SCHOOL BASED FACTORS INFLUENCING ACQUISITION OF BASIC MATHEMATICS COMPETENCIES AMONG GRADE THREE PUPILS IN PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN MAGARINI SUB COUNTY, KILIFI COUNTY, KENYA
OMAR, ESHA AWADH
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Globally, mathematics is a key component in the scientific and technological innovations, in the social, economic, political, and geographical aspects of man. The acquisitions of basic mathematics competencies for the early years of education are crucial in laying a strong foundation for children. This study sought to establish school based factors influencing the acquisition of basic mathematics competencies among grade three pupils in public primary schools in Magarini Sub County, Kilifi County, Kenya. The study objectives were to; determine the influence of instructional materials, establish the influence of physical facilities, examine the influence of teacher: pupil ratio, and find out the influence of teachers’ professional development on the acquisition of basic mathematics competencies among grade three pupils in public primary schools in Magarini Sub County. The study was guided by Jean Piaget’s (1973) constructivism theory. A descriptive survey design was embraced for the study. The target population was 4854 participants consisting of 114 public primary school head teachers, 180 grade three mathematics teachers, and 4560 grade three pupils. A sample of 202 participants that comprised 12 head teachers, 54 teachers, and 136 grade three pupils was used for the actual study. The study adopted a stratified proportionate sampling technique and a simple random sampling technique to select the representative sample for the study. A questionnaire, interview guide, observation schedule, and pupils' mathematics assessment tool were used to collect data. A pilot study was conducted in two public primary schools from the neighbouring Malindi Sub County that had similar characteristics but did not have prior access on instrument’s responses to influence the actual study. The content and construct validity were enhanced through University supervisors and colleagues. Split-half technique was adopted to ascertain the instrument's coefficient of 0.7. Quantitative data was analysed descriptively and findings were presented in form of tables and pie charts. Inferential statistics, ANOVA, and Pearson correlation was used to indicate the relationship between variables. The qualitative data was analysed thematically in narrative and prose form based on the research objectives. The study revealed that most public primary schools in Magarini Sub County lack adequate instructional materials, physical facilities, and teacher professional development and had a high teacher: pupil ratio to influence pupils' acquisition of basic mathematics competencies. The entire null hypothesis that there is no positive relationship between instructional materials (F= 35.785, P< 0.05), physical facilities (r=0.936, P < 0.05), and teacher: pupil ratio (P-value = 0.000, < 0.05), and teacher professional development (F= 104.191, P< 0.05) and acquisition of basic mathematics competencies were rejected. The alternative hypothesis that there was a positive relationship between instructional materials, physical facilities, and teacher: pupil ratio and teacher professional development and acquisition of basic mathematics competencies were adapted. The study recommended that teacher training colleges should equip teachers with skills and knowledge to improve pupils’ acquisition of basic mathematics competencies. It was suggested that a further study be conducted to investigate factors influencing pupils' acquisition of mathematics competencies among upper primary grade levels.