Differences in pupils' mathematics self-concept by class level and gender in upper primary schools: Some findings from Kenya's Kericho Municipality
The knowledge of mathematics is of great value in scientific and technological fields. Mathematics is widely recognised as an important qualification for employment and further studies. It provides a unique type of experience in problem solving which is an essential component of a complete education. Though mathematics is important, many pupils in schools perform poorly in the subject at national examinations. School in Kenya put emphasis on the cognitive aspects of learning the subject for passing examinations and certification while the affective aspects of learning are not examined and are seen as being of little value. The purpose of this study was to examine and analyse pupils mathematics self-concept (PMSC) in upper primary schools of Kericho municipality in Kenya. Pupils' mathematics self-concept is an important aspect of learning mathematics. It influences learners' academic effort, educational aspirations, persistence at mathematical tasks, academic achievement and subsequent attendance of mathematics university courses. A sample of 300 primary school pupils responded to a questionnaire that measured pupils mathematics self-concept. The questionnaire was validated and its cronbach's reliability coefficient was 0.92. The results of the study showed that upper primary school pupils have a positive mathematics self-concept. Gender differences in PMSC were statistically significant at 0.05 a –level in favour of class 8. The study concluded that PMSC is differentiated by gender and class level. The findings of this study are expected to be useful to mathematics teachers, pupils' counsellors and teacher trainers in understanding and improving learners' mathematics self-concept through timely interventions. They are also important as a basis for future research.
Zimbabwe Journal of Educational Research Vol. 16(3) November 2004: pp. 178-195