The Influence of Lower Secondary School Quality on Students’ Learning Achievements in Two Selected Districts of Uganda

Godfrey Arnold Dhatemwa


Purpose: The number of secondary schools in Uganda (private or public, and rural or urban) exponentially grew in the last decade up to 3,070 by 2017. While this was matched with a rise in enrolment, there was no corresponding growth in the number of competent teaching staff, nor other quality inputs. The objective of the study was to determine the influence of school quality on the pass rates at O’Level in two selected districts of Iganga and Jinja in the Eastern region of Uganda. Method: A stratified random sample of 36 secondary schools from a sample frame of 126 for the two districts was selected. The head teacher and one randomly selected teacher of each of the three core subjects of Mathematics, English Language, and Biology from each school acted as primary and secondary respondents respectively. A mixed research design approach was applied using both qualitative and quantitative primary data, while secondary data in form of pass rates was used. Out of 144 administered questionnaires, 127 were returned (effective response rate of 88.2%). Both the primary and secondary data was analyzed using the SPSS package and tested for adequacy (KMO), validity (Validity Index), and reliability (Cronbach’s Alpha Coefficient Reliability) with respect to the null hypothesis that school quality does not have significant influence on the pass rates of lower secondary school candidates in the two selected districts of Uganda. Results: Overall, school quality was statistically significant on the students learning achievements at the lower secondary level in the two districts with the coefficient of school quality of β=0.076, Sig. = 0.0257, and the p-value = 0.0257. Specifically, a unit change in the school inputs on average affected the pass rate by 4.9% in the 34 schools that responded; while, a unit change in the school processes changed the pass rate by 7.1% on average in the schools. Similarly, urban schools on average performed at a pass rate of 94% compared to 84% by the rural schools; public schools’ performance rate was 89% versus private schools’ achievement of 90%.  Contribution to theory, policy and practice: Government policies should be directed towards improving school quality while bridging the gaps between the rural and urban schools, and between the public and private schools as well. At school, the demand, supply and process drivers should together be targeted in their plan. Further studies into education quality should focus on in-depth analysis into the contributing factors to school quality, in form of both inputs and processes.

Keywords: lower secondary schools, school quality, inputs, process, and output.

DOI: 10.7176/EJBM/11-11-06

Publication date: April 30th 2019

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