ANALYZING FACTORS AFFECTING PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS AMONG STUDENTS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENT IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN TANGA REGION, TANZANIA
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Students who are visually impaired can excel in mathematics just like students without visual impairment if they are provided with necessary resources and assistance. However, the school environments in Tanzania lag behind in the provision of the required support to promote the students success in mathematics. This study analyzed factors that influenced performance in mathematics among students with visual impairment in Tanga Region, Tanzania. The main questions this study intended to answer were, to what extent does the extra time given to students with visual impairment, teaching methods/techniques; teaching/learning materials and teacher’s qualification influence the mathematics performance among children with visual impairment? The study used Descriptive survey research design. Purposive sampling and simple random sampling techniques were used. Fifty (50) respondents were involved including thirty six (36) students with visual impairment, twelve (10) teachers, two head teachers and two (2) District Education Officers. The criterion that was used in selecting sample schools was the presence of children with visual impairment. The instruments for data collection included interview guide, observation schedule and academic report record form/ documentation. In data analysis the quantitative data from academic report record form was analyzed using Microsoft excel and the data was presented in graphs and tables while the qualitative data from interview guides and observation schedule was analyzed by describing the way they were. The findings revealed that students with visual impairment are not given extra time in test and in classroom assignments which is essential for the performance of mathematics among children with visual impairments. Moreover the teaching methods /technique used by the teachers sometimes do not consider students with visual impairments, however the study showed that the teaching /learning materials are not enough to fulfill the needs of students with visual impairment mathematics books for students with visual impairment are not there, the equipments like, braile machines, abacus, drawing equipment and the use of real teaching aids also are not enough compared to the number of the students. On the other hand the study revealed that there is the shortage of specialist teachers who work hand in hand with the general teachers who teach mathematics to students with visual impairment. Finally, due to the fact that, there are few studies conducted on this area the current study has ventured on, it is recommended that, further studies should be carried out not only on mathematics but also on other subjects in different settings to enhance transferability of the findings using the same or different methodologies.