Contribution of SMASSE in-service project on students’ performance in mathematics in KCSE examination in Nkuene Division, Meru County, Kenya.
M’kiambi, Kinanu Jannis
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Strengthening Mathematics and Sciences in Secondary Education (SMASSE) Project as an educational innovation is an initiative of the Government of Kenya with support of the Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA). SMASSE project was launched in 1998 as a measure to raise performance in mathematics and sciences in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (KCSE). Despite the critical role mathematics education plays in promoting scientific and technological development, students‟ performance in the subject is quite poor. To this end the purpose of this study was to find out if SMASSE project had made an impact on students‟ performance in mathematics in KCSE Examinations in Nkuene Division, Meru County. The study was guided by Jean Piaget‟s (a constructivist and interactionist) theory of intellectual development which posts that knowledge is a construct of heredity and environmental factors. As the child develops and constantly interacts with the world around him or her, knowledge is invented and reinvented. The study adopted survey research design, a method of collecting information by administering questionnaires and by interviewing a sample of individuals. To obtain the study samples, proportionate stratified random sampling technique was used to select samples from boarding or day schools or boys, girls and mixed schools. Target population consisted of head teachers, mathematics teachers and form three students. From the sampled schools (nine out of eighteen), nine out of eighteen head teachers (50 %), thirty three out of seventy five (44 %) mathematics teachers and one hundred and eighty out of one thousand and eighty (17 %) form three students were sampled. Data was collected using questionnaire for students, mathematics teachers and head teachers, and an oral interview schedule for a SMASSE trainer. Questionnaires for teachers accessed the impact of SMASSE project on students‟ performance in mathematics in KCSE examinations. Questionnaires for student established whether teachers were applying the ASEI/PDSI approaches in teaching mathematics. Interview schedule for a SMASSE inset trainer in charge of mathematics came up with strengths, weaknesses and challenges in the implementation of SMASSE project. Document analysis revealed the teaching methods applied and the resources used in teaching/learning mathematics. Piloting was carried out in two purposively selected schools. From the two schools, the two head teachers filled the head teachers‟ questionnaire, four mathematics teachers‟ filled the mathematics teachers‟ questionnaire and twenty form three students filled the students‟ questionnaire so as to test the reliability of the research instruments. Data collected was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The findings were that SMASSE project has contributed to improved performance in mathematics in KCSE examinations in Nkuene Division. Teaching methodologies that are learner centered have been adopted since the introduction of SMASSE project. This has greatly influenced students‟ attitude towards mathematics which has led to improved performance in KCSE examinations. This study has established the contribution of SMASSE project on students‟ performance in mathematics and the fact that there are no enough teaching/learning resources in the Kenyan schools. The study recommends that the ministry of education incorporate SMASSE training curriculum in the teacher training institutions involve teachers in planning of SMASSE programmes and emphasize more on ICT training. The ministry 13 should motivate teachers who have successfully undergone all the SMASSE insets through proper remuneration and promotion.