Influence of Formative Assessment on Students’ Performance in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in Physics: Case of Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya
Chumo, John Kiplimo
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Since the year 2013, performance of learners in Physics has consistently been low in Elgeyo Marakwet County. This is worrying because Physics plays a central role in Kenya’s Vision 2030 and global development as envisioned in SDG. Therefore, this study was conducted to establish if the practice of formative assessment has an influence on students’ performance in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in Physics in public secondary schools in Elgeyo Marakwet county. The study objectives were: to find out how planning of formative assessment influences students’ performance in Physics, to determine how the application of Bloom’s taxonomy in FA tools influence students’ performance in Physics, to find out how techniques of FA used by teachers influence students’ performance in Physics and to find out how the application of results from FA influence students’ performance in Physics. The study was guided by Title’s Theory for Classroom Assessment Practice (1994). Explanatory sequential mixed method design was used in the study. A population of 73 public schools, 126 Physics teachers and 13,101 Physics students was targeted in the study. Schools were categorized into extra county, county and day schools using stratified sampling. Schools were arranged alphabetically in each stratum where interval sampling was applied to sample 21% of schools from each strata. In total, 15 schools were sampled to represent 21% of the total population. Simple random technique was used to select two Physics teachers from each of the 15 sampled schools. In total, 30 teachers were sampled to represent 24% of the total population. In the study, 12 students were sampled for interviews. Random sampling was used to select one school from each strata upon which one student from each form was selected using simple random sampling technique. Further, the researcher collected copies of the most recent end of term question papers from the 12 interviewed students for document analysis. A questionnaire for teachers, document analysis sheet and interview schedule for students were used for data collection. Teacher’s questionnaire and students’ interview schedule were piloted in two secondary schools where four teachers and four students of Physics were sampled from each school. Validity of research instruments was tested using content validity while reliability was tested using internal consistency method by computing Cronbach’s alpha coefficient. Qualitative data were collected using the questionnaire and interview schedule. Responses from the interview were analyzed thematically by identifying key concepts and themes and presented in narrative form supported by evidence from raw data. Additionally, qualitative data from the questionnaire was coded to translate responses into specific categories. The coded responses were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), version 22.0. Linear regression analysis, frequency, mean and standard deviation were used to establish influence of each objective on students’ performance in Physics. Charts and tables were used to present data. The research findings showed that failure by Physics teachers in Elgeyo Marakwet county to plan for FA and inability to balance all the cognitive domains according to Bloom’s taxonomy have a significant influence on students’ performance in Physics. The study showed that various assessment techniques are not utilized well by majority of Physics teachers in the county and that application of results from FA by a majority of Physics teachers were not used to the required standard. However, this did not show a significant influence on students’ performance in Physics. The study concluded that Physics teachers in Elgeyo Marakwet County should plan for FA and balance all the cognitive domains according to Bloom’s taxonomy because they influence leaners performance in Physics. The study recommended for retraining of Physics teachers in the county on good practices of FA so that they are effective in assessing learners.