A Comparative Study of Performing and Non Performing Public Secondary Schools for the Period between 2008 and 2012 in Kirinyaga East Sub County, Kirinyaga County, Kenya
Mwangi, Mary Muthoni
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In Kenyan education system like various nations in Africa, performance in examination is considered as the foundation for judging a learners capability and also a selection criteria for education progression and placement in the labour market. Over the years, discrepancies have been witnessed in the outcomes of examinations by learners at dissimilar echelons of the education system, with some learners achieving higher grades and others achieving poor grades. Disparities in performance vary from one school to the other and the persistent disparities in academic performance in Kirinyaga East Sub County for a long time has triggered immense interest to learners, educators and other stakeholders in the education division. The purpose of this study was to conduct a comparative analysis of the relatively high performing and relatively low performing schools and establish the factors that contribute to the academic performance disparities in Kirinyaga East Sub County, Kirinyaga County in Kenya. The objectives of this study were to: Compare Head Teacher's characteristics of relatively high and relatively low performing schools; identify teachers characteristics of relatively high and relatively low performing schools; identify students characteristics of relatively high and relatively low performing schools; and suggest ways to improve performance in the relatively low performing schools in the Sub County. The study adopted a Causal - Comparative research design in which a cause" effect relationship between two or more groups that occur naturally in a setting can be investigated which are Relatively high performing and relatively low perforining schools. The study location was Kirinyaga East Sub County, County in Kenya with a total of 28 public secondary schools. The population comprised of 3,000 form four students, 28 Head Teachers and 392 teachers. Stratified random sampling and purposive sampling techniques were used to select a total of 9 schools including 3 County schools and 6 Sub County schools. The study used both primary and secondary data. Primary data was collected using a drop pick later questionnaire. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as means, rank and frequency distribution. Qualitative data was analyzed by establishing the categories and themes, and relationships/patterns in line with the study objectives. Data presentation was done by the use of tables and percentages. In conclusion although there were four male Head Teachers in relatively low performing schools and only one female Head Teacher, gender was not a contributing factor to academic performance disparities as relatively high performing schools have equal gender (2) number. The research reviewed that other than gender, there were other related factors in Head Teacher's characteristics that contribute to academic performance disparities. Teachers' gender disparities were not a teacher's characteristic comparative factor to academic performance disparities as it was minimal. However other factors brought out academic performance disparities between relatively high performing schools and relatively low performing schools. There was a relationship between age of teachers and teachers experience in that the older the teacher the more years of experience as teacher as younger teachers had fewer years of experience as teacher. The study concludes that student age, retention, KCPE marks significantly affected school performance. The study concludes that parental education affects school performance as evident by differences in level of education of parents in relatively high performing and relatively low performing schools. This study recommends further research in other counties for comparison.