A new study has linked lack of proper standard to measure learning among Kenyan students to their poor performance in national examinations.

Over 300 national examination chiefs from about 20 countries say most Kenyan schools compare their performances to previous results or those from other schools to judge improvement.

The lead researcher, Musau Kithuka of Laikipia University campus said lack of proper criteria and standard score is hurting the education standards.

Knec CEO Paul Wasanga (left) takes over the presidency of Association for Educational Assessment in Africa from Prof Dibu Ojerinde, in Nairobi last week. [PHOTO: MARTIN MUKANGU/STANDARD]

The Standards Setting in the Teaching and Learning in Kenya School System 2010, says teachers compare their performance to previous results or to those from other schools to judge their improvement.

“Comparing previous results or even results of best performing schools is not a good indicator of improvement. There should be a standard gauge for schools and students to measure against,” he said.

The report challenged Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) and the Teachers Service commission (TSC) to set a quantitative standard of achievement to guide the teaching and learning process.

The study reveals teachers lack the ability to detect whether learning has taken place before introducing a new concept to students. Instead, they simply teach to cover the syllabus.

“When a teacher is thorough in teaching a concept and all pupils in class are able to display a minimum of mastery level put at 62.5 per cent, then he or she should tell whether sufficient learning took place,” he said.



The report faulted efforts by quality assurance and standards agencies. “These officials check if the syllabus has been covered, but not whether there was learning. It is one thing to teach and cover the syllabus and another to learn,” he said.

This follows a study by Uwezo Kenya, which revealed Class Four pupils can hardly do class two work.

Releasing the report to examination boards chief executive officers, researchers and university lecturers, Kithuka said other than improved emphasis on lower classes, teachers must set their own standards.

“Mathematics concepts are hierarchical. If a pupil misses the first step even if the syllabus is completed he will not pass because he never learnt,” he said.

The survey noted that 72 per cent of secondary school teachers and some 52 per of cent primary teachers emphasize on examinations than the learning.

“Statistics show the time needed for teaching and learning is misappropriated to testing.”