Economy

KCPE top scores drop on the back of lower marks in language, science

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Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha. NMG PHOTO

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Summary

  • The results released by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha Thursday show 8,091 candidates scored above 400 marks in the exam compared with 9,673 in 2019 and 11,559 in 2018 -- marking successive drops.
  • Candidates scored lower marks in half of the 10 papers, including English Language, Kiswahili Insha, Kenyan Sign Language Composition, Science and Social Studies.
  • Public schools outshone the private ones in the best rankings, taking 10 of the top 15 places.

The number of candidates who scored 400 marks and above in the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination dropped by 16.3 percent compared to the previous year, weighed down by lower performance in languages and Science.

The results released by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha Thursday show 8,091 candidates scored above 400 marks in the exam compared with 9,673 in 2019 and 11,559 in 2018 -- marking successive drops.

Candidates scored lower marks in half of the 10 papers, including English Language, Kiswahili Insha, Kenyan Sign Language Composition, Science and Social Studies.

Public schools outshone the private ones in the best rankings, taking 10 of the top 15 places.

The top candidate scored 433 marks in the exam administered in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Although the mark of the highest candidate dropped from 440 to 433 in 2020, the mean average performance and quality of grades for all candidates is higher,” Prof Magoha said when he released the results.

As is the norm, candidates scoring above 400 marks are assured of places in national schools, including the upgraded institutions that are perceived as less attractive by parents.

The performance drop in the Science paper comes amid increased focus and investments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses, seen as key to spurring innovation and industrialisation.

More than 75 percent of the 1,179,192 candidates who sat the exam scored 300 marks and below. The number of candidates who scored less than 100 marks dropped 77 percent to 307 from 1,393 the previous year.

“This was an indicator that most candidates scored better grades than the previous year,” said Prof Magoha.

Faith Mumo of Kari-Mwailu School emerged the top candidate, having scored 433 marks out of the possible 500. Yvette Wesonga and Angel Gakenia of Chogoria Girls and Maseno boarding respectively tied at position two with 432 marks.

Data from the Ministry of Education shows the number of candidates that registered but failed to sit the exam more than doubled to 12,424 from 5,530 the previous year.

Prof Magoha said that five cases of impersonation were detected and seven candidates found with prepared notes during the four-day exam starting March 22.

“Those involved in these cases of exam malpractices will be severely punished,” he said.

This is the firsts time the KCPE exam was administered at a time other than November.

The candidates were required to sit two metres apart to ensure social distancing in line with public health protocols meant to combat Covid-19.

The learners had been out of schools for a prolonged period following the outbreak of Covid-19, forcing the government to implement a crash programme to recover the lost time.

Those in pre-primary level one (PP1) and level two (PP2), Grade One to Three, Standard Five to Seven and in Form One to Three will resume in May for their third term that will run for 10 weeks.

The new school calendar shows the 2021 term one will start on July 26, while the 2022 term one will start in April 25 before it reverts to its normal January date in 2023.

The Form One selection for the 2020 exam candidates for all categories of schools is slated to take place from May 28.

This is set to pile pressure on the parents that are dealing with the Covid-induced economic hardships that led to layoffs and loss of income for those in business.

This year, the government will offer 9,000 scholarships under the Elimu Scholarship Programme, which was initiated in 2019.