An Assessment of the causes of poor academic performance of secondary school students in Physics
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The study sought to assess the causes of poor academic performance of secondary school students in physics. In order to seek answers to the stated objectives, this study utilized both quantitative and qualitative research designs. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected concurrently. A total of 40 learners, 8 physics teachers and 4 HODs were selected from urban schools in Bindura district. Convenience sampling was employed to select the schools while purposive sampling was used to select physics teachers and the Heads of Departments that were actually involved in the teaching and learning physics. Finally, random sampling technique was used to select the learners for the study. The school environmental factors identified included inadequate teaching and learning materials, and poor infrastructure and facilities. The teacher factors that were found to contribute to the low academic performance were teacher method of teaching physics, inability to complete the syllabi and inadequate homework assigned to pupils. The learners‟ characteristics found significant were negative attitudes towards physics, absenteeism, and lack of assistance with studies at home. Home conditions or parental support variables causing pupils to perform poorly academically were their inability to provide textbooks and supplementary readers, lack of parental involvement low. The study has practical significance as it sheds light on the factors causing low academic performance of learners in physics at secondary school. It was recommended among others that there is the need ito improve parents‟ attitudes, intensify supervision of teachers and institute incentive packages, sensitise and motivate the pupils, recognise individual differences in education and encourage guidance and counselling services for learners.