Relationship between school culture and students\' performance in French in selected secondary schools in Kenya
School culture refers to a set of accepted beliefs and norms governing people's conduct in a school. Schools with a culture that favors teaching and learning French tend to have a longer history of offering French subject characterized by high expectations for and recognition of academic and co-curricula achievement, parental involvement, and career guidance and counseling. Such schools also tend to perform better in French in national examinations compared to schools without a French culture. However, not a single study in Kenya has explored the role school culture may play in ameliorating the pathetic performance witnessed in French Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination, whereby 60% of candidates fail to attain the minimum required grade of C+ to enable them join universities in the country. This necessitates a study of this nature whose purpose was to determine the relationship between school culture and students' performance in French in selected secondary schools in Kenya. The study is based on correlation design. It was carried out in 16 secondary schools offering French in Western Province of Kenya, selected by stratified random sampling to include provincial, district and private school categories. Saturated sampling technique was used to select 16 teachers of French and 327 students of French, from the 16 sample schools. Data was analyzed by use of descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) and inferential statistics (Pearson's product moment correlation and t test). The study reached the conclusion that school culture and students' performance in French in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination have a strong positive correlation. Therefore, developing a French culture within a school improves students' scores in French. Based on these findings, it is recommended that school authorities in collaboration with the teacher of French should inculcate in their institutions a culture which favors teaching and learning of French, especially by encouraging students to participate in French co-curricula activities such as drama and music festivals, French days, and cultural exchange programs, and by availing the necessary French curriculum materials, facilities and equipment.
Journal of Language, Technology & Entrepreneurship in Africa Vol. 1 (2) 2009: pp. 255-263