How exams will look like for Kenyan children

President Uhuru Kenyatta at KICC in Nairobi County when he presided over the launch of the report on the Implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum on February 09, 2021. [PSCU, Standard]

Last-minute intervention by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha retained KCPE examinations, to fit in the broader plan of reforming assessments under the new education system.

The plan is to have learners accumulate marks scored at school level and also sit external tests administered by Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) for objectivity and certification.

There was a feeling that doing away with KCPE and adopting pure school-based assessment would lead to biased scores by some teachers.

It also emerged that learners graduating from Kenya’s education system may face obstacles when pursuing education in other countries if they did not sit a final examination at the end of primary education.

The Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) task force report has recommended, under the 2-6-3-3-3-education system, a mix of school-based assessments and national examinations.

Under the new plan, teachers will conduct classroom assessments for Grades 1 to 3.  The learners will however sit a standardised school test at Grade 3, which will be scored by teachers and feedback given to learners by tutors in their respective schools.

Annual weighted mark

However, schools will submit the results for each learner to Knec to facilitate analysis of achievement of competencies at national level.

The Knec report generated at this stage will be sent back to schools to guide teachers who will receive Grade 3 learners transitioning to Grade 4.

The report, which was received by President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday, recommends school-based assessments for Grade 4, 5 and 6 learners with an annual weighted mark of 20 per cent.

The annual marks recorded by teachers will be sent to Knec and will form part of final marks at the end of primary school.

National examinations, which will be administered by Knec at the end of Grade 6, will only constitute 40 per cent.

“There was fear that some schools may tamper with internal scores to project schools as high performers. But the external marks by Knec will standardise the scores and also bring in element of objectivity,” said a task force member. All learners, at the end of primary school will transit to Junior Secondary School.

The report says that at this level of education, learners will also be subjected to formative and summative tests at the end of the cycle.

“The Junior Secondary School assessment will facilitate placement in Senior Secondary School Pathways and Tracks, while the Senior Secondary School assessment will facilitate transition into Tertiary and University Education and Training,” reads the report.

CBC task force chairperson Fatuma Chege said the 10,359 secondary schools will host Junior Secondary Schools, most of which will be day schools. Senior Secondary School learners will have the opportunity to do dual certification by enrolling for TVET qualifications, depending on their abilities and career interests.

The president said the new pathways will exploit learners’ imagination, creativity, solve problems, use critical thinking and apply digital literacy.

“We do not want our children to be bound to systems of learning that have rigid histories and pre-determined ends,” Kenyatta said.

The Head of State has created a new State Department to oversea implementation of the reforms. “In this regard, to ensure effective implementation of these recommendations, and other curriculum reforms, I have on February 9 set my hand and presidential seal and established a new State Department for Implementation of Curriculum Reforms vested in the Ministry of Education,” he said.

The report however hinted at transition challenges.

This is because learners who, in 2022, will be in Grade 6 under the 2-6-6-3 system and those in Standard 8 under the 8-4-4 education system will concurrently transition to Junior Secondary Grade 7 and Secondary Form 1, respectively.

“For effectiveness of transition from primary to secondary education of the CBC and 8-4-4 cohorts and domiciling of Junior Secondary School in the Basic Education structure, critical issues that will influence the double transitions need to be addressed,” reads report.

The president directed universities to be ready to receive the CBC learners by 2029.