Influence of Language Skills on Students’ Learning and Achievement in Mathematics in Secondary Education in Kenya


John Otieno Ogembo and Joash Mochogi Geteregechi


Full Length Research Paper I Published June,2018


Research Journal of Educational Studies and Review Vol. 4 (1), pp. 6-11.


The study was informed by the need to contribute in mitigating the persistent poor achievement in mathematics by a majority of learners transiting secondary education in Kenya. It sought to assess the contributions of learners’ language skills to their learning and achievement in mathematics. Data were obtained from 126 out of 715 grade 11 students drawn from 4 public secondary schools in Mombasa County. The sample was composed exclusively of male students in order to control for gender as an intervening variable. They completed 3 tests items: Proficiency in the Language of Instruction (PLI), Proficiency in the Language of Mathematics (PLM) and Students’ Mathematics Achievement Test (SMAT) (α=.630, .699 and .660 respectively). Results showed that language of instruction predicts learner proficiency in language of mathematics, learners’ language of instruction and language of mathematics predicts their achievement in mathematics and language of mathematics mediates learners’ achievement in mathematics and language of instruction. Based on the findings, the study recommends a structured focus on learners’ language of instruction to improve their achievement in mathematics.

Key Words: Achievement, Language of Instruction, Language of mathematics, Language proficiency


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