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SCIENCE PROCESS SKILLS APPLICATION IN PRACTICAL ASSESSMENTS IN MAARA DISTRICT SECONDARY SCHOOLS, KENYA


Grace Gacheri

Masters Student, University of Nairobi, Kenya

Nicholas M. Ndege

PhD. Student, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya


ABSTRACT

Science assessment studies reveal very little attention on testing Science Process Skills (SPS) emphasizing practical examination which is understudied in secondary schools. SPS have been described as mental and physical abilities and competencies which serve as tools needed for the effective study of science and technology as well as problem solving, individual and societal development. Lack of data to explain the assessment methods used and the consistency of application in secondary school biology practical makes the issues problematic. The availability and adequacy of facilities used for testing during the examinations which remain an issue for clarification. Biology is one of the most preferred science subjects in Kenya secondary schools, yet the extent to which practical science process skills are applied in assessment is largely understudied. The findings of this study gives basis to propose recommendations on how to solve problems associated with the application of science process skills in examinations. The study was conducted in Maara district in Tharaka Nithi County. Data was collected using questionnaires and analysis biology KCSE practical papers. The target population comprised form three secondary school students who take biology and their respective biology teachers. Stratified sampling method was used so as to capture the full range of variation among the schools and student body. A pilot study was conducted to test the instruments   for validity. Data was collected using primary and secondary data, questionnaires were used collect primary data while secondary data was derived from the existing literature.  Statistical Package for Social Sciences was used in data analysis. The findings of the research showed that most of the schools in Maara district do not adequately test students in science process skill in biology practical examination. Analysis biology KCSE practical examinations showed that drawing and measurement skills are not adequately tested. Students are also rarely given practical tests. There is no enough facilities in the laboratories for use during practical test.  Further research should be done on other science subjects such as physics and chemistry so as to establish if the science process skills are tested in practical.


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