KNEC Faces Critics Over Multiple Choice Grade 6 Exams and Eradication of Composition, Insha Tests
The assessment of the pioneer class of learners under the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), is facing headwinds with the national examiner opting to change the format and structure of the examinations.
Learners who will in December sit the national assessment to be known as Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA), will now use multiple choices instead of the original idea of structured questions.
Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) is said to have taken the decision due to lack of finances and logistics involved in the assessment process, particularly marking of the examinations.
Knec is also said to be mulling whether to remove English composition and Kiswahili Insha from Grade 6 final national assessment.
Sources within Knec revealed that use of structured questions would require massive resources, both financial and manpower in marking, unlike multiple choices that are handled by computers.
Besides the huge number of teachers who would be required for marking, the process would also have taken a longer period before the candidates get the results.
Currently, all subjects, save for English composition and Kiswahili insha, are marked by computers.
Teachers and educationists have now raised eyebrows over the change of the format, which they say has watered down the main objective of CBC , which was to test the learners’ ability in thinking, analytical skills creativity and problem solving.
Contacted, Knec Chief Eexecutive Officer David Njeng’ere declined to comment.
“I am currently out of the country on official duty, allow me to give you a comprehensive response when I return next week,” Njeng’ere said.
Dr Evelyn Jepkemei, an expert in education policy blames the apparent confusion over KPSEA on lack of adequate preparations.
“Knec does not have enough resources to mark open-ended examinations. The form of assessment that they are now resorting to is different altogether and assesses different abilities from structuredquestions,” Jepkemei says.
Another educationist, Alex Majani- a retired Deputy Director of Education says the abrupt change of the format by Knec is a clear indication that the government is not fully ready for the change of education system.
“The compositeness of such assessment needed investment in human resources, but we did not. It is also sad to note that teachers have been left to spectate on issues they needed to prosecute and give guidance on,” Majani observes.
A recent report by the Budget and Appropriations Committee tabled before the National Assembly, blamed poor funding and heavy workload for the slow implementation of CBC. The report decried the low allocation for the estimated 1.6 million Grade Six learners who will transition to Junior Secondary School (JSS) under the 2022/23 budget.
Revelations about change of the format comes only a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta defended the implementation of CBC as a transformative system of education during his 10-year reign in leadership.
Speaking during Makadara Day celebrations on Wednesday, the President said the roll-out of the curriculum that took place in 2017 has seen significant milestones in the education docket, contrary to the previous systems.
The pioneer CBC cohort is scheduled to sit for the final assessment between November 28 and November 30.
The candidates will be tackling two papers in a day starting 8.30am. The second paper will be starting at 11am. There will be no examinations in the afternoon, according to Knec’s schedule.
On the first day, students will sit for Mathematics and Mathematics (Large Print) tests, which will take one hour and 20 minutes, while Mathematics (Braille)
will take one hour and 50 minutes.
English and English (Large Print), will take one hour while English (Hearing Impaired), and English (Braille) will last 20 minutes more.
Integrated Science tests will take one hour and 40 minutes. Integrated Science (Large Print) and Integrated Science (Braille) exams will take two hours and 10 minutes.
The learners will tackle Kiswahili and Kenyan Sign Language tests after the break. The exams will last for 1 hour. Kiswahili (Braille) will take one hour and 20 minutes. The last day will see students sit for the Creative Arts & Social Studies examinations that will take one hour 40 minutes