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Reforms in exams administration now bearing fruit

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019 07:24 |
Dr Belio Kipsang

You’re a teacher. You know how to help people learn hard stuff. Do that—Professor Rob Coe

Last week, Education Principal  secretary Dr Belio Kipsang, expressed satisfaction with this year’s national examinations— Kenya Certificate of  Primary Education(KCPE), which was completed last week, and ongoing Kenya Certificate  of Secondary Education(KCSE). 

The PS, who  was witnessing collection of  exam material at the Deputy Commissioner’s Office in Kisumu last week, observed that the level of anxiety among candidates was noticeably lower than in the last three years.

He was spot on because the  improved confidence and corresponding reduction in anxiety in the learners are linked to the wide-ranging reforms in the administration of national exams.

First, teachers, parents, students and other stakeholders now know that there is no prior access to exam questions by unauthorised persons. Students now access examinations scripts minutes before the particular examinations paper is done. All cards are on the table. There is a level playing field for all students, schools, teachers and parents having an interest in the outcome the national examinations. 

Teachers, parents and students also now know that one does not need to score an A to be deemed bright or qualified for post-secondary education, training or work. They  further know that cheating in examinations is an albatross around the necks of students. Those who cheat carry this burden their consciences in their entire lives even if they escape detection now.  

The education fraternity now knows that grades on a piece of paper mean nothing if a student does not have the aptitudes that the grade designates. The world is likely to find out the truth if there is no correspondence between what the grade says and the depth, breadth and sophistication of knowledge, skills and attitudes of the person who possesses it.

Thanks to the surgery the government did on administration of national examinations, students are now—comparatively speaking—studying well ahead of exams. Focus on the curriculum, teaching and learning imply that the students are being exposed to the content. It means instruction they are getting is geared toward a specific body of knowledge or a specific set of cognitive skills the curriculum embody and which is testable in an exam.

And to buttress the fact that reforms have taken root, Belio advised KCPE candidates to  give their best in line with the level of preparation and understanding of the subject matter.

“Don’t be intimidated by anybody that you should get these number of marks”. 

Examinations cheating in the past, created situations where some students got grades that did not reflect their true competence or potential. They consequently had difficulties undertaking certain courses because beyond the grade qualifying them into the disciplines, they had nothing. Having cheated, they did not have the foundational knowledge and skills to understand or follow instruction in the discipline they had been admitted into.

The strict administration of the national examinations is now yielding authentic results for learners. 

The grades largely reflect the actual learning students have had and can now undertake secondary and post-secondary education and work without fear. The consciences of the students are now be clear as well as those of parents and all other stakeholders in the exam process.

—The writer is  the Communications Officer, Education  ministry

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