Ability Practices, Self-Esteem and Academic Achievement among Secondary School Students in Iganga District
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This study investigated the difference in self-esteem and academic achievement between students in schools that practice ability grouping and those in schools that practice mixed ability and the relationship between self-esteem and academic achievement. The study used quantitative and cross sectional approaches, employing casual comparative and correlational survey designs. Data was collected from 227 respondents selected from the six schools using simple random sampling technique. Data was entered into Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS version 23) and analyzed using independent t-test, the Pearson product moment correlation and multiple regression analysis. Results revealed a significant difference in self-esteem between students in schools that practice ability grouping and those that practice mixed ability (t = 3.55, p < .01), there was also a significant difference in academic achievement between students in schools that practice ability grouping and those in schools that practice mixed ability (t = 3.95, p < .01). The results further revealed that there was a significant positive relationship between self-esteem and academic achievement (r=.340, p < .01) and that self-esteem partially mediated the relationship between Ability Practices and Academic Achievement (r = -.162, p < .01). It was concluded that the type of school a student attends, that is, whether it practices ability grouping or mixed ability will have an influence on his/her self-esteem and academic achievement. The results revealed that students in schools that practice ability grouping had higher self-esteem and academic achievement as compared to those in schools that practice mixed grouping. It is however noted that the results do not vary so highly, this implies that if both practices are moderately practiced, they can contribute to students’ self-esteem and academic achievement. It was recommended that educational stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education and Sports, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), teachers, school managers’ and curriculum developers should come up with a policy which should encourage and promote the practice of ability grouping in most secondary schools in the country as this raises learners’ self-esteem and improves on their academic achievement.