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Title: Teachers’ perceptions on effectiveness of the KCSE biology practical assessment approach in testing science process skills in secondary schools in Siaya County, Kenya
Authors: Ouko, Francis O.
Keywords: Biology practical assessment
Issue Date: Apr-2017
Publisher: Egerton University
Abstract: Assessment is an important aspect of teaching - learning process in secondary schools. The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) biology practical assessment approach introduced in the year 2005 is one in which out of the three questions tested, only one question, mostly food tests involve handling apparatus and specimens by the candidates. In the other two questions, the candidates observe photographs and photomicrographs presented and then answer questions. The approach was adopted with an aim of reducing the problems of cheating in biology practical examinations. However, its effectiveness in the assessment of Science Process Skills had not been ascertained. The purpose of this study was to establish the perceptions of teachers’ on the effectiveness of the assessment approach in testing science process skills. Descriptive survey research design was used in this study. The target population comprised all trained secondary school biology teachers in Siaya. Accessible population were a total of 108 secondary school biology teachers in Siaya County. Proportionate stratified sampling and simple random sampling were used to select the subjects of the study. Proportional stratified sampling was used to ensure the study sample were derived from all the six sub-counties that constitute Siaya County, while simple random sampling was used to obtain study sample from each sub-county. A total of 90 teachers formed the study sample. Biology Practical Teachers’ Questionnaire (BPTQ) was used to generate data from the respondents. Five research experts from the Faculty of Education and Community Studies, Egerton University, validated the instrument. The reliability of the instrument was estimated using Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient. Pilot-testing was conducted in the neighbouring Kisumu sub-county, Kisumu County. Reliability coefficient for the questionnaire was 0.85. Data analysis was carried out using descriptive statistics which were frequencies, means and percentages. The findings of this study indicated that, from teachers’ perceptions, the assessment of science process skills is ineffective in the KCSE Biology Practical Assessment Approach. It was concluded that in the perceptions of teachers, the KCSE Biology Practical Assessment Approach has not contributed much to the testing of science process skills in Biology practical Examinations. It was therefore recommended that a lot of hands-on activities, manipulation of specimens and handling of apparatus be reinforced in the testing of biology practical skills. The findings of this study are important in improving the testing of Biology practical paper by KNEC and teaching laboratory lessons by Biology teachers.
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Education and Community Studies

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