Fresh bid to stop mass exam failure

Candidates sitting this year’s national examinations may have to double their efforts to score better grades after a new Government report revealed declining performance in the tests.

Candidates sitting this year’s national examinations may have to double their efforts to score better grades after a new Government report revealed declining performance in the tests.

It emerged that for the past seven years, performance in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams has been dropping.

This means that candidates sitting this year’s national examinations must work harder to post quality grades if the trend is to be reversed.

The National Education Sector Strategic Plan (NESSP), to be launched today by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, paints a grim picture of the national examinations.

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The report, which also proposes policy priorities, programmes and strategies, suggests an ambitious Sh4 trillion budget to correct the trend between 2018 and 2022.

“The projected cost is based on the ambitious increment in enrolment at all levels coupled with the activities identified to strengthen the system for quality service delivery,” reads the report.

The revelations of the shocking trend come just two weeks to the start of the examinations.

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Some 1.8 million candidates will sit the KCPE and KCSE exams. Of these, 1,088,986 will sit KCPE which will be conducted between October 29 and 31.

Another 699,745 will sit KCSE exam to be conducted between October 21 and November 27.

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“KCPE national mean score remained slightly above 50 per cent in the past seven years, characterised by poor performance in English composition,” reads the report.

The report also reveals that the number of candidates achieving a mean grade of C+ (the minimum university entry grade) and above has been decreasing.

In addition, the report says majority of KCSE candidates have continued to score grades that cannot allow them to proceed to higher education or even secure gainful employment.

“For instance, during the academic years (2016 and 2017), more than half of the candidates obtained grades D and below, which almost disqualifies them from pursuing any professional course,” reads report.

The number of candidates who scored A rose from 142 in 2017 to 315 in the 2018 KCSE examination. Overall, the number of candidates with minimum university entry qualification of grade C+ and above was 90,377 compared to 70,073 in the 2017 KCSE examination.

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The latest data support recent Ministry of Education findings that noted a trend of poor examination grades.

An analysis of KCSE performance between 2014 and 2016, for instance, reveals a trend of poor grades, with more candidates posting Ds and Es. In 2014, for example, some 3,042 candidates scored a mean grade of A.

And in 2015, the number reduced to 2,685. The number drastically dropped to only 141 candidates in 2016 when the Government streamlined management of national examinations.

Data from Ministry of Education, produced by the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards, show that between 2014 and 2016, some 557,911 posted grade D and E.

In 2014, for instance, some 128,885 scored grade D and below. In 2015, some 133,885 candidates scored similar grades with the highest number – 295,463 – of poor grades recorded in 2016.

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And for university entry grade of C+, the year 2014 recorded the highest number with some 159,370 candidates posting the grade. In 2015, the number went up to 169,492 but declined to 88,929 in 2016.

The report demonstrates the quality and relevance of education based on findings of Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) assessments conducted in Grade Three and Form Two.

Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) has been conducting Early Grade Mathematics Assessment for Grade Two and National Assessment System for Monitoring Learner Achievement (NASMLA) for Grade Three since 2018.

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