Poor grades worry educationists

Monday, January 23rd, 2023 10:36 | By
Students in class. PHOTO/Courtesy

Stakeholders in the education sector have raised concerns over the high number of candidates who failed to score quality grades in the just released Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results.

Specifically, the players who spoke to the Scholar are worried that scores of students who sat the exams scored grade D+ and below. Economic In the 2022 KCSE released by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu on Friday, a total of 489,081 of candidates scored a mean grade of D+ and below. This is more than half the total number who did the exam.

A total of 135,021 candidates scored grade D+, with 70,238 being female and 64,783 male. In the statistics,  students who scored D-were 167,758, representing 18.99 per cent. The D plain category had a total of 155, 480 students. Males were 75,545 and females 79,935. A total of 30,822 students attained grade E, where 18,062 were male while 12760 females. Nevertheless, there was a notable increase in the number of candidates with mean grade D+ and above in the 2022 KCSE Examination at 522,588 (59.14 per cent) compared with 442,251 (53.29 per cent) in 2021.

On the other hand, 1,146 (0.13 per cent) candidates obtained an overall Grade A in the 2022 KCSE Examination compared with 1,138 (0.14 per cent) candidates in 2021. On the other hand, the number of candidates with minimum university entry qualification of Grade C+ and above has risen to 173,345 (19.03 per cent) in the year 2022 KCSE Examination compared to 145,776 (17.55 per cent) in 2021.

A total 881,416 candidates sat the 2022 KCSE examination compared with 826,807 candidates in 2021, representing an increase of 54,609 candidates (6.60 per cent).

Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) national chairman Charles Ochome says there is need by the relevant government agencies to investigate the root cause of the dismal performance recorded by many candidates in the KCSE and seek possible interventions going forward.

Ochome says the fact that many candidates attained lower grades in the national examination is a matter that requires probing and necessary actions to be undertaken. “I think the issue of several low grades in the KCSE is something we need to investigate as a country. It is a real concern that should be looked into and tackled moving forward,” he says.

As such, he recommends that the ministry investigates what triggered low performance by a majority of candidates in the test.

Wasted four years

Particularly, the KPSA chairman wants the government to establish whether the problem occurred as a result of exams setting status or teaching method in the various schools. “Why would we have many students not passing the exams? What was the problem? Was it in the marking or the exam was beyond the students or was it that the teaching was not appropriate?” he asked.

On his side, Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) secretary general Akelo Misori says failure by majority candidates to record better grades in the test is an indicator that the current curriculum is no longer attainable, hence the need for a paradigm shift.

Misori faults the curriculum, which the students have undertaken, saying its content might not have been properly evaluated to look at the success rates.

“When majority of candidates who sit an exam after a period of time register a serious failure rate like we have witnessed then it means that there is a lot of waste after four years of study. The only impact is that they have gone through an education system but with a low success rate,” he continues.

The Kuppet official believes that the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) is the best suited education system for the country as it is not examination centred.

He emphasises that the education ministry and other sector players must rethink and develop a strategy that aims to deal with the prevailing situation.

Consequently, Misori says the candidates who scored lower grades in KCSE have an opportunity to enroll for Technical and Vocational Education Training (Tvet) courses to grow their life skills for survival.

Quality of grades

“Critically, parents need to take it as an indicator that we cannot talk about the failure of the students at this moment because the system is also pushing them out. Those who may not go back to school to perfect their grades must be given the right tools and skills to survive on,” he offers.

However, the Ministry of Education, while expressing its satisfaction with the results, indicates that there was a remarkable improvement in terms of quality grades.“Encouragingly, the number of candidates obtaining a mean grade of E in 2022 declined significantly to 30,822 (3.49 per cent) despite the increase in candidature, compared with 46,151 (5.56 per cent) in 2021. This clearly leads us to conclude that most of the candidates scored grades of higher quality,” Machogu said.

Homa Bay County Education Network coordinator Julius Omuga says the dismal performance by most students in the KCSE exam could be attributed to the 100 per cent policy, where learners are admitted to secondary schools regardless of the marks they scored in KCPE.

He says learners who do not perform well academically after exiting primary school should alternatively join the tertiary colleges to develop relevant career skills. “We don’t expect the learners admitted with low marks in primary to perform well in Form Four. I believe it is high time the government abolished this policy to enable improve the overall performance in KCSE exams.”

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