Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

The Role of Student-Related Factors in the Performance of Biology Subject in Secondary Schools in Eldoret Municipality, Kenya

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

The Role of Student-Related Factors in the Performance of Biology Subject in Secondary Schools in Eldoret Municipality, Kenya

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper focuses on the student-related factors that influence performance of students in Biology in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in Eldoret municipality. The study was conducted through an ex-post facto design. A total of ten secondary schools were sampled. Target respondents were Form Three students and teachers of Biology (those teaching Form Three) within the municipality. The study sample (which was made up of 225 respondents; 200 students and 25 teachers) was obtained using stratified sampling. Simple random sampling was then used to choose the streams and particular students who participated in the study. Purposive sampling was used to obtain only the students who study Biology. The data was collected using questionnaires, observations and interviews and analysed using statistical package for social science (SPSS) computer programme. The results were presented using descriptive and inferential statistics. It was established that student-related factors affecting performance of Biology in Eldoret Municipality are: primary school Science which provides a requisite background for Biology at secondary school level; interest in Biology (theory and practical) provides a force for learners to participate in the learning process; their ability to carry out the practical effectively, and students' ambition and attitudes. The study is significant both to scholars and other readers as it is in line with the Educational Policy in Kenya, which emphasizes continuous improvement of Science education, the study sought to achieve this policy by finding areas that need improvement in the performance of Biology as a Science subject, some of which could be found applicable in other Science subjects.

Keywords: role, student factors, performance, biology subject, secondary schools, Eldoret municipality, Kenya.

INTRODUCTION

Student factors are the circumstances in school or learning environment that are at the students' disposal and have an effect on their performance in Science. This paper discusses some of these factors in light of a study conducted in Eldoret Municipality in Kenya. Majorly, majority of the student-related factors that affect their academic performance emanate from their socio-economic backgrounds and their attitudes.

BACKGROUND OF STUDENTS

Aikenhead (1996) has argued that: "It is easy to assert that; to be effective, teaching must take full account of the multidimensional cultural world of the learner, to apply this principle in a particular situation, and to express it in terms of curriculum materials and classroom methods is a formidable task" (p. 40). Aikenhead takes up this challenge in part by exploring the practical implications of cultural border crossings in terms of curriculum materials aimed at teaching Science and technology for all students no matter what borders they need to cross. Aikenhead (ibid.) argues that Science educators, western and non-western, need to recognize the inherent border crossing between students' life-world, subcultures and the subculture of Science, and that we need to develop curriculum and instruction with these border crossings explicitly in mind, before the Science curriculum can be accessible to most students.

In the context of Science education, Aikenhead (1996) identifies several powerful sub-groups that influence students' understanding about Science: the family, peers, the school, the mass media and the physical, social and economic environment. Aikenhead (1997) and Jegede (1995) argue that, for majority of students their movement between the micro-culture of their family and the micro-culture of school Science is not smooth and often limits their success at Science. Such students experience a discordant culture gap between family and school that moving into the culture of school Science seems virtually impossible. They might avoid (or drop out of) school Science to sustain their self-worth whenever they experience the "foreign" culture of school Science. …

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