Implications of School Culture on Academic Performance in Selected Public Secondary Schools in Machakos County, Kenya
Ngumuta, Magdalene Mbula
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The study was prompted by concerns raised by various stakeholders in Machakos County over declining performance of public secondary schools that used to perform well in the past decades’ national examinations. The study sought to examine specific school cultural aspects and their relationship to students’ academic performance as evidenced by Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results in selected Public Secondary Schools in Machakos County, Kenya. Objectives of the study were to: Investigate the effects of aspects of school culture on academic performance in selected Public Secondary Schools in Machakos County, Kenya; Examine the role of students’ and teachers’ achievement orientation culture and how it affects academic performance in selected Public Secondary Schools in Machakos County, Kenya; Establish how emphasis and practice of a school’s shared ideology enables high academic performance in selected Public Secondary Schools in Machakos County as well as examine the effects of the role a secondary school’s administration in fostering a learning and teaching culture which affects academic performance in selected public secondary schools in Machakos County. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were employed. The study was guided by Vygotsky`s Theory of Social Interactionism. The study utilized a sample of 21 selected Public Secondary schools out of 212 public secondary schools in Machakos County. These schools included high and low performing Schools which were purposively selected. Sample size of the study was 200 students of which 100 were boys and girls were 100; 21 principals [men were 11 and 10 were women] and 21 deputy principals [10 men and 11 women], 25 teachers [12 men and women 13], 1 lady County Education Officer from Machakos County. The study adopted a descriptive research design. It employed both probability and non-probability sampling methods. Data analysis was guided by themes from research objectives. Data was analysed quantitatively and qualitatively. Analysed data was presented using qualitative and quantitative methods. Qualitative methods included narratives and descriptions while quantitative methods included tables showing comparisons, fluctuations and distributions in percentile presentations. The study found out that there were various school cultural aspects that affect students’ academic performance. They included shared norms by teachers, positive assumptions on academic performance of students and good incidences among teachers which were most predominant positive cultural aspects in selected Public Secondary Schools that enhanced Students’ academic performance. Findings also revealed some predominant negative cultural aspects in schools; these were rumours among students and rumours among teachers. The study therefore concluded that positive school cultural aspects had significant influence on students’ academic performance. The study recommends that School cultural aspects should be given strong emphasis since they have great influence on school climate that contributes to students’ academic performance.