Grade Four and Standard Eight learners, who opened school yesterday, will be assessed from next Monday. The Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) released a circular detailing guidelines for teachers during preparation for the assessments, which will be administered and marked at the school level. The assessments will test the learners’ understanding of various subjects.
“Standard Eight and Grade Four assessments will be administered from October 19 to 23, 2020. Assessments for other classes will be conducted upon reopening of specific classes,” said Knec acting Chief Executive Mercy Karogo.
In the circular, Knec says the assessments will be considered as end of Term One tests, which were not done due to the coronavirus. The circular dated October 8 was sent to all headteachers of public and private schools. President Uhuru Kenyatta closed schools in March, this year, to curb the spread of coronavirus.
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This means that learners have been out of school for about six months, which presents devastating effects on quality learning. From Monday, all Grade Four pupils will be assessed in English, Kiswahili and Mathematics. Environmental activities and Science and Technology will also be assessed.
“This will be a combined paper assessing all strands, from environmental activities (for Grade 1-3) and science and technology (for Grade Four, term one),” said Karogo.
Standard Eight pupils will be assessed in all KCPE subjects. “For all subjects or learning areas, assessment items will be drawn from previous classes/grades and term one of the current class/grade,” said Karogo.
This means that for example, Standard Eight candidates will be assessed on Standard One to Seven work, and what they covered in the term. Schools will be supported to print and administer the assessment tools, according to the plan. The assessment programme is part of the Sh1.5 billion Global Partnership for Education (GPE) boost towards schools reopening preparations. The Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) and Knec are set to benefit from the grant, which the World Bank will supervise. All assessments will be done in schools where teachers will mark and upload the scores onto the Knec portal.
“The assessments will be administered at school level as per the guidelines and assessment schedules provided by Knec and following regulations upon which administration of assessments/tests is anchored,” said Karogo.
Knec directs schools that the reliability and integrity of the outcome of the assessments will depend on headteachers’ and teachers.
“You are called upon to ensure that learners are provided with a natural environment to guard against extraneous variables that could affect their performance,” said Karogo.
The exams agency is expected to develop administrative tools to guide assessments at school level. After the administration of the assessments, Knec will verify and validate the scores already uploaded by the teachers and also conduct data analysis and interpretation. Knec will also generate a report on the findings and assessment results, which will be shared with stakeholders. Karogo said that the administration of the assessments will be greatly informed by the monitoring learner progress (MLP) that was done in Grade Three last year.
Once all the primary and secondary school learners report to school, Knec says that the assessments will be extended to all classes. Grade One to Three will be assessed on fundamental literacy and numeracy, that is, English activities, Kiswahili activities and Mathematics activities. Standard Five and Six will be assessed in English, Kiswahili, Mathematics and Science. Standard Seven pupils, expected to sit national examinations next year, will also be assessed in all KCPE subjects.
“The overarching aim of the assessment is to inform on possible learning loss during the Covid-19 pandemic period and suggest interventions to be put in place to address the learning gaps,” said Karogo.
She also said that the exercise will provide a baseline on which interventions towards improved learning outcomes during the post-Covid-19 pandemic can be hinged. Overall, Knec says the assessments will provide reliable and valid data for policy-making processes.