ASSESSMENT OF COUNSELLING NEEDS RELATED TO MATHEMATICS PERFORMANCE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN MAARA DISTRICT, KENYA
MONICAH BUYATSI OUNDO
Mathematics achievement is essential for admission into various courses at post secondary school level of education in Kenya. Therefore secondary school students in Maara District may miss out on strategic professional courses due to dismal performance in the subject. However, since Guidance and Counselling services have been adapted as a support system to help students achieve their academic goals, knowledge about mathematics students’ counselling needs will assist school counsellors in designing appropriate mathematics counselling programmes. Therefore this study sought to assess counselling needs related to mathematics performance among secondary school students in Maara District, Kenya. The study adapted a descriptive survey research design. The target population constituted 12,823 respondents comprising of 452 teachers and 12,371 students in 48 secondary schools in the District. A sample of 378 respondents was obtained using simple random sampling and purposive sampling techniques. Three sets of questionnaires were employed as research instruments for data collection. Validity of the research instruments was improved through opinions and expert judgment of University Supervisors. A pilot study was conducted in Meru South District in order to improve on the reliability of the research instruments. This reliability was estimated by use of Cronbach’s Alpha Coefficient and the coefficients obtained were 0.846 for students’ questionnaire, 0.782 for heads of mathematics departments’ questionnaire and 0.707 for heads of counselling departments’ questionnaire. The study findings indicated that secondary school students had counselling needs in relation to mathematics regarding attitudes, study methods and test taking skills. Moreover, the recommendations emphasized on strengthening of Guidance and Counselling services in secondary schools to enhance students’ attitudes, test taking skills and study methods with respect to mathematics education. It was also anticipated that the findings and recommendations of this study would provide valuable reference for parents, teachers, school administrators and policy makers in education on counselling needs related to mathematics performance among secondary school students in Maara District, Kenya.