Two separate sets of national examinations will be administered this year as the country embraces new education reforms ahead of next year’s transition.
One group of candidates under the 8-4-4 education system will be striving to get the most of the 100 per cent marks during the national tests to be administered in March and December.
And the other group of candidates, the pioneer Grade Six under the 2-6-3-3-3 education system will be seeking to top up 40 per cent of the marks during their December tests.
The rest of the marks – 60 per cent – for the CBC pioneer class will have been awarded by teachers through school-based assessments administered at grades Four, Five and Six.
The 8-4-4 candidates will sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in March and December.
The first 2021 KCPE examinations will be done between March 7 and 10, while the Form Four candidates will sit theirs from March 11 to April 1 this year.
In December, Class Eight candidates will again sit this year’s national examinations between November 28 and December 1. The second set of KCSE exams will be administered from December 1 to December 23.
According to the revised calendar, the ongoing third term ends on March 4.
This year’s academic year starts on April 25, with the first term running until July 1.
The Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) is yet to release the examination timetable for the Grade Six candidates.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, however, announced that the tests will be done in December this year.
Under CBC, teachers are expected to conduct classroom and school-based assessments from grades One to Three.
At Grade Three, Knec is expected to develop standardised assessment tools to be administered, scored and feedback given to individual learners by teachers in their respective schools.
The schools will then submit the results for each learner in a designated format to Knec to facilitate analysis of achievement of competencies at national level.
The report from the national examiner will guide the teachers receiving the transition Grade Four and advise the Teachers Service Commission in developing content for continuous professional development.
Across the school assessments, teachers use tools such as written tests, observation schedules, assessment rubrics, project portfolios, checklists, questionnaires, oral/aural questioning, anecdotal records and journals.
For grades Four, Five and Six, school-based assessments assist in informing mastery of competencies and readiness of learners to transition, and provide feedback to stakeholders such as learners, parents, teachers in subsequent grades and curriculum developers.
Knec Chief Executive David Njengere said the pioneer CBC learners sat school-based assessments, which will be computed to 60 per cent.
“These learners sat assessments at Grade Four and Grade Five each constituting 20 marks. They will also sit another assessment at Grade Six for 20 marks. This cumulatively will be 60 marks,” he said.
The candidates end of primary school tests will only comprise 40 per cent.
This means Grade Six learners will not only sit the school-based assessments this year, but will also write a national examination at the end of their primary school education in December.
The summative assessment is prompted by the need to allow learners from across the country to access schools, which have superior infrastructure and a culture of good performance, thus enhancing equity.
In the Competency Based Assessments framework, teachers will play a key role in administering and scoring the learners.
Knec is only expected provide samples of new assessments, provide assessment tools and related rubrics and monitor the administration and scoring to ensure credibility.
Some educationists have, however, expressed concern over the new powers teachers have been handed to determine the future of children.
They argue that teachers may abuse their powers to propel some schools for commercial gains, or award fictitious marks that may be detrimental on a child’s growth.
“We have seen teachers and even principals working hard to beat the security measures to leak the KCPE and KCSE examinations. If they can do this under the present tight circumstances where they even face jail terms and loss of jobs, what if they are in charge?” said Emmanuel Manyasa, Usawa Agenda executive director.
“How will we trust the teachers to fairly score the learners, given that they will literally determine whether your child passes or fails in the basic stages of learning?”
Njengere, however, said assessment results submitted by teachers have displayed a normal curve.
He said Knec has mechanisms of identifying anomalies on marks awarded by teachers.