Investigating into factors influencing students' poor performance in secondary school chemistry: a case of Nyamaiya Division in Nyamira District, Kenya
Ndemo, Aloys Nyang'ai
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Chemistry is one of the science subject that is poorly performed by students in Nyamaiya Division in Nyamira District. The main purpose of this study was to identify and analyse some of the factors influencing students' poor performance in chemistry in Nyamaiya Division in Nyamira District. As for the purpose of the inherent problem the specific objectives of this study were to find out the students' attitude towards chemistry, to establish the chemistry teachers' qualifications, to analyse the availability and use of chemistry teachers' qualifications, to analyse the availability and use of chemistry teaching and learning resourses, to identify the methods of teaching used by the chemistry teachers, and to determine the effect of concepts from chemistry in Nyamaiya Division in Nyamira District. Stratified sampling was used to select the schools to constitute the sample while simple random sampling was used to select the student respondents. Six (100%) chemistry teachers and 66 (100%) form four students participated in the study. Questionnaires for teachers and students were used to collect data. The data collected were organised and summarised using tables, pie charts and bar graphs. The data was then analysed and interpreted using desciptive statistics which involved the use of frequencies,mean and mode. The SPSS computer programme was used to analyse the data. The study revealed that although most students considered chemistry to be a difficult subject, their attitude towards it considering its importance in society was positive. Poor performance was found to be as a result of inadequate chemistry teaching and learning resources, inadequate staffing for the subject with qualified and experienced chemistry teachers and laboratory technicians, and also poor performance in chemistry related subjects such as mathematics since chemistry requires a wide range of application of mathematical concepts such as drawing and interpreting graphs as well as use of mathematical tables and calculators in some topics such as gas laws, the mole energy changes, radioactivity, thermo chemistry, reaction rates among others. Therefore to improve students' performance in chemistry it was recommended that all educational stakeholders, that is, education policy makers in the Ministry of Eduation, KNEC staff, education officers at all levels, school administrators, teachers, parents and students should combine efforts in order to put in place mechanisms such as availing adequate chemistry library resourses, employing qualified laboratory technicians to reduce the few available chemistry teachers' workload for effective teaching, orienting newly employed teachers by those who have been teaching in the schools for sometime, exposure of students to more practical work, organising regular workshops for chemistry teachers especially those facilitated by chemistry examiners, ensuring efficient procurement systems, regular appraisals by headteachers to motivate teachers to work harder and teamwork among science, encouraging the poorly performing schools to learn from well performing schools, and regular inspections of schools by the QAS officers.