Teachers, parents want Knec to scrap the KPSEA grading system

Parents and teachers have raised concerns over the recently released Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) results.

Discontent stems from the 60-40 percentage split between school-based assessments and the national sit-in exam, which parents say disadvantages rural schools and disproportionately affects student progression.

Parents Association Trans Nzoia branch chair Martin Waliaula said the results had caused confusion among parents, pupils, and teachers due to the assessment formula.

Waliaula proposed administering end-year exams in every grade for smoother transition.

“It also raises key questions about the assessment fairness and effectiveness. One can add specific details or adjust the focus based on your specific requirements,” he said.

Creating another hurdle

Philis Nelima, a mother of two from Namwichula, Trans Nzoia, lamented that her daughter studied hard but got low KPSEA score, which doesn’t reflect her potential.

“Is this really about assessing competency, or just creating another hurdle for our children?” questioned Nelima.

“It becomes a mockery. Without proper assessment and accountability, how can we ensure true learning and preparedness for higher grades?” posed Roy Sandui, a teacher in Trans Nzoia.

Sandui urged the Ministry of Education to re-evaluate the assessment formula and prioritize effective school-based support, particularly in underprivileged areas.

In Meru County, Mutuma Thuranira is disappointed with KPSEA grading system and wants it scrapped. 

“I have a son who sat for the examination, and now he is in grade 7. The exam is a total confusion without proper education structures,” said Thuranira, a former deputy head teacher of a secondary school.

Bakari Mugambi, a health worker in Meru who also has a child sitting KPSEA, wants the exams scrapped saying parents have no idea how the students are graded.

“Parents are not aware of what to expect after junior secondary,” he said.

Mugambi claims the government has no adequate materials, books and funding to successfully implement KPSEA. In Nyeri county, Temple Road Primary School head teacher Joseph Kilafi hailed the KPSEA results.

“The school had 106 candidates who sat for the exam, and the performance was okay,” Kilafi said.

He noted that the exam had 11 subjects, though some were optional.

“I appreciate the exam it’s similar to what is tested during the class assessment as it’s what is in the syllabus,” he said.

However, Kilafi lamented that since the release of the results, the system has been down, and some results are yet to be downloaded.

“The descriptors for performance level include Exceeding Expectations, Meeting Expectation, Approaching Expectation and Below Expectation,” he said.

In Murang’a County, Isaac Njoroge claimed that the government has failed to rank the candidates despite the preparation and funding involved.

Njoroge, a resident of Muthithi, said the parents expected Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) to rank the candidates instead of turning the exercise into an assessment. 

He argued that the release of the results when the learners had proceeded to the upper class was designed to demean the examination.

“This is ridiculous as the parents during the examination period were forced to ensure their children were in examination centres early,” said Njoroge.

In Western, most education stakeholders termed KPSEA an unfortunate event that adds no value to the education system in the country.

“This exam is a product of CBC, which I believe was implemented in a rush without consulting the education stakeholders. I am happy that many people agree that the test is of no value, just like the entire CBC system that some of us, including myself, were charged for not supporting,” said Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary Kakamega Central branch Tom Ingolo.

Ingolo said that the lack of consensus before a major shift in the education system was hurting the sector and exposing it to ridicule.

Kakamega Primary School head teacher Dickson Anyangu, however, lauded the test, saying it helps teachers to gauge how the learners are performing.

He said the test also helps the young candidates to learn how to cope with the pressure of national exams.

In Kisumu County, most parents and learners said they are yet to access KPSEA results. Mercy Ochieng, said the CBC curriculum was not well thought out and would affect the performance of students.

Kuppet officials in Kisumu cited loopholes in the assessment, saying it is affecting the quality of education and achievement of educational goals.

The union’s Executive Secretary General Zablon Awange said the attempt to eliminate ranking will cost the sector dearly in the long run. “We are breeding a generation that might never take any exam seriously to the detriment of their career,” said Awange.

He said the assessment is a waste of public funds through hiring examiners, printing, invigilation and marking.

[Reports by Phares Mutembei, Purity Mwangi, Boniface Gikandi, Benard Lusigi, Martin Ndiema, Sharon Owino and Gilbert Kimutai]