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Educational Research (ISSN: 2141-5161) Vol. 2(3) pp. 956-964 March 2011
Available [email protected] http://www.interesjournals.org/ER
Copyright © 2011 International Research Journals
Full Length Research Paper
Curriculum factors influencing performance of deaf
students in mathematics
Everline Nyokabi Maina1, Peter Adoyo Oracha1, Francis Chisikwa Indoshi2*
1
Department of Special Needs Education, Maseno University, Private Bag, Maseno, Kenya.
Department of Educational Communication.Technology and Curriculum Studies, Maseno University, Private Bag,
Maseno, Kenya.
2
Accepted 08 March, 2011
Mathematics is a key subject in career development, hence compulsory in the Kenyan secondary
school curriculum. Studies have shown that performance of deaf students in national examinations in
Kenya has generally been poor. Performance of deaf students in mathematics in Kenya Certificate of
Secondary Education (K.C.S.E) examination has even been poorer compared to other subjects.
Evidence on why deaf students have continued to perform poorly in mathematics in K.C.S.E
examination has not been shown. The purpose of this study therefore was to find out curriculum
factors influencing performance of deaf students in mathematics in K.C.S.E examination in relation to
methods of teaching, time on task, medium of instruction and content coverage. Descriptive survey
research design was used for this study. The study was carried out in Kenya in 4 districts namely;
Nyeri-South, Bondo, Mumias and Rongo. The study sample comprised 3 head teachers, 10 mathematics
teachers and 112 students. Data was collected by use of questionnaires, interviews and observation. It
was analyzed and presented using descriptive statistics such as percentages and frequency tables.
Curriculum factors
found to influence performance of deaf students in mathematics in K.C.S.E
examination included content coverage, time on task and medium of instruction. This study
recommends early intervention measures for the students, intensive in-service training of teachers on
methods of teaching mathematics to the deaf; employment of relevant specially trained teachers; and
curriculum adaptation in terms of content and time.
Keywords: Curriculum factors, Performance, Mathematics
INTRODUCTION
Findings over the years have shown that the deaf
students in Kenya have consistently trailed behind their
hearing counterparts in academic performance
(Ndurumo, 1993; Okombo, 1994 and Adoyo, 1995).
According to Adoyo (2004), there is increasing
dissatisfaction with poor academic performance in
Kenyan schools for the deaf. The poor performance is
attributed to inappropriate teaching methods, lack of
commitment by teachers and communication problems
across the curriculum (Ogutu, 1996). Adoyo (2004)
indicated that the failure seemed to occur because
teachers are not presenting the curriculum material in a
linguistic form that is accessible to deaf students. Kenya
Certificate of Secondary Education (K.C.S.E) examinat-
*Corresponding author Email:[email protected]
ion results indicate that performance of deaf students in
mathematics has been poorer compared to other
subjects and the trend has been consistent. In the years
2005, 2006 and 2007 secondary schools for the deaf
registered mean scores of 1.17, 1.04 and 1.19
respectively in mathematics in K.C.S.E examination.
These grades are equivalent to a mean grade of E, the
lowest grade in the Kenyan grading system Mathematics
is a key subject in career development hence a
compulsory subject in Kenyan secondary school
curriculum. It also has great influence on academic
performance of students in other related subjects. Poor
performance in the subject therefore may be a hindrance
in vocational development and entry of deaf students into
institutions of higher learning. Evidence on why the
performance of deaf students in mathematics in K.C.S.E
examination continues to be low has not been shown. It
was for this reason that the researcher in this study set to
find out curriculum factors influencing performance of
Maina et al. 957
deaf students in mathematics in K.C.S.E examination in
Kenya, in relation methods of teaching, time on task,
medium of instruction and content coverage.
Methods of Teaching
According to Kenya Institute of Education (K.I.E, 2006),
methods of teaching mathematics can be grouped into
two broad categories namely heuristic and didactic
approaches. Heuristic methods encourage active
participation and involvement of learners. They include
question and answer, demonstrations, investigations,
probing, group work and discussions. Didactic
approaches are characterized by expository teaching
techniques in which the teacher assumes the role of the
sole authority as far as knowledge is concerned. The role
of the learner is that of passive recipient of knowledge.
Didactic methods include lecture, deductive and inductive
methods. The heuristic approach is considered as the
most appropriate in teaching mathematics. However, the
methods may change depending on the learners’ ability
and the nature of the topics.
Findings from research studies with deaf learners have
supported the argument that mathematics should not be
taught to deaf students as a discrete series of
computational skills. The National Council of Teachers of
Mathematics of America (NCTM, 2000) recommends an
approach that emphasizes reasoning based on
understanding of the content and follows a constructivist
view of learning mathematics. Educating deaf students
should therefore incorporate instructional strategies that
promote the construction of knowledge through mental
connections (schemata). Teaching new mathematics
concepts and vocabulary, for example, should include
making use of pedagogy that builds on prior knowledge
and context and relates the new concept to a pictorial
representation (Pagliaro and Lang, 2007). According to
Klein and Merritt (1994), a constructivist teaching
approach leads to improved student achievement
because it develops critical thinking, interpretation and
analytical skills.
Deaf students primarily learn through the sense of
vision and studies have shown that multimedia
approaches enhance factual recall as compared to
traditional lecture formats. The combined effects of clear
signing, use of media, structured lesson material and the
involvement of deaf students through the use of adjunct
questions throughout the lessons have been found
particularly important in terms of performance in posttests (Lang, 2005).
Kelly and Mousley (1998), on strategies for teaching
problem solving to deaf students, suggested the use of
strategies as simple as visualization to encourage
students to think before attempting to solve problems;
demonstrating strategies including signing out loud using
peer observers; requiring written explanations of strategy;
and using more than one strategy to solve a problem.
Word problems could be introduced initially as informal
stories with math facts through dramatization, using an
overhead projector and manipulative, and then translating
the action into a math sentence. Students can also use
pictures, drawing sets, and visualizing or pantomiming
the action in a problem in order to move from the
concrete to more abstract representations of the problem.
According to NCTM (2000) and Pagliaro (1998),
students’ engagement with and ownership of abstract
mathematical ideas can be fostered using technology.
The use of calculators and computers enables students
to execute routine procedures quickly and accurately
allowing more time for conceptualization and modeling.
Technology also offers options to teachers for adapting
instruction of special needs students.
A research carried out by K.I.E (1989), revealed that in
Kenya the commonly used teaching methods were,
lecture method, problem solving, examples, discussion,
group work, experiment and games. However, on
average, it was found that lecture method, problem
solving and examples were commonly used. Findings of
Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA,
1998), also revealed that mathematics teachers were still
using lecture method in teaching mathematics. These
studies however, did not establish the methods of
teaching used in mathematics in secondary schools for
the deaf. This study aimed at finding out the methods of
teaching used in mathematics in secondary schools for
the deaf and their influence on performance of deaf
students in mathematics in K.C.S.E examination.
Time on Task
Research shows consistent positive correlations between
instructional time and student achievement at both
primary and secondary level. Significantly this
relationship appears stronger in developing countries
(UNESCO, 2005). Keeves (1994), found a significant
relationship
across
Australian
states
between
achievement in mathematics and total curriculum time
spent on mathematics. Cooper and Valentine (2001) also
indicated that in general, students who spend more time
on homework tend to show higher levels of academic
achievement.
In addition to quantity of time, other studies have
addressed the issue of the quality of time as it relates to
student learning. Kluwin and Moores (1989), in their
study of effect of placement on attainment in
mathematics by deaf students, found out that the quality
of instruction received by the student was the main factor
in achievement. Effects identified were having supportive
teachers, regular and extensive review of material,
devoting
time
to
direct
instruction,
positive
encouragement and placing high demands on students.
Baker and others (2004) added that curriculum and
958 Educ. Res.
instructional quality appear to have a much greater effect
on achievement than do total hours of instructional time.
According to Adoyo (2004), the two most important
variables in education of deaf students are indicated as
the quality of instruction and the time on task. Adoyo’s
study however did not establish the adequacy of time
spent in mathematics in secondary schools for the deaf.
The present aimed at finding out the adequacy of time
spent in mathematics in secondary schools for the deaf
and its influence on performance of deaf students in
mathematics in K.C.S.E examination.
Medium of Instruction
Education of the deaf worldwide has been one of the
most controversially discussed topics. The issue has
been the difficulty in finding an appropriate classroom
communication system that effectively provides access to
curriculum content. Subsequently, there have been
changes in search for a better teaching methodology,
from pure oralism to total communication and now
towards sign bilingualism (Gallimore, 1993). According to
Johnson, Liddell and Erting (1989), the education of the
deaf students worldwide has been a failure. The failure is
attributed to the use of artificial codes such as
Simultaneous Communication (SC) developed by
committees. Exposure to such artificial codes results into
an impoverished, idiosyncratic and incomplete language
system. Irokaba (2006) noted that because SC is the
‘official method’ of instruction in most African countries
there is the danger of deaf child’s limited knowledge in
the second language, disrupting comprehension. A
survey carried out by Adoyo (1995) in 12 schools for the
deaf in Western Kenya revealed that almost 95% of
teachers were finding it difficult to use SC effectively and
there was confusion between Kenyan Sign Language
(K.S.L) and SC as teachers didn’t know the difference
between the two. Adoyo (2004) and Ochwal (2008)
further found out that the Simultaneous Communication
used by teachers was characterized by omissions,
mismatches and distortion of information. These
shortcomings had a great impact on what is
communicated to the learners leading to communication
difficulties such as distortion of the message,
unintelligibility and no message.
Studies indicate that in a school where the students’
first language is different from the predominant language
of instruction, students tend to benefit more if
mathematics is taught in their first language (Ellerton and
Clarkson, 1996; Setati, 2003). On the other hand,
intensive research has been done on “code-switching” in
a mathematics classroom. Code-switching with reference
to bilingual or multilingual settings means to switch
between the language of teaching and the learners’ first
language. The approach enables learners to harness the
local language as a learning resource as well as to
increase their participation in classroom discourse.
Studies have supported the use of the learner’s first
language as a “support” in the teaching and learning of
mathematics. This enables the learner to continue to
develop proficiency in the new language and at the same
time, learn mathematics (Adler and Setati, 2001).
The Kamunge report (Republic of Kenya, 1988), on
language policy states that the mother tongue within the
catchments area of a school is to be used as the
language of instruction in pre-school the first three years
of school and in adult education programs. English is
recognized as the official language and the language of
instruction from grade 4 up to university. This justifies the
use of a bilingual approach in instruction of the deaf
where Kenyan Sign Language (K.S.L) is the mother
tongue for the deaf and English the official language.
Studies by Adoyo and Ochwal didn’t establish the mode
of communication used in teaching mathematics in
secondary schools for the deaf .The present study aimed
at finding out the medium of instruction used in teaching
mathematics in secondary schools for the deaf and its
influence on performance of deaf students in
mathematics in K.C.S.E examination.
Content Coverage
In Kenya, mathematics has been allocated 6 lessons per
week for form one and two and 7 lessons for form three
and four. Each lesson carries 40 minutes. A teacher can
take less or more time depending on the ability of the
learner (K.I.E, 2006). According to Ogembo (2002), the
allocated time for mathematics has proved to be
inadequate in covering the wide syllabus effectively. Noncoverage of the syllabus has led to poor performance of
students in K.C.S.E examination because students end
up being tested on uncovered topics.
According to Adoyo (2007), special institutions in
Kenya follow the regular curriculum, which is extensive,
demanding, centrally designed and rigid. It leaves little
flexibility for adaptations by teachers in trying out new
approaches. The timing for the completion of the
curriculum is also unrealistic for the deaf students as the
teaching and learning processes are slowed down due to
the process involved.
Chitwa and Njunge (2004) and Ouko (2004), carried
out studies on the content coverage in secondary
schools and found out that content was poorly covered
while teaching was not up to students’ level leading to
poor performance of students in K.C.S.E. These studies
however, did not establish the extent to which the
mathematics syllabus content is covered in secondary
schools for the deaf. This study aimed at establishing the
extent to which the mathematics syllabus content was
covered in secondary schools for the deaf and its
Maina et al. 959
influence on performance of deaf students at K.C.S.E
examination.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Research Design
This study employed descriptive survey research design.
Descriptive survey design involves collection of data from
a sample of a population in order to determine the current
status of that population with respect to one or more
variables (Mugenda and Mugenda, 1999). The use of
descriptive survey design in this study enabled the
researcher to find out facts without manipulation of data,
seek opinion, describe, analyze and interpret teacher
factors influencing performance of deaf students in
mathematics in K.C.S.E examination.
Study Population and Sample
This study was carried out in the 4 secondary schools for
the deaf in Kenya, located in Nyeri South, Bondo, Rongo
and Mumias districts which had a total population of 335
students, 12 mathematics teachers and 4 head teachers.
One school was used for pilot study and was not involved
in the actual study. A sample of 10 (83.3%) mathematics
teachers and 3(75.0%) head teachers was selected
through saturated sampling technique. In this study
mathematics teachers and head teachers were few to
make a sample out of them hence the use of saturated
sampling technique. Stratified random sampling
technique was used to select a sample of 112(33.3%)
students. For the purpose of this study, stratified
sampling technique ensured equal representation of
students from all the classes.
Validity and Reliability of Research Instruments
Kothari (2004) notes that validity is the extent to which a
measuring instrument provides adequate coverage of the
topic under study; if the measurements contain a
representative sample, then content validity is good. Also
a panel of persons can judge how well the measuring
instrument meets the standards. To verify the validity of
the instruments to be used in this study, the research
instruments were presented to three experts in the faculty
of education who were conversant with the topic of study.
They judged the instruments independently and made
recommendations on their face validity. Adjustments
were then made based on their recommendations before
the instruments were finally used in the field.
Reliability of the research instruments in this study was
established through a pilot study in one of the secondary
school for the deaf which was not part of the actual study.
The pilot study helped the researcher to identify
inconsistencies, inadequacies and weaknesses of the
research instruments. All these were subsequently
corrected with the assistance of the faculty experts.
Methods of Data Analysis
Quantitative data collected from close-ended questions
and lesson observation schedule was analyzed and
presented using descriptive statistics such as
percentages and frequency tables. Qualitative data
collected from open-ended questions and interview
analyzed and organized in an ongoing process according
to the themes, sub-themes, categories and subcategories that emerged, which were reported.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Methods of Teaching
Research Instruments
This study used questionnaires, interview and lesson
observation schedules as the instruments of data
collection. There were three sets of questionnaires meant
for the mathematics teachers, head teachers and
students respectively. The questionnaires included
questions related to the curriculum factors and
respondents rating on the extent to which they influenced
performance of deaf students in Mathematics in K.C.S.E
examination. Interview schedules were used for
interviews with mathematics teachers to complement the
questionnaires. The researcher played the role of a nonparticipant observer in 6 classrooms and sat at the back
of the class for 40 minutes to observe the methods of
teaching and medium of instruction used in mathematics.
According to students the most commonly used methods
of teaching in mathematics were examples (72.3%),
question and answer (60.7%) and class discussion
(56.3%). Play and dramatization and lecture methods
were reported as rarely used. The methods of teaching in
mathematics reported as very effective by the students
were examples (30.4%), question and answer (17.9%)
and class discussion (14.3%). The methods of teaching
that were reported as not effective were lecture method
(10.7%) and play and dramatization (6.3%).
Responses by teachers on the methods of teaching
used in mathematics indicated that 100% of the teachers
used question and answer method, 90% used class
discussion method, 80% used examples, 80% used
960 Educ. Res.
Table 1: Respondents’ Rating on the Extent to which Time on Task Influenced Performance of Deaf Students in
Mathematics K.C.S.E Examination
Category of
n
Respondents
VLE
LE
SE
NA
f %
f%
f%
f%
Mathematics Teachers
10
2(20)
(50)
2(20)
1(10)
Students
112
25(22.3)
40(35.7)
26(23.2)
21(18.8)
3
2(66.7)
0(0)
1(33.3)
0(0)
Head teachers
Key: VLE - Very Large Extent LE - Large Extent SE - Small Extent
f- Frequency %- Percentage
group work, and 60% used peer teaching. These findings
suggest that most teachers used question and answer
(100%), class discussion (90%) and examples (90%).
Other methods used were problem solving, group work
and peer teaching. None of the teachers reported the use
of lecture and play and dramatization methods.
Observations during mathematics lessons in a total of 6
classes (3 form 2 classes and 3 form 3 classes) showed
that examples and question and answer were adequately
used in all the classes observed while peer teaching was
adequately used in 3 of the classes observed. Class
discussion and problem solving were inadequately used
in 2 of the classes observed. Play and dramatization,
group work and lecture methods were not used in all the
classes observed. These findings imply that the most
adequately used methods of teaching in mathematics in
secondary schools for the deaf were question and
answer, examples and peer teaching.
Interviews with mathematics teachers on which
methods they found best for teaching mathematics to
deaf students revealed that question and answer, peer
teaching, examples and class discussion were the
methods found best for teaching mathematics to deaf
students.
Findings from students, teachers and observations
suggest that the most commonly used methods of
teaching in mathematics in secondary schools for the
deaf are question and answer, examples, class
discussion and peer teaching. The use of question and
answer and class discussion justifies the use of a
heuristic approach where the learners are given a chance
to make a contribution in the learning process. Use of
examples on the other hand, justifies the use of a
constructivist approach by helping the students to move
from known to unknown. These approaches were
considered appropriate in the teaching of mathematics
(K.I.E, 2006; NCTM, 2000). The reasons why most of the
students reported the methods as very effective might
therefore be attributed to the opportunity to make a
contribution in the learning process and being able to
move from known to unknown. Although question and
answer was used in all the classes, observations
revealed that chorus answers were common in 2 of the
classes. The implication is that the needs of weak
NA - Not at All
students may be assumed or rarely detected. Interviews
with the teachers also revealed that one of the reasons
for use peer teaching was language limitation. This could
lead to a misuse of the teaching method where teachers
take advantage of some students and become reluctant
in perfecting their signing skills. The use of a practical
approach in the teaching and learning of mathematics
was further suggested by head teachers during
interviews.
Time on Task
The study established that 60% of the teachers reported
to have extra teaching time in mathematics while 40%
never had extra teaching time. Majority of those who had
extra time reported that they had one extra hour per week
for teaching mathematics. Those who didn’t provide for
extra teaching time indicated that the government didn’t
allow, the workload was too much and lacked residence
in the school compound. On the other hand, 55.4% of the
students reported that they never had extra lessons in
mathematics while 44.6% reported that they had extra
lessons in mathematics.
Responses of students on frequency of own revision in
mathematics revealed that 39.3% of the students revised
mathematics daily, 41.9% revised mathematics weekly,
5.4% revised mathematics monthly and 13.4% never
revised mathematics. These findings imply that most
students 60.7% never revised mathematics on daily
basis.
Table 1 shows respondents’ rating on the extent to
which time on task influenced performance of deaf
students in mathematics in K.C.S.E examination. From
the table, 66.7% of the head teachers indicated to a Very
Large Extent while 50% of the mathematics teachers and
40% of the students indicated to a Large Extent. It is
therefore evident that time on task influenced
performance of deaf students in mathematics in K.C.S.E
examination.
In this study, time on task referred to time spent in
teaching mathematics and the time students spent in
revising mathematics. The findings reveal that teachers
had an average of 6 lessons in lower classes (form 1 and
Maina et al. 961
2) and 7 lessons in upper classes (form 3 and 4), each 40
minutes and utilized all of them. The information provided
by teachers on availability of extra lessons in
mathematics contradicts with what students reported.
This might be attributed to teachers trying to give socially
acceptable answers. However, it is evident that most
students never had extra lessons in mathematics and if
they had it was only one hour per week as reported by
teachers. Interviews with the teachers revealed that the
instructional time allocated for mathematics was not
enough for deaf students given the wide syllabus and the
special educational needs of the students. In addition, the
time that students spent in mathematics on their own was
little given that 68(60.7%) never revised mathematics
daily. Interviews with teachers further revealed that most
students had a negative attitude towards mathematics
hence believed it was a hard subject and never bothered
to revise it frequently. The low performance of deaf
students in mathematics in K.C.S.E examination can
therefore be attributed to inadequate time on task. This
concurs with Keeves (1994) study where time on task
was related to students’ achievement in mathematics.
Medium of instruction
On the mode of communication used in teaching
mathematics the study established that 70.54% of the
students indicated the use of total communication,
11.61% indicated the use of K.S.L and Signed Exact
English (S.E.E), 10.71% indicated the use of Signed
English (S.E) only, 4.46% indicated the use of S.E.E only,
1.79% indicated the use of K.S.L only and 0.89%
indicated the use of American Sign Language (A.S.L).
Reports from mathematics teachers further indicated that
80% used of Total Communication, 10% used A.S.L only
and 10.0% used K.S.L only. Findings from mathematics
teachers and students suggest that Total Communication
was the main mode of communication used in teaching
mathematics.
Interviews with mathematics teachers revealed that all
of them preferred to use Total Communication in teaching
mathematics,
with
emphasis
on
Simultaneous
Communication. Reasons provided by the teachers on
use of Total Communication in teaching mathematics
included Total Communication was teacher centered
hence favored the teacher especially because of
limitations in sign language; Teachers didn’t know the
format of K.S.L and comfortable with the use Sign Exact
English; Total communication helped the post- lingually
deaf students especially by lip reading and use of
residual hearing; and all books textbooks were written in
English hence the use of Sign Exact English to enabled
students to read.
Observations in the classrooms showed that none of
the teachers used K.S.L, S.E.E, S.E or A.S.L alone.
Simultaneous Communication was inadequately used by
66.6% of the teachers. This implies that most teachers
used Simultaneous Communication in teaching
mathematics.
Table 2 shows respondents’ rating on the extent to
which student’s deficiency in English language influenced
performance of deaf students in mathematics in K.C.S.E
examination. From the table, 65.2% of the students and
66.7% of the head teachers indicated to a Very Large
Extent while 40% of the mathematics teachers indicated
to a Large Extent. Based on these findings, it is evident
that student’s deficiency in English language influenced
performance of deaf students in mathematics in K.C.S.E
examination.
Table 3 shows respondents’ rating on the extent to
which teacher’s proficiency in sign language influenced
performance of deaf students in mathematics in K.C.S.E
examination. From the table 48.2% of the students, 50%
of mathematics teachers and 66.7% of the head teachers
indicated to a Very Large Extent. These findings suggest
that teacher’s proficiency in Kenyan Sign Language
influenced performance of deaf students in Mathematics
in K.C.S.E examination.
Medium of instruction was considered in this study
because it is through it that the students are able to
access the curriculum content in mathematics.
Responses from students and teachers indicate that
Total Communication was the mode of communication
used in mathematics. Observations in the classroom
however revealed that the specific communication
strategy used by mathematics teachers was actually
Simultaneous Communication (SC) and not total
communication. The use of SC involved voicing the
words with some signs thereby speaking and signing at
the same time. Exact speech and sign correspondences
were few. This concurs with Adoyo (1995) study which
revealed that many teachers in schools for the deaf used
simultaneous communication and had difficulties in
communicating ideas to deaf students through it.
According to Ochwal (2008), this communication strategy
is characterized by omissions and mismatches which
have great impact on what is communicated to the
learners leading to communication difficulties such as
distortion of the message, unintelligibility and no
message.
The ineffective use of Simultaneous
Communication by mathematics teachers may be
attributed to their incompetence in use of Kenyan Sign
Language and English in instruction. Deaf students
cannot understand or acquire SC naturally (Johnson et
al., 1989). The use of SC therefore contributes to deaf
students’ deficiency in English language which influences
their performance in mathematics in K.C.S.E
examination. A bilingual approach should be adopted in
the teaching of mathematics where K.S.L and English
share the role of medium of instruction. This would
enable deaf students to acquire English language and at
the same time learn mathematics. There is therefore
need for intensive and frequent in-service training of
962 Educ. Res.
Table 2: Respondents’ Rating on the Extent to which Student’s Deficiency in English Language Influenced
Performance of Deaf Students in Mathematics K.C.S.E Examination
Category of
n
Respondents
VLE
LE
SE
NA
f %
f %
f %
f %
Mathematics Teachers
10
2(20)
4(40)
3(30)
1(10)
Students
112
73(65.2)
10(8.9)
15(13.4)
14(12.5)
3
2(66.7)
0(0)
1(33.3)
Head teachers
Key: VLE - Very Large Extent LE - Large Extent SE - Small Extent
f- Frequency
0(0)
NA - Not at All
%- Percentage
Table 3: Respondents’ Rating on the Extent to which Teacher’s Proficiency in Kenyan Sign language Influenced
Performance of Deaf Students in Mathematics K.C.S.E Examination
Category of
Respondents
Mathematics Teachers
Students
Head teachers
n
10
112
3
VLE
f %
5(50)
54(48.2)
2(66.7)
Key: VLE - Very Large Extent LE - Large Extent SE - Small Extent
f- Frequency %- Percentage
mathematics teachers on the use of a bilingual approach
in teaching mathematics as suggested by head teachers
and mathematics teachers.
Content Coverage
This study established that 90% of the teachers never
covered the syllabus on time while 10% covered it on
time. The reasons provided by the teachers for not
covering the syllabus on time included; Mathematics
syllabus is too wide for deaf students; The process of
learning is slowed down by use of sign language for
communication; The ability of most of the students in
mathematics is low forcing teachers to move at the
students’ pace and sometimes dwell so much on one
topic; Some Students report to school late therefore
lessons don’t start on time ; Entry behavior of most of the
students is below average forcing teachers to teach basic
skills instead of continuing with the syllabus.
Topics in mathematics syllabus reported as difficult by
students included algebra (41.1%), logarithms (31.3%)
and scale drawing (28.6%). Other difficult topics included
surface area of solids (27.7%), equation of straight line
(26.8%) and vectors (26.8%). Most of these topics were
mainly from form 1, 2 and 3 syllabi. Students in form four
had not yet started form four syllabus and were not very
familiar with the topics to identify the difficult ones.
LE
f%
1(10)
13(11.6)
0(0)
SE
f%
2(20)
30(26.8)
1(33.3)
NA
f%
2(0)
24(21.4)
0(0)
NA - Not at All
Topics reported by teachers as difficult to teach to deaf
students included longitude and latitude (80%), algebra
(60%), linear inequalities and programming (60%), 3
dimension (50%) and vectors (50%). In dealing with the
difficult topics, the teachers reported the use of coping
strategies such as: Starting with easy topics and ending
with the difficult topics; Trying to teach the topics but
leave them out if the students still did not understand;
Moving ahead with the students who understand and
ignoring those who do not understand; Insisting on
concept capturing; Not teaching the difficult topics and
concentrating on what students can understand; and
using peer teaching.
Table 4 shows respondents’ rating on the extent to
which syllabus coverage influenced performance of deaf
students in mathematics in K.C.S.E examination. From
the table 60% of mathematics teachers, 59.8% of
students and 66.7% of the head teachers indicated that
content coverage influenced performance to a Very Large
Extent. These findings imply that content coverage
influenced performance of deaf students in K.C.S.E
examination.
The findings from teachers and students indicate that
the topics that students found difficult to understand were
also difficult to teach. Topics that were abstract, involved
a lot application, required visualization and used specific
language that required comprehension and correct
interpretation were reported as difficult. The difficulty was
Maina et al. 963
Table 4: Respondents’ Rating on the Extent to which Content Coverage Influenced Performance of Deaf Students
in Mathematics K.C.S.E Examination
Category of
n
Respondents
VLE
LE
SE
NA
f %
f %
f %
f %
1(10)
2(20)
1(10)
Mathematics Teachers
10
6(60)
Students
112
67(59.8)
18(16.1)
11(9.8)
16(14.3)
3
2(66.7)
1(33.3)
0(0)
0(0)
Head teachers
Key: VLE - Very Large Extent LE - Large Extent SE - Small Extent
f- Frequency
%- Percentage
attributed to deaf students’ deficiency in English language
which hindered their understanding, interpretation and
visualization of mathematical concepts. The coping
strategies adopted by the teachers suggest that some of
the difficult topics ended up not being taught or were not
well understood by all the students. It is therefore evident
that content coverage in mathematics in secondary
schools for the deaf was inadequate which influenced
performance of deaf students in Mathematics in K.C.S.E
examination as indicated by all the respondents. This
concurs with Ogembo (2002) study where non-coverage
of the syllabus led to poor performance of students in
K.C.S.E.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The objective of this study was to identify curriculum
factors influencing performance of deaf students in
mathematics in K.C.S.E examination in relation to
methods of teaching, time on task, medium of instruction
and content coverage. This study found out that:
i. The most commonly used methods of teaching
mathematics in secondary school for the deaf were peer
teaching, examples and questions and answer and class
discussion. The methods reported by students as
effective were examples, class discussion and question
and answer.
ii. Time on task was found to be inadequate with most
of the students (55.4%) reporting that they never had
extra lessons in mathematics. For those who had extra
lessons, it was only one hour per week. Further findings,
revealed that most students (60.7%) never revised
mathematics daily. All the teachers reported that the
instructional time allocated for mathematics was not
adequate given the wide syllabus and the special
educational needs of the students.
iii. Simultaneous communication was found out to be the
major communication strategy used in teaching
mathematics in secondary schools for the deaf. Most of
the respondents however considered it as total
communication.
NA - Not at All
iv. In relation to medium of instruction, students’
deficiency in English language and teacher’s proficiency
in Kenyan Sign Language influenced performance of deaf
students in mathematics in K.C.S.E examination
according to mathematics teachers, students and head
teachers.
v. Most teachers (90%) never covered the syllabus
content in the stipulated time. Topics that were abstract,
required visualization or had a lot of application were
reported by respondents to be difficult to teach and learn.
Understanding and in interpretation the language of
mathematics was reported as a major cause of students’
difficulties in the topics. The coping strategies of the
teachers in dealing with the difficult topics suggested
inadequate coverage of the syllabus
vi. Time on task, medium of instruction and content
coverage influenced performance of deaf students in
mathematics in K.C.S.E examination according to head
teachers, mathematics teachers and students.
In light of the finding that inadequate syllabus
coverage, time on task and students’ deficiency in
English language influenced performance of deaf
students in Mathematics in K.C.S.E examination this
study recommends that:i. The Ministry of Education in conjunction with Kenya
Institute of Education should revise and simplify the
language used in mathematics’ examinations and
textbooks to suit the needs of deaf students.
ii. The Ministry of Education should allocate more
instructional time for mathematics in secondary schools
for the deaf.
iii. Mathematics teachers in secondary schools for the
deaf should be in- serviced on methods of teaching
mathematics to deaf students and use of bilingual
approach
iv. The Teachers Service Commission (T.S.C) should
post specially trained teachers in mathematics to
secondary schools for the deaf
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