Biology Education: A Teachers Perspective on the Challenges in the Delivery of Content and Performance in Biology

A Case of Bungoma District, Kenya


  • Kennedy W. Nyongesa Kabarak University



Biology is a teaching and learning subject at secondary school level in Kenyan schools. Biology plays a key role in industrialization and other sectors of the economy.  Biology is a practical subject, which equips students with concepts and skills that are useful in solving the day-to day problems of life.  The study of biology aims at providing the learner with the necessary knowledge with which to control or change the environment for the benefit of an individual, family or community.  However, the secondary school students’ performance in biology as a learning subject in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in Bungoma District has been quite low over the years.  The public outcry and concern by parents, teachers, educationists and students about poor performance in science subjects and mathematics in national examinations is a clear indication that factors influencing student’s performance in these subjects need urgent investigation.  The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of teacher related factors on performance of secondary school students in biology.  The Cross-sectional descriptive research design and the Ex post facto were employed in this study.  Nine (9) secondary schools were randomly selected for study out of 139 schools in Bungoma district.  Different categories of schools were used depending on the school set-up and these were (i)  Single- gender boys boarding schools (ii)  Single- gender girls boarding schools (iii)  Single- gender girls day schools (iv)  Co-educational boarding schools (v) Co-educational day schools (vi)  Co-educational boarding / day schools.  A total of three hundred and sixty (360) form three students were randomly selected for the study.  A student questionnaire (SQ) and a teacher questionnaire (TQ) were used as the main instruments for data collection. Class mark lists were used as tracking records of performance in biology. Data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics.  The study established that boys perform better than girls in biology. Female teachers were found to have a higher level of science anxiety in the teaching of biology compared to the male teachers. It was established that most teachers still used the traditional lecture method in the teaching of biology and only a smaller percentage were using the new approaches. This study was expected to significantly contribute in the provision of information that could be used by teachers, parents, educationists and policy makers to improve on the teaching, learning and performance of students in biology.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Kennedy W. Nyongesa, Kabarak University

School of Education, Kabarak University, Kenya


Aiken, L.R. & Aiken, D.R (1969). Research on Attitudes Concerning Science Education: The In International Encyclopedia of Curriculum. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Anderson, J. (1970). The Struggle for the School. London: Longman.

Ashton, P., Webb, R. & Doda, N. (1983). A study of teachers’ sense of self-efficacy: Final Report (Vol. 1). Gainesville, F.L: University of Florida. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 231 834).

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Teachers College Press

Banu, D.P. (1985). “Attitudes towards Science held by Secondary School Students in Gongola State, Nigeria. In: Dissertation Abstracts International. Vol.45. No. 7 p2055-A.

Blosser, P. (1989). The impact of educational reform on science education (Report No. EDO SE-90-16). Colombus, OH: The Ohio State University.(ERIC/SMEAC Information Annalysis Products No.ED 320 764)

Borg, W.R. & Gall, M.D., (1989). Educational Research: An Introduction (5th Edn.). White plains,NY : Longman.

Carlson, N.R. & Buskist, W. (1997). Psychology: The Science of behaviour. Boston: Allyn Bacon.

Chepcheing, M.C. (1995). Influence of Family Social-Economic Background and Gender on students Academic Performance. A study of secondary schools in Kabartonjo Division. Unpublished Master’ Thesis, Moi University, Eldoret

Cullingford, C. (1985). Parents, Teachers and School. New York: Robert Royce Ltd.

Czerniak, C and Chiarelott L.(1990). Teacher Education for Effective Science Instruction: A Social Cognitive Perspective .Journal of Teacher Education. January February, Vol.41, No.1, 4958

Czerniak, C. M. (1992). A qualitative comparison of elementary pre-service teachers identified as high and low anxiety about teaching Science .Paper presented to the National Association of Research in Science Teaching, Boston M.A

Enochs, L.G., Scharmann, L.C. & Riggs, I.M. (1995). The relationship of pupil control to pre-service elementary science teacher self-efficacy and outcome expectancy. Science Education,79(1),63-75.

Eshiwani, G.S. (1993). Education in Kenya since Independence, Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers.

FAWE, (2004). Students’ attitudes to the teaching of SMT subjects by girls in primary schools. The experience of the pilot phase. FEMSA. No. 11 pp.12.

Gage, N. L. (1963). Handbook of Research on Teaching. New York: American Education Research Association.

Galloway, D. (1985). Schools, Pupils and Special Educational Needs. London: Croom Helm Ltd.

Gorell, J. & Capron, E. (1990). Cognitive modeling and self-efficacy: Effects on pre-service teachers’ learning of teaching strategies. Journal of Teacher Education

Heinich, R., Molenda, M., Russell, J.D. & Smaldino, S.E. (1996). Instructional media and the new technologies of for learning. New York: Wile & Sons.

Hong, S., Woo, J., & Jeong, J. (1995). An analysis of proceeding on science teacher and science teacher education in Korea and America. Journal of Korean Association for Research in Science Education, 15(3) 241-249

Horton, R.L. & Hutchinson, S. (1997). Nurturing scientific literacy among youth experientially based curriculum materials. National Network for Science and Technology, Julie Chaplin, 6H Berkley Hall, Michigan State University, ELansing MI 28824.

Joyce, B. & Weil, M. (1980). Models of teaching. New Jersey, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Kang’ethe, S. & Nafukho, F.M. (2000). Problems of innovative training of professionals: The experience of Moi College of Health Sciences, Kenya: Paper presented at the Conference of Third World Studies held at Egerton University, 17th-19th September, 2001.

Kangoro, N. (2007), Teachers Should Master the Art of Questioning, The Standard Newspaper: Education 1/24, 11.

Kariuki, P.& Kibera, L.W. (1996). University students’ attitudes towards and perceptions of the teaching profession and teaching practice: Some findings from Kenya. Kenya Journal of Education 6(1), 36-41.

Kathuri, N.J. & Pals, D.A. (1993). Introduction to Educational Research. Egerton University, Njoro: Educacional Media Centre.

Kiboss, J.K. (1997). Relative effects of a computer-based instruction in physics in students’ attitudes and motivation and understanding about measurement and perception of classroom environment. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, University of Western Cape.

King, K., & Wiseman, D.L., (2001). Comparing science efficacy beliefs of elementary education majors in integrated and non-integrated teacher education course work. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 12(2), 143-153.

Kochlar, S. K. (1992). Methods and Techniques of Teaching. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Private Ltd.

Mugenda, O. M. & Mugenda, A.G. (1999). Research methods. Nairobi, Kenya: ACTS press.

Mukasa – Simiyu, A. (2001). The Systems Approach to Teaching: A Handbook for Teachers. Eldoret: Western Educational Publishers.

Okere(1996).Physics Education: A Text Book of Methods for Physics Teachers. Nairobi,Kenya. Lectern publishers Ltd.

Ndirangu, M. (2000). A study on the perception of the influence of the teaching practice projects on the teaching of science in selected secondary schools in Kenya. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Egerton University, Njoro.

Newton, C. & Tarrant, T. (1992). Managing Change in Schools. London: Routledge.

Nyongesa,K.W.(2011). Influence of Students Gender, Attitude and Science Anxiety on Performance in Biology in Selected Secondary Schools in Bungoma District, Kenya.Unpublished M.Ed Degree Thesis, Egerton University

Obura, A. (1991). Changing images: Potrayal of Girls and Women in Kenyan Textbooks, Nairobi, ACTS.

Orodho, A. J. (1996). Factors influencing students performance in science subjects of secondary

school level in Kenya. Unpublished PhD thesis, Kenyatta University.

Orodho, A.J. (2005). Essentials of Educational Research and Social Science Research Methods. Nairobi: Masolo Publishers.Persell, C. H. (1977). Education and Inequality. New York: The Free Press.

Raizen, S.A., & Michelson, A.M. (Eds). (1994). The future of in elementary schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Seli, M.W. (2006). Factors Affecting the Implementation of Secondary School Biology Curriculum in Kenya: A Case of Webuye Division. Unpublished Master’s Degree Thesis. Moi University – Eldoret, Kenya.

Shumba, O. (1993). “Attitudes towards Science. An Exploratory survey of pupils preparing for National Examinationsâ€. Zimbabwe Foundation of Educational Research Vol.1013-3445p. 63-89.

SMASE In-service project. (2000). Resources and Facilities for Teaching and Learning Biology. Nairobi: MOEST-JICA.

Spielberger, C.D. & Syderman, S. (1994). Strait-Trait Anxiety Inventory and Strait Trait Anger Expression Invention. In M.E. Maruish, (Ed.); The use of psychological tests for treatment planning and outcome assessment (pp. 292-321). Hillsdale, NJ: LEA.

UNESCO (2003). Gender and Education for All: The Leap to Equality – EFA Global Monitoring Report 2003/2004, Paris, UNESCO.

UNESCO (2006). EFA Global Monitoring Report 2006: Literacy for Life, Paris, UNESCO.

Wenglinsky, H. (2000). How teaching matters: Bringing the classroom back to discussion of teacher quality: a policy Report: Milken Foundation.U.K

Westerback, M.E. & Long, M.E. (1990). Science knowledge and the reduction of anxiety about teaching earth science in elementary teachers as measured by the science teaching Strait-Trait Anxiety Inventory. School Science and Mathematics, 90(5),

Whyte, J. (1986). ’The Development of Sex Stereotyped Attitude among Girls and Boys: Diffrent Models of their Origin and their Educational Implications’, in OECD Girls and Women in Education:A Cross National Study of Sex Inequality in Upbriging and in Schools and Colleges,Paris.

Yager, R.E., & Penick, J.E. (1985). Science teacher education. In W.R. Houston (Ed.), Handbook of research on teacher education (pp. 657-673). New York:



How to Cite

Kennedy W. Nyongesa. (2015). Biology Education: A Teachers Perspective on the Challenges in the Delivery of Content and Performance in Biology: A Case of Bungoma District, Kenya. Kabarak Journal of Research & Innovation, 3(2), 23–42.