Academic mindsets and learning strategies as predictors of academic achievement among form three students in Nairobi County, Kenya
Mutua, Josephine Ngina
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In Kenya, academic achievement especially in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education has been declining over the years (2014 -2017). Poor academic achievement poses a threat to the educational sector, which is an important pillar in the realization of vision 2030. Studies on motivational factors in learning have been done especially in Western Countries. However, little has been done in Kenya on how academic mindsets and learning strategies predict academic achievement. The purpose of this study was to examine how academic mindsets and learning strategies predict academic achievement among secondary school students in Kenya. In particular, the relationship between academic mindsets, learning strategies and academic achievement were examined. Sex differences and the predictive weight of academic mindsets and learning strategies on academic achievement were also examined. The study was guided by Social Cognitive Theory of Motivation and Personality and Social Cognitive Theory of Learning. Explanatory sequential mixed methods design was adopted. The target population was form three students in public secondary schools in Nairobi County in 2016. Purposive, stratified, and simple random sampling procedures were used. A sample of 488 participants was selected from 10 public secondary schools. A pilot study using 50 students from one secondary school was conducted to check on the validity and reliability of the instruments. Quantitative data was collected through self-report questionnaires which comprised of adapted scales for Academic Mindsets and Learning Strategies. The quantitative data was further cross-checked through interviews conducted with 40 participants purposefully selected from those who had filled the questionnaires. Academic achievement was inferred from student‟s academic records. Quantitative data were mainly analyzed using Pearson‟s Product Moment Correlation Coefficient, t-test for independent samples, and multiple regression. Qualitative data were analyzed thematically. The study found a non-significant positive correlation between students‟ academic mindsets and academic achievement (r (486) = .05, p > .05) and a positive significant correlation between learning strategies and academic achievement (r (486) = .20, p < .01). There were significant sex differences in academic mindset scores (t (486) = -2.47, p < .05). No significant sex differences in learning strategies were found (t (486) = -1.56, p >.05). The equation for predicting academic achievement from both academic mindsets and learning strategies was significant (F (2, 485) = 11.23, p <.05). Hence, all the subscales of academic mindsets and learning strategies had a significant predictive weight on academic achievement. The qualitative findings were in agreement with the quantitative results. In conclusion, the significant predictive weight of both academic mindsets and learning strategies imply their importance in the teaching learning process. Therefore, the study recommended that, teachers, parents and all stakeholders in education should create an enhancing environment to foster the development of academic mindsets and learning strategies among secondary school students.