The principal's role in influencing student performance in mathematics: a study of Usigu division secondary schools
Every country is interested in ensuring that its citizens make a good contribution to its development. This could be achieved through ensuring good academic performance in mathematics in learning institutions. Disparities in academic performance continue to be noticed as one of the many challenges facing education and have raised a lot of concern. The KCSE results in mathematics have been poor in the recent years and as a result many students who go through public secondary schools in Usigu division cannot compete favorably for national opportunities. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of the school principal in Usigu division in teaching of mathematics in order to improve student academic performance. To achieve this purpose, the study was guided by the following objectives: To investigate the principals organisational skills, to identify the supervisory techniques that the principal uses and to investigate the extent to which teachers' instructional methods influence students' performance in mathematics in public secondary schools in Usigu division. This study was based on Instructional leadership which provides guidance aimed at the improvement of student learning. Instructional quality is the top priority of the leader. The principal encourages improvement in his team by defining his objectives, setting goals, providing resources, evaluating progress and creating learning opportunities. This type of leadership tends to be collaborative; teachers must cooperate with the leader and each other to accomplish the leader's goals. The study used descriptive research design that involved administration of questionnaires and conducting in-depth interviews to a sample of 43 respondents drawn from a target population of 51. This included 37 mathematics teachers and 8 principals. Since only 8 public secondary schools were considered for the study, all principals were interviewed while the assistant teachers were randomly sampled for the study. The data collected was edited, coded and analyzed using descriptive statistics with the help of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Correlation analysis was used to determine the relationship between the variables in the study. The analyzed data was presented in form of simple tables, bar graphs and pie charts where applicable. Study findings were discussed, conclusions drawn and finally recommendations made to deal with the challenges revealed by the study. The researcher found useful findings to the concerned stakeholders.