Evalution of factors affecting the effective assessment of the 8-4-4 secondary school homescience practical examinations in Nairobi and Kiambu district
Kanga, Ann Waithira
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As a practical oriented subject, Home Science underwent major changes with the introduction of the 8-4-4 system of education. With more emphasis given to technical subjects, more students enrolled to do the subject. This necessitated the use of the subject teacher in the final K.C.S.E examination. Course-work, which used to be included in the final assessment in the former 7-4-2-3 system of education ceased to be assessed. The combination of all the units into a unified syllabus without a corresponding increase in personnel and facilities posed the need for an evaluation study. The study was a survey research whose main purpose was to evaluate the factors affecting the effective assessment of the 8-4-4 secondary school Home Science practical examinations. A study sample of 149 respondents comprising of 127 Home science students and 22 Home Science teachers was used. The sample was draw from 10 randomly selected secondary schools, 5 from Nairobi and 5 from Kiambu District. Data were analysed by use of frequencies and percentages. In the light of the C.I.P.P. (Context, Input, Process and Product) evaluation model used in the study, various factors were found to influence the effective assessment of the 8-4-4 Secondary school Home Science practical examinations. The various factors as indicated by the two groups of respondents were: Teachers: i) Lack of relevant training in the teaching and assessment of practical sessions; ii) Lack of familiarity in the 8-4-4 system of education; iii) Lack of facilities especially in rural schools; iv) Lack of course-work assessment; v) Setting only one question in Paper Three; vi) Assessment of Home Science Paper Three both subjective and taxing to the subject teacher; and vii) Lack of uniformity in the choice of materials for Clothing and Textiles examination. Students: i) Practical examinations having a bias for girls; ii) Strong dislike of Child Care and Home Management by boys. Other factors highlighted by both teachers and students included: i) Dislike for Clothing and Textiles; ii) Limited time and facilities; iii) Too much laundry works in Paper Three; iv) Paper Two very long and difficult; and v) Examiner being in close proximity to the student during the assessment of Paper Three. Results further showed that students were generally comfortable with the education they were getting. Most of them preferred assessment to be carried out by their teachers, while the teachers preferred an external examiner. However, both teachers and students felt there was an urgent need to in-service Home Science teachers on setting, administration and assessment of Home Science practical examination. On the basis of these findings, the author of the study offered recommendations geared towards the improvement of the teaching, administration and assessment of secondary school Home Science practical examinations.