Standardization of KCSE exam results- 2021/2022
The Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) standardizes the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination scores every year.
KCSE Examination standardization is a mathematical technique that removes variable components from test scores so that candidates can be compared on an equal basis.
In other words, it’s a method of assigning equal weight to each test’s findings, regardless of the number of questions or the amount of time allotted to complete them.
An A in Mathematics, for example, is significantly lower than an A in History and Government.
Why Knec standardizes KCSE candidates’ Raw cores to Standard Scores
In a Knec examination, standardization of raw scores to standard scores is a procedure that entails altering the raw scores for each paper to account for differences in difficulty and the extent to which scores scatter/ spread between the top and poorest performing candidates (standard deviation).
The difficulty of the papers is quantified in terms of the candidates’ mean raw scores during the standardization process, while the differences in scatter are measured in terms of the standard deviation.
A candidate’s raw score is the mark earned before normalization. It is the candidate’s original mark in a test, i.e. the number of correctly answered questions.
For example, if a candidate receives 90 out of 100 on a test, the candidate’s raw mark is 90.
A test’s mean raw score is calculated by dividing the total marks of the candidates by the number of people who took the test.
The number of units that a score differs from the mean score is used to calculate the standard deviation.
This process is done by using a computerized system.
In order to create a standardized score, a reference table called a ‘look-up table’ is created for each test paper that is written and the table is specific to that test paper because it takes account of the difficulty of the paper.
The minimum standardized score is derived from the look-up table and the actual number will vary, depending on the average score of all those taking the test.
The standard scores are a measure of relative performance and have the ability to tell us how a candidate has performed in comparison to the other candidates.
These scores are essential when results from different papers must be combined to give an overall total as is the case in the KCSE examination and are useful for comparing relative performance of candidates from subject to subject or from year to year.
Once the raw scores have been standardized, the cut-off scores for Grade A to E are identical for all subjects and therefore maintained at the same level from year to year.
The standardized scores are then used for reporting candidates’ performance.
Does standardization affect the candidate’s position?
When the scores are standardized the relative positions of the candidates remain unchanged; the top candidate in each subject still remains at the top.
The standard scores are essential if scores from several examination papers are to be added to give a total score. It is therefore desired that each paper should contribute equally to the total score.
Standardized test scores are scores that are obtained from a test that is administered and scored in a consistent, or “standard” manner.
Standardized tests are designed in such a way that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent and are administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner