Instructional strategies and students' acquisition of science process skills in secondary schools in Kisii Central District of Nyanza Province, Kenya
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The study sought to establish the effect of instructional strategies on acquisition of science process skills by Form Two students. It diagnosed competencies of Form Two students in science process skills, and associated the outcomes to instructional strategies used by teachers. It was done in selected secondary schools in Kisii Central District. The skills under study were; planning, experimenting, hypothesizing, application, questioning and interpreting. The study was a descriptive survey in which purposive sampling was used to select 13 secondary schools from divisional strata Random sampling was used to select 30 Form Two students in each school. In total, 410 Form Two students and 16 teachers participated in the study. The instruments which were used for data collection were; a questionnaire for science teachers, a science process skills test for students, observation checklist for lessons, and a document analysis guide for identifying skills emphasized in syllabuses, schemes of work and students' written work. Analysis of data involved-calculation of percentages means and standard deviations Chi-square (X2)analysis was done to determine whether sender. teachers' use or non-use of planning tools, and facilities, had any effect on learners acquisition of science process skills. Results from the study suggest imbalance in emphasis on specific skills by the syllabus. None of the teachers planned their 1essons. Students were not accorded adequate opportunity to practice the skills. Class experiments were minimal and project work was hardly implemented in the schools. Boys performed better than girls in the Form Two Science Process Skills test. In this respect gender appears to influence students' acquisition of the skills; application, hypothesizing, planning, interpreting and questioning. However in the skill. experimenting gender does not affect performance. Students in schools with adequate facilities perform comparatively better than their counterparts in poorly equipped schools. The study further established that teachers' use of planning tools and science equipment significantly affected students' acquisition of science process skills.