefit from the study findings by considering teacher selected factors as critical to pupils‟ academic performance.

Background to the Problem
Teachers are central to learners‟ academic performance (Elliot & Crosswell, 2001; Ndirangu, 2004; Wanjohi, 2007). Amongst education researchers, teacher quality is widely considered an important school factor and is even the most important factor of students‟ learning (Ladd 2008; Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain 2005; Day, Elliott & Kington, 2005). Teachers are a key ingredient in determining the quality of education (Wenglinsky, 2000). Ndirangu (2004) posits that teachers play an important role in the development and implementation of the curriculum. According to the Republic of Kenya [RoK] (2003), teacher resource is one of the most important inputs in the education system. This shows that a teacher is an important factor towards learners‟ academic performance in primary schools.

The quality of education is directly related to the quality of teaching and learning (Kimani, Kara & Njagi 2013) and teachers form an important part in this study. The study seeks to look at various teacher characteristics that define the quality of teaching and learning that influence pupils‟ academic performance in primary schools in Keiyo South Sub County. These characteristics involve teacher qualifications and experiences, their level of motivation, personal attributes, attitude, commitment and working conditions. Studies show that when teachers are motivated and love the teaching profession, students are motivated to learn the content taught by their teachers more effectively (Abadzi, 2009; Phamtose, 2009). Therefore, for learners to be able to make a connection between what is taught in school and its application in problem solving in real life, teachers have to be effective in their teaching.

Studies on relationship between teacher academic qualifications and learners academic performance has been conducted across the world including Keiyo South Sub County. Darling-Hammond (2001) reports that in United States, measures of teacher qualifications were by far the strongest correlates of pupils‟ academic achievement in reading and in mathematics, both before and after controlling for students‟ poverty and language status. In Brazil, Guimaraes & Carnoy (2012) established that there were measures of association between teacher qualifications and pupils‟ academic performance in mathematics. In contrast, Rivkin et al. (2005) found out that education qualifications of teachers did not predict student outcomes. Learning assessments across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia revealed that large numbers of pupils leave primary school without acquiring even the most basic competencies in reading and mathematics (Pratham, 2005; Uwezo, 2010; Brookings Institution, 2011; UNESCO, 2011). It is not clear why the learners leave and therefore, the study ascertained whether teacher qualifications influenced pupils‟ academic achievement in Keiyo South Sub County, Kenya.

Teacher experience in classroom instructions has been a significant determinant of academic performance among learners in schools. Clotfelter, Ladd & Vigdor (2007) established that competent teachers versus those who had the least experience had greater academic success than the later. In Israel, Zuzovsky, (2012) suggests that while inexperienced teachers were less effective more than senior teachers, the benefits of experience levelled off after a few years. In Kenya, studies agree that teaching experience is positively correlated with higher student achievement even though findings about them vary (Yara & Wanjohi, 2011; Kosgei, 2013). Mukhwana, Chelagat & Jepkorir (2013) observed that teacher experience had significant effects on pupils‟ academic performance.

Rivkin et al. (2005) on the other hand found differences among teachers in terms of their value added impact on learners achievement and went on to note that the variation was not readily explained by factors such as graduate degrees or experience after the first few years in the profession. The problem in Sub Saharan Africa could be compounded by the fact that majority of African countries have been reducing their investments in teacher training and recruiting non-professional teachers both as a cost-cutting measure and as a quick-fix solution to teacher shortage (Phamtose, 2009; Nabukenya, 2010; Yara &Wanjohi, 2011 Institute of Education & Action-Aid, 2010). This study looked at teachers‟ perceptions on the influence of teacher qualifications in Keiyo South Sub County on pupils‟ academic performance to see if the results were coinciding with the above mentioned studies.

Teacher personality has been investigated and the results show that learners exhibit different results based on their teachers‟ personal attributes. Teachers who are better able to communicate with their students are more effective; teachers‟ verbal skills predict students‟ academic gains (Darling-Hammond, 2001; Wayne & Youngs, 2003). For example, mathematics teachers who have completed mathematics specific post-secondary coursework are more effective than peer teachers without such advanced training (Fehrler, Michaelowa & Wechtler, 2008). Etsy (2005) in a study in Ghana found that teacher factors that significantly contributed to low academic achievement were incidences of lateness to school, incidences of absenteeism, and inability to complete the syllabi. Richardson & Arker (2010) suggest that teachers need to be recognised and identified to improve learners‟ performance in schools. This study sought teachers‟ perceptions on the influence of teacher personality characteristics on pupils‟ academic performance.

On the relationship between teacher commitments and academic performance, a research done in Mauritius on students‟ achievement showed that the falling level of academic achievement is attributed to lack of commitment of teachers (Morakinyu, 2003). According to Ajao (2000), low quality education depends on teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties. Ajao added that teachers are responsible for translating policy into action and principles based on practice during teaching and learning (Ajao, 2000). In Kenya, a study done in Bondo District stated that poor academic performance was because of teachers not dedicated to their duties. It claimed that some teachers were traders while others were drunkards. An inspection made in public primary schools showed that teachers report to duty late, come drunk and utter unprintable words (World Bank, 2007).

It is worth noting that in Kenya today the most important thing in our education system is academic achievement and excellence in examination results (Ndirangu, 2004; Mbwiria, 2010). Every year, primary schools are rated as how well or how poorly they achieved in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations. This is done in total disregard to factors that might have hindered their achievement. High achievers in these examinations are considered as successful individuals while low achievers are regarded as failures in life (Chepchieng & Kiboss, 2004).

Stakeholders have claimed a variety of factors although no substantive research has been conducted to see whether teacher personal attributes contribute to pupils‟ academic success in Kenya extensively. Harris and Sass (2006) adds that factors that could have led to the poor results in Kenya are given little attention, if any at all. The same average performance has been reported in Keiyo South Sub County. Despite notable improvements in enrolment since the onset of Free Primary Education (FPE), Keiyo South Sub County still reflect average results at the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) for the last seven years, from 2008 to 2014. Table 1 illustrate the concern for performance in KCPE examinations in Keiyo South Sub County....

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 77 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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