Kiambu and Nairobi counties accounted for nearly one-third of the 'A' grade produced in last year's Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results, analysis by The Standard shows.
Kiambu had a record 212 candidates with 'A' grade followed by Nairobi (133) while Trans Nzoia and Nandi tied for third place with 52 each.
The results had a whiff of controversy after schools in Gusiiland put on a stellar performance, leading to unverified claims that two counties had produced more than 900 candidates with a straight A.
Our analysis, however, reveals that Kisii and Nyamira had a total of 81 candidates with 'A' grade: Kisii had 51 of the top students while Nyamira had 30.
Debate on the validity of the exam results is not about to die down, with the Senate Education committee understood to be scheduling an inquiry into whether some schools had an unfair advantage in the tests.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has maintained that no test papers were leaked. He has lauded the ministry for putting in place "tough measures that ensured malpractices were pre-empted."
Speaking during the exam period, Mr Machogu said that the responsibility of guarding against cheating had been left to the individuals in charge of the tests "thereby ensuring none of them could put their jobs at risk through condoning irregularities."
Back to those who scored the top grade, Siaya had 72 students, Migori had 61, while Kisumu had 59.
Mang'u High School in Kiambu had the highest number of candidates in the country with 'A' grade, at 82.
Mang’u, which produced the top candidate in the 2021 exam, posted a mean score of 10.366 in last year's exam.
Alliance High, also in Kiambu, had 72 candidates scoring the top grade. The boys posted a mean score of 10.2, while their sister school, Alliance Girls, had 40 students with 'A' grade.
In Nairobi, The Kenya High School recorded 41 'A' grade, two more than Nairobi School which had 39. Pangani Girls had 20 while Starehe Boys Centre and School had 10.
All the 52 'A' grade in Nandi came from Kapsabet High School, which managed a mean score of 10.03.
In neighbouring Uasin Gishu, Moi Girl’s High School Eldoret had 20 candidates with the top grade.
In Trans Nzoia, St Antony’s Boys School-Kitale had 41 candidates with A plain, while St Brigid's Girls High School-Kiminini had 11 top students.
Moi High School Kabarak led in Nakuru, producing 33 candidates with A plain.
In Kisii, Cardinal Otunga High School woke up from years of slumber to produce 28 top students while Kisii School had six fewer, at 22.
The top school in the country, Nyambaria Boys High School, had a mean score of 10.87. It had 33 students with A plain.
Maranda High School in Siaya had 69 candidates with A plain.
In Nyeri, Kagumo High School posted 19 A's while in the next county, Muranga High School recorded 19 A's.
When Machogu released the KCSE exam results on January 20, he said the 1,146 students who obtained 'A' grade accounted for 0.13 per cent of all the 881,416 candidates.
In his statement, Machogu said that in the 2021 KCSE exam, 1,138 or 0.14 per cent of candidates had an A plain.
In last year's exam, the number of candidates with the minimum university entry qualification of grade C+ and above rose to 173,345 compared with 145,776 in 2021, the Cabinet secretary said.
The number of candidates with a mean grade of D+ and above in last year's exam stood at 522,588 compared with 442,251 in 2021.
While the quality of grades improved, Machogu said more boys scored the top 'A' grade (875) compared to girls (271).
“Candidates who scored A- were 4,445 boys and 1,962 females, while those who scored B+ were 9,578 boys and 6,104 girls,” the Cabinet secretary said.
He added: “The number of male candidates who scored B was higher than that of female candidates. Out of the 31,303 who scored the grade, 17,783 were boys and 13,520 were girls.”
Some 27,245 male candidates and 21,474 females scored B-, while 36,950 boys and 33,138 girls scored C+.
Statistics by the examinations body showed that out of the 95,154 candidates who scored C, 49,191 were girls while 45,963 were boys.
Of the total C- (minus) scored in the exam, 62,599 were female and 56,469 were male. Some 70,238 female candidates and 64,783 male candidates scored D+, while 79,935 girls and 75,545 boys managed 'D' grade.
But more boys scored 'E' grade, where out of 30,822 E’s recorded, 18,062 were males and 12,760 were females.
Machogu said the number of candidates who got 'E' grade in 2022 declined significantly from 46,151 in 2021.
"This clearly leads us to conclude that most of the candidates scored grades of higher quality.
"All the remaining candidates are eligible to join Tvet institutions, teacher training colleges, medical training colleges and other tertiary learning institutions for various courses,” he said.
Machogu said the government was keen to ensure that the credibility and authenticity of qualifications and certificates from education and training institutions remained of high quality.