RELATIONSHIP AMONG SCHOOL TYPE AND
SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ SELF-ESTEEM,
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND CAREER
ASPIRATIONS IN NAIROBI COUNTY, KENYA
KITHELA SHADRACK MUNANU
A RESEARCH THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL
FULFILMENT FOR THE AWARD OF THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (EDUCATIONAL
PSYCHOLOGY) IN THE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION,
To my late mum Rebecca Mukunga, and my Dad Joseph Kithela.
I sincerely appreciate all who contributed to the success of this study. My special thanks to my supervisors, Dr. Kinai Theresia and Dr. Dinga Jotham from the Department of Educational Psychology, Kenyatta University. They diligently gave me their professional guidance and support throughout the period of proposal writing and thesis. I acknowledge the critical expert advice of my three proposal school readers, Dr. K.Wawire, the late Dr. S. Tumuti and Dr. B. Nyakwara. Dr Peter Mwaura, the Chairman in the Department of Educational Psychology was critical especially in statistical analysis expertise. I thank my PhD course work lecturers for the great knowledge I received from them. These are Prof. F. Okatcha, Dr. A. Kwena, Dr. T. Wangeri, Dr. J. Arasa, Dr. E. Kigen and the late Dr. S. Tumuti. To fellow classmates, you have been a great encouragement. I gained a lot from our academic interactions.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
COVER PAGE--- i
STUDENT’S DECLARATION--- ii
TABLE OF CONTENTS---v
LIST OF TABLES---ix
LIST OF FIGURE---xiii
ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS---xiv
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT OF THE STUDY1 1.1Introduction --- 1
1.2 Background to the Study --- 1
1.3 Statement of the Problem --- 18
1.4 Purpose of the Study --- 19
1.5 Objectives of the study---20
1.6 Research Hypotheses---21
1.7Assumptions of the Study---22
1.8 Limitations of the Study ---22
1.9 Delimitations of the Study---23
1.10 Significance of the Study ---24
1.11The Theoretical Framework ---24
1.11.1 Self-concept Theory---24
1.11.2 Social Cognitive Theory---27
1.12 The Conceptual Framework--- 30
CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE---- 33
2.2 Relationship between School Type and Students’ Self-esteem--- 33
2.2.1 Relationship between Students’ Self-esteem and Academic Achievement---42
2.3 Relationship between School Type and Students’ Academic Achievement---44
2.4 Relationship between School Type and Students’ Career Aspirations---- 49
2.4.1 Relationship between Students’ Career Aspirations and Academic Achievement---55
2.4.2 Relationship between Students’ Career Aspirations and Self-esteem--- 58
2.5 Gender Differences in Students’ Self-esteem---58
2.6 Gender Differences in Students’ Career Aspirations---63
2.7 Teachers’ Perception on Students’ Self-esteem and Career Aspirations --67
2.8 Summary of Literature Review---69
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY--73
3.2 Research Design and Methodology---73
3.2.1 Research Design---75
3.2.2 Variables of the Study--- 74
3.2.3 Locale of the Study---75
3.4 Sampling Techniques and Sample Size---77
3.4.1 Sampling Techniques ---77
3.4.2 Sample Size---78
3.5 Research Instruments---80
3.5.1 Questionnaire for the Students---81
3.5.2 Questionnaire for the Class Teacher---81
3.5.3 Validity and Reliability---82
3.6.1 Logistical and Ethical Considerations--- 84
3.6.2 Pre-testing/ Pilot study---84
3.6.3 Actual Data Collection---85
3.7 Data Analysis---86
CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION OF FINDINGS, INTERPRETATION AND DISCUSSION---91
4.1 Introduction --- 91
4.2 General Information and Demographic Information---93
4.2.1 Return Rate---93
4.3. Relationship between School type and Students’ Self-esteem ---96
4.3.1 Description of Students’ School type and their Self-esteem--- 96
4.3.2 Hypothesis Testing--- 101
4.3.3 Discussions of the Results--- 102
4.4 Relationship between School Type and Students’ Academic Achievement--- 106
4.4.1 Description of School Type and Students’ Academic Achievement 106 4.4.2 Hypothesis Testing--- 108
4.4.3 Discussion of the Results--- 111
4.5 Relationship between School Type and Students’ Career Aspirations 114 4.5.1 Description of School Type and Students’ Career Aspirations--- 114
4.5.2 Hypothesis Testing--- 129
4.5.3 Discussion of the Results--- 134
4.6 School Differences in Students’ Self-esteem---137
4.6.1 Description of School and Self-esteem---137
4.6.2 Hypothesis Testing---137
4.6.3 Relationship between Boys’ Self-esteem by School Type--- 139
18.104.22.168 Hypothesis Testing---139
4.6.4 Relationship between Girls’ Self-esteem by School Type---142
22.214.171.124 Hypothesis Testing--- 142
4.6.5 Discussion of Results ---144
4.7.1 Description of Gender and Career Aspirations---146
4.7.2 Hypothesis Testing--- 151
4.7.3 Relationship between Boys’ Career Aspirations by School Type---153
4.7.4 Relationship between Girls’ Career Aspirations by School Type---154
126.96.36.199 Hypothesis Testing---154
4.7.5 Discussions of Results---157
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS---161
5.2.1 Relationship between School Type and Students’ Self-esteem---164
5.2.2 Relation between School type and Students’ Academic Achievement 164 5.2.3 Differences in Students’ Career Aspirations by School Type--- 166
5.2.4 Gender Differences in Students’ Self-esteem ---171
5.2.5 Gender Differences in Students’ Career Aspirations ---172
5.4 Recommendations--- 176
5.4.1 Policy Recommendations---176
5.4.2 Recommendations for Further Research---180
Appendix I: Students’ Consent to participate---190
Appendix II: Questionnaire for Students ---191
Appendix III: Questionnaire for Class Teacher--- 195
Appendix IV: NACOSTI Authorization letter---199
Appendix V: NACOSTI Research permit---200
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1.1 KCSE Results for Sample Schools ---16
Table 3.1 Sample and Sampling Frame---79
Table 4.1 Return Rate of Questionnaire--- 94
Table 4.2 Teachers’ Response Rate---94
Table 4.3 Demographic Data of the Students---96
Table 4.4 School Type and Academic Achievement Cross Tabulation---96
Table 4.5 Students’ Frequency Responses on Ten RSES Items-Likert Scale- 98 Table 4.6 Self-esteem Score Ranges for the Students Participants--- 99
Table 4.7 Students’ Summary Frequencies on Self-esteem versus School Type--- 99
Table 4.8 School Type and Self-esteem Cross Tabulation (Teachers perspective)--- 100
Table 4.9 School Type and Students’ Self-esteem Range Cross Tabulation--101
Table 4.10 School Type and Self-esteem Chi-Square Tests---102
Table 4.11 School Type versus Students’ KCPE Marks Cross Tabulation---106
Table 4.12 School Type versus Mean Achievement in Term 1-2014 Cross Tabulation---107
Table 4.13 School Type Mean Score Achievement in Term 2-2014 Cross Tabulation---108
Table 4.14 Descriptive Statistics for School Type versus Students’ Academic Achievement---109
Table 4.16 School Type versus Students Academic Achievement ANOVA-110 Table 4.17 Multiple Comparisons: School Type and Academic Achievement---111
Table 4.18 Responses to the Item “I will Seek to Pursue a University Degree” and School Type Cross Tabulation---115
Table 4.19 Responses to the Item “I will Enroll for a College Certificate or Diploma” and School Type Cross Tabulation---116 Table 4.20 Responses to the item “I will Seek Direct Employment after Form 4 KCSE” and School Type Cross Tabulation---117 Table 4.21 Responses to the Item “School Type Influence on Students’ Career Choice” and School Type Cross Tabulation--- 118 Table 4.22 Responses to the Item “School Type Influence Students’ Career Aspirations” And School Type Cross Tabulation (Teachers’
Perspective) ---120 Table 4.23 Responses on the Item “Availability of Career Guidance
Programmes”and School Type Cross Tabulation ---121 Table 4.24 Response to the Item “Students’ Career Options Awareness” and School Type Cross Tabulations---122 Table 4.25 Responses to the First Choice Career Aspirations-levels- Rank Order Correlation---124 Table 4.26 Responses to Career-levels (first choice) and School Type
Cross Tabulations- ---125 Table 4.27 Responses of Students First choice Category of RIASEC
Table 4.28 Responses of Students on Second Choice Career- level rank
Table 4.29 Descriptive Statistics for Students Career level versus School Type---130
Table 4.30 Test of Homogeneity of Variance--- 131
Table 4.31 Robust Test of Equality of Means---131
Table 4.32 Career level versus School Type ANOVA---132
Table 4.33 Multiple Comparisons: Games Howell-Career Levels Versus School Type--- 132
Table 4.34 First Choice Career Types and School Type Chi-square Tests--- 133
Table 4.35 Responses on Gender and Students’ Self-esteem--- 137
Table 4.36 Responses on Students’ Gender versus Self-esteem --- 138
Table 4.37 Student’s Gender versus Self-esteem Independent Samples Test- ---138
Table 4.38 Gender and Self-esteem Chi-square Tests---139
Table 4.39 Descriptive Statistics for Self-esteem versus School among Male Students---140
Table 4.40 ANOVA: Males Self-esteem by School Type--- 140
Table 4.41 Multiple Comparisons: Male Self-esteem versus School Type---141
Table 4.42 Descriptive Statistics for Self-esteem versus School Type among Female Students---142
Table 4.43 ANOVA: Females Self-esteem by School Type---143
Career Choice by School Type cross Tabulations---147 Table 4.46 Students’ First Choice Career Aspirations and Gender Cross
LIST OF FIGURES
ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS ANOVA Analysis of variance
ASC Academic Self-Concept
CDF Constituency Development Fund G & C Guidance and Counselling JAB Joint Admissions Board
KCPE Kenya Certificate of Primary Education KCSE Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education MDGs Millennium Development Goals
MOEST Ministry of Education, Science and Technology
NACOSTI National Research Commission for Science Technology and Innovation
RIASEC Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional (Career type categories)
RSES Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale SCCT Social Cognitive Career Theory SCT Social Cognitive Theory
SDS Self Directed Search SES Socio Economic Status
This study purposed to investigate how school type was related to self-esteem, academic achievement and career aspirations of secondary school students. Students’ are admitted into different school types based on the criteria of their marks in KCPE. There is a lot of stereotyping on “school labels”. National schools post best KCSE grades, making them institutions of fame and prestige, followed by extra-county, county schools and at the bottom are sub-county schools, producing the bulk of poor grades. The implication is that most students in the last category miss qualification to professional careers. This categorization could affect one’s self-realization, influencing self-esteem, academic achievement and career aspirations. Studies have not adequately addressed this issue. Self-concept Theory by Carl Rogers and Social Cognitive Theory by Albert Bandura guided the study. Nairobi County formed the location of the study. The target population was public students in the form 4 class. There were 79 public secondary schools in Nairobi County at the time of the study (7 were national, 16 were extra-county, 7 were county and 49 were sub-county schools). Cluster and purposive sampling techniques were used to get 12 schools out of the 79 in the former 8 constituencies. From each school, a random sample of 40 students of one form 4 class was drawn (12x40=480 students). The study used correlation design. Questionnaires with standardized scales for students and class teachers were used in data collection. Instrument’s validity and reliability was established during pilot study, using Cronbach alpha. Inferential and descriptive statistical analysis used Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Chi-square tested differences in students’ self-esteem between school types. One way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and ᵡ2 tested differences between school type and students’ academic achievement, and also school type versus students’ career aspirations. Analysis for differences in students’ gender and self-esteem used t-test and ᵡ2
. ANOVA tested self-esteem differences and career aspirations for girls and for boys by school type. The level of significance in rejecting the null hypotheses was at p
INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT OF THE STUDY
This chapter starts with the background to the study followed by statement of the problem, the purpose of the study, objectives of the study and research hypotheses. The assumptions, followed by limitations and delimitations of the study are discussed. Significance of the study, theoretical framework and conceptual framework are then highlighted. Finally, operational definition of terms concludes this chapter.
1.2Background to the Study
self-esteem of students are some of the psychological constructs that have been found to having a relationship with academic achievement.
There are sociological and psychological aspects of self-esteem. Rosenberg (1965) defines self-esteem using a more socio-cultural approach. He stipulates that, self-esteem is an attitude of the self (favourable or unfavourable) that we possess. This attitude results from the influential factors of culture, society, family and interpersonal relationships. Coppersmith (1967), closely related to Rosenberg in his definition asserts that self-esteem is an attitude and an expression of value. He focused on a behavioural viewpoint that had elements of success and self-worth as self-esteem indicators. Coppersmith recorded that self-esteem is a construct or an acquired trait, through individuals learning their worthiness originally from parents, and later reinforced by other people.
affective dimension. Behaviours that may include resilience, being decisive, assertiveness, and respect for others denote the behavioural aspects (Reasoner, 2010). Hewitt (2009) states that what a person experiences in life is a critical source for development of self-esteem. Life experiences that one has (positive or negative), brings about attitudes towards the self, which can be good developing positive emotions of self-value, or unfavourable, developing negative emotions of self-value.
When one is in school, academic achievement is an important factor to self-esteem development. A student consistently achieving success or one who consistently fails, may have his/her self-esteem being affected (Crocker, et al, 2002). Social comparisons is a critical factor in developing the self-esteem of a child which influence their feelings towards themselves (positive or negative feelings). Peer influence in adolescence is critical where one make appraisals of themselves with close friends (Thorne & Michaeliu, 1996). For instance, confessions like “I’m faster than you’’, I performed better than you in the examinations’’ play a crucial role in defining adolescents’ perceived competencies and global self-esteem (Altermatt et al, 2002, cited in Shaffer & Kipp, 2014)
assigned to “successful” students and at the bottom, the sub-county schools, popularly called day schools with “poor’’ students. With these perceived competencies in students’ academic outcomes, coupled with social comparisons, self-esteem is likely to be affected.
Self-esteem has three main sources, that is: social comparisons, self-perceptions and reflected appraisals (Schwalbe, 1991). According to Shrauger and Schoeneman (1979, cited in Schwalbe, 1991), reflected appraisals denote reactions of people towards us; and our interpretations of these reactions. Self-perceptions are observations of our behaviour and its consequences. Arising from these observations, we develop inferences about our abilities (Bem, 1972, in Schwalbe, 1991). According to Festinger (1954), Social comparisons involves where we use others as yardsticks for self-evaluation. Also through observations we learn how we are similar to and different from others.
Two levels of self-esteem exist, that is, high and low self-esteem. We generally feel respect for and acceptance of ourselves when we have high self-esteem. When we have low self-esteem, we generally reject part of who we are, lack respect, and judge ourselves negatively. People exhibiting high self-esteem have a sense of self-efficacy- the expectation that they have the ability of achieving their goals in many different kinds of situations (Feldman, 2004). Individuals with low self-esteem feel more insecure, and are weak in their ability to reach their goals. They show wavering and divided sense of purpose. For Branden (2001) low self-esteem points to a person not feeling ready for life, or to feeling wrong as a person. Low self-esteem can develop a cycle of failure that leads to low expectations, reduced effort, elevated anxiety and poor performance (Feldman, 2004). The current study was thus interested in establishing whether students’ psychological factors like self-esteem and career aspirations are related to school type and by extension, to academic performance in these schools.
self-esteem influence on economic prospects apparently points to its link with students career aspirations.
According to Haney & Duarlack (1998) cited by Shaffer & Kipp (2014), children and teenagers with low self-esteem exposed to self-esteem enhancement programmes record significant improvements in their academic achievement and personal adjustment. The results clearly express that a social sense of self-worth is a potential valuable resource. This resource equips adolescents with coping mechanisms during distress moments and achieving developmental outcomes. Some of these developmental outcomes may include student’s academic achievement and career aspirations. Therefore programmes that relate on boosting self-esteem of students may be critical in gaining positive developmental outcomes in students in our country.
Career aspirations according to Danzinger and Eden (2006) cited in Smulders
repercussions in that, they are linked with significant later outcomes. Such outcomes includes where one works and lives together with the standards of living one attains. High school life is critical in a student’s career aspirations. Therefore an understanding of any relationship between students’ career aspirations and self-esteem among school types becomes important.
According to research, interests become clear and stabilise during adolescence and career aspirations and goals appear to be realistic in relation to how one adapts to situational and individual characteristics (Martin et al, 2009, Ali & Sanders, 2009; cited in Kiani et al, 2013). Personal or individual characteristics in this case could be the self-esteem of the students who get admitted into various school types that may differ in their environmental influences towards students’ career aspirations. High school students are more actively engaged in planning and implementing their post-secondary career options. It is crucial for educationist and counsellors to have adequate information on factors that affect secondary school students’ choice of careers. According to Super (1990) secondary school students are in the exploration phase of career growth. This entails how they crystallize, specify their career interests making initial decisions concerning choice of these careers.
Career aspirations studies have been based on theoretical frame works that try to identify the effect in differences of contextual socialisation practices among adolescents. Migunde, Agak and Odiwuor (2012) in their study done in Kisumu municipality, cites Lent, Brown and Hacket (2002), that career aspirations of adolescents has been impacted upon by differences in socialization practices, and how they internalize these different experiences. The current study thus sought to investigate the relationship between different situational school contexts and career aspirations of students. Lent et al, (2000) pointed out that there may be direct and moderating effects on career decisions arising from the perceived and objective aspects of the environment. Quality of educational experiences may denote objective environmental factors whereas how individuals react to and interpret their surrounding environment may denote perceived environmental factors.
i.e.in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) is likely to influence their self-esteem.
The release of primary and secondary schools national examination results receives a lot of national media attention. Students who perform very well are admired and considered as champions destined for great things in life. On the other hand, those who score poorly are admitted in local day secondary schools and may be perceived as ‘failures’. A student admitted in a national school or a well performing school, is generally expected to perform well. This may cause the student to develop the achievement need behaviour as opposed to those who join schools that perennially show dismal performance, especially the sub-county schools. This is behaviour-outcome expectancy according to Mischel (1974).
The academic achievement differences between schools have been explained in research by differences in factors such as poverty, limited educational funding, inadequate teacher training, low teacher expectations, and low access to quality education (Yusuf & Adigun, 2010) and students’ entry behaviour (KCPE marks) to form one class.
public schools. According to O’Brien (2001), most of the students who attend magnet schools usually come from middle and upper class families with higher parental education. Students from low socio-economic schools for example Comprehensive public schools tend to have lower career and educational aspirations than students who attend magnet schools.
The reasons given for low career and educational aspirations include low parental education, low self-esteem of students and lack of support from parents. Many people perceive magnet schools as leading to good academic achievement and eventual higher-level careers (Gamoran, 1996, cited in O’Brien, 2001). Therefore, magnet schools can be highly competitive and highly selective during admissions. This may compare to the Kenyan national schools. There was no difference that was found to exist between private and public schools academic performance (at least in Mathematics and Reading). This was according to a study that compared public and private schools using hierarchical linear modelling (Wood, 2008).
fail to achieve their school’s academic requirement are taken to schools that are a less academic. Primary school decisions relating to a student’s performance appears to be terminal, thus determining the child’s schooling opportunities. Artelt et al (2001) cited in Jurges & Schneider, 2006) argues that in Germany, the child’s individual background impacts to a great deal on the outcome of the child’s future education. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds in particular are prone to being “abandoned” by the system of education. There is lack of equal opportunities.
In Nigeria, a study done by Yusuf and Adigun (2010) revealed that the academic achievement of students deteriorated in public high schools. Many parents preferred taking their children to government schools where better academic achievement is guaranteed. Parents have a perception that their children cannot perform very well in co-educational schools. Urban schools are also perceived to perform poorly academically in relation to rural schools. Therefore, according to Yusuf and Adigun (2010), most parents prefer taking their children to rural schools for Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE). In Nigeria, it is generally believed that there are better teachers and physical infrastructure and better academic achievement in private schools than in public schools (Sabitu, Babatude & Oluwole, 2012)
select students in order of scores attained at KCPE examinations. National schools select students with the highest marks, followed by extra-county schools. County and sub-county schools select students with average and poor marks respectively (Softkenya.com, 2014). Then the cabinet secretary MOEST quoting a government circular sent to education managers of institutions said that, the method of admission follow student’s choice, meritocracy, quotas, affirmative action and equity. The former high performing provincial schools (extra-county) admit 40% of their class population from the national pool, 40% from the county and 20% from the host district (Jambonewspot, 2014)
There are historically prestigious public national schools that post very good KCSE grades. The Kenyan private schools are mostly high cost with better or more luxury infrastructures and facilities in relation to public high schools. They are often attractive due prestige and many of them offer the alternative “O-levels” and “A-levels” British system of education (SoftKenya, 2014).
secondary schools out of the 283 public secondary schools, representing 67% respectively (SoftKenya, 2014).
Based on the poor performance of sub-county/district secondary schools, it implies that a bulk of their students fail to pursue high-level careers. Students who usually take the prestigious careers like medicine, engineering and law are mainly from the “better performing” secondary schools. According to a study done by Mutua (2009), academic achievement was the most influential factor on occupational aspirations among secondary school students. Students mostly from national and county public secondary schools aspired university education. Those from sub-county or Constituency Development Fund (CDF) assisted schools and private schools were interested in training for jobs (Wairimu, 2012).
released by Joint Admissions Board (JAB). One may therefore conclude that something is wrong about candidates’ knowledge on career choices. Most district schools have few experienced teachers and lack qualified personnel on career guidance.
As Kenya focuses attention on achieving its 2030 vision and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it is necessary for education stakeholders to be more informed about psychological factors that include esteem, self-efficacy and self-image that may play a key role in students’ academic performance. Such psychological factors influence academic outcomes and are related to students’ professional aspirations.
The pressure for admissions to national schools made the government of Kenya to increase their number from the traditional 18 to 78 in 2013 and in 2014 to 103, distributed in all the 47 counties of Kenya (Softkenya.com, 2014). However, a number of these upgraded schools have not performed as expected of national schools. Siringi (2013) reported that some newly upgraded national schools had recorded poor performance in 2012 KCSE examinations. Ten of those national schools could not even be ranked among the best top 100 district schools.
schools are usually at the top and sub-county schools are at the bottom. Sub-county schools have the bulk of the “D” grades.
Performance in KCSE Examinations of Some Best Selected School-types in Kenya
Year 2010 Year 2011 Year 2012
Grade Point Grade Point Grade %index
Alliance H.sch A- 11.25 A- 11.148 A- 78.49% Alliance Girls A- 10.53 A- 11.08 A- 75.83% Pangani Girls B+ 10.08 B+ 10.48 B+ 72.86% COUNTY
Molo Academy B+ 9.92 A- 10.92 B+ 74.85% Buruburu Girls B 8.5 B 8.93 B 67.54 % SUB-COUNTY
Kagwe Girls B- 8.4 B 9.16 B- 60.54%
Akaiga D. Sec C+ 6.5 C+ 6.55 C+ - Karumaru D. Sec D+ 4.17 D+ 4.43 C- - Source: Kenya National Examinations Council Report (2011) and (2013)
day schools and other ‘low-ranked’ secondary schools, may believe that they are academically poor. If students have such an attitude and self-image of failure in secondary school, they can develop irrational thoughts and feel powerless to change their situation. They develop “learned helplessness”. For instance, a student may conclude as follows: “I come from a poor family, I was in a poor primary school, got poor KCPE marks, I am now in a poor village secondary school and I don’t see myself going far”. Rosenberg (1979) says that self-esteem cannot be “taught”. Through an individual’s life experiences, this self-esteem is developed. He pointed out that race or ethnicity and contexts of institutions like families and schools are structures that are related to self-esteem.
the students’ future lives in relation to their career occupations and general normal path of human development.
1.3 Statement of the Problem
There has been a consistent academic performance gap among various school types in Nairobi County and Kenya in general. A study done in Nairobi County by Nzomo (2012) revealed that all national public secondary schools had above average year 2008 and 2009 KCSE mean grades (B+). Most County schools had average mean grades (C+) while majority of Sub-county schools had below average (D+) grades. National secondary schools generally produce best grades, making them institutions of fame and prestige. Extra-county and County schools follow and at the bottom are Sub-county schools producing the bulk of the poor grades. This implies that most of the students from sub-county schools miss qualification criteria to professional prestigious careers. Parents are concerned with the type of school their children attend. Research has shown correlation between academic achievement, self-esteem and career aspirations.
students entry behaviour. However, the relationship among psychological variables of students’ self-esteem, career aspirations and academic achievement, and school type environments has not been adequately studied.
Kenya’s vision 2030 clearly stipulates that education is one of the best means of achieving social equality. However, with such glaring academic performance gaps among schools, the trend is worrying. Due to the fact that some schools are associated with good academic achievement and others with poor academic achievement, the study endeavoured to investigate whether students from different types of schools have differences in self-esteem which could be a factor in influencing variation in academic achievement and career aspirations. These are critical psychological variables that may have a great influence on the normal growth and development of a person’s future life. The type of school one attends could affect these variables. School environments could promote or hinder the levels of these three variables. Therefore the core problem of the study was establishing the relationship among school types and secondary school students’ self-esteem, academic achievement and career aspirations
1.4 The Purpose of the Study
students. The school environment may impact strongly in influencing the three psychological constructs. The implication of consistent academic gaps among various schools to an individual’s future life outcomes may be critical. Therefore, the study aimed at investigating if differences in students’ self-esteem, academic achievement and career aspirations exist in relation to type of school. The main focus was that could there be students’ differences in self-esteem and career aspirations that could predict variations in academic achievement? Any relationship between school type and students’ self-esteem, academic achievement and career aspirations may inform stakeholders in education about any necessary measures and programmes needed to work on self-esteem and career aspirations of students.
1.5 Objectives of the Study
The following were the objectives of this study:
i. To find out if school type was a factor influencing students’ self-esteem.
ii. To establish if school type was a factor influencing students’ academic achievement.
iii. To investigate if school type was a factor influencing students’ career aspirations.
iv. To establish if there were gender differences in self-esteem among students.
vi. To establish if there were differences in girls’ self-esteem by school type.
vii. To establish if there were gender differences in career aspirations among students.
viii. To find out if there were differences in boys’ career aspirations by school type.
ix. To find out if there were differences in girls’ career aspirations by school type.
x. To establish teachers perception on students’ self-esteem and career aspirations by school type.
1.6 Research Hypotheses
Ha1: There is a significant relationship between school type and students’ self- esteem.
Ha2: There is a significant relationship between school type and students’ academic achievement.
Ha3: There is a significant relationship between school type and students’ career aspirations.
Ha4: There are significant differences in students’ gender and self-esteem.
Ha5: There are significant differences in boys’ self-esteem by school type.
Ha6: There are significant differences in girls’ self-esteem by school type.
Ha8: There are significant differences in boys’ career aspirations by school type.
Ha9: There are significant differences in girls’ career aspirations by school type.
1.7 Assumptions of the Study
The assumptions of the study were:
The respondents were co-operative and gave honest answers. The participants after informed consent were enthusiastic to fill in the questionnaire without any undue pressure. They seemed to understand what they were doing. There were significant differences in school environments that may have influenced students’ self-esteem and career aspirations. National schools are well developed, followed by extra-county schools in terms of infrastructures, and at the bottom of the strata are the sub-county schools with few qualified teachers, lack of adequate classrooms, laboratories among other challenges. The research instruments used in the study were valid and reliable. Various questionnaire items adequately addressed the study variables of school type, self-esteem, academic achievement and career aspirations.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
and role models. This could become a threat to internal validity. However, this challenge may have been reduced by having student respondents spread in all school types, from national school to sub-county/district schools. The assumption was that the effects of such confounding variables would be spread across the board. The instrument of data collection was mainly use of questionnaires to only sampled form 4 students in selected secondary schools. It was not possible to use various methods of data collection due to logistical constraints. The research endeavoured to have valid and reliable questionnaires to meet the study objectives. Nairobi County is a large geographical area. Financial, time and other logistical constraints like travels and networking due to vastness of the study universe proved a challenge. Therefore, sampling was necessary to address this challenge.
1.9 Delimitations of the Study
24 1.10 Significance of the Study
This study may generate psychological literature on self-esteem and students’ career aspirations in relation to school type. The study findings may benefit the students, teachers and parents. It will provide additional knowledge to students’ career decision-making process. Teacher counsellors could benefit from the findings in that; it would enhance their insight into understanding self-esteem and career aspirations of students in relation to school type. Teachers and students will endeavour to relate self-esteem with academic achievement. The findings may be valuable to students in assisting them to choose careers appropriately. The study may inform government on policy to implement self-esteem enhancement programmes in the school curriculum.
1.11 The Theoretical Framework
The study has been positioned and anchored within the framework of two theories. These theories are:
Rogers (1959) pinpointed the unconditional and conditional positive regard being fundamental in the development of the self. The critical factors in one’s environment that enhanced one make self-actualization possible include being accepted, treated with empathy and being treated genuinely. One has an opportunity for full actualisation when you grow in situations of unconditional positive regard. When raised in an environment of conditional positive regard, one feels worthy only if they match conditions (what Rogers describes as conditions of worth), that have been laid down for by others.
Rogers examined the conditioned, controlling world that kept an individual from having positive self-concept and reaching their full potential as human beings. Acceptance is difficult because as we grew up, the significant other (people central in our lives) conditioned us to move away from these positive feelings. Our parents, siblings, teachers and peers all placed constraints and contingencies on our behaviours. For instance such statements came to us “Don’t do that,” “Don’t be different,” “But we just want to be proud of you,” and “How can you be stupid?”
to Rogers “conditions of worth” theory. Those raised in an environment of conditional positive regard will feel worthy only if they match conditions of worth laid down by others. This influences our self-esteem. Conditional Positive Regard is Rogers’ terms for the concept that love and praise often are
not given unless an individual conforms to parental or social standards. The result is lower self-esteem.
In relation to self-concept, Covington (1984) points out that in our society people tend to view success with human worth, which generates the notion that people are only as valuable as their achievement. He wondered how this could be if such a perception is enhanced in the school set up. If this becomes the case, students can easily irrationally mix and confuse ones value with ability. In addition, adequate guidance and counselling for students’ cognitive restructuring may be lacking. National school students may feel proud of themselves; value themselves more than those in sub-county schools, just because the schools they attend exhibit better academic performances. The school experiences, seemingly form a significant determinant towards the sense of self of the student. This influences ones values, self-concept and eventually ones self-esteem (Covington, 1984). The current study therefore endeavoured to establish if there are students’ self-esteem differences in relation to school types.
He therefore emphasised on unconditional acceptance of clients. Students may unfairly harbour irrational thoughts in conformity to stereotypes and biases related to their school type (national, extra-county, county, and sub-county) academic performances, which may eventually influence their self-esteem, career aspirations and academic achievement. For instance, students who attend sub-county secondary schools may have an attitude and self-image of failure and being academically poor. It may be worth noting that their poor KCPE marks could have been due to environmental factors or problems. This leads to low self-esteem and affects self-efficacy, eventually leading to poor KCSE grades. At times, our career aspirations may be conditioned in relation to our school type environments. Those in national schools may be expected to aspire high-level careers (which may influence their self-efficacy and eventual KCSE results) while those in day schools are expected to take the low cadre jobs or even seek the unskilled jobs.
1.11.2 Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1977, 1986, 1997)
affect their behaviour and situational environments. The feedback from behaviour and environmental experience will in return confirm or disconfirm their beliefs.
An environmental or situational factor in this study that influences a student’s cognition is the school type attended. The type of school attended influences the thoughts (cognition) of the students in terms of their perception and beliefs. Some students will feel proud of their schools, which may raise their levels of confidence and self-worth. Other students may feel inferior because of the school type they have attended. They may feel nothing good will come out of their inferior schools. This is in relation to emphasis by Bandura on how behaviour is influenced by one cognition, more so thoughts about one’s abilities and goals. This may affect ones self-esteem, behaviour towards academic performance and career aspirations. When such students fail, they do not realize it is due to lack of effort, but blame their environment (“Poor school”) and their limited intellectual capacity.
performing tasks, and verbal persuasions (Hergenhahn, & Olson, 1999). High self-efficacy creates effort and persistence performance and setting higher goals, whereas low self-efficacy leads to discouragement and losing hope (Bandura, 1989 cited in Cloninger, 2007).
Students who perform well in KCSE get admission to national and extra-county schools. These students know they are in schools where older or former students (who become role models) did well in KCSE. This influences their self-efficacy. They develop the achievement need as opposed to those students who join sub-county schools with role models associated with low KCPE and KCSE marks. High self-efficacy may influence self-esteem, academic achievement and career aspirations. Students in national and extra-county schools are bound to record better KCSE results than county and sub-county school students, not just because of higher marks (entry behaviour) in KCPE as compared to students in county and sub-county schools, but may be due to their self-efficacy and self-esteem differences and influence of older students as role models. Higher levels of perceived self-efficacy have been associated with greater persistence, and more effective strategy use (Pajares, 1996).
adopted by this study (Bandura, 1977, 1986, 1997). SCT emphasised on the importance of self-efficacy in one’s choice of behaviour. Both personal (predisposition) and situational factors for example the family and learning experiences influence self-efficacy. The current study was interested in the contextual factors of school type and how they may influence a student’s career aspirations as well as self-esteem.
1.12 The Conceptual Framework
Independent Variables Dependent Variables
Figure 1.1: The interrelationship between variables in the study
(National, Extra -County,
. BOYS ONLY
. GIRLS ONLY
Note Direction of influence Reciprocal influence The conceptual framework explains the interplay and relationship between independent and dependent variables. The school type and school gender (boys’ only, girls’ only or co-educational schools) are the independent variables. Self-esteem, academic achievement and career aspirations are psychological dependent variables. The school type different environmental factors and school gender predisposition differences may influence students’ self-esteem, academic achievement and career aspirations. Dependent variables of self-esteem, academic achievement and career aspirations may have reciprocal influence. Self-esteem may predict academic achievement or vice-versa. Academic achievement may also predict career aspirations. Additionally, self-esteem may also predict career aspirations of students. This is reciprocal determinism according to Bandura (1997). Individual students’ gender is an intervening variable. The inter-relationship is conceptualized in Figure 1.1 above.
1.13 Operational Definition of Key Terms
The key terms in the study were operationally defined as follows.
Career aspirations - Motives, interests, desires and behavioural intentions that a student articulates with respect to different career field options to take in one’s future life.
Career expectations - what the student believes is capable of achieving in
terms of career options for his/her future life.
County Schools - Schools that currently get form one admissions from students within that County.
Extra- County Schools- Former provincial schools, currently draw a sizeable percentage of form one students’ admissions outside that County (40%) but generally within the former provinces.
Gender – The influence arising from a student being either a male or female.
National schools - These are mainly well established big schools that admit best KCPE students based on quota system from all over the country. Currently there are 103 national schools. There were only 18 and most prestigious national schools by 2012. The most recent ones have been upgraded from the former big provincial schools distributed across the 47 counties of Kenya.
School gender - Schools’ influence categorised either as boys’ only, girls’ only or co-educational (mixed) schools.
School type - Categories of secondary schools, that is: National, Extra-County,
Self-concept - ‘Organized’, consistent set of perceptions and beliefs about
oneself. Self- esteem is part of self-concept.
Self-efficacy - A student’s belief about whether he/she can achieve success at a particular task e.g. belief that you are capable of doing well in exams.
Self-esteem - A feeling or experience of personal worth, self-confident and competent to deal with life challenges. Can be high or low self-esteem.
Sub-County Schools - These are schools also called district schools. They are
generally day schools attracting students from the surrounding local primary schools. Also called CDF assisted schools.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
differences in students’ self-esteem and career aspirations, teachers’ perceptions on students’ self-esteem and career aspirations and a summary of the review of the related literature. Research gaps were highlighted and the findings in these studies formed a vital base and framework that guided the course of this current study.
2.2 Relationship between School Type and Students’ Self-esteem
According to Knigge and Hannover (2011), students in Germany are tracked into different types of secondary schools according to their prior achievement. These schools offer mostly various options in developing future educational careers. Therefore, schools social status or reputation vary leading to different collective school identities for their students, without putting into consideration students’ personal academic self-concepts. According to two cross-sectional studies, motivational differences (outcomes) between two schools in Berlin is explained by the collective school type identity (Knigge & Hannover, 2011). The findings indicated large differences in collective school type identity between students of different school tracks. The study also pointed out that, these differences can explain motivational differences between school tracks. According to Knigge & Hannover (2011), collective school type identity predicts increased motivational power for scholastic achievement more than influence of academic self-concept and school type.
Oigara (2011) conducted a study on “effect of school environment on student achievement and self-esteem: A case study in Kenya”. The research examined two urban schools in the same neighbourhood with different student population settings. Both schools were boarding schools with similar learning facilities, same curriculum content and students of the same socio-economic background. The sample size had 27 girls and 43 boys in form 1 in co-educational school (X with total=70) and school G (girls only) were 50 girls (Total=50). These students were in the national category classification of schools, thus were of the same academic level. The methodology involved surveys, questionnaires, interviews, observations and assessing end of year report cards. The research utilised participant observation as the central research activity.
The findings showed that girls in the single-sex school scored higher achievement scores relative to those in the mixed classroom. Similarly, girls in the single-sex school stated they felt good about themselves and appreciated their accomplishments. The girls said they are proud of their school and they scored higher in their final examinations than boys and girls in school X (mixed school). Girls from single-sex school (G) had higher hopes for professional careers (lawyers, doctors and engineers) compared to girls in school X who were undecided.
ranging from sub-county to national school types. The form four classes was the target population well spread among 12 secondary schools in Nairobi County, whereas Oigara did a study on two form 1 neighbouring private schools (girls only school and co-educational). The current study sampled only boys’ and only girls’ schools and also mixed (co-educational) schools from the sample of 12 public secondary schools. The academic achievement levels and socio-economic backgrounds of students were assumed to differ in the current study. This is because students were believed to have come from different backgrounds in relation to their school type. However, in Oigara’s study, the two schools had similar qualities in terms of students’ economic status and schools’ economic and social characteristics. Oigara (2011) study used participant observation as the central research activity. However, the current study used correlational design mainly using questionnaires. The study sought to investigate the relationship between school type and students’ self-esteem, academic achievement and career aspirations in Nairobi County.
“unsuccessful students” (with respect to attitude to school, attitude to teacher, and self-esteem) to ascertain if significant differences exist between them.
It was hypothesised that significant differences occur among academically “successful” and “unsuccessful” students based on gender, grade-level and school type. Research findings showed that there was significant difference in attitude to school among successful and unsuccessful African-American students. However, these differences did not vary by gender, grade level or school type. There was a significant difference in self-esteem among successful and unsuccessful students by grade level only, with no differences relative to gender or school type (Foster, 2009). Foster’s study was carried out in one school in the United States of America. The current study involved 12 public secondary schools in an urban set up. The students in Fosters study were stratified as “successful” and “unsuccessful” based achievement data on standardized testing. The current study involved students found in different schools (national, extra-county, county and sub-county).
achievement. The findings implied that high self-esteem is a predictor variable that strengthens students’ academic achievement. The current study endeavoured to establish if differences occur in students’ self-esteem among different school types that may predict different academic outcomes.
performance in various schools was related to self-esteem and career aspirations.
Beane, Lipka and Ludewig (1980) cited in Scott (2001) distinguished between two school climates, that is, humanistic and custodial environments. The humanistic type is has democratic procedures, where students express their freedom in decision making. On the contrary custodial environments is concerned with maintenance of autocratic rule and order. It was found that students exhibited higher levels of self-actualization in humanistic environments than those in schools with a custodial orientation (Deibert and Hoy cited in Beane, Lipka, & Ludewig (1980)
According to Coleman (1961) cited in Scott (2001) higher student self-esteem is associated with school environments where students choices and self-expression is encouraged. Therefore, in Kenyan schools, experiences and environments may differ in terms of established academic traditions, administrative structures among others that may influence students’ self-esteem and career aspirations.
on the levels of self-esteem and achievement scores; as self-esteem decreases, achievement scores decline and the vice versa. Specifically, students’ perceived efficacy to achieve, combined with personal goal setting, has been found to have a major impact on academic achievement. The current study tried to examine whether academic scores of students from different school types are related to their self-esteem.
Aswani found out that pupils in the lower classes (2-4) had a higher academic concept than those in upper (6-8) classes. Girls tended to have higher self-concept than boys did in lower classes but this changed as they moved up classes. Boys who led in mathematics and sciences had lower ASC scores in languages than girls. The current study endeavoured to establish gender differences in self-esteem and career aspirations among high school students. It was only in class 8 where there was found a significant positive relationship between academic achievement and academic self-concept. It was found that the best positive predictor of academic self-concept was academic achievement in a multiple correlation analysis. The current study intended to find out if school type predicts self-esteem and career aspirations of secondary school students.
2.2.1 Relationship between Students’ Academic Achievement and
Booth & Gerard (2011) recorded that earlier students self-concept had a significant predictive influence on academic achievement and vice versa in mathematics self-concept
The current study is anchored on the assumption that students’ marks in KCPE influences the school type one is admitted to; national, extra-county, county or sub-county school. Prior academic achievement is premised to influence self-esteem, and the reciprocal influence of self-esteem on academic achievement, that is enhanced by the school type environment. Psychological variables of cognition, beliefs, attitudes and behavioural outcomes interact to predict on levels of academic achievements and self-esteem.
relationships between academic achievement and self-esteem. RSES measured self-esteem and academic achievement used standardised tests.
The findings revealed a relationship between self-esteem and academic achievement of the students. This was consistent with other researches for example a review of self-esteem research done by Reasoner (2001) shows that there is a general preposition indicating is close relationship between academic achievement and self-esteem. The nature of this relationship is however an issue among researchers. One position of argument is that a positive self-esteem has predictive influence for high academic achievement. Others assert that high academic performance of students predicts high self-esteem levels. The current study mainly focused on how school type may be associated with self-esteem and academic achievement of students. The sample selected was subjected to one way ANOVA, chi-square and t-test statistics using correlation research design. The current study used students in form 4 class, in Kenya an African country. Comparison across cultures was not done. Data analysis used KCPE marks and form 4 class mean scores from mock results to measure academic achievement and RSES to measure self-esteem.
2.3 Relationship between School Type and Students’ Academic
recommended for admissions into these tracks according to their academic achievement or ability. Gymnasium being the most academic and prestigious track only provides direct entry into tertiary education. Students who perform poorly are directed to less academic schools. Thus the decision made at the end of the primary school tends to be final and essentially determines the educational opportunities of children (Jurges & Schneider, 2006). Uniform ability classrooms give a learning environment that is better suited to the capabilities of the individual pupils. Ability differences between high and low achieving students in a class are smaller than in comprehensive school systems- this in effect leads to better aggregate educational outcomes. The same notion may be linked to the selection criterion in Kenyan secondary schools according to the KCPE marks. High scorers are placed in national schools and low scorers in district schools. However, some basic inequalities in primary education may influence the outcome of one’s KCPE marks, which may eventually curtail ones self-actualization.
KCPE entry marks maintained and reflected at the end of the secondary school course? The psychological constructs focused in this study, of self-esteem and career aspirations are assumed to possess a reciprocal effect on students’’ academic achievement students.
A report from the Department of Education in U.S.A by Wood (2008) found out that, there is no big difference between public and private school academic performance at least in mathematics and reading. This was in the study that compared public and private schools using linear modelling technique. The concept weighted public and private school performance, after taking into account students attributes. This included ethnicity, family income and English language proficiency as well as the skill and experience of the teaching staff. In this study, public and private students with similar populations and conditions derived from the 4th and 8th grades in 2003 undertook tests in reading and mathematics
significantly lower than other groups. The study concluded that academic performance is not about school category; public or private, charter or parochial- what matters most is the individual school. The cost of the school is not a guarantee for performance (Wood, 2008). The current study was carried out in Kenya (Nairobi County) where only public schools of various categories; national, extra-county, county and sub-county school types were compared. Generally, there exists an academic achievement gap in these school types. Besides, these schools differ significantly in terms of facilities, teachers and students’ characteristics.
Sabitu, et al (2012), conducted a study on academic performance of students in senior secondary schools in Ondo state, Nigeria, making reference to school types and facilities. The study sought to find out the influence of facilities on academic achievement of students both in private and public schools. Using a descriptive survey and Proportionate random sampling technique, 50 schools in Ondo state were sampled. Data collection used questionnaires for the principals and questionnaires for teachers and students. A t-test was used for data analysis and a significance level of 0.05 was used for hypotheses testing.
sex or mixed, private or public) has effect on academic performance of students in mathematics. The current study having considered data released by KNEC on KCSE examinations results for various years, sharp differences in performances among national, county and sub county schools continue to persist. The research endeavoured to find out what would be the effect of psychological variables of self-esteem and career aspirations of students as predictors to academic performance. Therefore, there was need to establish relationship between school type, academic achievement and career aspirations of students in secondary school.
Newhouse and Beegle (2005) did a study on the effects of school type on academic achievement. The study evaluated the impact of school type on academic achievement of junior secondary school students (grade 7-9). The study found out that, students who graduate from public junior secondary schools had a higher performance of 0.15 to 0.4 standard deviations on the national exit examinations when compared to private school peers. Students in private Muslim schools, like madrassas, had almost similar performance with secular private school students. The results from the study enhances the indirect evidence that academic performance is promoted by the quality and quantity of inputs in schools.
In Indonesia, public schools have quality inputs and are thus viewed as superior to secular and Muslim private schools (Newhouse & Beegle, 2005). The study attributes higher quality inputs high schools to promoting higher academic scores. As mentioned earlier, higher inputs in Kenyan national schools have been attributed to higher test scores. However, the current study sought to establish the psychological influences of self-esteem and career aspirations in these varying school environments in relation to academic achievement.
2.4 Relationship between School Type and Students’ Career aspirations
aspirations in Kisumu municipality, Kenya. The study involved 343 (183 females and 158 males) participants. The questionnaire was used to collect data. Career aspirations of students was established using the RIASEC model by John Holland. Schools were grouped into two: public and private, boys and girls or mixed.
The major results of the study indicated that Investigative career types, with 44% from public schools, 33.9% from private schools, 33% from girls’ schools, 53.2% from boys’ schools and 36.8% from mixed schools was preferred by most of the students. Enterprising career types was ranked second. In terms of gender, social career types was more popular to females than males at 86.84%. Artistic and conventional career types recorded more females than males. Realistic career types were chosen by more males at 81.8% followed by investigate and enterprising career types (Migunde et al, 2012). The current student was interested in exploring relationship between students’ career aspirations between school types in Nairobi County. Additionally, gender variable was studied with only boys’ and only girls’ schools and mixed schools. The study also explored differences in boys’ self-esteem and differences in girls’ self-esteem among school types.
each school, 50 each from 9th and 10th grade classes. 400 boys and 300 girls participated in the study. After data scrutiny, 482 students (243males and 239 females) were selected according to the most aspired careers in engineering, medicine, law, military and teaching. Self-Directed Search (SDS) was used to measure the gender difference and association between vocational aspirations and vocational interests. Two questions were contained in a questionnaire that measured students’ vocational aspirations “what type of career do you prefer to take in future? And “if you have more than one career option, kindly tick in order of your preference”