Influence of teachers' assessment practice in enhancing performance mathematics among secondary school students in Mombasa district, Kenya
Kwaka, Dennis Kirima
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one of the objectives of every system of education is to improve the welfare of every individiula and the society at large. This may be achievable if performance of the learners in all academic disciplines is taken into consideration. This study focused on teachers' assessment practice as a factor influencing performance of students in mathematics in secondary schools. It was taken with full knowledge that students perform poorly in mathematics in the K.C.S.E. examinations. The study investigated the assessment practice of teachers of mathematics in secondary schools in Mombasa District, Kenya. The study aimed at determining the procedures used in assessing students in mathematics and the teacher's use of assessment results among others were examined. Each aspect was discussed separately and its influence in performance of students in mathematics was considered. The study was influenced by the increasing concern of poor performance in mathematics at secondary school level. Although a number of authors have addressed some issues relating to assessment, teacher's assessment practice has not been critically considered at least in the Kenyan context. The study aimed at doing exactly that using a sample from Mombasa District, Kenya. A cross-sectional survey research design was done using three instruments for data collection. These were the mathematics teacher's questionnaire (MTQ), lesson observation schedule (LOS) and document analysis sheet (DAS). The validity and reliability of the instruments were enhanced by a pilot study and the adoption of some already validated items. A reliability coefficient of at least o.8 was acceptable for the study. The instruments were administered by the researcher to secondary school teachers of mathematics in Mombasa District who were by then handling form three classes. A total of twenty-nine teachers were sampled for the study. Data were analysed using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The main findings among others were that: a) Teachers assessed students mainly for formative and summative reasons. Those who also emphasized on diagnostic assessment besides formative and summative assessment produced better scores at the end-of-term examinations. b) Most teachers were aware and used a variety of techniques in assessing their students. However, project work and practical work were rarely used. Similarly, teachers assessed all cognitive domains of learning but creativity and imagination as well as data interpretation domains were less emphasized. This denied the students an all-round mathematics learning. c) Teachers of mathematics were seen to be laxed in using assessment results. Lack of proper assessment records such as assessment scores, analysis of the results, remarks on students' progress and target setting was likely evidence to this. The use of assessment results was also seen to have a contribution to the performance of students in mathematics. The discussions on the findings towards enhancement of performance in mathematics are given. The key recommendation was that there is the need to have a national policy to govern all aspects of assessment. If this is enforced, it would enhance performance of students in mathematics.