The impact of SMASSE project on teaching and learning of biology in Gatanga District, Murang'a county, Kenya
Migwi, Peter Wachira
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This study was an assessment of the impact of SMASSE project on teaching and learning of Biology in Gatanga District, Kenya. Though SMASSE was aimed at improving teaching and learning of Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology and Physics evidence lacks to show that there is improvement on performance in these subjects. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of SMASSE training in teaching and learning of Biology in secondary schools in Gatanga District. The objectives of the study were; to find out whether SMASSE has improved performance of students in Biology, to determine the attitude of students towards Biology since the implementation of SMASSE, identify the impact of SMASSE on teaching methodologies used by teachers of Biology and to determine the impact of school administration support on the success of SMASSE project in providing teaching and learning of Biology. Literature was reviewed on impact of SMASSE on Biology performance, preference of Biology subject by the learners after the implementation of SMASSE, the extent of adoption of SMASSE teaching methodologies by teachers and the extent to which the schools support SMASSE programme. The study adopted the survey design targeting 42 Biology teachers, 32 Science HoDs and 32 Headteachers from all the 32 secondary schools in Gatanga District. Simple random sampling was used to select six out the 32 secondary schools while purposive sampling was used to select 6 principals, 6 HoDs and 6 teachers to participate in the actual study. The study variables included attendance of SMASSE by teachers, performance of students in Biology, preference of Biology by students, adoption of SMASSE concepts in teaching Biology, school support to Biology teachers, as well as gender, experience of teachers and their status. The instruments employed for data collection included questionnaires for the headteachers and Biology teachers while an interview schedule was used for the Science HoDs. Before the actual data collection procedure, a pilot study was conducted to check the reliability and validity of instruments. Data collected was subjected to descriptive statistics, such as percentages, standard deviation, frequency and mean qualitative data was put under themes consistent with the research objectives. The study established that schools performed better in Biology after teachers attended SMASSE INSET programmes. The study also revealed that after the SMASSE programmes teachers had a good mastery of the subject contents which in turn improved their teaching skills and hence changed students' attitude toward the Biology subject. The study further found out that school administration support for the SMASSE programmes positively affect students' performances on science subjects and schools performance as whole. The study recommends that there should be intensification of seminars, workshops, refresher courses for Biology teachers to sensitize them on the benefits of group work, projects and practicals as assessment instruments in the teaching of Biology; the government should allocate more funds in schools to improve on teaching and learning resources in the laboratory; the Kenya Institute of Education (KIE) should revise the Biology syllabus and reduce its content leaving the most relevant topics to allow completion of the syllabus and adequate testing and revision: among other recommendations.