An evaluation of high school home science curriculum in Kenya

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Sigot, Asenath Jerotich
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For the last two decades, home science teachers, students and professionals have expressed a need for improvement of the high school home science curriculum. The major purpose of this study was to; 1) investigate the extent to whichfue present curriculum meets the aims and objectives of home science education; 2) find out whether home science curriculum in high school was relevant to t~e needs of the students and the Kenyan society; 3) find out the extent to which the home science curriculum was integrated to cater for all round competencies or skills required by students; and 4) giv suggestions and recommendations towards the improvement of home science curriculum. The following null hypotheses, HO (X) were tested: HO (1) There will be no significant difference between the perceptions 'of teachers and students in the ranking of home science courses for their usefulness. HO (2) There will be no significant difference in the mean scores of teachers and students in their ratings of curriculum items. Thenull hypotheis HO~) was answered by using the speannan's RankDifference correlation methcxi(rho), whereas, the null hypothesis HO(2) was answeredby using the t test. Data was collected by meansof ~ questionnaires supplementedby interviews. The construction of the questionnai.ces was guided by the aims, objectives and suggested content outlined in the secondary school curriculum guide as well as the secondary school homescience syllabus provided by the KenyaNational Examinations Council. The questionnaire was divided into three parts. Part 1 had 12 i terns that sought for selected background infonnation about the respondents and homescience courses. Part II consisted of 49 curriculum items arranged into the following curriculum ccxnponents;six i terns on the general aims of horne science; six items on balance in curriculUm; seven Ltemson .curriculum objectives; nine items on content; seven items on learning activities; eight items on examinations and six iteTs on curriculum construction. Curriculum items were rated on a five-point degree of satisfaction scale.. 'Ihe highest, Ln the scale indicated a high satisfaction and was assigned figure 4 while the lCMestpoint indicated lack of that SPecific curriculUm item and was assigned zero (0). 'Ihe last part of the questionnaire had ten items that sought for the strengths, weaknesses and suggestions for improvementin homescience curriculum. The questionnaires and interview guides were deveIoped and pretested for content validity and reliability. xvii The population of the study corrpri.sed of 53 hare science teach8rs, 866 hare-science students, 40 former high school hare science students and-15 secondary school administrators. Atotal of 50 stratified and randomlyselected high schools were visited in the study. Analysis of data indicated that teachers and students ranked hare managementfirst in usefulness. The other courses L.'1 descending order of their usefulness were, foods and nutrition, clothing and textiles and science :in the home. The follaving courses not extensively taught were ranked in descending order of usefulness by both the teachers and students : family life education, child development, consumereducation, homefurrii.shi.nqs and l:ousehold equipment. The Spearmans Coefficient of - Agreementindicated that both teachers and ~tudents agreed in their order of ranking hare science courses for their usefulness. '!he null hypothesis HO(1) was accepted at the P< .05 level. Curriculum items with a meanscore of 3.50 were considered as being very satisfactorily achieved but none of themreceived that score. Those with meanscores of 2.50 to 3.49 were considered as being achieved to a satisfactory degree and there were altogether 13 and 37 on the teacher and student ratings, respectively. CUrriculumitems with a meanscore below2.50 were considered as being unsatisfactorily achieved. The teachers' ratings indicated 36 curriculUm items as being unsatisfactorily achieved whereas the students' ratings indicated 12 curriculum items. Thus, the students ratings Here slightly higher than those of the-teachers. Examinationof the subject content involved in those curriculum items rated e.s being satisfactorily achieved (Ms= 2.50 -- 3.,49) included the objectives dealing with personal qualit-ies of students, knowledgein one core area of hane science, improvementof the standard of living and family life, and acquisition of sane basic skills useful for self reliance. The subject content in those curriculum items with mean scores below 2.50 indicated that they were related to the specific needs and problemsof adolescents and their role in the ccmrruntyi , basic skills in all core areas of homescience, developmentof students' artistic values and encouragerrentof originality, adaptation to societal changes and challenges of daily living. The t t~t revealed that the student and the teacher - respondents had significant differences in the meanscores of 19 curriculum items out of 49. This indicated that the ~ grouI?s did not statistically differ in their ratings of 30 curriculum i.tems, the level of significance being P< .05. Hence, the null hypothesis HO(2) was accepted on the 30 curriculum items with the meanscores that did not statistically differ. However,the xix same hypothesis HO (2) was rejected on the 19 curriculum items that had significant differences in the meanscores. '!he findings of the present study suggested that the respondents perce.ived the present curriculum as achieving its general aims (Ms= 2.50 and above) however, they felt that the specific objectives \~e not being satisfactorily achieved . . . (!is = below 2.50). l'-'urtherIt'Ore,evidence fran Lowmeanscores (unsatisfactory) of 12 curriculum items related to relevance in homescience suggested that the ?resent curriculum was not relevant to the needs of the students and the society. The majority (75%)of fonner hone science students indicated that some parts of hare science curriculum were not relevant to the student and society. Based on the findings, it has been concluded therefore, that (1) the present curriculum has met tne objectives of those students whoare likely to proceed on for further studies in hare science but not for those whosehigh school education is terminal; (2) the present curriculum is too SPecialized and the findings called for a need to generalize the hane science curriculum in high school. Recanmendationsbased on the findings included the need for bane scfence curriculum improvementthrough an introduction of a general hare science curriculum, clarificatj on of curriculum Objectives, revision of content, emphas.i.son hane assignments, inservice ti:'aining, a closer interaction between administrators, University lecturers, hare science teachers and students, and further research studies reiated to th~ needs of individual students, their families, and their comnunities
A thesis submitted in fulfilment for the degree of doctor of philosophy in Kenyatta University. 1987, TX 269.K4S5