Effectiveness of Assessment for Placement Decisions of Learners With Hearing Impairment in Learning Institutions in Kajiado North Sub-County, Kajiado County, Kenya
It is important to improve special education assessment and placement for learners with hearing impairment. It should be characterized by its effectiveness in quality and relevance for meeting the challenges of education for our new generations in this new millennium. This study focused on the effectiveness of assessment for placement decisions of learners with hearing impairment in learning institutions in Kajiado North sub- county, Kajiado County, Kenya. The study specifically examined placement options for learners with hearing impairment, factors influencing placement of learners with hearing impairment, qualifications of the assessors and equipment and tools used in the assessment for placement decisions of learners with hearing impairment. A descriptive study design was used. Random sampling technique was used for sampling the special trained teachers and learners with hearing impairment. Purposive sampling technique was used in sampling the 2 educational assessors and 10 headteachers whereas convenient sampling technique was used to select parents/guardians of learners with hearing impairment who were directly involved in the assessment for placement decisions of learners with hearing impairment. The target population was 257 whereas a total sample size of 78 respondents was used, that is, 30% of the target population. Data were collected using questionnaires, and observation checklist with particular respondents being the two Special Needs Education assessment personnel, headteachers from regular primary schools with special units, and the two special schools, trained special teachers from regular primary schools and special units, parents of learners with hearing impairment. Piloting was done in ILBislli School in Kajiado Central Sub-County. To enhance the reliability and validity of the study instruments, test-retest technique was employed and Spearman-Brown formula used to compute the reliability coefficient which was 0.75 therefore the results were considered reliable. Validity Items were sampled from all the domains by consulting experts to ensure that content area was adequately sampled for determination whether co-variation existed between cause and effect variables. Data were analysed quantitatively and qualitatively thematically according to the objectives. The results were presented using simple statistics like; frequency tables, pie charts and bar graphs. The study revealed that there was only one special unit as a placement institution for learners with hearing impairment. Others were private integrated special institutions. Factors such as; parental preference, availability/locality of the school, cost, communication barrier and lack of special trained personnel for learners with hearing impairment influenced placement of learners with hearing impairment. The study further found that there were no personnel in the Educational Assessment Resource Centre (EARC) who were trained in audiological assessment, or specialized in the area of hearing impairment, a situation that greatly undermined their effectiveness in the assessment for placement decisions. In terms of policy, this study recommends for the training of more specialized in the respective fields of special education, establishment of well-equipped EARCs, as well the establishment of multi-disciplinary teams to spearhead the assessment of learners with disabilities and special needs.