Principals Perception of Factors Contribution to Students Poor Performance in Chemistry in Public Secondary Schools in Wajir County, Kenya
Ahmed, Abdullahi M.
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This study sought to assess principals’ perception of factors leading to poor performance in chemistry in Wajir County in the Kenya certificate of secondary education (KCSE). Data available indicates that performance of students in chemistry at KCSE has continued to be poor over the years. The poor performance both at the County and national levels in chemistry persists despite of the pre and post interventions measures administered by the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Education in collaboration with many other education stake holders. Performance of students in Wajir County in Chemistry has always been below the national average. This study was guided by the following objectives: to establish the factors contributing to poor performance in chemistry, to find out students’ attitude towards Chemistry and its effect on chemistry performance, establish Chemistry teacher’s attitude towards their learners’ ability in Chemistry and establish the influence of the principal on resources mobilization for teaching Chemistry on students’ achievement in Chemistry. The study employed descriptive survey design. Questionnaires were used as a means of data collection from principals and students while the teachers were provided with interview schedules. Stratified random sampling was used. The sample population consisted of 4 public secondary schools in the Sub County, 4 principals, 16 teachers of Chemistry, and 160 form four students who take Chemistry in those schools.. Data obtained from the study as well as physical observation of the nature of the teaching and learning resources and the conduct of both the practical and theory chemistry lessons was analyzed. Quantitative and descriptive data was analyzed in order to come up with means, modes, and percentages. Various factors contribute to poor performance as perceived by the principals. On attitude of the learners towards the subject, the students have a negative attitude towards Chemistry despite the fact that they are interested in careers that need the knowledge of Chemistry; this has affected the performance in the subject. Secondly, motivation of the teacher did not seem to affect performance in the Sub County. However a small percentage of teachers noted that availability of instructional resources was a motivating factor for them. The instructional resources however were not adequate. The teachers responded that factors that affected the performance of Chemistry in their schools, apart from availability of instructional materials, were learners’ academic ability and student attitude towards the subject. On instructional resources, all the schools have a library which is not well equipped, with Chemistry books. The laboratories were underutilized due to the preference of teacher demonstration over practical activities during learning of the subject by Chemistry teachers. Habaswein Sub County, Wajir County can therefore be attributed to, negative attitude of the students towards the subject especially towards the practicals, inadequate resources, and underutilization of resources. The school management should provide more instructional resources in form of a variety of Chemistry textbooks for the students in the library. Teachers of Chemistry should organize motivation talks that would help alleviate the negative attitude towards Chemistry. They should also expose their students to more individualized or group based practicals, adopt a practical approach while teaching and in conjunction with the school management A research should be done to investigate why teachers prefer demonstration over individual practicals in schools with equipped laboratories and also to investigate impact of teachers’ intrinsic motivation on performance of Chemistry