Elizabeth Luttah Waseka and Enose M.W. Simatwa
Quality of education is assessed on the basis of learners’ achievement. Performance in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations is therefore a good indicator of the quality of education offered in schools. This is because it is a standardized instrument and therefore a reliable measure. In the years 2011 to 2014 Kakamega County posted mean scores of 5.439, 5.228, 5.363 and 5.654 respectively. These means translate to an average of C- for the years 2011-2014 which was below the acceptable minimum quality grade of C+ that enables candidates pursue competitive courses such as medicine, pharmacy, engineering, architecture, law , teaching among others in tertiary institutions and at university level. The key factors based on studies that have been conducted on factors that influence students’ academic performance in secondary education are: principals, teachers, students, school factors and government policies. The number one factor is the student. This is because she is the person who stands to lose or gain ostensibly from performance in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations. Students are products of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations process. It is against this backdrop that this study investigated student factors’ influence on student academic performance in secondary education in Kenya using Kakamega County as the site for the study. The study population consisted of 324 secondary school principals, 324 Deputy principals, 1 County Education Quality Assurance and Standards Officer and 9,000 Form IV students of 2014 cohort. Regression analysis technique was used to establish the influence of student factors on students’ academic performance. This study established that student factors influenced student academic performance by 7.56%. The other 24.4% was due to other factors which were not subject of this study. Performance in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, age, participation in co-curricular activities and exclusion from school were student factors that were statistically significant predictors of students academic performance in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations whereas Kenya Certificate of Primary Education mark, exclusion from school and co-curricular activities enhanced students academic performance, age (18 years and above) reduced students academic performance. Unrest absenteeism from school, class and preps were not statistically significant predictors of students’ academic performance.
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