An investigation into the factors that affect the performance of visually impaired pupils in the national examinations at Grade Twelve level
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This study investigated the factors that influence the performance of the visually impaired pupils in the national examinations at grade twelve (12) level in Zambia. The three objectives of the study were: to determine the trend of performance of visually impaired pupils in the national examinations in the past five years, to investigate how learning/teaching materials, equipment and infrastructure affect the performance of the visually impaired pupils at grade 12 level and to analyze the relationship between teachers'qualifications and attitude on one hand and performance of the visually impaired pupils in grade 12 examinations on the other. The sample consisted of thirty-six pupils, (eighteen boys and eighteen girls), twelve teachers, (six males and six females), three school managers (all males) and two male ECZ officials. Pupils and teachers were selected using random sampling method while school managers and Examination Council of Zambia officials were purposefully picked since these were only three and two respectively. A questionnaire was used to collect data from twelve teachers while semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from forty-one (41) respondents (36 pupils, 3 school managers and 2 ECZ officials).In order to determine the trend of performance of the visually impaired pupils in grade 12 examinations, the national results for five (5) years from 1999 to 2003 were analyzed. The findings of the study revealed that the performance of the visually impaired pupils had been poor in the past five years (1999 -2003) compared to that of pupils without visual impairment. This poor performance was attributed to the following factors: • Lack of (earning/teaching materials and equipment. Visually impaired pupils lacked appropriate learning/teaching materials and equipment. • Poor infrastructure in terms of resource rooms. The resource rooms which visually impaired pupils used were in poor conditions. • Lack of specialist teachers and negative attitude of ordinary teachers towards the visually impaired pupils. There was a critical shortage of qualified teachers to teach visually impaired pupils, and the attitudes of the ordinary teachers towards visually impaired pupils were bad. • The setting and marking of grade 12 examinations did not take into consideration the problems of the visually impaired pupils as setters and markers were not specialized teachers. In general the results revealed that there was a significant correlation between learning/teaching materials, equipment, infrastructure, teacher's qualification and attitudes on one hand and performance of the visually impaired pupils in the national examinations at grade twelve (12) level on the other.
- Education