Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Higher Education Administration PhD

First Advisor

Hinsdale Bernard

Second Advisor

James R. Jeffery

Third Advisor

Sylvia Gonzalez

Abstract

Problem. The Regional officer of Matabeleland North region in Zimbabwe was concerned over the poor student pass rates in these regions. The Education Director of the Zimbabwe Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists also voiced the same concern about the poor student pass rates, especially in the West Zimbabwe Conference, which is comprised of Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, and Bulawayo regions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the perception of teachers on student support and student factors that influence the academic performance of students attending Seventh-day Adventist secondary schools in Zimbabwe, focusing mainly on school, community, and student factors.

Method. I developed an instrument that was distributed to all the teachers in the 25 Seventh-day Adventist secondary schools in Zimbabwe. Twelve schools ended up participating in the study and 164 questionnaires were returned. Descriptive statistics were used to investigate the factors perceived to be manifested in the schools. A descriptive study was also done to analyze the responses according to the different regions and to investigate the factors that were manifested and not manifested in each region. One-way analysis of variance and t tests were used to determine demographic differences in the perception of teachers concerning systemic factors that affect student performance in the Seventh-day Adventist schools.

Results. The student support factors related to student academic performance perceived by the teachers to be manifested in the schools were: good curriculum, positive school climate, teacher professional development, administrative support, and teacher support factors. Teachers also perceived that the students were well disciplined and that they were well motivated to learn. They felt that there was no community support and that the transportation system was poor. Teachers perceived that the students were lacking in physiological needs.

Conclusions. The teachers in the Seventh-day Adventist schools in Zimbabwe perceive that the transportation and community support are lacking in the schools. The regions with the lowest student pass rates also had the least acceptable variables for student support and student factors. This study is important for the Education Director of the Zimbabwe Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist organization and also for the Ministry of Education, which have to devise ways to improve the academic performance of all students in Zimbabwe.

Subject Area

High school teachers--Zimbabwe--Attitudes, Academic achievement--Zimbabwe, Education, Secondary--Zimbabwe.

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