Factors contributing to poor performance of grade 12 learners at the national examination in literature in English in secondary schools of Kafue District, Zambia

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Simuchimba, Jacqueline
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University of Zambia
This study aimed at establishing factors that contribute to poor performance of Grade 12 learners in the national examination of Literature in English in secondary schools in Kafue District. A sample of 124 respondents selected from three Secondary Schools in Kafue town were used in this study. The objectives of the study were to establish classroom pedagogical practices that were common practices by teachers of literature in English, suitability of teachers’ training to teach the subject, availability of teaching and learning materials that included the prescribed texts, pupils’ and teachers’ attitudes towards the subject and investigate on the causes of the common mistakes made by learners as identified by Examinations Council of Zambia. The study employed a qualitative research design and used interviews, Focus Group Discussions, Documents analysis and classroom observations to collect data. The study has established that lack of proper training of learners in academic writing in the English language covering skills such as how to present work, critical analysis of study texts, identification of themes etc. may be contributing factors to the poor performance in the Literature in English subject. The study further established that strategies used in the classroom by teachers of Literature in English were not adequate enough to fully prepare learners to perform well in the subject. This study holds that the notion that whoever is trained to teach English language can automatically teach literature in English may not be right. The study also established that there was a scarcity of teaching and learning materials in all the sampled schools. The book to pupil ratio was so alarmingly poor such that some learners could not read some texts with comprehension to answer questions on them in the examination. Negative attitudes towards the subject by both learners and teachers for various reasons such as poor reading culture was found to be another contributing factor as the subject requires a lot of extensive reading skills. Some of the major recommendations from this study are that there must be regular Continuous Professional Development (CPD) meetings in schools for Literature in English teachers. Further recommendations are that there may be need to train teachers of literature in English other than relying on teachers of English language in the teaching of the former.
Master of Education in Literacy and Learning
Examinations--scoring , Academic performance