Results cancelled in KCSE blunder

Kenya National Examination Council chief executive officer Paul Wasanga addresses journalists in his office on March 1 2011

What you need to know:

  • 1,400 candidates given ‘dummy’ grades in Music issued with fresh ones, possibly altering earlier performance lists

Some candidates in last year’s Form Four examination were given the wrong grades in a blunder that could call to question the credibility of the results.

The Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) issued what it called “dummy” Music exam results to 1,423 candidates in 205 schools across the country.

The results issued have been cancelled and fresh ones issued.

In the results tabulation, the council also identified Moi Forces Academy, Lanet, one of the country’s 18 national schools, as a private school.

Knec secretary Paul Wasanga denied that the Music results had been cancelled or recalled, explaining that staff had packed the wrong results.

His explanation notwithstanding, affected schools, mainly top performers, immediately reported that their mean scores had changed implying that the national rankings issued by the Education ministry on Monday may have been rendered invalid.

It is the second time Knec is being embroiled in results fiasco, raising questions about the management of national examinations.

In 2007, the council issued wrong results to nearly all schools in the country forcing it to recall them, including results slips.

Mr Wasanga blamed the confusion on a “computer error” and managed to keep his job.

A report of a taskforce formed to investigate the error was never made public.

The council later spent millions of shillings to upgrade its computer systems.

Institutions affected by the latest blunder include Nairobi School, Starehe, Alliance and Maryhill, Thika.

At Nairobi School, a candidate who had been issued with a mean grade of A- moved to grade A, increasing the tally of candidates with mean grades of A plain to 30.

In Starehe, Knec adjusted the grades of nine candidates who sat the Music exam upwards, awarding straight As.

Initially, candidates had been awarded four B+, four B plains and a B-.

Founder director Joseph Gikubu and principal Paul Mugo were not amused by the turn of events.

“This morning the principal informed me that some results were changed. Why? I don’t know. Probably they (Knec) will explain to us,” said Mr Gikubu.

On Monday evening the council’s SMS results relaying system broke down, then came to life and started sending grades to affected students.

Those that had received the printouts from their schools immediately realised that the results were different from what the SMS system relayed.

Some of the schools called Knec officials who confirmed that there was a problem but did not immediately provide a solution.

On Tuesday morning, Nairobi School principal Cleophas Tirop said he had written to the council over the anomaly.

He later reported that he had been given new grades.

“Our mean grade and those of affected schools will change,” he said.

“We now have 30 As instead of 29.”

It was also not clear why Music was omitted from the list of subjects that had been examined by Knec.

Starehe, which has seen a sharp decline in performance, is particularly worried about the results mix-up.

The school was ranked 11th nationally with a performance index of 10.3383, but following the changes in Music results, Mr Mugo said the score rises marginally to 10.35.

“We cannot believe that all these years we have been at the top and suddenly, we are ranked outside top 10,” added Mr Gikubu.

Mr Wasanga blamed the confusion on a ‘mix-up’.

“Before we produce and give out results, we have to validate. The first results we produce are usually deemed as dummy which must be validated,” he explained.

In this case, Mr Wasanga said, after the council’s ICT department had produced the validated results, a mix up occurred where an officer packaged the dummy results instead.

“Unfortunately, the dummy results were given out for Music by an officer who inadvertently packaged them instead of the validated ones.”