Determinants of Girls’ Performance in Mathematics in Public Secondary Schools in Trans Nzoia County, Kenya
Anguche, Juliana Miya
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Mathematics is one of the core and compulsory subjects in the Kenyan education system, both in primary and secondary schools, and is examined at both levels. However, according to the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) females do not do well in mathematics, particularly in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). As a result, the goal of this research was to determine the factors that contribute to girls' low math performance and to devise strategies for improving math performance among girls in secondary schools in Kenya's Trans-Nzoia County. The study's objectives were to determine the impact of community beliefs, practices, and attitudes on girls' mathematics performance, determine the impact of role models on girls' mathematics performance, investigate the impact of parental economic status on girls' mathematics performance, and determine the various strategies that can be used to improve girls' mathematics performance. This study was carried out using a descriptive research approach. The target population was 1041 comprising of secondary school girls, teachers, principals as well as the Sub County Education Officer (SCEO).From this population 200 girls were selected by random sampling while ten principals, 19 teachers of mathematics and one (SCEO) were purposively selected as respondents. Data collection was done using questionnaire and interview schedule. A pilot study was done in two schools within the county. These schools were not included in this study. Reliability of the instruments was checked using Test-retest technique resulting to a correlation coefficient of 0.8 by using the Spearman rank order correlation coefficient. Quantitative data were analyzed using percentages and frequency tables while qualitative data were categorized according to themes and objectives in relation to the views, perceptions and opinions of the respondents. This research found that cultural beliefs, attitudes and practices have an influence on girls’ performance in mathematics. Low socio-economic status was found to have a negative influence on girls’ performance in mathematics. Role models play a significant role in helping girls improve in mathematics performance. Strategies to improve girls’ performance in mathematics were identified such as demystifying mathematics concepts and involving all the stakeholders in matters which concern girls’ performance in mathematics. The study recommended that parents should be sensitized on the influence of cultural beliefs, attitudes and practices on girls’ performance in mathematics and the crucial role they play in provision of basic requirements for the girls, parents especially from low socio-economic backgrounds to engage in economic activities to enable them provide for the girls. Female role models who have excelled in various fields especially mathematics should be encouraged to give back to the society by offering motivational talks to girls. The findings of this study may be useful to stakeholders in education such as teachers, parents and the ministry of education especially in improving performance of girls in mathematics.