Why KCPE results will be out in two weeks

KCPE candidates at Karnee primary school in Mochongoi, Baringo south go for a break on March 8, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has said the results for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams will be out in two weeks.

Prof Magoha said marking of the scripts for the 1.2 million candidates started on the first day and will be completed in due course.

If so, this will be the second year KCPE results are released within two weeks of completion of the tests.

“If we delay we shall get to that time but do not be surprised if we complete a little bit earlier,” said Magoha.

The CS was speaking at Kamkunji Sub-County container pick-up point in Nairobi during the last day of the tests.

Sources at Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) revealed that marking of multiple-choice questions has been made easier by the acquisition of the modern Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) which electronically scores the papers.

How it happens

The OMR is the process of capturing marked data from candidates’ answer sheets using specialised scanning. 

The machines work with a dedicated scanning device that shines a beam of light on the paper.

The contrasting reflection at predetermined positions on a page is then used to detect marked areas as they reflect less light than the blank areas of the paper.

A senior Knec official told The Standard that examination results were previously delayed because of manual verification of results.

With the new machines, scripts are marked in batches of 100 and 200 sheets, unlike the previous technology, which took many hours.

In an earlier interview, Magoha said the old machines the council had been using were nearly 20 years old and had become obsolete.

“This was the reason results for previous years took long to be compiled and eventually released. But this time, results will be accurate and precise,” Magoha said.

He said that the old machines had a high degree of errors, which lowered efficiency in marking and releasing of results.

The OMR machines have improved accuracy during marking and reduced human interaction with candidates’ results, said Magoha.

Insiders reveal that the new marking machine was fine-tuned to also speed up the tallying of Kiswahili Insha and English Composition marks, which were previously done manually by examiners.

The two papers are still marked manually. However, tallying of marks is no longer done through physical counts.

Under the OMR machines, the marked scripts are scanned to verify the marks in record time compared to the previous years when tallying was done manually.

After marking the Insha and Composition scripts, the examiners will pass over the papers to the new machine, which will do the electronic tallying of marks in record time.

Besides curbing cheating, examination officials said they are also banking on the improved efficiency in marking to release KCPE results earlier than in the past.

The use of OMR is also among other security measures that will improve the accuracy and credibility of the results.

Magoha said the results would be transmitted in real-time to the command centre.

“After every day’s marking exercise, the results will be streamed immediately to the command centre where they will be automatically incorporated with the ones that will have been compiled by the OMR machines,” he said.

According to him, the multiple-choice answer sheets will strictly be marked at Mitihani House in Nairobi, using the OMR machines.

This means there will be minimal time left for examiners to interact with the already marked sheets thus reducing the possibilities of manipulation.

Last year, 10 centres were used to mark English Composition and Kiswahili Insha scripts.