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QUESTIONNAIRES USED IN THE PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDIES

 

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Sample of Primary Schools
  • The Scope of the Questionnaires
  • Pre-Testing of the Questionnaires
  • Analysis of the Data
  • Appendix A: Questionnaire for Teachers
  • Appendix B: Questionnaire for Pupils

INTRODUCTION

   The main data collection activities of the pilot phase of FEMSA centred round an in-depth study of a small sample of primary and secondary schools in Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda. In gathering the data questionnaires were administered to students and teachers in primary and secondary schools and lesson observations were conducted in Mathematics and Science lessons in primary schools. In order to corroborate the data obtained from the questionnaires focused group discussions were held with students, teachers and parents in the schools. Following the group discussions, individual interviews were conducted with especially perceptive participants.

    This booklet gives the questionnaires administered to primary school students and teachers, information on the design, pre-testing and modifications made to the questionnaires and details of the data analysis carried out.

THE SAMPLE OF PRIMARY SCHOOLS

    The following was the makeup of the primary school samples in the four countries.

Cameroon

12 francophone schools and 4 anglophone schools were selected from Adamaoua, Centre, East, Littoral, North, West, South, North-West, and South-West provinces.

Questionnaires were administered to pupils in Class 7 in the anglophone system and classes CM2 and CM1 in the francophone system. Altogether 677 primary school pupils (321 girls and 356 boys) completed questionnaires. In addition 149 primary school teachers (79 women and 70 men) and 22 headteachers completed questionnaires.

Ghana

In Ghana the Basic Education system comprises 6 years of primary schooling, together with 3 years of Junior Secondary schooling (JSS). A total of 11 basic schools were selected, which included JSS, from Central, Greater-Accra, Ashanti, Upper West, Northern and Brong Ahafo regions of the country.

Questionnaires were administered to pupils in primary schools and JSS schools. Altogether 286 primary school pupils (128 girls and 158 boys) completed questionnaires. In JSS schools 186 students (87 girls and 99 boys) completed questionnaires. In addition 98 primary school teachers (60 women and 38 men)completed questionnaires.

Tanzania

12 schools in Eastern and Lake Zones were selected.

Questionnaires were completed by 242 primary school pupils (121 girls and 121 boys) and 63 primary school teachers (35 women and 28 men).

Uganda

-16 primary schools were selected: 4 each from the Central, Eastern and Western regions of the country.

-Questionnaires were completed by 292 primary school pupils, 89 primary school teachers and 12 primary headteachers.

NOTE: The questionnaires were prepared in English but were translated into French for the francophone schools in Cameroon and into Kiswahili in Tanzania.

THE SCOPE OF THE QUESTIONNAIRES

Questionnaires for Teachers

    The questionnaires for the teachers mainly sought information on the reasons why girls generally perform less well than boys in Mathematics and Science in primary schools and on the ways in which the performance of girls could be improved. In addition the questionnaires attempted to document the academic and teaching qualifications of the teachers, their teaching experience and work load.

Questionnaires for Students

    The questionnaires for primary school pupils mainly sought information on their perceptions regarding the importance of Mathematics and Science, the ability of girls and boys to learn these subjects, and the topics, operations and activities they did not like in Mathematics and Science. The questionnaires also documented the employment and educational background of the pupils' mother and father. Information was also elicited regarding the level of help that pupils' had access to in the learning of Mathematics and Science in terms of whether they had access to private tuition, who helped them with their homework and from whom they sought assistance if they had difficulty in understanding what was being taught in Mathematics and Science.

The Original Questionnaires

    A first draft of the questionnaires was prepared by the secretariat and then presented to the Project Committee for discussion. Arising from these discussions two Resource Persons, Professor Shashi Bali and Dr. David Khatete, both of Kenyatta University, Nairobi, worked with the Project Consultant to produce the original format of the questionnaires which were sent to the four pilot phase countries for pre-testing. These original questionnaires contained many open-ended questions, which initially caused some misgivings, mainly with fears that they would prove very difficult to analyze arising out of the many different responses anticipated to most of the questions. The initial version contained open-ended questions intentionally so that they would provide exact information on what the participants' real views were, rather than those pre-conceived by the project members.

    Below are some examples of questions posed in the original questionnaire for primary school teachers.

Do you think Mathematics in primary school is more difficult for girls than for boys? Why do you think this is so?

How would you compare the performance of girls and boys in Science in primary school examinations?

How does the behaviour of girls and boys differ in learning Mathematics?

What have you done to make girls more interested in Science?

List FIVE things that can be done in your school to help girls improve their performance in Science.

    Below are some examples of questions posed in the original questionnaire for primary school pupils.

Write down five things you LIKE learning in Mathematics.

Write down five things you DO NOT LIKE learning in Science.

List below the jobs you have to do at home in the morning and evening.

Tick the jobs where Mathematics and Science are useful.

Who usually helps you with your homework in Mathematics and Science?

How will studying Mathematics and Science in school help you to be what you want?

 

PRE-TESTING OF THE QUESTIONNAIRES

    The questionnaires were pre-tested in all four countries by members of the FEMSA National Teams.

Cameroon

-A total of 20 students (10 girls and 10 boys) answered the questionnaires in one francophone and one anglophone school. The questionnaires were administered to all the Mathematics and Science teachers in these schools.

Ghana

-A total of 20 students and 20 teachers completed the questionnaires in one Junior Secondary School.

Tanzania

-Pre-testing of questionnaires was done in 10 primary schools in Dar es Salaam, Morogoro and Coast regions.

Uganda

-Pre-testing was carried out in two primary schools.

Results of the Pre-Testing

-    The pre-testing of the questionnaires revealed a number of problems. The misgivings regarding the open-ended questions proved justified. There were very, very many responses to some questions, especially those seeking information on topics which students found difficult or otherwise in Mathematics and Science. For example, in answer to the question How does the behaviour of girls and boys differ in learning Mathematics? there were eighteen different responses. When students were asked to list the topics they did not like (or like) in Mathematics and Science, they ended up collectively listing virtually every topic in the syllabus.

 

Questionnaires for Teachers

The principal difficulties with the questionnaires for the teachers were as follows.

1. Many teachers have very low morale and are lacking in enthusiasm for anything they regard as extra work without remuneration. The questionnaire was long and was regarded as extra work. Consequently teachers were reluctant to fill it out.

2. Giving names on questionnaires inhibited respondents from expressing their true views.

3. The open-ended nature of many questions led to unfocussed responses and added to the time taken to complete the questionnaires.

4. A number of separate questions were in fact eliciting similar responses. For example, questions relating to why mathematics and science were more difficult for girls than boys, why the performance of girls and boys is different, and the differences in behaviour of girls and boys in learning mathematics and science, all produced similar responses. Likewise, the questions What have you done to make girls more interested in mathematics (and science) and List five things that can be done in your school to help girls improve their performance in mathematics (and science) produced similar responses.

 

Questionnaires for Students

Many of the difficulties associated with the teachers' questionnaires were also found in the students' questionnaires. In addition there were the following problems.

1. Many students had difficulty in understanding the questions, even when translated into vernacular.

2. Most students did not know the topics on the mathematics and science syllabuses and when asked for topics they liked or disliked, simply listed the topics they had studied most recently.

3. The questionnaire was quite long and took more than an hour to administer.

4. Initially it had been decided to administer the questionnaires to pupils in Primary classes 2, 4 and 6. Few of the Primary 2 students could understand the issues raised in the questions and a number could hardly write. Therefore little data of any value could be gleaned from this group.

    The Project Committee discussed these issues and agreed that the questionnaires should be much more structured and made shorter. The Project Consultant, with Professor Shashi Bali and Dr David Khatete, were requested to produce new questionnaires to obviate these difficulties. The amended questionnaires, which were finally used, are given in Appendix A and B. It was also agreed that no serious purpose would be served by administering questionnaires to Primary 2 students.

In-Country Modification of the Questionnaires

    When each country had received copies of the final versions of the questionnaires, they were then free to make whatever modifications they deemed were necessary to suit their own local conditions. For example, in Ghana it was felt that the questionnaires for primary schools did not really meet the needs of students in the Junior Secondary Schools, which form the upper level of the basic education cycle. They produced a modified version of the secondary school questionnaires for use in these schools.

Training of the Researchers

    All persons who administered the questionnaires were given adequate training to enable them overcome the difficulties which they might have been expected to encounter. Care was take to see that those who administered the questionnaires were capable of translating the questions into the local mother tongue and of explaining the intent of the questions in that language. Further details of the training given to field staff are contained in the booklets on Focused Group Discussions, Interviews and the PLA Methodology and The Classroom Observations.

ANALYSIS OF THE DATA FROM THE QUESTIONNAIRES

    The Project Committee discussed in detail the modalities for analyzing the data from the four countries. Three options for handling the data analysis were discussed.

1. Computer facilities should be provided to each country and the data analysis would be handled by the country teams. This would have the advantage of capacity building in each country, while allowing the National Teams to enrich the analysis with their intimate knowledge of the data gathered. It would have the disadvantage of being time consuming, given that most members involved in the data analysis would need training in the computer packages used.

2. The raw data, coded on the data entry sheets, should be analysed by a competent in-country computer firm according to criteria and guidelines set out by the Project Committee.

3. The raw data for each country should be analysed centrally in Nairobi and the analysed data returned to each country for use in the compilation of the final report.

    In terms of providing the maximum benefit to each of the four countries in terms of capacity building and experience in computer assisted analysis of data, the committee selected the first option. Consequently, the necessary computer hardware and software was provided to each country. In addition, the SPSS Data Analysis package was made available to each country. In-country training in the use of the computers and software were conducted by local expertise in Tanzania and Ghana. A training consultant was sent by the secretariat to carry out this training in Cameroon and Uganda.

    Coding sheets for all the variables and variable values were prepared by the FEMSA secretariat for both questionnaires and these were dispatched to the four National Coordinators. A common coding was agreed to be used by all four countries to make cross-country analysis of the data possible. Subsequently, all that data from the questionnaires were keyed into SPSS data files and the required analysis carried out.

NOTE: All of this data from the four countries are available and will be readily provided to researchers who wish to have access to the data. A full analysis of these data, providing a comparison between the responses across the four countries, will be provided at a later date.

 

APPENDIX A: QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS

1. NAME OF SCHOOL

2. YOUR SEX: 1. Female 2. Male (Circle one)

3. Number of years teaching experience

4. Your academic qualifications: (Circle the appropriate number)

1. Primary school

2. Secondary school

3. Higher secondary school

4. Other (Specify)

5. Your teaching qualification

 

Name of institution where you obtained this qualification

6. What classes do you teach?

7. What subjects do you teach?

8. Number of periods taught per week:

In what language do you teach Science and Mathematics?

10. Girls generally score lower marks in Mathematics in National Examinations than boys. By ticking the appropriate boxes indicate the FIVE most important reasons for this.

Girls fear Mathematics

Girls do not think Mathematics is important for their future

Because of household duties girls do not have enough time for homework

Girls are less determined than boys in solving difficult problems

Girls are less intelligent than boys

Girls do not ask questions when they do not understand

Girls cannot solve difficult problems on their own

Girls are brought up to believe that Mathematics is for boys

Girls do not pay attention during Mathematics lessons

The teaching approaches used do not help girls to understand Mathematics

Other (Specify)

11. Girls generally score lower marks in Science in National Examinations than boys. By ticking the appropriate boxes indicate the FIVE most important reasons for this.

Girls fear Science

Girls do not think Science is important for their future

Because of household duties girls do not have enough time for homework

Girls don't like doing experiments

Girls don't like writing reports after experiments and observations

Girls do not ask questions when they do not understand

Girls are not very good at practical work

Girls are brought up to believe that Science is for boys

Girls do not like setting up experiments

The teaching approaches used do not help girls to understand Science

Other (Specify

12. Below are 10 statements on how the performance of girls in Science could be improved. Rank the statements in order of importance by writing the numbers 1 to 10 in the boxes. For example, write 1 for the statement you think is the MOST IMPORTANT and 10 for the LEAST IMPORTANT.

Make the content of the Science syllabus more relevant to the needs of girls

Make Science teaching related to the everyday experiences of girls (cooking, farming, etc)

Encourage girls to do more experiments

Give girls more exercises, homework and tests

Group girls with boys when teaching Science

Give girls opportunities to take part in Science Fairs, Exhibitions and Competitions

Give girls more information on how Science will useful in their life after school

Use more teaching aids when teaching Science

Make teachers appreciate the differences that girls and boys bring to the learning of Science

Train teachers to cater for the needs of girls in the learning of Science

13. Below are 10 statements on how the performance of girls in Mathematics could be improved. Rank the statements in order of importance by writing the numbers 1 to 10 in the boxes. For example, write 1 for the statement you think is the MOST IMPORTANT and 10 for the LEAST IMPORTANT.

Make the content of the Mathematics syllabus more relevant to the needs of girls

Make Science teaching related to the everyday experiences of girls (buying, measuring,)

Give girls more opportunities to solve problems on their own

Give girls more exercises, homework and tests

Use a problem-solving approach when deriving formulae and methods of working questions

Give girls more practice in drawing diagrams and constructions

Give girls more information on how Mathematics will be useful in their life after school

Provide more individual diagnostic and remedial help for girls

Make teachers appreciate the differences that girls and boys bring to the learning of Maths

Train teachers to cater for the needs of girls in the learning of Mathematics

 

APPENDIX B: QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

1. SCHOOL_____________ CLASS______

2. SEX: 1. Female 2. Male (Circle one)

3. What work does your MOTHER do?___________________

4. What work does your FATHER do?____________________

5. Indicate what level of education your MOTHER and FATHER has by putting a tick in the right place.

Level of Education MOTHER FATHER
No Schooling
Primary School
Secondary School
Beyond Secondary School
Don't know

 

6. Do you like Mathematics? Yes No Tick one box.

7. Do you like Science? Yes No Tick one box.

8. Do you get private tuition in Mathematics? Yes No Tick one box.

9. Do you get private tuition in Science? Yes No Tick one box.

10. Put a tick in the box opposite the three topics and three operations you DO NOT LIKE in Mathematics.

Topics Operations

Whole Numbers Doing calculations

Fractions Solving problems with many steps

Decimals Drawing diagrams and graphs

Geometry Reading graphs

Percentages Measuring lengths and angles

Profit and Loss Rounding numbers

Areas and Volumes Using formulas and equations

Graphs Drawing constructions in Geometry

Algebra Reading tables Time

11. Read the following statements about Mathematics. Put a tick in the box under YES if you think the statement is true and under NO if you think the statement is not true.

 

YES - NO

1. Mathematics is more important for girls than for boys.

2. Mathematics is easy to learn.

3. Mathematics is interesting.

4. Mathematics is important for farmers.

5. Mathematics is important for housewives.

6. Mathematics is important for doctors.

7. You must be intelligent to learn Mathematics.

8. Boys are naturally better at Mathematics than girls.

9. Mathematics is useful in life outside school.

10. You need to be good in Mathematics to study Science.

 

12. Put a tick in the box opposite the three activities you DO NOT LIKE in Science.

Learning scientific names

Drawing diagrams

Handling living things

Doing experiments

Interpreting results of experiments and observations

Measuring accurately

Writing reports after experiments and observations

Other (Say what these are)

 

13. Read the following statements about Science. Put a tick in the box under YES if you think the

statement is true and under NO if you think the statement is not true.

 

YES - NO

1. Science is more important for girls than for boys.

2. Science is easy to learn.

3. Science is interesting.

4. Science is easier for boys than for girls.

5. Science is important for doing business.

6. Science is important for housewives.

7. You must be intelligent to learn Science.

8. Boys are naturally better at Science than girls.

9. Science helps in solving problems outside school.

10. Science is responsible for the destruction of the environment.

14. Who usually helps you with your homework in Mathematics and Science?

 

MATHEMATICS SCIENCE

1 Class teacher

2 Tuition teacher

3 Mother

4 Father

5 Sister

6 Brother

7 Other relative

8 Friend/Agemate

9 Nobody

 

15. If you have a difficulty in understanding what is being taught during a Mathematics or Science class, what do you do? Tick any THREE boxes.

Ask the teacher a question during class

Read your textbook or notes

Ask a classmate

Ask another friend

Ask the teacher after class

Keep quiet

 

16. What would you like to be when you leave school?

This dissemination booklet, The Questionnaires Used in the Primary School Studies, contains the actual questionnaires used by the FEMSA National Teams to gather data from primary school students and teachers in the four countries. Some small modifications were made in individual countries to suit local requirements. The booklet gives the rationale behind the questions posed, the difficulties encountered in the administration of the questionnaires and how these were surmounted by the FEMSA teams, the training and preparation undergone by the field researchers and the data analysis procedures used. It is hoped that the booklet will be of help to researchers who wish to gather similar data in their own countries.