Grade Four and Five learners will take a national test at the end of the month as part of the continuous assessment that will determine their final score when they exit primary school.
The Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) will upload the assessment tools on January 29 while the learners will undertake the exercise from January 31 to February 4. This will be the theory part of the assessment since the learners did practical and project-based tests between October and December last year. The assessment will contribute 20 per cent of the final score at the end of Grade Six.
“Schools are ... expected to download the assessment tools and instructions and then administer, score and upload the assessment outcomes on the Knec portal,” a circular by the examinations body’s chief executive officer, Mr David Njeng’ere, reads.
Headteachers should upload the outcomes by February 21. Under the competency-based assessment (CBA) framework, learners will undertake three continuous assessments in Grade Four, Five and Six.
The maximum score at each level will be 20 per cent, with the remaining 40 per cent coming from a summative assessment at the end of Grade Six.
The first such an exercise will be undertaken in November this year by Grade Five learners. It is the cumulative total that will be used to place the learners in junior secondary in January next year.
The learners will be assessed in 12 learning areas — mathematics, English, Kiswahili or Kenyan Sign Language, science and technology, agriculture, music, art and craft, social studies, religious education, physical and health education and home science.
Learners with special needs will be assessed on communication, social and literacy skills, daily living skills and religious education, sensory motor integration and creative activities and numeracy, environmental and psychomotor activities.
“Headteachers are requested to keep all records generated from the exercise,” Dr Njenge’re said.
During the same period, learners in Grade Three will also undertake a nationwide assessment. However, this will not be considered for the final score but will only be used to monitor their progress in learning. They will only be assessed in English and mathematics.
Dr Njeng’ere on Sunday told the Nation that Knec has not given any time table for the assessment because they are supposed to be flexible to fit into every school’s circumstances.
“The aim is not compare one child with another. We will give teachers the standardised assessment tools and scoring guides,” he said. He dismissed claims by headteachers during previous assessments that their administration was expensive because of high printing costs.
“Implementation of the CBA can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. Any public school that was in existence before 2017 was provided with digital devices and doesn’t have to spend a coin on printing,” he said.
The CEO explained that some headteachers download the tools and then upload it onto the digital devices while others use LCD (liquid crystal display) projectors for the learners.
He revealed that the Ministry of Education is working on a partnership to install internet connectivity in 1,000 public schools in remote locations. Additionally, a strategic plan that was launched late last year proposes that Knec conducts training and sensitisation of stakeholders on their respective roles in the implementation of the CBA.
This resulted from a feeling that there is lack of understanding of the new model of assessment among key stakeholders.
These include parents and teachers, who have been used to traditional examinations, grading and ranking of learners, which has been replaced with descriptive assessment of learning.
According to the strategy, Knec plans to invest Sh2.7 billion to develop infrastructure for security and integrity of its services and Sh865 million for digital infrastructure and services. It plans to procure and install cyber security surveillance tools and upgrade the current ICT systems to allow integration.
“With full roll out of CBA, Knec will be transitioning into digitised and automated business platforms that are exposed to data breach and cyber risks. The current ICT infrastructure will not be able to meet the requirements of CBA,” the council says.
Another high-risk factor that the council has flagged is an increase in examinations malpractice. Although stern measures were implemented in 2016 to stamp out runaway cheating in examinations, the last two years have witnessed an increase in malpractices.
“With advances in technology, there are still chances of having an increase in examinations malpractice. The measures that were put in place to secure credibility of examinations need to be reviewed constantly to remain effective,” the council says.
This will be a busy term for Knec as, in March and April, it will also administer the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education. It will administer the same sets of examinations and assessments to the subsequent classes in November before schools revert to the regular school calendar in January next year.