Effects of communication disorders on academic performance of learners in mainstream primary schools in kericho county, Kenya

The purpose of this study was to determine intervention strategies used by teachers to support learners with communication disorders in mainstream primary schools in Kericho County, Kenya. The study was guided by the developmental psychology theory that aided in understanding of communication disorders among children. Stratified and lottery technique of random sampling was used to select a sample of participating schools and respondents. Data for the study was gathered using two instruments which included: face to face interviews with class teachers and questionnaires for teachers and pupils in mainstream primary schools in Kericho County. The respondents comprised of class 3 pupils since it was randomly selected from the other 8 classes in the school. The independent variables were the communication disorders and performance was a dependent variable. The sampling design which was used included stratified sampling and simple random sampling. A descriptive survey design was adopted in this study where 384 pupils’ questionnaires and 48 teachers’ and head teachers’ questionnaires were formulated to tap the respective CD effects on performance of the learners from the sampled public mainstream primary schools. The data collection procedures adopted for this study involved appropriate appointments with the respondents where the researcher made familiarization visits with sampled schools to hold discussions with heads of the respective schools to make necessary arrangements for the actual data collection. Data analysis was done with help of SPSS programme and findings were presented using frequency tables and graphs. Content analysis used in processing of qualitative data from the open ended questions. In addition, a multivariate regression model applied to determine the relative importance of each of the variables with respect to academic performance of learners with communication disorders. The study found out that teachers use different strategies to support pupils’ learning. There was no one strategy that worked for all learners with CD however; strategies that succeeded for many pupils had several characteristics in common. There were few differences between the general learners and CD learners in the use of these strategies, although pupils with CD were more likely to receive additional support. The findings are useful to the Special Need Education and its various organs in formulating appropriate mechanisms that will ensure that performance of CD learners is significantly improved for assurance of quality to students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders. The ministry needs to review policies which guide students’ assessment to enhance good performance, through intensified in-service training of teachers.

Paul Kipkorir Mutai, Geoffrey Karugu and Dr Beatrice Bunyasi
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