Home factors, commitment to learning and academic performance in Mathematics and English language among senior four students in Makindye Division
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This study investigated the relationships between home factors, commitment to learning and academic performance in Mathematics and English language among senior four students in Makindye division. In the study, a quantitative approach was used and a cross-sectional survey research design was adopted. Three out of the four government – aided secondary schools from Makindye division were selected using stratified sampling and the respondents used in the study were selected using convenience sampling while disproportionate stratified sampling was used to obtain the number of respondents from each school in the target sample. Out of 439 senior four registered students in the three selected government- aided secondary schools in the target population, 214 were respondents. A self-constructed questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected data was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics from the IBM Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23. The descriptive analysis was done using frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations. Data from items on students’ bio data, students’ home factors, student commitment to learning and senior four Mathematics and English language UNEB results was analyzed using frequencies and percentages. Alternative hypotheses 1, 2 and 3 were tested using the Chi-squared test, alternative hypothesis 4 was tested using multiple regression analysis while alternative hypothesis 5 was tested using the means and standard deviations. The findings of the study were that majority (69%) of the students were less than 18 years old. On average, good commitment to learning prevailed among more than 60% of the students and excellent commitment to learning prevailed among more than 80% of the students. Not all home factors influenced academic performance because results show that among the respondents, more than 60% came from big families of more than 4 children, 77% perceived to come from middle class families, 62% had their fathers with an education level above Advanced level and 44% had their mothers with an education level above Advanced level. The Chi-squared tests showed that there was a significant relationship between student’s father’s highest level of education and academic performance in Mathematics among senior four students in Makindye division i.e. χ2 (48, N = 214) = 75.52, p < 0.05; there wasn’t a significant relationship between home factors (student’s perceived SES, family size, student’s mother’s education level and student’s father’s education level) and commitment to learning among senior four students in Makindye division i.e. χ2 (22, N = 214) = 32.76, p = 0.07; χ2 (11, N = 214) = 6.06, p = 0.87; χ2 (66, N = 214) = 66.77, p = 0.45; χ2 (66, N = 214) = 65.67, p = 0.49; respectively ; there wasn’t a significant relationship between commitment to learning and academic performance in Mathematics χ2 (88, N = 214) = 80.18, p = 0.71 and English language χ2 (77, N = 214) = 62.48, p = 0.89 among senior four students in Makindye division. From the multiple regression analysis, academic performance in Mathematics was significantly predicted at 0.05% significant level by students’ age and students’ sex i.e. p = 0.03 and p = 0.00 respectively and that students’ sex was the best significant predictor of academic performance in Mathematics at 1.221. Results from the UNEB assessment of the year 2017 show that at all age levels, male students performed better than female students in Mathematics i.e. (M = 5.14, SD = 2.52) for males and (M = 6.25, SD = 2.34) for females; while female students performed better than male students in English language i.e. (M = 5.56, SD = 1.56) for females and (M = 5.95, SD = 1.43) for males. The standard deviations imply that the UNEB grades for English language were more consistent than those of Mathematics. From the findings of this study in Makindye division, the researcher concluded that: Firstly, a student’s academic performance in Mathematics is influenced by the student’s father’s level of education. Secondly, students’ home factors do not influence student commitment to learning. Thirdly, student commitment to learning may not affect students’ academic performance in Mathematics and English language. Fourthly, student’s age and student’s sex affect the student’s academic performance in Mathematics and lastly, that boys perform better than girls in Mathematics while girls perform better than boys in English language. From the findings of the study, the researcher recommended that members of UNEB should revise the criteria of awarding a division one performance in Uganda national examinations at senior four levels such that any senior four candidates who have performed excellently in other subjects but failed Mathematics and/or English language should qualify for a division one Uganda Certificate of Education. In case of English language all students should be encouraged to speak English while at school so that there is a basis for teachers of English language to train students to speak and write correct English and hence pass examinations. Parents should be sensitized through media by stake holders to be good role models of their education levels, socio- economic statuses and family sizes as they raise, guide and educate their children because these in turn may affect their children’s academic performance.