The Ministry of Education is set to change the grading system of KCSE exams based on interest and competence of learners.
Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang said on Monday the new system will not work as was the case with the 8-4-4 system where students were graded across subject clusters.
He said the new grading system will grade learners in general and include the best five subjects the student undertook.
“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,” he said.
The PS was speaking in Mombasa during a briefing on the status of the implementation of the recommendations of the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER).
He said grading national education system should be for certification and not for placement of students in higher learning institutions.
“The integration of certification and placement in the KCSE grading structure has disadvantaged many students with different orientations in abilities and interests,” Kipsang said.
He said literacy and numeracy abilities will be the key focus in grading future exams.
However, students who are still under the 8-4-4 system will be graded according to their performance in five subjects in addition to their grades in Mathematics and either English or Kiswahili.
According to the working party, the 8-4-4 system focused largely on academics and rote learning, denying learners opportunities to develop critical skills and values necessary for character formation.
They said the grading system for KCSE exam considers seven subjects. They include English, Kiswahili, Mathematics, two science subjects and two others.
They said the subjects disadvantage some learners whose best performing subject is not considered if not within the cluster.
English and Kiswahili measure the literacy level of a learner, while Mathematics and any science subject evaluate the numeracy aspects of the learner.
Therefore, PWPER proposed the computation of KCSE examination mean score by Knec be based on Mathematics, English or Kiswahili and five other best-performed subjects.