Students in grades four and five will take a national test at the end of the month as part of the continuous assessment that will determine their final grade when they graduate from primary school.
The assessment tools will be uploaded by the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) on January 29, and the learners will complete the exercise from January 31 to February 4.
Since the learners took practical and project-based tests between October and December of last year, this will be the theory portion of the assessment. The assessment will account for 20% of the final grade at the end of Grade Six.
“Schools are … expected to download the assessment tools and instructions and then administer, score and upload the assessment outcomes on the Knec portal,” a circular by the examinations body’s chief executive officer, Mr David Njeng’ere, reads.
Headteachers must submit the results by February 21. Learners in Grades Four, Five, and Six will complete three continuous assessments under the competency-based assessment (CBA) framework.
Each level’s maximum score will be 20%, with the remaining 40% coming from a summative assessment at the end of Grade Six.
Grade Five students will participate in the first such exercise in November of this year. The cumulative total will be used to place students in the junior secondary in January of the following year.
Mathematics, English, Kiswahili or Kenyan Sign Language, science and technology, agriculture, music, art and craft, social studies, religious education, physical and health education, and home science will be assessed.
Communication, social, and literacy skills, daily living skills and religious education, sensory-motor integration and creative activities, and numeracy, environmental, and psychomotor activities will be assessed for learners with special needs.
“Headteachers are requested to keep all records generated from the exercise,” Dr Njenge’re said.
During the same time period, Grade Three students will take a nationwide assessment. This, however, will not be factored into their final grade and will only be used to track their progress in learning. They will be evaluated only in English and mathematics.
Knec has not provided a timetable for the assessment because they are supposed to be flexible in order to accommodate the unique circumstances of each school.
“The aim is not compare one child with another. We will give teachers the standardised assessment tools and scoring guides,” he said.
During previous assessments, he dismissed claims made by headteachers that their administration was costly due to high printing costs.
Implementation of the CBA can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. Any public school that was in existence before 2017 was provided with digital devices and doesn’t have to spend a coin on printing,” he said.
According to the CEO, some principals download the tools and then upload them to digital devices, whereas others use LCD (liquid crystal display) projectors for their students.
He revealed that the Ministry of Education is collaborating to install internet connectivity in 1,000 public schools in outlying areas.
Furthermore, a strategic plan released late last year proposes that Knec conduct training and sensitization of stakeholders on their respective roles in the CBA’s implementation.
This resulted from a perception among key stakeholders of a lack of understanding of the new assessment model.
Parents and teachers are among those who are accustomed to traditional examinations, grading, and ranking of students, which have been replaced by descriptive assessment of learning.
Knec intends to invest Sh2.7 billion in infrastructure to ensure the security and integrity of its services, and Sh865 million in digital infrastructure and services, according to the strategy. It intends to purchase and install cyber security surveillance tools, as well as upgrade existing ICT systems to allow for integration.
“With full rollout of CBA, Knec will be transitioning into digitised and automated business platforms that are exposed to data breach and cyber risks. The current ICT infrastructure will not be able to meet the requirements of CBA,” the council says.
Another high-risk factor identified by the council is an increase in examination malpractice. Despite the fact that strict measures were put in place in 2016 to combat rampant exam cheating, malpractices have increased in the last two years.
KNEC said that with advances in technology, there is still a possibility of an increase in examination malpractice. The measures put in place to ensure the credibility of examinations must be reviewed on a regular basis in order to remain effective.