An analysis of factors influencing students' performance in Kenya certificate of secondary education mathematics in Borabu district, Nyamira County, Kenya
Maina, Arege Peter
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Mathematics is one of the subjects offered in secondary schools in Kenya that is poorly performed. On average, 61.3% of candidates in Borabu District, Nyarnira County scored below D (plain) in the K.C.S.E examination from the year 2006 to 2010. The purpose of this study was to analyze the factors influencing K.C.S.E performance in mathematics among secondary school students in Borabu District, Nyamira County, Kenya. The specific objectives of the study were to determine; teacher-related factors, school-related factors, assessment practices and student-related factors that influence students' performance in Mathematics at K.C.S.E level. The study adopted the descriptive survey research design. The target population constituted 23 secondary schools in Borabu District with a total population of 5,200 students, 53 mathematics teachers and 23 principals. Stratified random sampling was used to sample 12 schools while simple random sampling was used to select 240 form three student respondents, 20 from each of the participating schools. In addition, 30 mathematics teachers and 6 principals were purposively selected to participate in the study. Data collection instruments were students' and teachers' questionnaires and an interview schedule for the principals. The collected data was coded and analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively using the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS). computer software. Quantitative information was summarized and presented in percentages and frequency distribution tables while the hypotheses were tested using Pearson Product Moment Correlations (PPMC) and tested at alpha 0.05 set apriori. The study established that there was a significant, positive relationship between teaching experience (r = 0.402, n=30, p < .05); teacher's promotion of personal and professional growth (r= 0.516, n=30,p < .01); school-related factors (r= 0.743, n=30.fJ <.0 I); assessment practices (r = 0.46, n=240, p < .0 I) and student-related factors (r > 0.423,n=240, p < .01) and performance in Mathematics at K.C.S.E level. The study concluded that teacher's promotion of personal and professional growth, teaching experience, teaching approaches, the school's human resources, teaching/learning facilities and class size significantly influenced students' performance in mathematics at K.C.S.E level. Student's assessment approaches in mathematics significantly influenced their ultimate performance in the subject. The study recommended that teachers should be provided with opportunities to attend workshops/seminars to equip them with modern mathematics teaching skills.