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In Kenya, national examinations results indicate that certain schools consistently perform
better than others. Examination results over a period of five years (2007-2011) revealed
that some public schools performed better than others in Wundanyi Division, Taita –
Taveta County. It was found necessary to investigate the factors responsible for such
trends.This study tried to establish factors influencing academic performance of pupils in
K.C.P.E. Examination in Wundanyi Division, Taita-Taveta County. These factors are
related to the school, parents, teachers and the pupils themselves. Due to the exploratory
nature of the study and the holistic approach that was undertaken both the school and the
home environments were targeted as points of investigation. Multiple methods of data
collection including three sets of questionnaires for the respondents as well as interview
schedule, which facilitated gathering of the necessary information were used. The
respondents included fourteen headteachers, thirty one class eight teachers,class eight
pupils and a few parents. Data analysis was done using SPSS programme where coding
and tabulation utilised Frequencies, Percentages and Tables. Key findings suggest that all
the four variables: parental, pupil, teacher and school related factors influence academic
performance in the division. Poverty and ignorance among parents; inadequate teaching
staff, heavy workload and absence of seminars/workshops among teachers; availability,
adequacy and sufficiency of learning facilities and materials as well as pupils’ own laxity,
indiscipline and poor time management, among others, influence academic performance.
The study recommends that adequate physical facilities and instructional materials should
be provided and maintained. Guidance and counselling sessions as well as peer tutoring
should be encouraged among pupils to enable them sharpen their problem solving and
communication skills. The study also recommends that adequate staffing, teacher housing
and hardship allowance should be provided where necessary. Likewise, teachers’
seminars, workshops and refresher courses need to be streamlined and continuous
professional development of teachers put in place. Parents need to be more devoted to
their children’s academic performance.
Based on research findings, the study suggests that future researchers should focus on
influence of teachers in ensuring academic excellence in learning institutions. Similarly,
further research needs to be done to establish why learning facilities and instructional
materials are inadequate despite the government’s effort in providing funds for the same.
There is also need to carry out more research on allocation and utilization of FPE funds to
ensure effectiveness and efficiency. There is also need to look into policies regarding
demarcation of hardship areas.