Strategies adopted to enhance performance in sciences in public secondary schools in Nyando district, Kisumu county, Kenya
Odhong, Lucas Otieno
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Sciences are subjects that equip learners with manipulative skills necessary for industrial development and hence economic growth. Several studies have shown that there are many factors affecting performance in sciences. It is however not clear which factors can enhance performance in sciences in specific schools. The purpose of the study was to examine the strategies adopted to enhance performance in sciences in public secondary schools. The objectives of the study were to; establish the current performance trends in sciences by gender in Nyando district, establish current performance in sciences by school category, establish the strategies adopted by school management to enhance performance in sciences, find out the strategies adopted by science teachers and students to enhance performance in sciences and determine the influence of the strategies on school performance in sciences. A survey design was employed in the study. The study was conducted in Nyando district, Kisumu County, Kenya. The target population was 16 public secondary schools consisting of 16 principals, 58 science teachers, 4500 students and 1 DEO. Purposive, stratified and simple random sampling were used to get the sample. Data was collected from 8 head teachers, 29 science teachers, 369 students’ and 1 DEO yielding a total of 407 respondents. Data collection instruments included questionnaire and interviews. Questionnaires were used to obtain data from students, science teachers and principals; interview schedule was employed to obtain data from DEO. Validity was done by presenting instruments to the experts in the area of educational planning in Kenyatta University for scrutiny. Reliability of the instruments was done using test-retest technique and coefficient determined using Pearson’s product moment and coefficient of 0.75 was considered high enough. Pilot study was carried out at one of the secondary schools in Nyando district. Data collected was organized, interpreted and analyzed using descriptive statistics particularly frequency counts and percentages. Presentation was given in tables and figures. It was found that: male students had highest mean score in sciences over the years; boys boarding category had a mean of above 6.00 in most sciences over the years; most principals in the district involve all stakeholders in decision making, construct and equip laboratories, waiver fees for bright and needy students, give equal opportunities to both boys and girls, and most science teachers use teacher/learner discussion to teach non-laboratory lessons, exposing students to every practical lesson, teacher learner discussion while the students develop positive attitude towards sciences are the strategies adopted by schools to enhance performance in sciences. It was concluded that: male students generally performed better in sciences that female students, letting students free to choose optional science subject is the most important strategy adopted by school management, attending every lesson is key strategy adopted by science teachers, students developing positive attitude towards sciences. The study recommended the following: mentoring of girls by women role models particularly those in science based professions, Students in girls boarding and mixed day schools should be motivated more to bridge the gap that exists between the performances of students in sciences among the category of schools.