Evaluation Frameworks for Education Access and Performance Focussing on Gender and Equity: Case of Selected Secondary Schools in Siaya County, Kenya
Ponge, Cannon Awuor
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Studies have been conducted in Kenya in the area of gender and education, but few have focused on gender and equity in the evaluation of education access and performance. This study sought to establish the availability of education frameworks that outline how evaluation of secondary education in Kenya is done through a gender and equity focused angle. It sought to review the existing evaluation frameworks available for secondary education from a gender perspective; review how access and performance are evaluated in secondary schools from a gender perspective; and suggest ways of improving gender and equity focus in evaluation of education access and performance. The theoretical framework for this study is based on a framework developed by Beatrice d’Hombres that assesses the vertical dimensions of equity through information on admission and enrolment and the education learning outcomes. The d’Hombres framework was complemented by the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) framework to ensure gender equity. This study employed a phenomenological research design using mixed methods of data collection – both qualitative and quantitative. Secondary data was analysed from available literature touching on education and gender equity, access of education and performance in examinations in Kenyan secondary schools. Primary data was collected from a sampled number of secondary schools in Siaya county and from local education offices and officials. This study covered secondary schools in Siaya county in the western Kenya region. The total population for the study was 226 secondary schools in the county, and 13 schools were sampled based on an inclusive criterion, representing the different categories or types of schools, ensuring that no school category-type was left behind. For secondary data, a review of the relevant literature was conducted, while for primary data, the tools used for data collection were the school survey questionnaire and the key informant interview guide. The data collected was analysed qualitatively through thematic identification and isolating emerging issues under the identified themes. For the quantitative data, analysis was done using SPSS software and exported to Excel, and results presented in tables that capture comparative data. This study concludes that the evaluation system as presently constituted does not recognise the varied abilities of learners. The current evaluation strategies are merely academic-centred and do not give room for consideration of extra-curricular activities. The system also does not recognise the individual socio-economic conditions as factors that can affect both education access and performance. The study recommends inter alia, for the development of a comprehensive education evaluation framework; evaluation based on competency of the students; inclusivity in evaluation processes; assessment based on language of instruction; enhancing ICT for evaluating inequity in education, involvement of teachers in evaluation processes; innovative approaches to evaluation processes and adoption of a schools’ self–assessment mechanism for evaluation. It contributes to knowledge in the area of evaluating education access and performance, given the emerging importance of equity focus in evaluation practice. For future studies, it recommends undertaking a study on the gender dynamics in enrollment patterns in schools.