Grade Three assessment critical to CBC success

Thursday, September 19th, 2019 00:00 |
Kagoto Primary School Grade Three pupils, donning homemade sack aprons and improvised brooms and rakes, clean up Heshima market in Bahati, Nakuru county, yesterday. It was part of Environmental Studies assessment under the Competency-Based Curriculum. Photo/PD/Raphael Munge

Janet Nzisa

The paradigm shift from the 8-4-4 system—a theory-based curriculum—to the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) has had its own share of challenges, since the roll-out commenced last year. 

The setbacks  range from teachers’ unions fighting the  CBC training boycott to rigidity from the public. 

The challenges, however, have not been a deterrent to the implementation of this learner-centred curriculum which aims at churning out all-rounded prolific, ethical and skilled individuals.  

To ascertain its effectiveness, the Education ministry, through the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec), prepared an assessment task— Monitoring Learner Progress (MLP)—for Grade Three learners. 

It is quite commendable that some tasks, such as a market clean-up exercise, has literally driven learners out of the classroom environment  and they have had to improvise the required cleaning tools and materials. 

Notably, the targeted core competencies of communication and collaboration have  been exhibited in this exercise besides the need to live in a clean and healthy environment. 

Parental engagement has also been demonstrated with parents being  involved to provide the required locally-available material to make cleaning tools . This is in tandem with the Third Schedule of Basic Education Act 2013.  

Pictures of enthusiastic  learners engaged in clean up exercises have elicited mixed reactions among Kenyans.

Nevertheless, the learners are simply being assessed on the mastered concepts, competencies and targeted values outlined in the new curriculum. 

The CBC like any process  will have teething problems at the initial stages.  And as the old adage goes, Rome was not built in a day.

Indeed, such exercises inculcate skills to enable learners make positive and meaningful contribution to the community and ultimately, a responsible citizen.

 As a matter of fact, education stakeholders are cognisant of the challenges being faced by teachers to make this assessment a success.

For instance, some teachers are forced to walk for kilometers, to access  cyber cafes to download and print the assessment materials, yet no vote head has been allocated for that. 

For instance, some schools lack essential instructional materials such as the chalkboard, yet teachers are expected to go an extra mile to make the assessment a success.  

MLP is not meant to determine learners who progress to Grade Four. Its essence is to improve learner’s potential in different learning areas.

Teachers are, therefore, compelled to exercise a high sense of integrity; owing to the fact that, every individual child has nuggets of wisdom that need to be tapped early enough in life.  

It should be borne in mind that MLP is not an examination, but an assessment of great significance. 

Knec’s feedback on the exercise will enable teachers to reflect on the entire CBC implementation process and do the necessary positive adjustment.

The council’s report will also be relied on to work on the learners’ weaknesses and reinforce their strengths. This will in due time, enable our learners actualise their future dreams based on their strengths and talent. - The writer is teacher in Machakos county                                                                      

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