The purpose of this study was to establish the relationship between teachers’ characteristics and pupils’ academic achievement. The study was guided by education production function which connects pupils’ academic performance to teachers’ characteristics. The study objectives were to: establish how the teachers’ attitude on teaching influences the pupils’ academic performance, examine how demographic characteristics of teachers influence the pupils’ academic performance, assess how teachers’ qualification influence pupils’ academic performance and establish how teaching experience of a classroom teacher influence pupils’ academic performance. The study was conducted in Akithi Education Division, Meru County in Kenya. The target population was comprised of the head teachers of the 29 primary schools in the division, the teachers and pupils of classes seven and eight. The study applied a descriptive research design. A questionnaire and an interview guide techniques were used for data collection. Data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. The study revealed that teacher characteristics have enormous influence on pupils’ academic performance in public primary schools. The teachers’ attitude on pupils, the demographic characteristics of teachers and their qualification had a significant influence on pupils’ academic achievements. The researcher therefore recommends immediate measures taken on reducing teacher - pupil ratio so as to enable individual education programmes taken on learners, device away of monitoring and evaluating the curriculum implementation in schools to ensure complete syllabus coverage is done. Further research can be done so as to establish the extent of influence of other education factors such as gender, social-economical effects, environmental and peer pressure.











Back ground to the Study1

Statement of the Problem3

The Purpose of the Study4

Objectives of the Study4

Research Questions4

Significance of the Study4

Delimitations of the Study5

Limitations of the Study5

Assumptions of the Study5

Definition of Significant Terms Used In the Study5

Organization of the Study6



Empirical review on teacher characteristics and pupils academic performance7

Teacher characteristics and pupils academic performance in Kenya7

Teachers attitude and pupils’ academic performance10

Demographic Characteristics of Teachers and pupils academic performance14

Teachers qualification and pupils academic performance15

Teaching Experience of the Classroom Teacher and pupils academic performance15

Theoretical Framework16

Piajet’s (1964) Cognitive Development Theory17

The Functionalism of Theory of Learning17

Conceptual Framework17

Summary of Literature Review19



Research Design20

Target Population20

Sample Size determination and Sampling Procedure21

Sample Size determination21

Sampling Procedures21

Research Instructions21

Pilot Testing21


Interview guide22

Document Analysis22

Validity of Research Instrument22

Reliability of Research Instrument22

Data Collection Procedure23

Data Analysis Techniques23

Ethical consideration23

3.12 Chapter summary 24



Questionnaire Response Rate27

Teacher attitude and pupils’ academic performance27

Teachers class attendance27

Syllabus coverage by teachers at school28

Frequency of lesson preparation28

Involvement of pupils in carrying out activities during the lesson29

Encouraging pupils to ask questions during the lesson30

Encourage pupils to take lesson notes31

Learners’ participation in the lesson when given a chance to give suggestions31

Use of learning and Teaching Aids32

Suggestion on how to improve academic performance33

Questionnaire on demographic characteristics of teachers34

Teacher’s gender34

Age tracked of teachers35

Numbers of lesson per day36

Numbers of pupils in class36

Questionnaire on teachers’ qualification37

Teachers highest academic qualification37

Highest profession qualifications38

Teaching experience38

Professional Seminars attended38

Numbers of year’s teachers has taught39

Pupils Questionnaire40


Gender distribution amongst pupils of classes seven and eight40

Pupil involvement in the lesson progression40

Teacher’s relationship with pupils41

Response on syllabus coverage by teachers42

Data Analysis43




Summary of findings44

Teachers attitude on teaching influence on pupils’ academic performance44

Demographic  characteristics  of     teachers  influence  on     pupils   academic performance44

Teachers qualification influence on learner’s academic performance45

Teacher teaching experience influence on pupil’s academic performance45

Discussions of the Study45

Teacher’s attitude influence on pupil’s academic performance45

Teachers demographic characteristics influence on pupils academic performance45

Teachers qualification influence on pupil’s academic performance46

Teachers experience influence on pupil’s academic performance46



The researcher proposes areas of further research47








Background to the Study

Identification and influence of stake holders is critical to determine pupils academic performance because of the role they play (Mwika 2010) Globally, education has remained a vehicle to spring up social –economic development over the world (Aikaman and Unterhelter, 2005). Mugenda and Mugenda, (2006) further explain education as a critical instrument to industrial and technological development. Their views explain the importance of education and uphold the key role it plays towards attaining the millennium development goals which are in line with Kenya vision 2030.

The Kenya vision 2030 envisages a globally competitive and a prosperous nation with a high quality of life by year 2030 (Kenya, 2008). The vision 2030 is founded on the economical, social and political pillars focusing on adding value to products and services. The social pillar of vision 2030 touches on education whose aim is to produce globally competitive quality education, training and research for sustainable development (Kenya 2012).

This emphasis why education policy is concerned with the right to universal education; Education for All (EFA), and the need to enhance rapidly the development of skilled human resource (Kenya 2005) This provision aspect is imperative towards attainment of millennium development goals (MDGs).It is in view of this that concerted effort to access, equality, quality and relevance education is a concern to all stakeholders of education in Kenya (GOK 2012). The grip to these important characteristics of education is unfortunately missing at Akithi Division of Meru County. This is so because of the repeated low academic results got in the division at the end of every year KNEC, KCPE (2013) results.

Bangbade (2004) and Elochuru (2001) study revealed that schools, parents and teachers as being responsible of poor performance of learners. They further cited good performance as being dependant of how efficient and effective the teachers are. This why teachers have always remained in the centre of being responsible of teaching and implementing educational policies designed to achieve the educational goals Okoro( 2013). The teachers’ qualification and their dedication is therefore important aspects to consider if pupils have to perform well (Oshod 1998, Duyilemi and Duyilemi 2002).

Sanders (1998) suggestion of the effectiveness of individual classroom teacher influence on pupils’ academic achievement is therefore wanting. The idea is supported by fact that no pupil would perform behold the quality of their teacher teacher (Duyilemi and Duyilemi 2002). Wright, Hom and Sanders (1997) believed that more can be done to improve education standards by improving effectiveness of the classroom teacher. This explains why Alexander (2005) argued that high qualified teachers produce much competent learners than less qualified teachers. Unfortunately, this pedagogy has received less attention as it deserves (Freeman and Johnson 1998)

Adeyemo (2005) observes that teacher characteristics influence teaching and learning of pupils in classrooms. Oleleye (2011) further suggested that there is a relationship between teacher characteristics that included of teachers knowledge of the subject, there communication abilities, the teacher interest in the job, emotion and stability of the teacher were cited in the studying in a Pakistan journal of social science vol.7 issue 5 (2010) by the Futext, HTML PP. 388-392 as affected pupils academic performance.

In India, a research done on influence on student’s performance by economic and social research council (E.S.R.C), of the global poverty research group. suggested that characteristics of subject teachers are related to students’ marks across the subject. A similar case in Nigeria on teacher’s effectiveness and student academic performance in public secondary schools suggesting the teacher as the main determinacy of the end of test results as not true.

Gregory- Greenleaf (2008) for good or poor student’s academic performance has been quite exhaustive yet controversial exists as to what contribute singly or jointly to poor student performance. This has left the gap for further research on what influence is the teacher characteristics on pupil’s academic performance.

The Gap in academic performance of Akithi division has continued to exist despite the relatively high academic performance attained by the other surrounding zones with similar prevailing conditions except that of teachers’ characteristics. It is for this reason that the study is meant find out the influence of teachers’ characteristics on pupils’ academic performance in Akithi division. The findings can be used to improve access, equity, quality and relevance education in the area (Kenya 2012) as these will quench the thirst of education of many stakeholders in the area.

Statement of the Problem

Even though government has expressed concern on pupils’ academic performance in National examinations, it is evidence that the situation has not changed much. Kenya being a developing country must strategize on ways aimed at achieving goals of education from the grassroots in order to foster developments. This is because education will act as a vehicle towards realizing the dream of achieving Kenya vision 2030 (ENESCO, 2000). This will be done by raising the standards of education in all parts of our country equality. To achieve this, the teacher characteristics influencing on teaching and learning has to be looked at ( Adeyomo, 2005), in order to ascertain if there is a relationship between characteristics of teachers and pupils performance as is suggested by Oleleyo, (2011). To explain the phenomenon, this paper seeks to assess the influence of teacher characteristics on pupil’s academic performance in primary schools in Akithi division, Meru-county.

The study would help in upholding the teacher professional dynamic approach so as to help in raising the pupils’ academic performance in the area. Akithi division would also dream of rekindling its hope in attaining the knowledge and skills to catch up with the foreseeable development in order to realize better academic performance.

KCPE Mean Score Result ranking of the Divisions in Tigania West District for the year 2008 to 2012 is as shown in table 1.1.

Table 1.1 Ranking of the Divisions based on KCPE performance in Tigania West District

Zone 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

Akithi 208 212 223 222 240

Uringu 225 222 232 238 247

Kianjai 260.8 258 267.97 262.01 272

Source: DEO’s office Tigania West District 2013

In that foresaid number of years, Akithi division is seen to have the lowest mean score in KCPE performance than any other of two divisions. This occurred although the three divisions existed in same environmental conditions other than that of teachers. It is on this base therefore, that this study do not only examine teacher characteristics influence on pupils’ academic performance, but also wishes to unearth and recommend possible measures to be undertaken in order to improve academic performance in the area in the area.

The Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of teacher characteristics on pupils’ academic performance in public primary schools in Akithi division, Meru County, Kenya.

Objectives of the Study

The study was guided by the following objectives:-

1. To establish how the teacher attitudes on teaching influences the pupils academic performance of classes seven and eight in Akithi Division.

2. To examine how demographic characteristics of teachers influences the pupils’ academic performance of classes seven and eight in Akithi Division.

3. To assess how teacher qualification influence pupils’ academic performance of classes seven and eight in Akithi Division.

4. To establish how teaching experience of the classroom teacher influence pupils academic performance of classes seven and eight in Akithi Division.

Research Questions

The questions for this study includes;

1. How does the teachers’ attitude in teaching influence pupils academic performance?

2. How does the demographic characteristics of teachers influence pupils academic performance?

3. How does the teacher’s qualification influence pupils’ academic performance?

4. How does the teaching experience of the classroom teacher influence pupils’ academic performance?

Significance of the Study

The study is useful to the government and public in general in understanding the significant of the characteristics of the teachers and its influence on the pupils’ academic performance in primary schools in Kenya. The stakeholders would also assess the impact of education as a determining factor towards improving their social-economical welfare and the general outlook of Akithi area and the Country at large.

The study would broaden the insight of education to stakeholders and enable them decide on pertinent issues affecting them and their children education progress. The ideas so got could help in resolving problems that hinders academic performance in the area. It would also assist the schools administration and in policy making where vital decisions of acquiring and distributing of relevant education resources is got. The ideas could be used by the school organization to train and hire quality teachers who can improve the education standards of pupils to make them life –long learners (Kenya 2012) which is needed in order to achieve the millennium development goals and the vision 2030.

Delimitations of the Study

The study is only confined to Akithi division of Meru-County. This will make it easy to collect data by reducing the cost of the research. The data is to be collected by research assistants.

Limitations of the Study

The study population was confined to a few primary school teachers and pupils while leaving other stakeholders in the zone. This limits the generalization ability of the study findings of teachers and pupils outside the ward. The study did not also take into account those other stakeholders who could have an influence in education in Akithi division.

Assumptions of the Study

It was assumed that all respondents would co-operate and provide complete, reliable and true responses. It was also assumed that the school environment of learning in Akithi division does not vary greatly from those other divisions of the surrounding zones. The respondents were also assumed to be the representative of total targeted population.

Definition of Significant Terms Used In the Study

1. Attitude: - Refers to the state of mind or the way of thinking about something

especially as it is shown by the behavior. It is a judgment that can be changed as a function of experience.

2. Characteristic: - A particular quality of a feature that is typical of someone or something.

3. Demographic characteristics: - This is the particular qualities or features in relation to the number of teachers handling the given classes.

4. Demographic: - A description of numbers of people. It can refer to the population.

5. Experience: - Refers to the knowledge or skills gained through time spent on a job or an activity.

6. Gender:- The term gender refers to socially determined role or relationship between males and females

7. Influence: - The power or capacity to cause effect in an indirect way (Bdhon, 1986).

8. Performance:-This refers to the manner or the way in which an activity is carried out.

9. Pupils: - A young learning person who is at close supervision of a teacher at school.

Organization of the Study

The research study is organized in five chapters. The first chapter starts with the background to the problem followed by the statement of the problem. The purpose of study is outlined followed by highlights of the research questions, delimitations and limitations of the study, the significance, assumptions and the organization of the study. Chapter two is concerned with the literature review that is related with the influence of the characteristics of teacher on pupils’ academic performance. The chapter is sub-divided into sub-topics which are based on the research objectives.

Chapter three covers the research procedures which include: - research design, the target population, sample size selection and sampling procedures. It outlines on the instruments to be used in data collection and further explain on their validity and reliability.

Data analysis, presentation and interpretation are done in chapter four. It comprises the findings of the whole research collected by use of questionnaires administered to teachers and pupils respectively while interview guide was used on all the head teachers or their deputies incase head teachers were absent. This was done to confirm the stability and consistency with which data measured. Chapter five summarizes of data on the research findings, discussions, conclusions and its recommendations.




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