Factors affecting the performance of mathematics by girls with visual impairments at Thika High school for the blind Kenya
Mang'ula, Nafula Everlyne
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The study identified factors that affected the performance of girls with visual impairments in mathematics. The importance of mathematics in human life cannot be overemphasized due to its utilization value but the poor performance of girls with visual impairments in the subject continued to raise concern. The purpose of the study was to identify psychological factors, school based factors, socio economic and cultural factors that affected the performance of girls with visual impairments in mathematics. The study adopted a survey research design that utilized both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The target population constituted girls with VI, teachers and administrators in the school. The sample population constituted of seventy one (71) respondents where 60 girls, 10 teachers and the principal. The principal and teachers were purposively selected while simple random sampling was used to select the girls. Questionnaires, interview schedule and observation checklist were used to collect data. Seven (7) respondents were used in Piloting. Frequencies and percentages were used in analysis and presentation of quantitative data while qualitative data was summarized in various categories of themes related to the study and reported in narrative form. Findings indicated that aspirations, confidence, interest and attitude influenced girls' performance in maths. Negative attitude and lack of interest were found to be the major psychological factors contributed to poor performance of VI girls in mathematics. It was also found out that inadequate and inappropriate resources, lack of role model, teachers not trained in special needs education, over populated classrooms and time for maths lesson affected the performance of VI girls in the school with inadequate and inappropriate resources being the major school based factor that contributed to poor performance of VI girls in mathematics. The level of education of parents, occupation and income influenced their psychological and material support to girls with VI. Parental and societal beliefs were the cultural factors that affected the performance of VI girls in maths. There is need to strengthen guidance and counseling in the school, it is also important that the government and other stakeholders step up in the provision of adapted and appropriate materials and facilities in the school. There is also need to carry out awareness campaigns to sensitize all stakeholders on the importance of various needs in the education of girls with visual impairments.