Open exam result servers to believe the KNEC verdict?

Education CS Ezekiel Machogu chats with PS Belio Kipsand and TSC CEO Nancy Macharia after he announced the 2023 KCSE results at Moi Girls High School in Eldoret Uasin Gishu County on January 8, 2024. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

From the complaints over 2023 KCSE results, it is clear that there is a problem that needs to be addressed urgently.

In the 2022 results, issues were raised about schools that seemed to outperform themselves. This time it is the other way round, as some students and schools refuse the results. The complaints started immediately, with some candidates receiving two different results from the same portal. Complaints were raised over the misalignment of results across different subjects. We have seen the demos by students of Oruba Boys High School in Migori, where nearly all students got grade D.

We have also seen candidates and residents of Olereko High School in Transmara West go up in arms as the top student scored a D. Several people have expressed themselves on social media, including renowned comedian YY, who cannot fathom how his brother, who did not score below B in other exams, got a weak C.

There could be a lot more who have not found space and time to express their frustrations but will bear the consequences for the rest of their lives. Hopefully, all those with complaints will lodge them within the 30-day period.

However, the onus is on KNEC through the complaints tribunal not to brush off the allegations. It must not be lost that while the candidates sit the exam in cohorts, they will each bear their results individually, and thus every effort must be made to make sure each one carries an accurate result that can be verified from the examination slips. Better still, if the doubts persist, KNEC needs to provide a mechanism through which candidates can physically verify their marked slips.

If election ballots can be safely kept and recounted whenever a complaint arises, verifying exam slips should be easy. It is notable that the release of 2023 KCSE results marked a departure from timelines established by former CSs Fred Matiang’i and the late Prof George Magoha.

In the eras of the two, marking and release of results were hastened, and the reason given was that any delay gave room for manipulation. If that were the case, there is reason to believe some 2023 KCSE results were manipulated.

Previously, discussion on KCSE results has largely focused on cheating and leakages, with students scoring above their expectations and schools raising their mean averages exponentially.

This year, focus must shift to marking and aggregation. We witnessed this with KCPE results and now with KCSE. It is not normal for candidates to score similar marks or grades in one subject or have a uniform deviation. It is not normal that results in a school would completely defy the normal curve distribution. Before candidates walk into the exam room, they always know where they fall. Being a national exam, with the accompanying preparations and heightened concentration, they always hope to perform better than in their other exams.

The writer is anchor Radio Maisha