Predictors of Mathematics Performance among Learners with Dyscalculia in Public Primary Schools in Starehe, Nairobi City County, Kenya
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The aim of this study was to assess the predictors of Mathematics performance among learners with dyscalculia in public primary school in Starehe Sub-County in Nairobi City County. Persistent underperformance in Mathematics is evident across Kenya and Starehe Sub-county is no exemption. Several learners suffer from dyscalculia which undermines their Mathematics performance but the disability is usually undetected. Therefore, most interventions designed to improve Mathematics performance do not adequately address the needs of dyscalculic learners. The objectives of this study were to: investigate the Mathematics performance of learners with dyscalculia in public primary schools in Starehe sub-county; determine the influence of teacher factors, teaching methods, learner characteristics and availability of teaching and learning resources on Mathematics performance of dyscalculic learners in public primary schools in Starehe sub-county. The study was guided by social development theory on learning by Vygotsky (1978). The study was a mixed method research applying descriptive survey design. The target population was class seven pupils and their Mathematics teachers in 4 public primary schools in Starehe Sub-County. A sample size of 42 class seven pupils and 8 class seven Mathematics teachers will be used. Purposive sampling technique was used to select teachers where only Mathematics teachers for class seven were sampled. Simple random sampling technique was used to select the learners. Data from the teachers was collected using a questionnaire. On the other hand, data from the pupils was collected using Dyscalculia screening tool (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - WSIC III); Mathematics Self Efficacy Scale (MSES); Cognitive abilities assessment tool (Woodcock – Johnson IV); and Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitude Scales (FSMAS). School records were also examined to assess pupils‟ Mathematics performance. Quantitative data was analyzed through descriptive statistics of frequencies, percentages and mean through the help of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Qualitative data was analyzed by organizing it into themes corresponding to the study objectives and used to enhance the quantitative findings. Findings revealed that the mean score performance in Mathematics for learners‟ with dyscalculia for the three terms investigated was 52.9% compared to 69.8% for learners without dyscalculia. Negative correlations were found between Mathematics performance and other learners‟ characteristics including cognitive abilities (r = -0.089; p = 0.632), and Mathematics attitude (r = 0.111; p = 0.551). However, there was a weak positive correlation of 0.017 between Mathematics performance and Mathematics self-efficacy. Most of the teachers (62.5%) asserted that adequacy of teaching and learning resources greatly affected the pupils‟ Mathematics performance. The research concludes that screening pupils for dyscalculia is rarely done in most public schools. However, pupils with dyscalculia still perform quite well in Mathematics although their performance is relatively lower than that of pupils without dyscalculia. The study recommends among other measures that the government through the Ministry of Education should consider organizing for on-job training for primary school teachers on Mathematics learning disabilities.