On Monday 18th September, Education Principal Secretary, Belio Kipsang said that the Ministry of Education is planning to change the grading structure of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations to reflect the dominant aptitudes and interests of learners.
According to Education PS, the new grading system will take into account the literacy and numeracy abilities of learners. He however said that the system will allow the overall grading of learners to include the best five subjects, instead of grading them across subject clusters as has been the case since the inception of the 8-4-4 education system.
The PS made the remarks in Mombasa during a briefing on the status of the implementation of the recommendations of the presidential working party on education reforms (PWPER) to the members of the Departmental Committee on Education of the National Assembly.
Dr. Kipsang represented Education Cabinet Secretary for Education Ezekiel Machogu in apprising the committee of the status and proposals that will give effect to PWPER’s recommendations.
The working party’s report made recommendations on assessment and included a review of the KCSE grading system of KCSE to international standards. The grading in any national education system is for certification and not the placement of students in higher education.
Kipsang said the integration of certification and placement in the KCSE grading structure has disadvantaged many students with different orientations in abilities and interests. He added that literacy and numeracy abilities will be taken into account in grading moving forward.
The current cohort of the 8-4-4 students will however be graded according to their performance in five subjects in addition to their grades in Mathematics and either English or Kiswahili, Kipsang said.
“A student with the ability and interest in medicine or engineering need not be prevented from qualifying for the courses just because a subject that was used to grade him pulled down his overall Mean Grade,” the PS added.
The presidential working group on education reforms recommended radical changes in how learners are graded so their strengths are considered. The Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER) has urged dramatic changes to the way the Kenya National Examinations Council(KNEC) grades learners.
The task force also made radical funding proposals, including centralizing higher education sponsorship by counties and the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).