Effect of Teacher Professional Development on Achievement in Kenya Certificate of Primary Examination in Kirinyaga County, Kenya
Kariuki, Damaris Wagikondi
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Teacher professional development is a critical component of educational reforms and school improvement that is focused on enhancing learning outcomes for all children. Continuing Professional Development plays a key role in teacher improvement geared towards classroom improvement. Investments have therefore been put into teacher professional development but its effect on achievement in Kenya Certificate of Primary Examination in Kirinyaga County is not established despite the glaring performance disparities. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of teacher professional development on Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) achievement. The objectives of the study were to determine the effect of teacher perceptions of professional development on KCPE achievement in Kirinyaga County, to establish the effect of teacher participation in formal training programs on KCPE achievement, to determine the effect of teacher participation in collaborative activities on KCPE achievement, to establish the effect of head teacher support for teacher professional development on KCPE achievement. The study was guided by Desimone (2009) core conceptual framework for studying effectiveness of teacher professional development as well as Deci and Ryan (2000) self-determination theory. Convergent parallel mixed methods design was used. The target population was 1705 class eight teachers and 341 head teachers. Stratified random sampling and purposive sampling was used to obtain 68 schools, a sample of 194 public and private primary school and 20 head teachers for the study. Instruments for data collection were teacher questionnaires, teacher focus group discussion guide and head teacher semi structured interview guide. Descriptive (mean, frequency, standard deviation) and inferential (t-test, regression analysis) statistics were used to analyze quantitative data while qualitative data were analyzed thematically. The study established that teachers had a positive perception toward their professional development but this did not have a significant effect on KCPE achievement. Majority of the teachers engaged in professional development so as to obtain salary increment and promotion. The study also found that teachers had improved their academic qualifications and also attended in service trainings, however, this had no statistically significant effect on KCPE achievement. The major form of in service training was workshops. The study found out that teachers participated in collaborative activities like sharing and assisting one another, lesson observation and team teaching. These collaborative activities had a statistically significant effect on KCPE achievement. The study also established that head teachers supported teacher professional development by providing information, teaching/learning resources and releasing teachers. The areas in which they offered least support were financial support and invitation of resource persons to the schools. Head teacher support for teacher professional development had a statistically significant effect on KCPE achievement. The study recommends that the Teachers’ Service Commission, Ministry of Education and school management enhance collaborative professional development activities at the school level and empower head teachers to provide support for such interventions in order to improve learner outcomes.